BMW i3 charging from 7kW home charger

ADAM TUDOR-LANE answers how you can home-charge an electric vehicle 

One of the biggest questions of EV ownership is ‘How do I charge it?’ Yes, there are thousands of chargers out in the wild, but day to day, you’ll want to plug in at home. This brings up the next question, ‘How do I get a charger installed?’.

It’s far easier and less costly than you may expect. 

Currently, home charging will only work if you have a driveway; you need your car close to your property. So terrace house dwellers are currently out of luck, lamp post chargers are available, but it’s something the council needs to address… which will likely take years.

For those with off-street parking, there are a plethora of home chargers to choose from. If you buy a brand new EV, the manufacturer will likely provide their own charger and installation in with the cost of the car.

If you’re buying a second-hand EV, then you’ll need to look for a third-party charger. Some look hideous like the Podpoint circular dustbin lid, others are similar to nappy disposal bins – Shell, or in the case of BP Chargemaster, like you have a huge Tic-Tac slapped to the side of your home.

But look a little further, and there are some svelte options to be had. Wallbox, EVBox and Andersen are some that spring to mind. There’s only one brand that gives you a full choice of colour though, Rolec. 

Their Wallpod model can be mixed and matched in numerous colours, making it as subtle or garish as you like. The range of hues mean you can pretty much match it to existing brickwork if you so wish.

The Rolec Wallpod can also be specced tethered or untethered – tethered gives you a cable that sits on the wall all the time, untethered is just a socket, so you plug in with your car’s own charging cable. Wanting the whole thing to be as unobtrusive as possible, I decided on a black/grey untethered Wallpod.

Rather generously, the Government will give you a rebate to have an EV charger installed; you just have to prove you’re an EV owner. The OLEV EVHS grant contributes up to £350 of the cost, which brings a Rolec Wallpod to £445 fully installed.

Depending on the brand, you can either buy direct or via a third-party installer. You’ll need to provide some info on your house wiring, location of your fuse box, where you want the charger installed, earth points on your water and gas supply etc. Just send over a few pictures, and they’ll let you know if it’s all ok, then you can book an installation date.

My install was quite a long cable run, as the power in the garage wasn’t suitable – the EV charger has to be run from the main incoming point. The extra cable came to £75; you usually get a 15m cable run in with the installation cost, which is more than enough for most people.

The whole process took about two hours from start to finish, with the work being completed by Powered Solutions in Bedford. Being a smart charger, the Rolec Wallpod automatically starts charging when more renewable energy is flowing into the National Grid – cutting down on your CO2 intake even more. You can also charge on demand if you need a quick juice up; the whole thing is controlled via an app on your phone – what isn’t these days.

Charging at 7kW, it takes just under three hours to charge my BMW i3 from 20% to full – but more on the car next month.

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