Oftentimes, when you tell people that you have an electric car, and you live in a flat, they would ask how you charge your vehicle and whether you have an electric car charger.
In this article, we’re going to discuss how you can charge your electric car at a flat. Some of this information is applicable to vertical flats.
What You Need To Consider
If you’re living in a flat, there are a number of things you need to consider including:
- Location of Your Parking
If you’re staying at say the 9th floor of your building, the middle will still be on the ground floor, and in most cases, you can acquire a line from there.
- Methods of Charging
Any regular electrician can install a simple 15 amp socket for you.
- Getting the Landlord’s Approval
Convincing your flat’s landowner to allow you to charge your EV, by the installation of the fastest EV charger AC or maybe just some ordinary 15 amp socket.
- Power Requirements
The basic power requirements for charging your EV.
- Government Plans
Government plans for allowing EV users to charge in their societies and about the electric supply offering.
How Can You Charge Your Electric Car if You Live in a Flat?
First of all, let us clarify one thing. There are no special permissions needed to set up an EV home charging station at home, offices, or special places. The UK Government has released a clarification on charging infrastructure for EVs for residential homes such as flats.
It’s no mystery that installing a charging infrastructure for flats can be a headache. But it’s not something that cannot be solved. The main issue for most would be to install an electric socket that is near their parking slot.
This should not be a problem as most flats have areas that house their electrical source or meter room. The idea is to connect the socket from the parking lot to the electrical supply.
How Far Is The Parking From The Power Supply?
What is the power supply level above or below the parking lot? How big would a problem that is? What if you have an uncovered parking lot? Will the owner of that flat object? So you park on the road?
Most EV owners manage to get a socket installed in their parking lots with no hassles. But as you will discover, there are a lot of variables involved and it is not straightforward all the time.
However, there is a fundamental groundwork that electric vehicle owners need to do if they want to set up a charging station in a flat. It is important to speak with the management or landlord and inform them that you have an EV and would like to install a charging point.
It is also a good point to make it clear to them that the socket will be connected to your meter. Also, it is important to inform the management that EV charging installation operations, maintenance and electricity bills will be paid by the EV owner. This is important to avoid misunderstanding later on.
Let’s look at some of the cases:
- Your parking lot is far from the electrical supply.
If your parking lot is far away from the electrical supply, you will need to draw a longer cable from the wall box to the parking lot. It is not ideal but it is not impossible. And it is a one-time task anyway.
- Your apartment has open or random parking
If your apartment has open or random parking, you may request allocated parking preferably near the power supply for easy wiring or installation of sockets.
- You are parking on the road
If you park on the road, and your residential area has run out of parking space, this is a tough scenario. Can you arrange for power at your workplace and manage it? Is your landlord objecting to you charging your EV even if you insist that power will be drawn from your meter?
In this situation, you can join the management meeting and explain your situation, or canvas other residents to see if anyone else is buying an EV, and get some more people on your side that could get you more leverage.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
What is an electric vehicle charging station? First of all, it is helpful to define what an electric vehicle charging station is. Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) are also commonly known as EV chargers at home or at the workplace. A simple way to explain that is to look at the smartphone in your pocket or purse as a surrogate for the electric vehicle.
Just like your phone, an electric vehicle contains a battery that allows it to function. If your phone’s battery has no stored electricity, it will not operate. In the same manner, if there’s no electricity stored within an electric vehicle’s battery, it will not run. You must constantly recharge your car’s battery.
And how do we charge our smartphones? But plugging them in, of course. In reality, though, we would require a charger to convert 120-volt alternating current (AC) from our wall outlet into a current that your device requires to charge the battery.
This conversion of power into a version that an electric vehicle’s battery can receive is what electric vehicle charging infrastructures do. It requires this kind of electric current in your property – 120 volts or 240 volts AC and converting it into the type of current that an electric vehicle battery can receive.
Just like those in mall parking areas and along the main highways, commercial EV charging stations use high voltages and can charge batteries faster than charge points at home.
But they are quite costly to install. Also, even if you have money for a commercial charging station, your property’s electrical supply or the electrical grid where your home is situated may not be allowed for that.
We’ve stated that sockets are efficient enough in the majority of cases. But if you’re an electric vehicle owner who wants to take more effective ways of installing an EVSE, and charge your car safely, then the rules do not change. You may need to supply input power from your parking lot’s meter and adhere an EVSE to the wall.
What About Power Requirements?
So understand that the power socket in single-phase can deliver the power of up to 7kW in most UK homes. Almost all electric vehicles in the UK can charge at 7kW power or below, so there is no issue in terms of input power when charging at home or the workplace.
Having said that, there will be cars in the coming years that will have larger batteries and energy density of greater than 7kWh. Some examples include Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai Kona which charge at 64kWh.
