If you've been thinking about buying an electric car but are put off by the thought of having to find public charging points to keep it juiced up, then fret no more.

The solution is simple: thanks to improved technology, most electric car owners charge at home. When charging your car is as easy as plugging in a smartphone, the convenience of installing a home charger eliminates the need to rely on public charge points.

Likewise, the cost of home-charging tends to be far more affordable than using pricey public chargers. Depending on your electricity tariff, it's possible to charge your electric car for practically free!

Looking to learn more about charging your electric car at home? You're in the right place. We'll take a look at how you can install a home charging point, the costs involved, and a whole host of other topics involving electric car charging below.

How to charge an electric car at home

When it comes to charging an electric car, you have two options:

A conventional three-pin plug

A dedicated home charging point (or home wallbox)

A conventional three-pin plug

This option is the cheapest and most straightforward, but it's also the slowest way to charge your car, taking anywhere from 24-35 hours to achieve a full charge. Your car should come with a cable and adapter so you can plug into a conventional three-pin socket, but it's only recommended as a last resort.

Unless you're visiting somewhere without a charger or it's an emergency, we'd recommend using the second option.

A dedicated home charging point (or home wallbox)

A home wallbox is a separate box that is wired directly to your home's electricity supply. Generally, the companies that supply them will install them for you, but electricians with specific certifications will also be able to help.

Basic wallboxes charge at 3kW but, generally, the most common units will charge at 7kW. As a result, charging times are halved compared to the three-pin socket approach, so you'll have a car that's fully charged after an overnight session.Text here ...

How to fill electric car at home

How much does installing an electric charging point at home cost?

The cost depends on your desired charging speed as well as any 'smart' features you want your charger to have. Basic 3kW chargers start at around £100, with 7kW units setting you back about £300. 'Smart' units that feature wireless controls via smartphone apps, meanwhile, cost between £350 and £1000.

For the most part, the cost of fitting is included in the price. But if you need major changes to your household wiring, then you'll be looking at extra charges.

Currently, the Government are offering financial incentives to encourage drivers to make the switch to electric. If you buy a new electric vehicle, then you'll qualify for a grant that pays for 75% of the price and installation cost of a wallbox, up to a maximum of £350.

It's worth keeping an eye out for offers too. Some manufacturers are offering a free wallbox and fitting when you purchase an electric vehicle from them.

How much does it cost to charge a car at home?

Calculating the cost of home charging is easy. You'll need to know your car’s battery size as well as the price per kilowatt-hour for your electricity, which is on your energy bill.

To work out the cost of charging, use this formula:

Size of battery (kWh) x Cost of your electricity (pence per kWh) = the cost of charging your car from zero to full

By switching to a cheaper energy supplier, or one with a cheaper overnight rate, you can make sure the cost of charging your car is even cheaper.

How long does it take to achieve a full charge?

For the most part, a 7kW fast-charging wallbox is the quickest method of charging at home. But how long your car will take to charge depends on the model you own.

With a 7kW wallbox, something like a MINI Electric will be fully charged in as little as three and a half hours, while a Nissan Leaf 40kWh will take six hours.

To optimise the speed of your charging even further, you can upgrade your wiring to a three-phase system (domestic wiring is usually single-phase). Upgrading in this way allows for 22kW charging, slashing the time it takes a Nissan Leaf 40kWh to just two hours.

To check if your property has a three-phase electrical supply, a qualified electrical engineer will be able to assess your home's wiring. Before having a professional take a look, however, a cursory visual inspection can also help.

Simply locate your fuse box and meter and take note of the below:

In single-phase supplies, there will be a single large system fuse alongside the meter and fuse box containing circuit breakers.

In three-phase supplies, however, there will be three of these larger system fuses rated in the region of 100 amps.

How often should you charge an electric car at home?

You can charge your electric car at home as often as you need to. Like we hinted at before, it's like charging a phone: you can leave it to fully charge overnight and top it up during the day as and when it's needed.

There's an added benefit of charging overnight too. Drivers can take advantage of cheaper night-time electricity rates and drive for as little as 2p per mile.

You don't have to charge your car every day, although many drivers plug in each time they leave their car out of habit. This gives them the flexibility to hit the road in the event of making unexpected journeys.

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