Home charging points for EV's

Apple fanboy

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So looking at the various options out there, you have so many choices! How on earth do you decide?
My criteria would be the following

  • Tethered. I don't want to be going into the boot all the time.
  • Smart. I don't want it to do loads, but I'd like some basic smart functionality. Especially if we move to a cheaper overnight rate.
  • Cheap. I've spent considerably more on the car than I was planning. I'd rather not be spending a fortune on the charger (but stick with my I'd rather pay more than buy twice if you get the wrong one!)
  • I'm a little concerned about the distance from my WIFI router, so a back up method of connectivity would be great.
  • Aesthetics. Where as none of them would be described as attractive, I do need to attach this to my house! I don't want it to be pig ugly if possible!

So what would you recommend? Obviously this is for a UK installation, so might have different options etc. But thought it was worth an ask.
 

BigMcGuire

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I had to switch to a mesh wifi network for my Tesla when we got it. Router originally was on the third floor and not strong enough for the Tesla below. That solved the wifi problem. I think some use their phone as a hotspot for emergency downloads.

I got a quote from an electrician who said they'd have to make 20 holes in the drywall and it would cost around $2.3k (not including drywall repair) so my wife and I are just going with normal wall plug charging (5-6 miles per hour). There is a Tesla supercharger about 10 mins away and a 3rd party level 2 charger in the local city hall lot that's a 10 min walk away if we really need to charge up fast.

The electricians didn't want to put it in the wall - they wanted it mounted on a stand, bolted to the floor - could be that I live in a townhouse/apartment complex.

If the estimate had been $1500 or less, we'd have offered to pay for a chunk of it despite us being renters.
 

Apple fanboy

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I had to switch to a mesh wifi network for my Tesla when we got it. Router originally was on the third floor and not strong enough for the Tesla below. That solved the wifi problem. I think some use their phone as a hotspot for emergency downloads.

I got a quote from an electrician who said they'd have to make 20 holes in the drywall and it would cost around $2.3k (not including drywall repair) so my wife and I are just going with normal wall plug charging (5-6 miles per hour). There is a Tesla supercharger about 10 mins away and a 3rd party level 2 charger in the local city hall lot that's a 10 min walk away if we really need to charge up fast.

The electricians didn't want to put it in the wall - they wanted it mounted on a stand, bolted to the floor - could be that I live in a townhouse/apartment complex.

If the estimate had been $1500 or less, we'd have offered to pay for a chunk of it despite us being renters.
Fortunately mine will be going on the wall. I think that's easier. One of the advantages of being a home owner I guess. I expect more rental properties to offer them in the future, but in the UK its a landlords market as there is a shortage of properties, so no need to spend.
 

DT

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So looking at the various options out there, you have so many choices! How on earth do you decide?
My criteria would be the following

  • Tethered. I don't want to be going into the boot all the time.
  • Smart. I don't want it to do loads, but I'd like some basic smart functionality. Especially if we move to a cheaper overnight rate.
  • Cheap. I've spent considerably more on the car than I was planning. I'd rather not be spending a fortune on the charger (but stick with my I'd rather pay more than buy twice if you get the wrong one!)
  • I'm a little concerned about the distance from my WIFI router, so a back up method of connectivity would be great.
  • Aesthetics. Where as none of them would be described as attractive, I do need to attach this to my house! I don't want it to be pig ugly if possible!

So what would you recommend? Obviously this is for a UK installation, so might have different options etc. But thought it was worth an ask.

Tethered
Do you mean a mounted, sort of "permanent" box? Since you said boot, I'm assuming this means something that stays mounted all of the time, vs. something you connect/disconnect, store in your vehicle, no problems here, plenty of options.

Smart
Sure Easy enough, there's a lot of options here too, though many EVs have logic on the car side too (so you'd basically plugin all the time, and let the car sort it out). I'll list some of the goto/well regarded brands below (though you'll have to confirm their availability in the UK).

Cheap
Since EVs have become so popular, so have accessories, which have really driven down the price. There are a bunch of generics with good reviews, I started with one of these when we first got the 4xe, used it on a 30a (set to 24a) with an adapter, but when I moved to an actual dedicated circuit, I went with a higher end product (see below).

WiFi Distance
Don't know that there's a solution here, smart boxes are WiFi, they'll need connectivity, you'll have to deploy a NAP/extender if it's a little too far away.

