Electric vehicle (EV) ownership is becoming more and more common each year. One of the most important aspects of owning an EV is the need to keep it charged. While many EV owners rely on public charging stations, there are also advantages to an EV changepoint installed at your workplace. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the things you should consider when selecting an EV charger for your home or business.
Why choosing the right charger is important
Owning an electric vehicle means having access to an adequate charging infrastructure, and therefore, choosing the right electric vehicle charger is essential. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of choosing the right electric vehicle charger, the different types of chargers, and what to consider when selecting one.
Mistakes to avoid
Understanding your needs or the needs of your business is essential when picking out an EV charger. With so many different variables that go into the choice it can be a confusing process having to factor in the power output, who’s using it, how they’re using it and how ‘Smart’ you want your EV charger to be. Picking the wrong charger could end up costing you more in the long run than getting it right the first time.
Things to consider
Firstly, Understanding the needs for your charger is the crucial first step to creating an infrastructure that works for your business. The first thing you should do, is define exactly what you need your chargers to do. What outcomes do you desire? Do you want them to make money, will they be used to keep your business operations moving, are they there to encourage customers to your place of business. You should then consider how long vehicles will be stationed at your chargers and if you can supply them with sufficient charge in the time they’re using it. Only after you define the charging needs you can move onto the functionality of the chargers.
Secondly, it’s essential to consider the types of chargers that exist and whether your site has the capability to provide faster charging. This is where a site investigation and feasibility study may be useful. Faster chargers often require substantial electrical infrastructure upgrades to function at their desired output.
Wattage and charging speeds
The speed at which your electric vehicle will charge is one of the most significant factors to consider when buying a charger. The charging speed varies greatly depending on the type of charger that you select. Charging times can range anywhere from 20 minutes, several hours or all-day. The charging speed of your EV is also impacted by factors such as outdoor temperature, the vehicles battery size, and the KW output of your chosen charger. As such, it is essential to determine the best charger that fits your needs. Some of the most common charger outputs are as follows:
7kW (AC) which charges your vehicle in around 5 to 10 hours, this is usually the most popular option for UK homes as it only requires single-phase power, which most homes already have. A 7kW charger can be an effective and cost-efficient supply for businesses where dwell time is longer i.e. hotels.
22kW(AC) which charges your vehicle in around 3 to 6 hours, this is ideal for commercial properties such as businesses or hospitality industries that have a three-phase supply.
50kW (DC) which charges your vehicle from 20 minutes to 4 hours, this is perfect for busier workplaces, and public charging that require more efficient results.
100kW + which charges vehicles at a rapid 20-25 minutes, perfect for those larger vehicles which typically take longer to charge.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are the non-polluting transportation of the future. But, to ensure your EV is always ready to go when you need it, you must choose a reliable charger so that your vehicle can remain powered up at all times. Selecting an appropriate EV charger for your budget can be daunting with various types for different needs and features available on the market today. Dependant on your charging needs you can expect to pay around £2000 to over £100,000 for the right charging infrastructure, while this initial cost can be jarring, we have multiple payment options available to make EV charging more accessible. By investing the right amount into your charging project now can ensure your success in the future reducing your need to upgrade further down the line. So it’s important you choose the right one first time
Tethered or Untethered
Tethered chargers come with a cable attached to the unit and are designed to be permanently fixed to a wall. This type of charger is straightforward to use; simply plug your EV into the cable to charge your vehicle. The main advantages of tethered chargers is that they are easy to use, and EV owners don’t need to worry about losing or misplacing the cable. However, if you have multiple EVs with different charging port types or plan to travel frequently, a tethered charger may not be the best option.
Untethered chargers are more flexible and generally come without a cable, giving users the freedom to choose the length and type of cable to use. You can easily swap cables if one is damaged, or if multiple vehicles have different charging port types. This type of charger also allows EV owners to take the cable with them when travelling, making it an ideal option for the general publics use.
One major reason why drivers opt for untethered chargers is because they offer more flexibility. Unlike tethered chargers, they can accommodate different cable lengths and types, providing users with more freedom to customise their charging experience. Untethered chargers also reduce your overall maintenance cost being a lot cheaper to replace a cable than a whole charger if the cable was damaged. However, untethered chargers can also be more expensive initially, and users may need to invest in a good quality cable to ensure durability and safety.
While cheaper and simpler chargers are available, modern EV chargers have evolved to have smart features that improve the experience for users and owners. With a lot of new features, the right Backoffice can bring out for you, including dynamic tariff setting, public/ private access switching, quick reimbursement all while seeing how utilized your chargers are in real time.
If you are looking for a staff only solution to charging, a great option is RFID cards (Radio Frequency Identity Cards), which allow users to initiate charging with a tap of their card similar to contactless payments. In a workplace environment, RFID cards can be extremely useful as you can determine how much employees are charged, which ones and stops access or limits public access to a paid tariff, giving you peace of mind that the chargers are being properly utilized.
There are various features to consider when choosing an EV charger, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone integration, and scheduling functionality. These functionalities are a great way to easily manage your charging needs efficiently, but ‘Smart’ chargers require a good Wi-Fi signal. Some charge points now offer a mobile data connection as a backup, to ensure you always maintain a steady data connection. So, if your Wi-Fi receptions isn’t the greatest, look for EV charging points that utilise both Wi-Fi and mobile data.
Nowadays, it’s not just the functionality that’s important, it’s the aesthetics. If your charging point will be located at the front of your property you may be inclined to go for something sleek and small but still mighty. Whereas, if your charger will be out of sight, you may not care about its visual appeal and go for something larger and more efficient. There are a large range of EV charging point designs out there, so be sure to factor the location into your decision-making process.
Choosing the right electric vehicle charger is key to unlocking the full benefits of owning an electric vehicle. With so many different types of chargers and charging speeds available, it’s essential to know what kind of charges suits your vehicle, your driving habits, and your environment. You should always take your time to explore different options and features when selecting an electric vehicle charger to ensure the best result for you and our planet. Because when you select the right charger, you can be sure that you are doing your part in promoting a sustainable future.