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What To Consider - Buying EV Home Chargers

The main considerations when selecting a charger are ……

1: Cost, 2: Power Rating, 3: Warranty and Service, 4: Water Protection rating, 5: Connection Type and 6: Control features

 

Cost:                                         

Obviously this will depend on your budget and there is a government funded grant up to the value of €600 towards the purchase and installation of a home charger unit.

Visit https://www.seai.ie/grants/electric-vehicle-grants/electric-vehicle-home-charger-grant/ for more details and to apply for the grant. Some electricity suppliers may offer deals on home chargers when you sign up to them for a fixed term. Remember to check if the cost quoted includes the installation fee.

 

Power Rating:     

The first, and most important, item to decide on is the power rating of the charger which will be generally be rated at 3.7kW or 7.4kW.

  • Some suppliers label them 16Amp (3.7kW) or 32Amp (7.4kW) chargers.  If you’re interested, the reason why is in the additional notes below.

Some wall chargers are rated even more than 7.4kW but unless your home has 3 phase electricity (very rare and not a standard fitment) 7.4kW is the maximum you can use. If you have a Kia e-Soul or e-Niro they use up to 7.2kW, so fit the 7.4kW charger. For Kia PHEV vehicles a 3.7kW charger will suffice, but remember as you only get one SEAI charger grant, per house, it might be worth installing the larger 7.4kW charger to future proof your investment.

 

 

Warranty & Service:

Car chargers are not cheap and even though the prices will drop in the coming years you will want to protect that investment. Similar to other electrical items (dishwashers etc.) a low cost charging unit may only have a 1 year warranty while some of the more upmarket specs have 3 years warranty. Additionally some suppliers will include all service/call out fees in the cost while others will not. This is a balance game between peace of mind and the cost.  A low cost unit may well outlive its 1 year warranty, but what if it doesn’t.

 

Water protection:

All electrical items have a sealing protection rating called an IP rating.  The higher the rating the better the component is sealed from water and dust ingress. A lot of chargers have an IP rating of 55 (Limited protection against dust ingress and protected against low pressure water jets) Depending on where you have the charger located, you might want to consider a higher rating.

Full details of the IP coding can be found here https://www.enclosurecompany.com/ip-ratings-explained.php

 

Connection type:

The AC charging sockets on your vehicle will be either Type 1 (5 pins) or Type 2 (7 pins) and your charging cable will need to match this. All of the PHEV /BEV vehicles sold by Kia Motors Ireland are Type 2 connections and the cables are supplied with the vehicle. Most home chargers are sold with Type 2 sockets but you can also get Type 1 or 2 cables permanently attached to them.

A cable that is permanently attached to the charger is called a Tethered connection. A charger with a socket, where you use your own cable, is called non-Tethered. Tethered units are very useful as you do not have to take a cable from your trunk every time you want to charge. However, if you have two EVs with different connectors a socket may be best as you can get adapters for Type 1 to Type 2 cables.  This is a particularly important consideration for a home business (e.g. a B&B).  

 

Control Features:

A lower cost charger may just do the job of charging the vehicle and have a simple on/off switch. However there are an array of features you can choose from, but of course the price goes up as you add the features. Here are some of them and their benefits.

  • Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Access

This will give you access to the charger, via an app/website to check your charging history/costs, lock/unlock the charger, increase/decrease the charging rate  and schedule charging sessions.

They can usually be updated remotely and accessed by the supplier to check for faults.

  • Load Balancing and power sharing 

This feature optimises the connection between your house and vehicle to give faster charging when more power is available and also it can balance the power between vehicles charging from the same location.  Very useful for homes, or home based businesses (e.g. a B&B) with 2 or more chargers

  • Fob or Face Recognition

Allows access to the charger only after recognising a valid card/fob or face

  • Touch screen activation

Touch screen controls to stop/start and schedule charging sessions.

 

 

Additional Note:

Why do charger manufactures advertise them in both kW and Amps?

  • Electrical power is designated in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW).  1000w = 1kW
  • Watts are calculated by multiplying Voltage X Amps.
  • Your home electricity supply is a single phase 230 Volt supply.
  • So, 230 volts X 16Amps = 3.7kW  & 230 volts X 32Amps = 7.4 kW

 

Darrell Doyle

Kia Ireland

© Gowan Motors 2020