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How to Charge Electric Vehicles at Home?

How to Charge Electric Vehicles at Home?

New Charging Habits

Using an electric vehicle will change completely our refilling habits that were evolved by using an internal combustion engine counterpart. Similarly how smartphones have changed the habits of charging (having overnight charging on a daily basis, with few topping-ups), transition of usage can be seen in case of EV owners. A recently published report finds that in Europe, 95% of all EV charging events occur at home or work. Only 5% take place along highways (Source: T&E). Home charging is therefore important for both private and business EV users.

Having your own charging station at home definitely saves you valuable time,  as you don’t have to go to the gas station, while also helps you to avoid waiting time at public charging spots or at the office. Arriving home, you can start your electric car charging with just a single movement, then you can unplug when you next leave. There is no need to wait while it charges. Typically, a smartphone application can tell you when your car finished its charging.

Besides having its convenience, charging in a single-family home, usually in a garage, allows to take advantage of low, stable residential electricity rates.

Which Charger to Choose?

Conventional electric socket

Charging cords are standard equipments on a new EV. They only require a 230V grounded outlet for the charging. Depending on the vehicle's battery capacity, charging a fully depleted battery using a conventional plug socket generally takes 8 to 12 hours, as the power they deliver is very limited compared to the capacity of even a medium range electric vehicle. The most common place for using a conventional socket to charge an EV is at the vehicle owner's home and the charging is typically conducted overnight. This solution can be suitable for plug-in hybrids and for battery electric vehicle drivers with low daily driving usage. Although a conventional plug socket is an obvious choice as it requires no major investment, household circuits are not designed to deliver the charging power necessary for EVs continuously for several hours at a charging power necessary for EVs. Using it this way can result in safety risks.

Charging Station

The other solution is charging station or in other name electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). These equipment are designed to charge electric vehicles and they fulfill all relevant safety norms. A charging station is connected to a dedicated circuit with a larger load capacity and appropriate fuse, and it has earth fault protection. The charging station also warns you of any errors, and cuts the power when the vehicle is fully charged. The charging rate depends on the vehicle’s acceptance rate and the maximum current available. EVSE charging generally takes 4 to 6 hours to completely charge a fully depleted battery.

Depending on the charging station functionality there can be differences in the services. All EVSE communicate to your car and determine things such as what the maximum charging power the car will take and whether there is proper grounding. Some devices have additional smart functions like applications which help to manage charging.

To charge an electric car at home, you will need an EVSE supply cable, or a home charging point installed where you park your electric car. For homes with adequate electrical service, installation is usually relatively affordable.  However, it can be substantial if an electrical service upgrade is required.  As EVSE installations must comply with local, state, and national codes and regulations, therefore it is important to work with a licensed electrical contractor. 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 charge point on an exterior wall or garage, close to the parking place and connecting it to the main electricity supply with specialist hardware. An installation should take around three hours to complete, depending on the individual requirements of the driver and the installation’s location.

An other advantage of EVSE is that many enable smart charging features, which are beneficial in home environments as well. Many electric car users start charging their vehicles in after office hours, which coincides with the daily peak in electricity demand.  Adding electric vehicle charging to the current demand can cause grid instability. However, users need their car fully charged only the next morning. Shifting this demand by overnight charging can be an efficient way to deal with the residual load problem. Also due to the spreading of renewable energy customers can buy energy from several sources, and the energy price of the sources can change based on the current energy supply and demand. There are significant differences in off-peak energy prices, which can add up in considerable savings.

Financial Benefits of Home Charging

Home Charging Reimbursement

One of the financial benefits of home charging can be reimbursement of company car charging. Several companies had started their vehicle fleet electrification, and parallelly the charging infrastructure development in their facilities. By financially supporting home charging they can effectively reduce the demand of office charging. This can save time for employees, makes the company fleet more mobile and help stabilize the facility grid management. Mileage reimbursement of electric and hybrid cars is treated similarly as petrol and diesel models.

Governmental Incentives

Governments after recognizing range anxiety as one of the main barriers of e-mobility, has given major emphasis on charging infrastructure development. Seeing home charging as crucial area numerous governments are offering grants, incentives or tax benefits for EVSE installation across Europe. French government grants 30% tax credit to home charging installation. In UK The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme provides grant of up to 75% towards the cost of installing charging points at domestic properties. According to European Parliament report in the upcoming years governments continue funding charging infrastructure until more business models become profitable.

Image source: Pixabay

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