Charging an electric car at home. What do you need to know?
Electric cars are becoming increasing popular and that’s a fact. The users appreciate them for the opportunity to cut down on fuel and for their environment-friendly design. But there’s one downside we have to mention: existing facilities don’t seem to be suited to this trend as yet. So far, there are not so many fast charging points in the public space, which means the owners of such vehicles have to rely on their own garage. If you’re considering the purchase of an environment-friendly car, but are concerned about charging its battery, read on to learn a few useful tips. We have collected all you need to know about charging an electric car at home!
In this article you will find out:
- what are the opportunities for charging an electric car at home,
- what are the pros and cons of specific charging options,
- the best way to charge your electric car,
- what to look out for when choosing a charger.
Charging an electric car at home – which way to choose?
Although there are more and more public charging points, most people still charge their electric cars mostly at home. More often than not you will charge your electric car in your garage, in an underground parking lot or even in front of the residential building. It depends on what accessories you have. Let’s explore all the options you have in this respect.
Charging an electric car using a standard outlet
The easiest way is to plug your electric vehicle into a standard outlet you have at home. You can do it in your garage, provided you have a proper cable to connect your car. One definite advantage of this solution is the opportunity to control your spending on electricity. You know how much your monthly electricity bills are, so you will easily incorporate vehicle charging.
Plus, you don’t have to modify your garage or come up with a special charging point. This solution is quite cheap and easy to implement. Every day you can simply plug your car in a regular socket and next morning find the battery refilled.
Well, that’s the thing – next morning… This is actually the only – but a major – disadvantage of charging your car using a standard outlet. The process takes time. It can take up to 20 hours to charge the car battery. This is because a standard 230V single phase outlet has a relatively low power. This is enough to discourage drivers who spend most of their time away from home. On the other hand, those who have the opportunity to recharge their car overnight, have no reason to complain. This method is convenient and inexpensive.
Your own charging point
The first method we described is a proven and reliable way of charging your electric vehicle. Also, it might be perfectly sufficient for most owners of environment-friendly cars. Unfortunately, not everybody can use it. Assuming you live in a big city and don’t have your own garage or a place in an underground parking lot with access to a power outlet, you will have no opportunity to plug your car to a socket. What can you do in this case?
You have two options: a professional charging station provided by your housing cooperative or your own charger. First let’s discuss the first solution. Such points are becoming one of the basic elements of housing investments. It’s even mandatory to include them according to the law – both Polish and European. Therefore, it’s worth trying to convince your housing cooperative to implement such a project. A charging point will definitely modernise the whole property, prepare it for the pending reforms and make it more attractive for future tenants and owners.
Such investments involves filing a relevant application to the housing cooperative. Then a cost estimate needs to be prepared and consulted, relevant designers and contractors have to be selected, and the installed electrical power needs to be evaluated. It could be the case that the electricity supplier will have to modify the parameters, so that the charging point receives sufficient power.
Your own charger
The best solution you can choose to be able to recharge your electric car at home is to buy your own charger. If you have one, you can recharge your car battery much faster than with a regular power outlet. You can choose between stand-alone models or wallboxes.
But faster charging time is not the only advantage of this investment. The charger comes with specialist software, which makes it possible to choose the charging power, to monitor the battery level and energy consumption, and with extensive overvoltage protection. Car chargers can be controller with intuitive mobile apps.
Does it mean every owner of an electric car should have a personal charger? true, it is recommended, but this solution also has its downsides. Some can be deterred by the price of original chargers, others give up this idea when they learn that you have to adjust your home grid in order to accommodate such a device. Some models run on three-phase power supply, which could place excessive load on the installation.
Fortunately, not all chargers are so demanding. Those with the power of up to 7.4 W are perfectly OK with single-phase power supply. If you’re going to charge your electric car frequently and you want to do it fast, a charger will be the best option for you.
What to look out for when choosing a car charger?
If you opt for your own wallbox, you need to know what model to choose. Before you buy one, consider such parameters as:
- Power – this is the key thing to look at when choosing an electric car charger. Power determines the charging speed. You have to note the power of the wallbox, but also the power of the installation in the place where you want to put it. If you go for the highest possible value, i.e. 22 kW, your home grid must be prepared for such a load. If not, the charging power will only be as much as the installation allows.
- Connector – there are two types of connectors in electric cars. The most popular type in Europe is standard 2 – and that’s the connector you are looking for in your charger. It’s more versatile, because it can also be used by cars with Type 1 connector. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to make it work the other way round.
- Cable length and construction – it may not be the most obvious or important criterion, but you shouldn’t forget about it. The charger cable must be long enough for you to be able to connect the car to the power supply. It should also be robust and resilient, so that it’s not easily damaged if you happen to drive over it.
- Additional facilities – a car charger is an advanced device, which can provide you with detailed information about your battery level. Look out for models with an LCD display and professional software, which can also be controlled with a mobile app.
Charging an electric car at home- which option to choose?
Charging an electric car can still be a challenge, but with the solutions presented above you have something to choose from to handle this issue. You need to remember that none of these options will match the public charging points with the power of 50 kW or more (and it takes no more than an hour to refill your car battery there). However, such stations are few and far between, so you will most often charge your electric vehicle at home anyway.
Of course, you can plug your car into a standard outlet overnight, but if you don’t want to wait, you may want to consider a fast charger. See the models available in our online store and pick something to suit your needs!