Electric Car Charging Explained
It might be time for change and we want to assist you on your journey to purchasing your first electric vehicle. We understand buying an EV can be a daunting experience when you have to adapt to charging your vehicle after using the regular fueling station method for so many years. If truth were told it’s probably equally as simple but it just requires a little thought and preparation. Once you get into the swing of things, it will become second nature in the same way you plug your phone or laptop in to charge. Here we look at some of the common questions our DoneDeal team encounter and try answer for you.
Can I plug an EV into a regular household outlet?
Yes you can. Most electric vehicles come with a regular three-pin plug ‘trickle charger’ for the house, garage or to get you out of a sticky situation when on the road. Unfortunately using a standard plug is the slowest charging method available and unless you already have access to an outdoor plug, it might be a bit awkward. It’s important to understand that this method should only be used temporarily or if you are stuck. Standard sockets are not meant for high levels of power for a long time and extension reels or cables should not be used. Typically they are not designed to carry full rated current for lengthy periods and can overheat. Running cables out the front window of a house isn’t ideal.
Where do I source a home wall-box charger?
There are a number of providers in Ireland but the first thing to do is apply for the SEAI grant. This scheme provides a grant up to the value of €600 towards the purchase and installation of a home charger unit by a fully qualified electrician who is registered accordingly with Safe Electric Ireland. The grant will only cover off-street installation on private or rented property with express permission from the property owner. Typically a 7kW home charges ranges from €700 to €1100 plus fitting which your grant will go towards the overall cost. A simple web search will locate your closest supplier.
Can I install an EV charger at home myself?
No I’m afraid not. Charger installation needs to be performed by a registered installer, who can assess your property and help you to decide on the best location. The charger itself can be mounted on a wall in your driveway or on a wall on your house. Key things to consider are the distance to your car and the location of your electricity meter and fuse box. The longer the distance between the fuse box and the charger can result in a more expensive installation.
Should I charge my EV to 100% every night or is 80% sufficient?
This depends on your daily commute really and some manufacturers tend to differ in advice. Here in DoneDeal the general consensus is that if you need to use the full range of your EV or close to it, then you are best taking 100% of the charge available. If you nip out on the school run and don’t have far to go for work, then between 80 or 90% would suffice daily! The other myth we need to address is draining your EV battery down as low as possible before charging. This isn’t needed or advised and will not gain you range in the long run. Modern EV batteries are sophisticated and ready to take a charge whenever possible.
How many EV charge points are in Ireland and where are they?
The Irish charger network is now pretty comprehensive and growing each month. At the moment the ESB has over 1,350 charging stations on the island of Ireland. There are currently three types of chargers on the ESB public charging network, AC (standard 22kW) and DC (Fast/Rapid 50kW) and high power (150kW). There are an additional 500 charge points run by private operators such as Easy Go or Ionity. Some of these have fast charge capability and are usually situated on the motorway network. At these stops you can take up to 80% charge in as little as 30 minutes if your vehicle has the CCS2 fast charge capability. Finding chargers is easy through the onboard car navigation, which locates chargers nearest to you, or if your EV is older, you might find using the range of apps available for your phone easier and more up to date.
Are public EV charging stations free in Ireland?
No they are not free. When the infrastructure was in its infancy there was no charge applied but now most, if not all in the south of Ireland do have a charge. Some Northern Irish based chargers are still free to use. It is worth noting the ESB is currently undertaking a €20 million programme to expand and enhance the charging network across Ireland which is part funded by the Irish Government’s Climate Action Fund, to help meet the expected growth of electric vehicles in the coming years. Expect the infrastructure to continue improving for the foreseeable.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
This all depends on where you charge your vehicle really. ESB introduced pay as you go and membership price plans to use public EV charging stations. Fees are €4.79 per month and between 27c and 33c per kWh depending on the charger you use. GoCharge allows you to charge your car for 30c per kW hr. Electric Ireland recommend charging overnight on a night rate to obtain the best value. For example charging a Kia E-Niro from 0-100% would cost around €7. That car has a WLTP range of 455km, so if you drive an average of 20km per day you would get a little over 22 days of driving from that €7. CSO data suggests the Irish average driving distance is around 14km per day according so if you were to charge during the day, those same 22 days of driving would cost a shade over €12. By comparison, fueling the most efficient diesel would cost considerably more with the current fuel prices. The best thing to do is get into the habit of plugging the car in at night if possible. This is the most cost efficient and effective. There is peace of mind to be enjoyed knowing you wake to a vehicle fully charged and ready to go!
How do I pay for EV charging in Ireland?
Home charging is simply added to your domestic bill whilst charging on the go can vary depending on where you charge. The ESB network requires a dedicated card with which, you can pay as you go or opt for a monthly fixed fee. Other providers such as Ionity or Easy Go require a little fob or a phone app, which can make things much easier.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
This all depends on your car and where you’re doing the charging. The quickest option is no doubt using a fast charger, which will get you from 0-80% in around 30 minutes. This is mainly used for topping up your battery when you are out on a long journey. For a 40kW battery a typical 7kW home charging station will charge an electric car from 0-100% over the course of around 3-5 hours which is perfect at night. For cars with larger battery capacities over 60kW the charging time will be in the region of 6-8 hours. Keep in mind if you don’t have a home charger and rely on the three-pin plug ‘trickle charger’ then it could take 18 hours or more depending on your battery size.
How do I know which charger my vehicle takes?
Well there are three main types of charger in Ireland right now. Most early electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or plug in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander use a DC Chademo charger. The more commonly used charger now found on pretty much every vehicle is Type 2 connectors or AC43 to connect cars such as the Renault Zoe. A lot of the modern ports will have a second drop down flap to allow a CCS (Combined Charging System) COMBO which allows rapid charging found on most Hyundai’s, BMW’s, Volkswagen’s and Kia’s etc. The image below should give you a clearer example and make it easier for you to understand what your vehicle will accept.