EV Basics - charging your electric car at home

28th Aug 2019 Danny Morgan

How do you charge an electric car at home? This simple guide explains how to plug your car in at home and how you can save money on your charging costs.

Driving and charging an electric car is easy - trust us. But, anything new can seem daunting especially when you're used to filling up at a petrol station. So let's explore the basics of electric car charging. 

Where do you plug in an electric car?

Most drivers will charge their electric car at home using a home charging point. In fact, you will probably do about 80% of your charging at home overnight unless you are on the road a lot for business. So while we think charging at home overnight is much easier than driving to a petrol station, it's important you feel comfortable with it.

Watch this simple tutorial video where our editor explains how to plug in your electric vehicle:


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How to charge your electric car at home

There are two main ways to charge your electric vehicle at home:

  1. A conventional three-pin plug
  2. A dedicated home charging point

Your car should come with a cable and adapter so you can plug into a conventional three-pin socket at home. This is perfectly feasible, but is very slow compared to having a dedicated charging point installed at your home.

The most convenient method is to use a dedicated charging unit, such as the electric car charge points we sell and install. These are sometimes referred to as wall chargers or wall boxes or charge points. These home charge points will charge your EV at up to 10 times faster than a three-pin plug (dependent on your vehicle's capabilities and your home electricity supply). 

The most common home chargers run at 7.4kW, compared to less than 3kW for a three-pin plug, and will charge a typical EV from 0-80% in under 10 hours. Although most of the time you will just need to top it up for a few hours two or three times a week to give you enough range to cover your commute or weekend driving. 


The benefits of using a dedicated home charger:

  1. Fast, reliable charging of your electric car
  2. Charge schedules – you decide when the car chargers (perhaps when your electricity rate is cheapest)
  3. Safety measures – home chargers are built for the express purpose of charging your EV, so they have built-in safety features
  4. Correct installation – dedicated home chargers are installed by qualified and Government-approved installers such as Smart Home Charge
  5. Weather-proof – chargers must withstand the British weather, so they are robust units
  6. No more trips to the petrol station – save time by “fuelling” your car overnight with a home charger


Can I schedule my car to charge at specific times?

Yes, you're able to plan when your car starts and stops charging to suit your schedule and lifestyle. For example, you may wish to take advantage of cheaper overnight electricity rates and set a charging schedule of 1am to 5am. 

There are two main ways you can set a charging schedule at home:

  1. Use the car's smart scheduling features (if it has them)
  2. Use the smart app that comes with our chargers

Scheduling using your smart charger app

Smart chargers have a companion app. The range of app features vary, but all of them are capable of smart scheduling. This allows you to set specific times for when you want your car to charge.

You can also use the apps to monitor charging status, when your last charge was and how much energy was used. You can also use it to start or stop a schedule remotely - handy for when your plans or routines change.


What are the costs of charging an electric car at home?

We look at the cost of charging a car and using different electricity tariffs in more depth here, but broadly speaking it depends on the cost of your electricity.

You can calculate the cost using a simple sum. You will need to know the battery size of your electric vehicle or the one you are considering buying/leasing, plus the price per kilowatt hour for your electricity – this should be on your energy bill. For example, 14p per kWh.

To calculate the cost of “filling up” your EV, use this formula:
Size of battery (kWh) x Cost of your electricity (pence per kWh) = the cost of charging your car from zero to full

For example, if you own a Renault Zoe R90, which has a 41kWh battery, and your electricity costs 14p per kWh, the calculation would look like this:
41 x £0.14p = £5.74

If you switch to a cheaper energy supplier, or one with a cheaper overnight rate for example, then the cost to charge your car becomes even cheaper.

You can find out more information in our guide to EV energy tariffs.


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