The UK has over 260,000 pure-electric vehicles on the road as well as over 270,000 plug-in hybrids. But with fewer than 16,000 charging points across the UK, it can be difficult finding a reliable place to recharge an electric vehicle (EV).
The overall cost of owning and operating an EV is becoming cheaper as the technology improves. We’re predicting a huge surge in demand for hybrid and electric vehicles, which means there will be much more demand for convenient charging options.
Learn why the country is going all-in on EVs and how you can charge an EV in the comfort of your home.
The future of electric vehicles
Petrol-powered vehicles might be in the majority today, but that won’t be the case for very long. 40% of new car buyers in the UK prefer EVs for their next purchase. In fact, nearly 25% of households in the UK plan to buy an electric car in the next 5 years.
Electric vehicles are a key part of transitioning our fossil fuel-crazed economy away from non-renewable energy sources. Plus, as a consumer, you’ll save more money on an EV in the long term than you would with a petrol- or diesel-powered car. In fact, lawmakers are considering banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030, so purchasing an EV is a great way to future-proof your transportation options.
Aside from the environmental benefits, buying an EV over a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle allows you to enjoy benefits like:
- Lower total cost of ownership: EVs have much lower running costs compared to petrol-powered vehicles. Unlike the ongoing maintenance required to run a petrol-powered vehicle, EVs require less maintenance and can be much cheaper in the long run. Pound for pound, EVs tend to be cheaper to own and operate. And with government subsidies and tax cuts available, it’s even more affordable to go all-in on electric. You can easily compare prices of electricity supplies online.
- A reduced carbon footprint: Driving a zero-emission EV can significantly reduce your household’s carbon footprint. This reduces pollution in urban areas, especially near schools, which is critical to protecting children. If you frequently travel in big cities like London, you’ll need to meet stringent pollution requirements, and EVs certainly fit the bill.
- Quieter operation and rapid acceleration: Electric vehicles are much quieter than petrol or diesel vehicles. They also accelerate more quickly thanks to their linear drive train. This might seem like a small perk, but it’s a noticeable difference that’s converted many drivers into EV fanatics.
- Longer driving ranges: As the technology improves, EVs are able to travel longer and further. If you’re worried about recharging a pure electric vehicle on a long drive, consider a hybrid. Pure electric cars don’t use petrol at all, but if you buy a hybrid, you can tap into several different energy sources. If you want the convenience of petrol but the other benefits of electric, hybrid is still a great option.
There are so many reasons to invest in an EV. However, the infrastructure isn’t currently there to support a tidal wave of EVs on the market. Access to charging points, particularly on longer drives, is a big concern for motorists. That’s why most EV charging takes place at home today.
How home-based EV charging points work
Tools like Zap-Map will help you find one of the 15,000+ charging points across the UK. But that can be a tremendous hassle, especially considering the fact that it can take longer to charge an electric vehicle than it does to refuel a petrol or diesel one. For most commuters, it’s much more convenient to charge your car from your own garage or driveway. But without a charge point at home, you’ll be forced to seek out the nearest public charger.
That’s why more and more EV owners are investing in charging points for their homes. There’s no need to make a special trip to a public charging station—you can avoid the potential wait for a public charging station to become available.
Charging your EV works just like charging your smartphone at night while you sleep. The battery in the EV slowly charges overnight, storing energy for when you’re ready to drive. With a home charging point, you simply plug in your car to charge and the AC current in your home does all of the work.
The biggest issue is that it takes time to charge an EV from empty to full. That’s why most home charge points are best used overnight, when you know you won’t need your car for 7 – 10 hours. When you charge at home, you can ensure your vehicle is fully charged by the morning for longer journeys.
But not all EV charging points are created equally. Depending on your home, vehicle, and needs, you’ll need to install a certain type of charging point.
With a 3-pin plug, you charge your car with a “granny cable” using a standard plug in your home. The benefit is that it doesn’t require any special installation or expertise. Simply plug in your car like you would a TV or kitchen appliance to charge it overnight
A 3-pin plug charging point is the simplest option, but it isn’t recommended for continuous use. 3-pin plugs are incredibly slow, which means it will take a very long time to recharge a fully electric vehicle. Granny cables are also capable of overheating, which is a safety issue.
Feel free to use your granny cable if you’re traveling overnight and need a way to recharge your EV, but it isn’t recommended in the long term.
3 kW charge point
A 3 kW charging point in your home is a much safer option for charging your EV than a 3-pin plug. Most homes are able to accommodate a 3 kW charging point, although some EV owners find the slow charging speed to be a hindrance.
7 kW charge point
A 7 kW charging point, on the other hand, is much faster than 3 kW. It can easily recharge an EV in half the time it would take with a 3 kW charging point, which makes 7 kW a better option if you drive a fully electric vehicle. Depending on your EV, it can take anywhere from 4 – 11 hours to fully recharge your car with a 7 kW charge point.
However, your home’s electrical system may need an upgrade to accommodate a 7 kW charging point. Many EV owners require a master fuse upgrade to accommodate more powerful charging at home.
22 kW charge point
Depending on your vehicle, you may want a 22 kW charging point in your home. But as with the 7 kW option, this depends on your home’s electricity. Because it transmits more power, a 22 kW charging point requires a three-phase electrical supply in your home.
Utility Warehouse and EV charging points
Utility Warehouse has successfully installed smart meters in over 60% of our customers’ homes. After paving the way for smart meters in the UK they’re turning their attention to the next generation of energy-saving technology: EV charge points.
In fact, UW recently installed their first electric vehicle charging point at a customer’s house—the first of many- and UW’s Home Services engineers are in the process of upskilling to meet the demand for EV charging points.
Did you know that there are government subsidies available for EV charging points? EVHS covers up to 75% of the costs of buying and installing an electric charger in your home. There’s a £350 maximum and you need to have an eligible vehicle to qualify for assistance, but this makes installation much more affordable.
After spending years in the energy industry, Utility Warehouse is aiming to take the lead on EV charge point installation in the UK.
Embrace the future with an EV charging point in your home
Electric vehicles are slowly but surely dominating the market not only in the UK but around the world. If you’re in the market for a new car, it’s a good idea to look beyond petrol-powered options and embrace the cost savings that come with charging an EV at home.