Electric Cars

Charging an electric car at home, by Nat Barnes

There’s lots of things to consider when charging an electric or plug-in hybrid car at home, but Tusker has all the answers for you.


How do I get a home charger?

It’s surprisingly easy to get a home charger fitted to your home. Up until April 2022, the Government offered a grant to help contribute to the installation, but this has now ended for the majority of house owners. You may still be eligible if you live in a flat or other accommodation, so worth checking with a provider if you can make any savings.

The cost of installing a home charging point varies depending on the type that you go for. They vary in terms of looks, style and functionality (more on this in a moment) and in price, but a rough guide is that a home charger is likely to set you back anything between £750 and £1,100.

Once you’ve chosen a charger company, you’ll need to send them some pictures of your fuse box and the electricity wires coming into your home to ensure that it’s suitable for a charging point. Some houses are looped with the neighbouring house and they will need to be unlooped before a charge point can be fitted. A charging point will also need its own fuse on the fuse-board – similar to that for an electric cooker.


Do I need a charging point or can I charge from a three-pin socket?

You can charge from a domestic plug socket, but remember that this will be a slow charge, as a standard household three-pin socket will charge a car at a maximum of around 2.4kW, whereas most charging points are 7kW – so almost three times as fast.

That difference in charging speed means three-pin charging might just about be manageable for the smaller battery of a plug-in hybrid, but probably not for a fully electric car where it could take 24 hours or more to achieve a full charge.


So, do all home chargers do the same thing or are they different?

At first glance, all home chargers can charge your EV, but that’s largely where the similarities end. First, there are tethered and untethered chargers.

  • Tethered chargers have the charging lead attached (usually on a reel similar to a garden hose)
  • Untethered ones are the socket alone and require you to use your own lead.

While tethered chargers tend to be less hassle each time you want to charge, it does lock you into an EV that uses that particular plug type. For most drivers that won’t be an issue as the Type 2 plug is now largely universal for new cars, but some older EVs such as the original Nissan Leaf use a Type 1 plug, so if you’re planning to add any older EVs to your household, then it’s worth considering an untethered one instead.

From July 2022, all home chargers also need to have smart charging capability. This means they need to have a data connection and be able to measure, control and delay power usage according to the demand from the national grid. Manufacturers also need to provide an app or other interface for drivers to be able to control that.

The idea is that the new charge points will be able to not only avoid charging during hours when electricity demand is highest but also avoid any surges on the national grid and help to spread the load.


That’s great for the national grid, but why should that concern me?

More than you might think. Many electricity providers now provide EV drivers with special tariffs that give cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours such as overnight.

Those smart chargers mean that you can choose to charge your car at those lower rates when the price you pay per kWh for your electricity can be half the normal daily rate – and sometimes even less. The result is that you can dramatically cut the running costs of your EV as a result.

Some smart chargers such as those from Ohme can be programmed to charge automatically when prices drop below a certain level and can also charge the car when the level of renewable energy is at its highest and electricity supply is higher than demand. These are called ‘plunge moments’ and it means that rather than you paying for your electricity, the provider will actually pay you to charge your EV – yes, really!

Interested in finding out more?