Charging an Electric Car at Home
A complete guide to charging an electric car at home, including how to charge at home, how much it costs and how long it takes.
You can charge an electric car at home using a dedicated home charging point (a standard 3 pin plug with an EVSE cable should only be used as a last resort).
- Electric car drivers choose a home charging point to benefit from faster charging speeds and built-in safety features.
- Charging an electric car is like charging a mobile phone - plug in overnight and top up during the day.
- It's useful to have a 3 pin charging cable as a backup charging option, but they are not designed to withstand the necessary charging loads and should not be used long term.
How to charge an electric car at home
To charge an electric car at home, you should have a home charging point installed where you park your electric car. You can use an EVSE supply cable for a 3 pin plug socket as an occasional back up.
- Drivers usually choose a dedicated home charging point because it's faster and has built-in safety features.
- A home charger is a compact weatherproof unit that mounts to a wall with a connected charging cable or a socket for plugging in a portable charging cable.
- Dedicated home charging points are installed by qualified specialist installers like Pod Point.
Tip: An electric car will have either a Type 1 or a Type 2 connector and you'll need to choose a home charger that's compatible with it. To make it easy, we automatically make sure you get the right chargepoint for your vehicle when you order.
Cost of installing a dedicated home charger
A fully installed home charging point costs from £449 with the government OLEV grant.
- Electric car drivers benefit from a £350 OLEV grant for purchasing and installing a home charger.
- Once installed, you only pay for the electricity you use to charge.
- The typical electricity rate in the UK is just over 14p per kWh, while on Economy 7 tariffs the typical overnight electricity rate in the UK is 8p per kWh.
Tip: The cost of driving an electric car is about 2-5p per mile, which means EV drivers can save up to up £1,000 a year when compared to driving a petrol or diesel car (which costs ~15p per mile).
How fast you can charge an electric car at home
Charging speed for electric cars is measured in kilowatts (kW).
Home charging points charge your car at 3.7kW or 7kW giving about 15-30 miles of range per hour of charge (compared to 2.3kW from a 3 pin plug which provides up to 8 miles of range per hour).
Maximum charging speed may be limited by your vehicle’s onboard charger. If your car allows up to 3.6kW charging rate, using a 7kW charger will not damage the car.
For more details on the time it takes to charge at home, please visit “How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?”.
Tip: Most domestic properties have single phase power which means the maximum charging rate is 7kW. While faster chargepoints are available (such as a 22kW unit), these are usually found in commercial properties where there is a three phase power supply. Find out about the difference of single and three phase power in our EV Dictionary.
How to get an electric car charging point installed at home
Electric car charging points need to be professionally installed. A certified charging provider will include installation cost in the price of the unit.
- The installation process involves wall mounting the chargepoint on an exterior wall or garage, near to where you park and connecting it safely to the mains electricity supply.
- An installation should take around three hours to complete, depending on the individual requirements of the driver and the complexity of the installation.
- Installations can be booked directly online, over the phone or through car dealerships, with most providers happy to provide free advice and talk through the options available.
Tip: It’s always wise to be at home during your install: The best charging providers will install a chargepoint in the most convenient and neat location for you, but also demonstrate how to charge your car and answer any questions you have.
How often should you charge an electric car at home
You can charge your electric car at home as often as you need to. It can be treated the same as charging a mobile phone, fully charging overnight and topping up in the day if necessary.
While it is not necessary for most to charge every day, many drivers plug in each time they leave their car out of habit, giving them maximum flexibility should they have to make an unexpected journey.
- By charging overnight, electric car drivers can take advantage of cheap nighttime electricity rates and drive for as little as 2p per mile.
- Overnight charging also ensures that the car’s battery is full each morning for the day ahead. You don’t need to unplug once the battery is full, charging will stop automatically with a dedicated home charger.
- Most drivers also make use of charging facilities at their workplace or public destinations to top up charge.
Tip: Most cars will allow you to set a top charging limit. Always follow your manufacturer’s advice on how “full” to charge your car. Some will recommend setting a limit of a 90% charge to allow the battery management system to rotate the charging of cells evenly.
Optimising charging at home
As more people charge their electric cars at home, smart home chargers are a way to tackle new energy related challenges that will arise for drivers and networks.
While an EV driver is saving money overall by powering their car with electricity rather than fossil fuels, their home energy bill will still be bigger than it was before. The good news is, unlike fossil fuels, there are lots of things that can be done to understand and reduce the cost of electricity to get further savings.
Many smart home chargers monitor home and EV energy usage so you can get a clear understanding of cost per kWh, which enables you to determine how much you are spending and switch to cheaper tariffs. Also, plugging in overnight may allow you to take advantage of the cheaper Economy 7 tariff.
Today an electric car is already greener than a combustion engine vehicle, but charging with ever more renewable energy makes electric car driving even more environmentally friendly.
The UK's grid is continually getting greener with more and more renewable energy generation, such as wind power. While this means charging electric cars is getting more environmentally friendly overall, you can switch to one of the many renewable energy providers to make charging at home even greener.
Managing load on home energy supply
Charging an electric car at home places additional load on your electrical supply. Depending on the max charging rate of your chargepoint and vehicle, this load can damage your main fuse.
To avoid overloading your main fuse, some smart home chargers automatically balance the power drawn by your chargepoint with the rest of your home, ensuring it never causes your total demand to exceed the max available supply.
Another benefit of this feature is the ability to have more than one chargepoint installed so that you can charge cars simultaneously without having to manually switch between them.
Managing load on the grid
As electric cars become more widely adopted, the demand for power on the national grid will increase. There is a tendency for a lot of charging to be started when drivers arrive home after work and peak around 20:00. Unmanaged this could cause demand spikes that can put too much load on the local networks
Smart home chargers will be able to react to and/or anticipate this and manage the rate of charge across thousands of vehicles to smooth out these peaks. Thankfully this will be virtually unnoticeable for an individual driver (according to Pod Point data EV drivers only use their chargers 25% of the time they are plugged in overnight). The net effect will be that everyone gets a full charge over a fractionally longer time, but the grid will be protected.