Unravelling The Pros and Cons: Is The 22k Charger Worth The Investment?

There are understandably a lot of customers who want to have the fastest possible charger they can get at home. That normally means a 22KW three-phase charger. In this article, we will explain what it is, and whether it is worth the investment.

The majority of residential customers in the UK cannot possess three-phase home charging. Even if it is possible, is a 22kw home charger worth the investment? This guide will explain what you need to know about 22kW charging, whether you home is capable of having one, and whether you need it.

Three-phase 22kw Charging – What It is and How It Works

Let’s talk about what 22kw three-phase charging is, whether your home at a range of speeds, depending on the power source and output of the charger. Starting from the lowest output, these typically include:

  • A 3-pin socket at 2.3 kW or very slow. 
  • A dedicated home charge point at 3.6 kW which is faster but still quite slow
  • The standard 7.4 kW dedicated home charger which is what most electric car drivers have at home.
  • A 22 kW home chargepoint which is the fastest you can get for a home

But to achieve the fastest charging, the chargepoint will need to be three-phased compatible itself and you can use what’s called a “three-phase electricity supply”. In addition, the car itself will need to be able to accept 22kW.

Let us look at those factors in a little more detail. 

Firstly, your property will need a three-phase electricity supply. Secondly, your vehicle will need to be capable of receiving up to 22 kW AC.

Note: AC charging at home is different to use at those big public racket chargers you see which uses Direct Current or DC. In order to charge our vehicle at 11 kW or higher at your property, you will need to have a three-phase electricity supply.

Unfortunately, most residential properties in the UK operate on a single-phase supply and therefore cannot use a three-phase 22kW charger. It is possible to apply for an upgrade to three-phase supply through your DNO or Distribution Network Operator, but this can be very expensive. We’ve got cost running from £3,000 – £15,000. 

On top of that, your car might not be even able to accept a 22kW charge. This is because your car choice will determine how fast they can charge a home. A more powerful charger does not necessarily mean your car will charge faster. Actually, very few cars can accept 22kW AC charger.

Let’s take an example. The TESLA Model 3 has an on-board charger which limits the charging to 11 kW AC at home, through its Type 2 connection. This means that even if you have a three-phase charger at home, and even if you have a 22kW charger in store, a Tesla Model 3 in this instance would still only charge for 11 kW.

Some vehicles even have a lower limit. For example, the NISSAN Leaf on-board charger is limited to 6.6 kW charging at AC, and even that is an optional upgrade on the car. This means that even with a 7.4 kW charger, the upgraded NISSAN Leaf would charge at a maximum of 6.6 kW.

Each car is different so check with the manufacturer to dealer to find out how fast it can charge at home. In most situations, though, drivers find that a 7.4 kW charger is more than enough to satisfy their needs.

So with all that in mind, is a 22 kW three-phase charger necessary or even worth it? 

Well, in our opinion, no. Most properties don’t have a three-phase supply at home and even if you wanted it, it’s quite expensive to have put in. And then even if you have both of those things, most electric cars are actually limited and they can’t do the full 22 kW and 11 kW charging as we explained. In fact, some cars are limited to less than 7.4.

But what if you have a three-phase supply at home and you do have a car that is capable of 22 kW charging such as the Reno Zoe? Even then, the benefits of having a 22 kW charging at home are quite slim. 

The reason is the chargers themselves are often a lot more expensive and then the insulation is more expensive. But also because you won’t really notice the time difference. The reason we say this is because most electric car drivers charge the car overnight. 

22kw home charger single phase
EV charging socket

So let’s say for argument’s sake of argument, you half the time that the car charges in for 4 hours to 2 hours, if you’re going to sleep overnight you won’t notice that time saving. When you get up in the morning, the car will be fully charged, and it won’t really matter whether it charges in a 7,4 kW charger, or 22 kW.

So you can see why there isn’t really much point in going from the more expensive version of a home chargepoint. 7.4 kW is more than adequate for most drivers.

When Is It Worth Having A 22kW Charger?

Well obviously in the workplace that might be different to the home. If you’re got a fleet of vehicles and they have a high turnover in terms of coming into the depo needing a fast charge, then obviously 22 kW charging is beneficial.

Most commercial properties will have three-phased supply. But obviously we’re talking about 22 kW charging at home and there are many examples where it really is worth it. 

The one scenario where you would benefit is in a multi-EV household. If you have more than two EVs for example, and you both do a lot of miles every single day, therefore you both need the EV to be fully charged every morning, then that is where a three-phased charger can come in handy.

As we’ve mentioned, you need a vehicle that’s capable 22 kW charging, but it is, for argument’s sake, then yes – you may get a 22 kS charging from your chargepoint – if you can afford it and if you have a three-phase supply ready. 

The reason is, it makes sharing that charger a bit easier and it gives you a bit more flexibility. As an example, one of you might get home and you plug the car in straight away, and charge it during the evening, before you go to bed. You need that fast-charging to top up the car as quickly as possible. Then you swap over. You swap the cars over and that one charges overnight.

While this is one of the examples where it can be useful, even then a lot of people would think it’s just fine to have a 7,4 kW charger.

You can charge your vehicle at home at a range of speeds depending on the power source, the output of the charger, and the charging capacity of the vehicle. Starting from the lowest charging output, the most common charge speeds include:

  • Three-pin plug – 2.3kW – Very slow
  • Home charge point – 3.6kW – Slow
  • Home charge point – 7.4kW – Fast (our recommendation)
  • Home charge point – up to 22kW – Fast

A 22kW charger is the fastest charger you can get for the home, but to achieve this the charge point will need to be “three-phase compatible” and use what’s called a three-phase electricity supply. In addition, the car itself will need to be able to accept 22kW (kilowatts or kW). 

