You’re ready to embrace a future of silent, smooth and, most importantly, clean driving, but you also need to navigate the area around EV charging. For most owners, the easiest way to charge their electric car is from home. For the vast majority of electric car drivers, this means having a wallbox.
So, let’s talk about electric car charging wallboxes, and explain the costs involved and how to get one installed.
Until now, our driving habits have been wedded to the idea of visiting a petrol station whenever the needle on our fuel gauge quivers around empty, and then going on to buy that Mars bar in a moment of weakness.
Driving an electric car doesn’t conform to that typical behaviour because if you’re lucky enough to have access to off-street parking, electric car charging can take place at home when you’re sleeping or doing other stuff.
And just imagine; if your home is now the filling station, your ‘fuel tank’ can be full each morning.
The simplest (but also slowest) way to charge your car from home is to plug into the same socket you use to charge your mobile phone. Most electric vehicles are supplied with a cable that lets you use a 2.3kW domestic socket, but be warned that charging this is much slower than a specialised home car charging point and takes much longer for a car than it does a phone.
If you can liken recharging an electric car’s battery to filling a bathtub with water, then using a domestic socket is the equivalent of filling the bath using a dripping tap. That’s why many people favour installing a wallbox to charge their electric car at home.
Electric car charging wallboxes
What is a wallbox charger?
An EV wallbox is a specialised home car charging point that’s connected to your mains electricity. It lets you charge your electric car at a faster rate than using a domestic socket. It’s typically fitted in your garage or outside your house, close to the mains power supply.
Wallboxes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and budgets, from designer ones to vehicle branded ones. They can be tethered (where the charging cable is attached) or untethered. They can also be sourced independently or installed as part of a new electric car promotion package.
How fast can a wallbox charger charge my electric car?
The more powerful the wallbox, the quicker its ability to charge.
However, just like public electric vehicle charging, the speed at which you’re actually able to charge at home is not only dependent on the output of the charger, but on your electricity supply and the charging capacity of the vehicle. Read our EV charging speeds guide for more info.
Most wallbox chargers will supply alternating current (AC) at a maximum of 7.4kW and that’s because most UK homes have a single-phase electricity supply that provides this amount of power. Wallboxes delivering up to 22kW are possible, but in order to achieve this, your home will need to use what’s known as a three-phase electricity supply.
How much does an electric car wallbox charger cost?
The cost of a wallbox charger and its installation will depend on the type and brand of wallbox you choose and the complexity of the installation.
As a guide, you should consider budgeting around £800 for a mid-spec smart charger with a straightforward installation and without any grants.
Also remember this sort of infrastructure will not only add convenience to your life, but value to the property.
Electric Car Charging Grants
Are there any EV charging grants or incentives available?
The UK Government currently offers some financial assistance through the ‘EV chargepoint grant’ (previously the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme) for electric car drivers charge an electric car. The grant provides up to 75% of the cost of installation up to a total value of £350.
Eligibility is restricted to those electric car drivers who have off-street parking, either own and live in a flat or rent any kind of residential property.
The other caveats include owning an electric vehicle, having proof that a new electric vehicle is on order or having leased an electric vehicle for at least 6 months, including via salary sacrifice.
The wallbox charger itself must also be ‘smart’, allowing communication with your car, the charging operator and your utility company to help optimise charging. This is a good thing as it means the EV wallbox can do clever things like learn your usage patterns and then decide when is the best time to charge your car based on when there is less demand on the grid or when electricity is cheapest.
For more information on electric car charging grants, check out our Charging Grants Explained guide.
Electric Car Home Charging Wallbox Installation
How long does the installation process take?
An approved engineer can install and commission your EV wallbox in half a day, including pairing the device with your smart phone.
Prior to their visit, however, you’ll have supplied the chosen installer with a completed site survey, which shares details of your electricity supply and provides pictures of your fuse box and the intended location of the wallbox. All of these details help the engineering team consider specifications and cable routing before attending on site.
Electric Car Home Charging Cost
Is it still cheaper to charge your electric car at home?
Yes, it's still much cheaper to charge an electric car at home. Even amidst the energy crisis, the UK Government has announced that “dual fuel customers paying by direct debit will be limited to 34p/kWh for electricity from 1 October”.
This price cap has been designed to protect consumers from further price rises and it means that to charge an electric car at home will remain significantly cheaper than refuelling any petrol or diesel engined vehicle. Take a look at our Charging costs explained guide.