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Which EV Charger Is Right for You

Posted by evec UK on 9th Dec 2022


Which EV Charger Should You Buy?

Getting an electric vehicle (EV) for the first time, whether it’s new or second-hand, can be a daunting time as you try to navigate how to adjust to the new lifestyle that owning an EV brings. In terms of EV home charging, we know what you’re wondering – what is the best EV charger you can get in the UK? Well, that depends on many factors including your price range, cable preference, type of EV, etc. You must also have dedicated off-street parking to have your own home charger. But don’t worry, we’ll explain it all in this handy guide to help you find which EV charger you should buy and become a charging expert!

kilo-what? everything about EV electricity and charging speeds

Depending on your EV’s capabilities, battery capacity, and current supply, you can charge your car at different speeds (measured in kilowatts (kW)). Most homes are set up for Alternating Current (AC) power with a single-phase connection while commercial settings are more equipped for AC three-phase power.

While AC always comes from the power grid, your EV battery can only store power as Direct Current (DC) power, meaning that the electricity must be converted from AC to DC before charging the battery (see below). Because of the conversion that must happen, AC charging takes longer than DC which is why DC charging is found in public rapid chargers by service stations and close to main routes where quick charging is essential.

EV charger for home

Full EV batteries are capable of charging at 7.4kW while 3.7kW is usually the maximum capacity for Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) that don’t have as large of a battery. While you can plug your EV into a charger that has a higher kW speed, it will still only be able to charge at its maximum capability. So, a 3.7kW PHEV can use a 7.4kW charger but will still only receive the 3.7kW speed. In this way, it is important that the charger you get is suitable for the vehicle you have. Our domestic untethered (universal) chargers and domestic tethered chargers both come with an internal flippable switch that allows you to have either the 3.7kW or 7.4kW within the same charger – just let your installer know what setting you’d like to have it on. However, if you have a regular EV, 7.4kW is the standard charger that you will need to buy and all EV charger retailers will have this available.

EV charger for work

If you’re looking for a charger for your workplace, then the 11kW – 22kW commercial changers are the one for you. These chargers use a three-phase AC connection which is typically only found at industrial or commercial buildings rather than in the average UK home; however, if you have larger home with many electrical appliances and devices, you may already have three-phase connectivity set up. As with the domestic chargers, the commercial chargers come untethered (universal) or tethered. Also like the domestic chargers, your EV may not have the capability to charge at 22kW, in which case, 11kW may be the highest it can charge; therefore, it is a good idea to once again check your EV’s battery capacity. Despite very few EVs, such as the Renault Zoe, having the capability to charge at 22kW, having this charger available at work offers flexibility as it positively affects those that can charge at the higher rate while having no negative effect on those that can’t.

what charger type is right for your EV?

Another thing to keep an eye for when purchasing an EV charger is the Charger Type. With home charging, slow or fast charging types are either Type 1, Type 2, Commando or a normal 3-pin plug outlet. A 3-pin plug is just your average UK plug that can substitute an official EV charger, but be warned, its charge times are extremely slow. Within the UK, the most common charger is a Type 2 as most European EV manufacturers (such as Audi, Renault, Mercedes and VW, etc) use a Type 2 charging inlet. While Asian manufacturers (KIA, Nissan, and Mitsubishi, etc) normally use a Type 1 inlet on their vehicles, many have adjusted their inlet ports to be Type 2 as well to fit within the market.

All of our chargers are the standard UK Type 2; however, do not worry if you find yourself with a Type 1 vehicle inlet! We provide a Type 2-to-Type 1 cable which you can combine with an untethered Type 1/2 charger to remove any additional hassle.

tethered vs untethered EV charger?

Now that you’ve decided on the speed and type of your charger, it’s time to worry about cables! Whether you choose a tethered on untethered charger can depend on how important certain factors are to you.

While it may already seem obvious, a tethered charger is one with a charging cable already built into the unit while an untethered charger (sometimes called a universal charger) requires a separate, yet compatible, cable to connect the charger with the EV. A big pro of a tethered charger is that you do not have to worry about taking out a separate cable every time you want to charge; whether it be from the boot of your car or the garage, eliminating this small but tedious task can make a world of a difference for some people. Additionally, there is the added bonus of not having to worry about your cable being stolen while you are charging your EV overnight. However, there is an extra cost to a tethered charger, especially as most people also like to have a spare cable anyway for when they have to use public chargers.

If manually attaching your EV cable to your charger every day does not seem like an inconvenience, then an untethered charger may be the right fit for you. For one thing, many people prefer to already have a separate cable at the ready in case they are somewhere that requires one. Using this instead of tethered charger then saves you the cost of an extra cable attached to your home unit which can make it the cheaper option. It is also more flexible as it allows you to use a Type 2-to-Type 1 cable if you have a Type 2 charging unit with a Type 1 vehicle.

With this in mind, depending on your lifestyle or priorities for an EV charger, either tethered or untethered could be the perfect fit for you. For a more in-depth explanation into the different types of EV connections and cable types, check out our Ultimate Guide to EV Charger Cables to get all of your questions answered.

budget

The range of prices for EV chargers can be quite extreme as many things can affect the cost: tethered vs untethered, domestic or commercial, installation included or not, etc. For a standard Type 2, single phase untethered charger, you can look to spend between £370-£800. However, within this price range, the cheaper chargers do not have PEN protection and require an earthing rod to be bought and installed with the charger so that your home and family can be protected in case anything goes wrong, thus increasing the costs. When it comes to having a fully featured smart EV charger, evec is priced the best for untethered and tethered domestic EV chargers at £479.99 and £599.99 respectively. Furthermore, due to our expansive installer network, our chargers can be delivered next day and installed quickly to make your charging journey as smooth as possible.

We know that if this is your first time owning an EV or PHEV, it can be very complicated and confusing to know what the next steps are, which is why here at evec, we want to ensure that all the barriers are removed to make it as easy as possible for you to live your petrol and diesel- free life! That means offering lower prices and providing you with as much information as possible so you can feel confident about the decisions you make. To help you estimate the costs and time of home charging, you can use this handy EV Home Charging Calculator from Zap Map so that you can better plan your finances and charge times depending on your vehicle and home connection.

key takeaways

  • A single-phase EV charger is usually the best fit for home charging
  • Make sure the charger you get works with your vehicle - most EVs can charge at 7.4kW while most PHEVs can only charge to 3.7kW
  • Three-phase chargers can potentially charge your EV quicker, but they are usually found in commercial lots
  • Tethered EV chargers can be more convenient, but are also more expensive
  • Untethered EV chargers can help save you money and work with different types of EVs but can be more hassle
  • evec's fully featured smart EV chargers are the cheapest on the market

faqs

Can you have a rapid charger at home?

Unfortunately, as the energy requirement for DC rapid charging is too large for home and domestic use, you cannot have a rapid EV charger at home.

What is the fastest that you can charge and EV at home?

The fastest speed that you can have to charge your EV at home is 22kW while on AC power; however, very few vehicles are actually capable of charging at this speed.

How can you stop people from using your home charger to charge their cars?

While it doesn’t happen often, it is understandable why some people have concerns that someone could sponge off their electricity while they are not home, especially with the current energy prices. However, through our evec app, and most others on the market, you can set times for your charge and make it impossible for someone else to use it when you aren’t around to give the go-ahead.

For any other questions that you may have, contact us or visit our FAQ page.