With these cars, charging less than 7kW won’t cut it, as it may take more power to fully charge the battery. So, for an electric car with a large battery pack, an EV owner would prefer to easy charge his electric car at a faster rate than 7kW.
This would mean getting a three-phase connection which would incur more installation costs and approvable procedures from your resident’s landlord. But by then, there would be more EV owners so you can expect more support.
We also expect laws to be passed soon which will help ensure that no landlord or residential management denies you the option to charge your EV.
Benefits Of Having A Residential Electric Car Charging Station
If you have been watching the news from the car industry lately, then you may have heard of the electric vehicle revolution. Automakers have either manufactured new electric cars or are planning to do so. Expect more to come along the way as car companies endeavour to make cars, SUVs and trucks electric by 2030.
You probably know several of your friends or folks who’ve made this shift by purchasing an electric vehicle. If you’re the typical EV owner, then you must be proud of your new ride. Most owners said that electric vehicles are quiet, smooth, and efficient. And the best part is you don’t have to drop by the gas station to refuel.
These attributes, are more, are the benefits of having an electric car. And what makes it even better is that you can recharge your electric vehicle from the comfort of your home while you are sleeping. So you will need a home electric vehicle charge point.
How Can I Install a Home Electric Vehicle Charger at Home?
The answer to such a question is both simple and complicated. First of all, you need to determine the type of charge point you need. This will depend on your car and home’s energy supply. We will discuss more of this in the types of electric vehicle charging stations.
What types of electric vehicle charging stations are there?
There are three basic types of electric vehicle charging stations. They range from basic and simple to more complex than you would ever contemplate installing in your home garage.
Level 1 Charging Station
Level 1 charging stations are the simplest among the three types. These types generally come upon the purchase of an electric vehicle. These charging cables get basic home electrical current of 110-120 volts AC and many just plug into the standard wall socket with a common three-prong plug.
While the simplicity and affordability of Level 1 chargers make them appealing, the downside is that they are very slow in recharging the battery. A rule for recharging electric vehicles with Level 1 chargers is 4-6 miles of battery range per hour or charge.
If your electric vehicle can reach 200 miles of range when fully charged, it may take 35-50 hours to fully recharge your vehicle. We recommend Level chargers only for PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. You can easily recharge a typical PHEV battery overnight with a Level 1 charger.
Level 2 Charging Station
Level 2 chargers are the next on the EV charging scale. Level 2 chargers operate with 240-volt circuits – the type generally used in electric clothes dryers.
A number of Level 2 chargers are portable units that use multi-pronged plugs and related outlets utilized in clothes dryers. Many properties contain circuits and outlets within their laundry spaces. But, of course, plugging your dryer won’t be convenient so you plug in your car’s charger.
It is for this reason that the majority of car owners installing a Level 2 home charge point get an electrician to set up a 240-volt circuit inside their garage. Once power can be accessed inside the garage, EV owners can hardwire the charging station into the system.
They can also plug a portable Level 2 unit into a 240-volt socket inside the garage so they can bring the charger and use it while on the road. Hiring an electrician to change your home’s electrical system would incur additional costs. But the benefit of this is that you will enjoy faster charging speeds and rates.
Level 2 charging solutions often recharge an EV battery four times faster than that with a Level 1 charge point. This makes it the ideal home charging solution for people with purely electric cars. You can recharge an EV with a 200-mile range in 10 hours or less with Level 1 charging. With Level 2 charging, you can charge a PHEV in less than four hours.
Level 3 Charging Station
Level 3 is the third type of EV charging station, and it’s meant for commercial use so EV owners can make a quick charge while on the road.
Level 3 charge points allow for DC fast charging or DCFC, providing faster charging times. There are Level 3 charging stations that can fully charge an EV battery from being discharged in an hour.
A number of the latest EVs provide 400-volt and 800-volt charging infrastructure, allowing high-powered batteries to recharge from 10% to 80% in just 20 minutes. This may be very fast, but you can bet that Level 3 charging times are even faster.
Level 3 Electric Car Charging Stations Cost
Installation of Level 3 charging stations may cost around £43726.00. But even if you can afford this budget, you may not have the electrical supply needed to make a Level 3 charging installation in your property feasible since the electric grid in many areas can’t support it.
Home EV Charging Station Cost – Installation
The average homeowner or the people of a single-family home, who have a working garage, are paying £899 to £1,399 on average for a smart home EV charger installation. You may be thinking that you will have a similar experience if you were to buy a new electric vehicle.
So it’s good to have a good idea of what to expect if you’re looking to install an electric vehicle charger at home and make sure that it fits your budget. There are also government grants like the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme that can help you get a big discount on EV charging installation.
Installing electric vehicle charging station at home can be a straightforward process for most EV owners. But in some cases, there is some running around and talking to be done. But it is not an impossible task, and getting electricity to your EV should not be so problematic.