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The Complete Guide to Electric Vehicles in 2020

The Complete Guide to Electric Vehicles in 2020

The recent announcement that the UK Government is bringing forward the ban on new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2040 to 2035, saw a massive surge in online searches for electric vehicles by UK motorists.

According to research by AutoTrader, searches for electric vehicles on the day of the government’s announcement grew by 162%.

With this in mind, we’ve put together our latest blog to give you all the information you need if you’re planning to make the switch to electric.

What Equipment Will I Need to Charge My Car at Home?

You can charge an electric vehicle at home using a special charge point, which offers fast charging speeds and built-in electrical safety features. While it is useful to have a standard three-pin EVSE cable for emergencies, these should only be used short-term, as they aren’t designed to shoulder the electrical load over long periods.  

Typically, a home charge point will be a small weatherproof unit that will be mounted to a wall where the car is parked by a qualified professional. The unit will include a charging cable which will connect to the vehicle. 

How Do I Get a Charger Point Installed?

Charging points will need to be installed by a professional, who will provide an installation cost for the full price of the unit.

The engineer will come to your home and attach the charge point to an exterior wall, and then connect it safely to the mains electricity. The installation should take two to three hours – depending on the specific requirements of the installation.

You will usually be able to book your installation online, on the phone or via the car dealerships, who will typically be happy to provide support and advice on the options available to you.

How Much Does It Cost?

A home charging point can costs anything from £299 upwards. However, if you take advantage of the government OLEV grant scheme, electric car owners can get a £500 grant for purchasing and installing a home charge point.

Once the unit is installed, you only pay for the electricity that is used to charge the vehicle. Typically, the cost of electric power in the UK on Economy 7 tariffs is roughly 14p per kWh during the day and 8p per kWh overnight.

How Long Does It Take to Charge an EV?

Charging speeds for electric cars are measured in kilowatts (kW). Charge points will charge your car at 3.7 or 7kW, which works out at between 15 to 30 miles of range per hour of charge. A 3 pin plug charges at 2.3kW which will offer about 8 miles for every hour of charge.

Most private dwellings will have single-phase power, which offers a maximum charge of 7kW. While there are some faster charge points out there, these are usually the 22kW units that are used for commercial properties that operate with three-phase power supplies.

How Often Does an Electric Need to Be Charged?

You can charge your vehicle as often as you need to. Similar to a mobile phone, you can plug it in overnight, and top up throughout the day when you need to.

While it’s not always a necessity to charge the vehicle every day, many drivers will still plug the car in once they’ve parked up, in case they are required to make an unexpected journey.

By charging overnight, you can take advantage of cheaper overnight electricity rates, which works out at less than 2p per mile.

Overnight charging also means that the battery is ready to go each morning, and you may not have to top up – this is particularly useful if your workplace doesn’t yet have public charge ports, although the number is increasing every year.

As a side note, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instruction on how far your charge should go up to. Some recommend charging to only 90% so the battery management system can rotate the charging cells.

I Live Off-Grid, Can I Still Have an EV?

Off-grid living and large electric devices have previously been a complicated mix, but with the emergence of more widely available systems, larger generators, 240V inverters and reliable battery packs, this is not an issue anymore.

The first issue for someone living off-grid will be charging time. If you have an efficient system which can charge your batteries, provide electricity demand for the property and enough to charge your EV, then the only consideration is choosing the most efficient electric vehicle supply equipment.

If charging your vehicle exceeds your capacity, then you’ll need to add additional solar panels, wind turbines or a high-capacity diesel generator.

Assuming you’re able to solve these issues, you’ll need to deal with the fluctuating energy needs and the load this places on the system.

Regular electric vehicle supply equipment has a fixed maximum delivery current of either 7 or 22kW, as we’ve already mentioned.

However, even 7kW has the potential to compromise a typical off-grid system, if there is no wind or sun, or a large electric item in the property is switched on.

In this case, you’ll need to invest in an EVSE that can sense when the solar panels aren’t generating as much energy or another electrical device is turned on, which consequently ‘throttles back’ the charge rate. Fortunately, the zappi myenergi device is perfect for this application.

What Grants Are Available and How Long Will They Last?

As of February 2020, government grants of up to £3,500 are applied to the price of a new low-emissions vehicle.

The grant initially paid up to £4,500 in early 2019 and was due to end in March of this year, but the government have announced it will continue. However, we’ll need to see how this will look going into the future after the next budget.

The discount is applied by the dealer, which means the buyer won’t need to apply to see price reductions – but be aware that the discount only applies to vehicles that have been pre-approved by the government.

As, we’ve already covered you’ll also see £500 off the cost of your home charger (including the zappi device), and your vehicle will be company car tax exempt.

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