7kw home charger
man returning the charging connector

Is Three-phase 22kW Charging Feasible? 22kw Home Charger Cost

Well, it depends on a couple of things:

  • Does your home have three-phase electrical supply?
  • Will you car receive 22kW (AC)?

The majority of electric cars charge at 7kW at home (30 miles range/hour). The reason is that the majority of UK homes contain single-phase electrical supply that provides at least 7kW to power your vehicle.

To charge an electric car at significantly higher rates (like 11kW – 22kW) your home must have three-phase electric supply. Because the majority of UK residential properties work with a single-phase supply and can’t take a three-phase 22kW unit. The majority of drivers can’t reach charging speeds beyond 7kW at home.

It’s possible to opt for an upgrade with a three-phase supply using a DNO, although this may cost you around £3,000 – £15,000. 

It’s why the majority of electric vehicle drivers have 7kW chargers installed at home since these are the highest they can operate with a single-phase supply.

Can Your Vehicle Operate with 22kW charging?

The great majority of electric vehicles are unable to use three-phase 22kW charging at home. The electric vehicle ultimately dictates the charging speed it accepts. Just because you have powerful home car doesn’t necessarily mean it will charge faster.

Take a single-lane tunnel, for instance. It doesn’t matter how many cars try to go inside or make the queue, it’s remains a single-lane tunnel that can take a certain number of cars at a time.

For instance, the Tesla Model 3 is capable of charging at 11kW AC. If you’re lucky to have a three-phase electric home supply and install a 22kW charger, then the Tesla Model 3 can charge at the highest capacity – although it still remains 11kW in spite of installing a 22kW home charger single phase.

If your property has a single-phase supply, then the Tesla Model 3 can only charge at 7kW irrespective of the charging point’s speed.

As we’ve mentioned before, you can have a 22kW home charger and a powerful supply but the car ultimately dictates the charging speed.

Other vehicles even have a lower power limit. For instance, the first-generation Nissan Leaf can only charge at 6.6kW (AC) and that’s an optional upgrade to the 3.6kW standard. Thus, the typical 7kW home charger can only charge to Nissan Leaf at 6.6kW max.

Every car is unique, so check with the dealer or manufacturer to determine the charging speed at home. In most instances, drivers find that the standard 7kW home charger is sufficient enough for their charging needs.

22kw home charger uk
Woman setting up her ev to be charged

Do the Pros Of a 22 kW Car Charger Outweigh The Cons?

The majority of home do not contain a three-phase power supply, and it is costly to install. Also, the majority of electric vehicles cannot fully benefit from a 22kW charge on their properties.

Even if you already have a three-phase charger, and your vehicle can charge at higher outputs, like between 11 kW to 22kW, you still can’t take full advantage of the charger. That is because the majority of charging occurs overnight.

Think about charging your phone with a powerful charger overnight as you sleep. It may fully charge in just an hour instead to three. But in both instances, your phone will still be fully charge by the time you wake up. You will not notice the time savings.

For the majority of drivers who are just charing their cars every other day, for instance, a 7kW charger is sufficient.

When Can It Be Beneficial Then?

If you’ve installed a three-phase power supply at home, then a three-phase charger becomes a good choice. They’ll cost you more because the unit and its installation are costly.

Three-phase 22kW charging is useful if you must charge multiple electric vehicles. For example, if there are a number of electric vehicles at home, it may provide you with some charging options.

A 22kW home charger UK under such circumstances will charge your EVs much faster, and could even serve as a “share” charger.

How Can I Determine Whether I Have Three-phase or Single-phase Electrical Supply?

Take a look at the fuse box or meter inside your house, you should find the electrical supply type of your home. For single-phase electrical supply, there’s a single fuse (single wire) where power can enter your meter/house. Meanwhile, three-phase can be verified as containing three 100amp (three wires) fuses that allow supply to enter the meter or building. 

Which Cars Accept 22kW Charging?

For drivers of BMW i3, Renault Zoe, Tesla, or BYD, these cars can charge at higher rates with the AC charger. The new i3 charges at 11kW, while Tesla, BYD, and Zoe charges at 22kW, which is a much faster charging.

Conclusion

If you have a three-phase electricity supply inside your house, and are willing to spend more money on a 22kW electric vehicle charger, and have a car than can charge at 22kW capacity, then a 22kW charger is a worthwhile investment. Otherwise, just stick with a 7.4kW home charger since 22kW is expensive and you won’t be able to reap all of the benefits.

It still depends on your individual or household needs. If there are multiple electric vehicles in your house, a 22kW electric vehicle charger can be quite useful for sharing. 

I hope this article has been helpful in explaining what 22kW charger is, whether you can have it and if it’s worth it. If you’ve got any questions, leave them down on the comments below. We will do our best to answer them.

Dive deeper into the topic: Discover more insights and information by exploring our comprehensive guide on Characteristics of the Best 7kW Home Charger

Author

  • Jasmine Cross

    Jasmine Cross is a passionate advocate for sustainable transportation solutions and an avid enthusiast of electric vehicles (EVs). With a background in environmental science and a keen interest in renewable energy technologies, Jasmine brings a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the world of EV charging.

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