Dedicated home car chargers are more convenient, faster and could save you money compared to a standard domestic socket.
Danny Morgan, editor at EV charge point installer Smart Home Charge, explains the benefits and how switching energy tariff can reduce your EV running costs even further.
If you have ordered, or you’re considering an electric car or plug-in hybrid for your own taxi or fleet, then chances are you already understand electric cars can offer big savings on running costs over the lifetime of the vehicle.
Switching to an electric car can bring “fuel” costs to around 5-7p per mile right off the bat, but according to the charging experts at Smart Home Charge you could reduce this as low as 1p per mile.
To do this, you need a 7.4kW smart home charge point installed and the right energy tariff.
Why should I bother with a 7.4kW charger? I’ve got a socket and a three-pin plug
Using a standard domestic socket (three-pin plug) is surprisingly effective, especially if you have a plug-in hybrid with a relatively small battery to charge. One of these will add around 10 miles of range per hour, so if your plug-in hybrid has a range of 30 miles then you can expect a full charge in about three hours.
Easily achieved, but they can still be inconvenient particularly if you have no external sockets. Besides, a full electric car will need more than three hours’ charge if you do a lot of miles.
Here are just four reasons why a dedicated home EV charge point is beneficial:
It's faster than a domestic socket
It's safer than a domestic socket
There's a £350 Government Grant available to buy a home charge point
"Smart charging" functionality allows you to take advantage of cheaper off-peak rates on your electricity tariff.
Pair the right energy tariff with your home charger
Having a 7.4kW smart home charger installed at home achieves two things:
You can add more range to your car in a shorter period of time
Smart scheduling functionality lets you choose when the car starts and stops charging.
“Fast” home charging on its own isn’t that useful. Yes, it’s nice to see those miles flow into your car quicker, but as most charging happens overnight you won’t really notice.
But combine the faster charging with the smart scheduling a smart home charger offers, and a world of charging possibilities open up for you.
The biggest of which is the ability to charge when electricity prices are low.
Many energy providers offer tariffs aimed at electric car drivers. These tariffs usually include cheaper prices overnight, when energy demand is typically low, to encourage drivers to charge while they’re asleep.
There are lots of different tariffs available which you can compare using the Smart Home Charge energy tariff comparison tool but the “off-peak” rates are usually for a few hours during the early morning.
As an example, Octopus Energy charges around 13-15p/kWh during the day, but between the hours of 12.30am and 4.30am this drops to just 5p/kWh, so you can see a huge saving here if you set your car charger to only operate between these hours.
That is why a fast home charger is useful – it allows you to squeeze as much charging time within those cheap electricity windows. The more charging you can shift to those off-peak hours, the cheaper it is to “fuel” your car and the more money you save.
In summary, this is how to maximise savings on your charging costs:
Get a 7.4kW home charge point installed, such as those offered on our website. This gives you access to a faster charge and means you can set up charging schedules
Change energy supplier. You can use the Smart Home Charge energy tariff comparison tool which will give you an idea of the cost to charge your vehicle using different energy suppliers.
Optimise your charging schedule. Once you’ve chosen an energy tariff that suits your needs and offers off-peak pricing, simply use the accompanying app with your smart home charge point to set when your car will start charging and when it will stop charging.
Simply plug in when you get home and let the smart charger take care of the rest.