Aesthetics
It's a box :D I get it, we're very "design sensitive" to how things look around the house, but they're mostly just a white/black/blue box with a thick 16-24 foot cable. This is our actual installation on the (shorter) back wall of the garage:

1646087314002.png



That's a 240v/40a using an N6-50, and it's plugged into a 50a circuit with an N6-50 receptacle (though are US specs/standards)


A few other things you might want to consider:

Weather resistance
Power output
Cable length
Hardware vs. plug-in
Display

One thing that's just a clarification:

That device you hang on the wall is not a "charger" but an EVSE (it's pretty common to call it a charger), which is basically a power switch, some simple communication protocols and a specific car-side connector. The charger in this case is built into the car (more on this below).

When you charge at a Supercharger or any DCFC, that's DC Fast Charging and it's actually supplying DC power, and that bypasses the onboard charger.

Since an EVSE is continuous power over a long period, the standard here in the US is to not pull more than about 80% of the max load. So we use a 40a (max) EVSE plugged into our dedicated 50a circuit, which is why in the US you don't see consumer plug-in type EVSEs with more than 40a capacity (since 50a is the typical max consumer outlet spec).

Here's a chart:

1646087821275.png


As I understand it, the '21 i3 supports up to 7.7kW Level 2 charging, meaning a max of 32 amps. You could potentially install a higher capacity to future proof a bit (I say this knowing you said "Last car for a while .." just being thorough), and probably not any kind of significant extra cost, and you wouldn't have to do anything, the car/EVSE will negotiate the charge rate.

I believe the i3 uses the CCS1 spec plug, which is a combined plug, where the top connector is a J1772 (which will be on your home charger) and a DCFC which is the top part + the bottom DC part for fast charging. So for clarification, the chargers you'll shop are a J1772 connector.

Notable brands for the EVSE:

JuiceBox
ChargePoint

United Chargers Grizzl-E line have become popular, that's what we have the build quality is fantastic.

Then there's a bunch of mid-tier like LECTRON and dozens of brands that look the same, and are probably the same internally.
 

Apple fanboy

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Thanks for the info. By tethered I mean where the unit has a cable with it all the time. Not having to use the one you keep in the car.
I assume if you have a higher rated charger, your battery just draws what it can take. A bit like when you plug an iPhone into an iPad charger. It just doesn’t use the extra your iPad does.
 

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This is interesting.

In a city like Bath where I live, the houses in die historical centre have almost zero off street parking.
We all pay for a monthly permit and we park on the street… sometimes a block or so away.
So how do we run electric cables?
Across the pavements?

Hmmm. Apartments have it even worse. Cables out the windows and then in to the street? 😆

I would love to get an EV… but… the technology is still not going to work for us. 😬
 

Apple fanboy

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This is interesting.

In a city like Bath where I live, the houses in die historical centre have almost zero off street parking.
We all pay for a monthly permit and we park on the street… sometimes a block or so away.
So how do we run electric cables?
Across the pavements?

Hmmm. Apartments have it even worse. Cables out the windows and then in to the street? 😆

I would love to get an EV… but… the technology is still not going to work for us. 😬
I’m in a bungalow in the countryside. Detached with a garage. I appreciate everyone isn’t that lucky. I’m not sure what the solution will be for everyone. I’m also fortunate that I can (currently) charge at work.
 

Arkitect

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I’m in a bungalow in the countryside. Detached with a garage. I appreciate everyone isn’t that lucky. I’m not sure what the solution will be for everyone. I’m also fortunate that I can (currently) charge at work.
You are indeed fortunate.

I am sure there will be a solution for us city dwellers in years to come.
Meanwhile I am champing at the bit for an EV.

Ah well.

Enjoy your new silent ride! 🙂
 

SuperMatt

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This is interesting.

In a city like Bath where I live, the houses in die historical centre have almost zero off street parking.
We all pay for a monthly permit and we park on the street… sometimes a block or so away.
So how do we run electric cables?
Across the pavements?

Hmmm. Apartments have it even worse. Cables out the windows and then in to the street? 😆

I would love to get an EV… but… the technology is still not going to work for us. 😬
This is why the government needs to take this more seriously...

There was a story on similar circumstances in Washington, DC recently.

 

Arkitect

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This is why the government needs to take this more seriously...

There was a story on similar circumstances in Washington, DC recently.

