4 September 2020

Can and are you allowed to install an EV charger yourself?

Whenever you acquire a solar PV system or an electric vehicle, the seller may provide you with an option to install a charging point in your residence as well. For electric vehicle owners, it’s possible to charge the vehicle at your house through the use of a home charging point.

Electric car charger home installation

If you have bought or are thinking about buying a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) or BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), then you may want to have a charging point at home. Charging points placed in public areas may not always work well for you, depending on their location.

While charging both types of electric vehicles is a straightforward process, EV charger installation, on the other hand, isn’t so simple. The charging process only requires you to connect the vehicle to an electricity source using a cable.

Many EV manufacturers are recommending that buyers consider having an EVCP (EV charging point) installed in their properties after buying the vehicle.

EV charger at home

How to make an electric car charger work at home

Theoretically speaking, it’s possible to charge the vehicle at home via a normal domestic 13-amp socket. Any socket chosen for this lead ought to have a three-pin charging lead. On the other hand, there’s the issue of aging outlets in the household.

Choosing to charge your electric vehicle using this method frequently may pose some serious safety issues for everyone in that residence. Another factor to keep in mind is that using this method to charge the EV will take around twelve hours.

In some cases, it may even take the whole night for you to charge a 30kW battery pack fully. It also means it may take more than a day to charge EVs having bigger battery packs.

Is it possible to have an EV charging point installed at home?

Many people have asked about how to install car charging point and whether it’s legal for them to do so. What you need to understand is that this is not the kind of DIY project you can take on alone and have it completed by the end of the weekend.

The first thing to note is the need to use a qualified electrician. For UK residents, it’s best to work with olev installers. Before installation, the installers will need to consider a few factors to help them determine whether it’s possible to install an EVCP in that property. They include:

  • Whether you need to seek permission before installing the charging point
  • If it’s safe to have EV included in the normal electricity demands of that property
  • Whether there’s a suitable place in the property to locate the charging point as well as the vehicle when it’s charging

Location

All EV charging units are water and weather-proof. As such, an installer can place them outside the residence or inside, depending on what is deemed convenient. But then again, the unit must be close to where the EV is set.

The reason being that the cables used to charge the EV are not long, with most being around five to ten meters long. Furthermore, EV owners aren’t allowed to use extension leads. It’s also not safe to have cables running from the home, across the pavement, and on to the street where the EV is parked.

An ideal situation is where the EV owner already has some designated off-street parking space, e.g., carport driveway or garage with easy access to the EV. It’s among the requirements EV owners need to satisfy for them to be eligible for a grant for a home charger.

The Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) offers the grant. Your chosen installer is expected to perform an initial survey from a remote location to determine what’s ideal for your situation.

Safety

Charging the EV will typically cause your electricity demands to rise significantly. It’s, therefore, important to check whether the present electric cabling, primary household supply, and sockets can sufficiently carry the additional current the car will require when charging.

Checking the cabling will also involve assessing the number of safety cut-outs that are present. Fire is likely to occur if the electrical installation in a property becomes overloaded. An electrician qualified in EVSE (EV supply equipment) will need to ascertain whether the existing electrical supply can adequately handle the existing load while also charging an EV.

Moreover, the installer will also need to inform the District Network Operator about the installation of an EV charging point in the area. If the property owner wants to have a second charge point installed, the installer will need to communicate the same.

The combined current of these two charge points, e.g., 2x 16A charge points, should also be communicated to the DNO.

This great video from myenergi shows in detail all aspects of an installation which must be considered before the EV charger can be installed.

Permissions

Typically, EV owners will not need to seek planning permission for them to have an EV charge point installed in their properties. They are considered ‘permitted developments.’

However, you have to seek permission when an installation is:

  • Over 0.2 cubic meters in volume (it applies for all wall mounted units)
  • Close to a highway
  • More than 1.6 meters in height (applicable for ground-mounted units)
  • In a listed building

The EV owner is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring they have acquired all the relevant permissions. Thus, you may need to check that you have done this by contacting the local authority planning officer.
If you live in a rented apartment or flat, you may need to seek additional permission from the landlord before the charge point gets installed.

Conclusion

Smart charging, safe charging, and faster charging are but some of the benefits that come with having a charge point installed in your home. However, considering the risks associated with handling electricity, it’s highly recommended you don’t do attempt to do this alone. Hiring OLEV approved installers and qualified electricians is a much safer bet. Apart from advising you on the permissions you need to seek, they will also assess whether it’s safe to have an EVCP in that home, and if so, where to place it to guarantee maximum benefits.