Here are our top tips for a perfect wallbox plug-in.
Allstar’s innovative Homecharge EV payment solution, powered by Mina, has been available for over a year now, ensuring drivers get paid the exact amount they are owed for charging work vehicles at home, aswell as reducing administration and costs for their employers.
Latest figures from the Department for Transport suggest that nearly 80% of the population have access to off street parking - far higher than previous estimates – so if you and your employees are thinking about charging EVs for work at home, here’s everything you need to know.
Before installing a home charger, make sure the house electricity supply is up to it. Tom Callow, from home charge point provider myenergyi, explains: “You will need a sufficient electricity supply coming into your property to power the EV charge point without overloading your fuse board.
“The vast majority of UK homes have single-phase power, so one main incoming fuse will be visible in the electricity meter cupboard, and as long as it is rated at 100A (100 amps), you will usually be fine. If it is an older property with a 60A rated fuse, you may need to upgrade it.”
While it’s tempting for people to shop around for something cheap online, this is an absolutely false economy, Tom Callow says: “Many charge points available on online retail marketplaces will not fully comply with UK regulations around EV charging safety and security, and given that an EV charge point is likely to be the most powerful electrical device in your home in many cases, it is not worth scrimping on safety.”
Many EVs will come with a ‘granny cable’. It’s got a standard plug on one end and a connector at the other and can be used to charge directly from the house mains. It’s really slow though, because it runs at 3kW. A 60Wh battery will take more than 20 hours to charge.
It’s useful when nothing else is available, but not for regular charging. “It’s inadvisable to charge from a 3-pin outlet, as these have not been designed for the continuous loads experienced when charging an EV,” says Tom.
Far better is to charge through a wallbox, which usually will run at 7kW off domestic energy supply.
EVs will mostly have a cable supplied for this too, which has a connector at each end, typically of the EU-standard Type 2 variety.
You can get home wallboxes that will charge EVs at higher speeds, but these often require upgrades to cabling and home electricity infrastructure, which can cost a lot of money. And it’s mostly not necessary: the whole point of home charging is being able to do it during all those long hours an EV is parked up.
Some thought will need to go into where to site a homecharger, and the practicalities for running cabling outside a house.
“You generally cannot run a charging cable across a public or shared footway, even if it is a path in a private housing estate, so think about how the cable will run from your fuse box to the EV charge point (a typical installation allows for about 10 metres of cabling), as well as cable run from the charge point to the EV charge port inlet,” says Tom.
“Most EV charging cables are around five metres long, although 10-metre cables are available, so consider the way you usually park when choosing the location of your charge point.”
To really take advantage of home charging EVs, it’s important for employees to get on the right tariff.
If they’re on an off peak or specialist EV tariff, they can get cheap electricity in the middle of the night. Economy 7 off peak usually runs from about midnight to 8am, and EV specialist ones from around midnight until 4-5am, with rates than can be between a half to a third of peak costs.
But there’s usually a caveat to this. Peak rates can be higher on these tariffs than standard ones, so employees need to do some maths to ensure that while they’re saving on charging an EV, it’s not being negated by the cost of their other electricity demands during the rest of the day.
If your drivers aren’t on smart meters, it’s likely that their home energy costs are based on meter readings, taken every few months. What they need to be aware of is that this can lead to ‘bill shock’.
How this happens is that for the first few months of charging, their bill is based off historic usage, so it doesn’t noticeably rise. Then, when the meter is read, the energy supplier adjusts it and the new bill is based on the greater demand – and that means more money to pay.
Probably, the EV driver and the business are still saving money by charging at home, but this sudden leap in cost can be a shock. But there is a way to smooth it out. Allstar Homecharge, powered by Mina, pays their EV charging costs directly to the energy supplier, right from the outset. That’s it.
With home chargers costing many hundreds of pounds or more, it’s important to have a policy on who pays for it. If you fund the purchase and installation of your employees’ home charge point, potentially you are able to claim back 100% of the installation, including both the cost of the unit and any changes that need to be made at their property, or to their electricity supply.
If you do pay for the box and installation, your employee will not be liable for benefit-in-kind tax. Then there’s the issue of what happens at the end of the employment or change of vehicle, should they no longer be in an EV.
Do you uninstall the charger, write off the cost as something that can’t be claimed back, or ask them to pay either the entire amount back to you, or part of it, if they keep it? If you’ve got a policy for this, it will stop interminable negotiations…
Unless drivers are doing high mileages, they probably won’t need to charge every night: an EV with a 60kWh battery should manage at least 200 miles between charges if driven efficiently.
So it’s good to get in a routine and plan when to charge: there’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, and having to run out in your slippers having realised you’ve not plugged in.
On a 7kW home charger, a completely empty 60kWh battery will take at least nine hours to fully charge to 100%, because the final 20% will charge more slowly in order to the protect the battery. So if drivers have to be on the road early – say at 6am – and need their full range they need to ensure their EV is charging by at least 9pm the night before to fill the battery up.
To take advantage of cheaper tariffs, it’s important to set up scheduling. Almost all EVs now can do this, either in the cabin or via apps. So the driver can plug the EV in when they get home, activate the timer and the vehicle will only start charging when they’ve instructed it to. Higher cost electricity can be avoided by doing this.
One of the great things about home charging is preconditioning. If the EV is plugged in, most can be warmed up by simply pressing the key fob or through an app. Not only does this defrost the vehicle and warm the cabin up while you sit in comfort indoors, and save the energy stored in the vehicle for use later on the road, but it also warms the batteries too.
This is really important, because EV batteries operate more effectively at their optimum temperature, improving range.
Once all of this is in place, you and your drivers are ready to charge at home. Sign up to Allstar Homecharge too, and not only will drivers have a simple charging experience, but all their payments will be sorted too.