Thanks for the link. 👍

That sums up our own UK cities situation exactly.

And to compound the issue is you are never assured of an exact same parking spot. Some days you really have to hunt for one.
 

Apple fanboy

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Here in the U.K. the grant system for buying an electric vehicle ended last year. The grant for installing a charging point ends this month. Unfortunately I’m too late to get a grant anyway.
But you do feel like the government could be doing more.
 

SuperMatt

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Here in the U.K. the grant system for buying an electric vehicle ended last year. The grant for installing a charging point ends this month. Unfortunately I’m too late to get a grant anyway.
But you do feel like the government could be doing more.
I hope they extend similar programs in America too. Here, it was based on how many EVs a certain company sold. So for a popular brand like Tesla, there are no more tax credits. But if you buy a Volkswagen EV, you can still get the credit since they’ve sold far fewer EVs, still below the limit.
 

DT

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It's __possible__ to own an EV without home charging, though the latter is the real game changer. If you've got close, reliable DCFC, a car that charges quickly, has decent range and charging at a common destination, like work, then I've read about a decent number of people that do this.

I've got two Supercharger (Tesla DCFC) locations within 10 miles, one is a Level 3 / 250kW with 12 stalls. I could, as an example, run out to total wine, a ~60 mile round trip, swing by that SuC that's barely out of the way, and in under 10 minutes recover the battery used for that trip.

With an EV that has 275-300 mile range, if you had a short commute to work, and/or only used it for daily chores, you know, where you're driving 50-60 miles a week, you could even skip a few days between charges.

Of course, that's more of an ICE fueling model, the beauty of an EV is it's always "fueling", ABC, Always Be Charging :D
 

Apple fanboy

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It's __possible__ to own an EV without home charging, though the latter is the real game changer. If you've got close, reliable DCFC, a car that charges quickly, has decent range and charging at a common destination, like work, then I've read about a decent number of people that do this.

I've got two Supercharger (Tesla DCFC) locations within 10 miles, one is a Level 3 / 250kW with 12 stalls. I could, as an example, run out to total wine, a ~60 mile round trip, swing by that SuC that's barely out of the way, and in under 10 minutes recover the battery used for that trip.

With an EV that has 275-300 mile range, if you had a short commute to work, and/or only used it for daily chores, you know, where you're driving 50-60 miles a week, you could even skip a few days between charges.

Of course, that's more of an ICE fueling model, the beauty of an EV is it's always "fueling", ABC, Always Be Charging :D
Mine won’t do 300 miles. But it’s 30 miles to the office. I have a free charger here. I could live without. But I’m not going to. I’d rather have the charger and just use the one at work for free. Helps offset the expensive of buying an EV that way. I’m hoping for a very low charging cost per annum.
 

DT

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Mine won’t do 300 miles. But it’s 30 miles to the office. I have a free charger here. I could live without. But I’m not going to. I’d rather have the charger and just use the one at work for free. Helps offset the expensive of buying an EV that way. I’m hoping for a very low charging cost per annum.

The longer range was more to accommodate much less frequent charging, you know, for folks without a "destination charger". There was a Model 3 owner who posted about living in a condo that initially didn't have charging and they worked from home, and didn't drive a ton, so with their ~260 miles (i.e., 220-230 effective miles) range and less than 40 miles a week, they could just hit up the local SuC once a week :)

BTW, there's also a ton of "secret" destination chargers around and about. I was surprised to find a couple of resorts we frequent has L2 chargers, both J1772 and Tesla, in a nice, out of the way, covered garage area, free for guests! So our ~240 mile round trip costs about $4 for electricity :D

This is a terrific resource:

 
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BigMcGuire

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And from our experience with a M3 LR - we got home last night at 9pm - plugged in, and right now I'm sitting at +47 miles charged from a normal 15amp outlet. It'll stay connected all day at 5mi/hr. We do 105 miles every other day at best - and can charge 6mi/hr at the university. But yeah, if we didn't park next to an outlet, we'd have to look at other options. Nearest Tesla Supercharger is 15 mins away, but 2 mins away is a 3rd party Charge Point station - and tons of other 3rd party options in parking lots (their apps are low rated on the App Store but most of them take CC at the station from what I can see). DT is right - they're popping up all over. Looks like our university has added several level 2 chargers (but they're almost always taken).
 
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