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Electric vehicles represent the promise of a better future, with cleaner energy and less damage being done to our environment. And, thanks to many advances in technology, electric vehicles are more attainable than ever, but still not quite as attainable as traditional combustion engine vehicles.
But why is this? The cost of electric vehicles has dropped steadily over recent years, and has finally reached the point where it is within reach of more than just the very wealthy, so what’s holding us back? A big part of the answer to this practicality. Specifically, charging points.
There are far fewer places to charge an electric vehicle than there to fill up a traditional petrol or diesel car, which is an understandable problem for many would-be electrical vehicle owners. And, while the number of charging points throughout the country is growing at a respectable rate, the prospect of taking your car to a charging point and waiting a few hours for it to charge—or even worse, being caught low on charge and miles from a charging point—is a very real concern.
Fortunately, this is one area where electric vehicles have an advantage over petrol and diesel. We are, of course, talking about home charging points.
It is not only possible to have an EV charging point installed on your own property, it is practically expected. But what is involved in having a charging point installed at home? And do you need to hire someone to do it for you?
For the most part, any electrical work carried out—even on private property—needs to be done by a qualified professional. And vehicle charging points tend to put people in mind of industrial-grade equipment, which can be a little daunting. In this post, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about installing an electric vehicle charging point at home.
Quite simply, an EV (electric vehicle) charging point is a location where an electric vehicle can be recharged. These charging points are more or less standardised, meaning that, with the exception of certain regional differences, any electric vehicle should be able to use any charging point.
You may find charging points at regular fuel stations, places of employment, and even dotted around populated areas by the local council. Having a charging point installed at your place of residence is generally seen as a must for any electric vehicle owner, as even fast charging takes a lot longer than typical petrol or diesel refill, so being able to do it from the comfort of your own home makes owning an electric vehicle that much more convenient.
Firstly, let’s clarify that you are absolutely allowed to have an EV charging point installed on your property. There are rules and regulations regarding how it is installed and what standards need to be met, but there are no laws preventing a typical property owner from having a charging point installed.
Now, the question of whether you personally can install an EV charging point is a different matter, and one whose answer has a couple of levels. As we’ll explain, there are ways in which you can install your own charging point, but we definitely recommend having a qualified electrician do it. My Trusted Expert has vetted and qualified electricians to install EV charging points. Now, about those levels. Firstly, there is more than one type of electric vehicle charging point that you can install in your home.
Some charging points or cables are designed to be connected to a regular power outlet in your home, and for these, no electrical expertise or qualifications are necessary. This type of charger is usually included with any new electric vehicle.
For the most part, this option comes in the form of a single cable that connects to the outlet at one and your car at the other, but there are options that have a more conventional-looking charging point. In these cases, you will likely want to mount the charging unit to your wall, which will require a little know-how, but there is no law demanding you must be a qualified tradesman to drill some holes in your wall. Which, it should be said, does not mean you can’t do any damage by drilling holes in your wall, and we wouldn’t recommend just going at it without knowing what’s behind the wall.
It should also be noted that your electrical systems will need to be up to code. If the wires in your home are not up to the task, plugging an EV charging point into a regular outlet could trip breakers, melt wires, or potentially even start electrical fires.
As with many things in life, the alternative is both more convenient to use but harder to get. Fast charging points will charge your electric vehicle up significantly faster than the above method, but getting one on your property is considerably more involved than just plugging it into a standard electrical outlet.
The first problem is that fast charging points require some involved work with your property’s electrical systems, and that carries certain regulatory and legal ramifications.
Now, if you are a qualified electrician, you will know full well what you have to do and how to get it all correctly inspected, but for the rest of us, there will almost certainly be some work that requires certification. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do it yourself, but you will be legally required to have the work inspected.
Given the potential risks, we would not advise anyone to attempted a DIY fast charging point install unless they are fully qualified and know what they are doing.
As mentioned above, you may need to seek permission in some cases. The most likely being because you are renting a property or your property is listed. If your charger is large (more than 0.2 cubic metres in the UK), near a motorway, or high off of the ground (more than 1.6 metres in the UK), you will need planning permission. Remember to check the specific regulations in your region, however.
If there are no restrictions like those above that apply to your installation, you are allowed to have the charging point installed without seeking any permission, though you will still need to observe any laws regarding the installation itself, such as having the electrical work inspected and certified where applicable.
Given the nature of any electrical installation—particularly one intended to carry relatively high levels of electricity—it is not, in our opinion, worth taking risks. For fast charging points, this is mostly taken care of by law in that it would be almost impossible to have one installed without requiring at least some expert oversight at the inspection stage.
That being said, even for the slower chargers that plug directly into your electrical outlets, it is well worth having a vetted and qualified electrician to inspect the setup. Most homeowners don’t know what state the hidden electrics of their home are in, and you don’t want to find out by plugging your new electric vehicle in and melting your wires!
Electricity is a dangerous—often lethal—thing; it is better to be safe than sorry.
The best location for a charging point is one where access is easy. Most electric vehicle users will find themselves charging their vehicle on an almost daily basis, so you don’t want to be in a situation where you struggle to get your car into position.
After that, things to consider are security and shelter. All of this points to the ideal location being inside a garage on your property, as it is secure, sheltered, and conveniently close to home. A driveway will also work, of course.
As is often the case in life, the question of installing your own EV charging point is less a matter of can and more a matter of should. There are situations where you can, but you almost certainly shouldn’t.
Given that you will need a vetted and qualified electrician to inspect any work carried out in many cases, it makes more sense to just have a professional take care of the whole thing, and rest easy with the peace of mind that your charging point has been professionally and safely installed.