Saturday, 14 April 2018

Electric Vehicle Charger Installation

Okay green energy fans and cheapskates who love getting something cheap, here is my quick guide to getting a home electric vehicle (EV) charging point installed.

First of all you are entitled to a grant of up to £500 against the installation from the Office for Low Energy Vehicles (OLEV), which your installer will process for you. After some research we went for the EO 32-amp charger installed by Baird Electrical and this cost us £250 after the grant was applied. The installation was very straightforward as the charging point is beside the meter box on the outside of our house which itself is on the driveway. The EO charger is the simplest to operate and all that was required in the meter box was a 40-amp RCBO in a separate consumer unit. 

After getting the charging point installed we decided to switch to a Day/Night meter to get half-price electricity at night to charge the car. Our supplier is Airtricity and the night rate in the summer runs from 12:00am until 9:00am which is plenty of time to charge the car even from almost flat (as happened last night). As the only other thing we have that uses a lot of power is the tumble dryer and every lamp in the house is now an LED, we won't be hit too hard by the slightly higher day rate.

The only problem we encountered was Ali running up a £25 cellphone call to Airtricity's office in Dublin because they were supposed to 'phone us and not the other way around. That one is being chalked down to experience as it turned out if you prefix the Irish 'phone number on the '3' network the cost drops to 3p a minute or something, but if you don't it's 50p a minute.

Here's the day and night meter installed which is less than half the size of the old mechanical meter. The only odd thing is that the time is 10 minutes slow, but I'll look into that one.

One last bit of cleverness. When we switched to Airtricity almost 10 years ago we got a free wireless clamp meter which had long gone out of use. I cleaned it up, put a new battery in it and clamped it over the supply to the charging point so that the display in the house will show total electricity used by the car rather than the whole house.

And here is the wireless display inside the house showing power being used during charging. You can see that it is just about 3 kW which is much lower than the 32-amp that the charger is rated for. I think that this may be to do with the charging cable we have after running into a bloke with a Renault Zoe who showed me his wire (fnarr, fnarr) which was a bit thicker than mine (fnarr... stop it!). It turns out the cables are rated 16-amp and 32-amp so that will need to be the next purchase when funds allow, but all good for now.

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