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Previously Electric Vehicles (EVs) were seen as a concept and a vehicle of the future, but as technology has progressed, that future is now becoming the present.

Electric vehicle information & statistics

Car plugged in to Zappi chargerThe UKs initial aims to banish the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040 being moved forward to 2035 and now 2030, has seen an accelerated rate of adoption of EVs by 5% in 2020. At this moment in time there are 245,000 pure electric vehicles (and 515,000 plug-in hybrids) on the road. The rise in adoption is only going to accelerate as battery efficiency, storage capacity and the number of available charge points increase.

The consideration of an EV is usually apprehended by the lack of charging locations. The current government home charge subsidy scheme grants £350 off a charger per electric vehicle owned (maximum of two chargers), various suppliers of EV chargers now available to claim this grant. Currently, there are 35,000 public charge points scattered across 13,000 locations in the UK, which is actually more public places to charge in comparison to the 8,400 petrol stations.

Why?

Whether you own an electric vehicle or not, the next best step is to prepare for the transition to a renewable future and install a home charge point.

Additionally, the personal benefit of an average £1,000 per year being saved on running costs after purchasing an EV[1], is also acting as an incentive to adopt. With the addition of solar panels and battery storage there would be close to no running costs. As is detailed later on, solar EV chargers will cost little to nothing if you link it to your solar Photovoltaic (PV) system. However, only a select few charge points like the MyEnergi Zappi Charger, have this capability.

Single and three phase power supply

When browsing EV chargers it is important to know what electricity supply your house is using to filter out what chargers would and wouldn’t work. For a single-phase supply the minimum output is a 3.4kW, however it is recommended that a 7kW charger be installed as it halves charging speeds and allows you to charge most car batteries to full overnight.

Solar Edge specialises in smart solar households using a single-phase supply, through installing solar panels, a battery to store the power, a solar inverter and a 7kW EV charger.

When equipped with a three-phase supply, a minimum of 22kW and higher can be achieved, resulting in the ability to use “fast charging”, which can charge most EVs to 80% in 5 hours and less. If you don’t possess a 3-phase power supply then an upgrade can be fitted, however the installation can be very expensive and needs to be factored into payback calculations. Although, with future renewable households looking likely, the investment will most likely become necessary to support a larger demand from renewable heating systems such as ground source heat pumps. An example, of the future outlook on renewable heating systems was recently seen as the UK government phased out gas boiler installations from 2025 onwards. 

The three different types of installation:

EO Charge Point Charging Mercedes Fleet Vehicles (Medium)Retrofit Installation: The standard charge point will take an average of 2-4 hours. The installation process requires property details, given to the installer, to be as accurate as possible or delays can occur. For a standard charge point installation, the focus is the charger being placed on the wall or pole mounted and connected to the mains supply of the house. Any home owner looking to buy an EV should consider the standard option as a minimum. If the charger is going to be a higher power rating, then it would be advisable to install solar panels, as this would then help to offset the cost of rapidly charging the car over time.

Existing solar panel Installation: The existing installation involves the charge point being installed and then directly linked to, previously installed, solar panels. Power generated from the solar panels will feed into your installed EV station, used to charge your car, therefore costing nothing but sunshine. The installation process of the charger would still be the same as the standard, with the addition of linking the electricity feed from the PV panels to the charge point.

Integrated Installation: Integrated installation contains the installation of solar panels connected into, a combined solar inverter and charge point unit, controlled by a Smart Energy PV unit in order to maximise the efficiency of both systems. An example of this would be Solar-Edge who have created a SolarEdge Home in which power is efficiently generated and stored for use in the house and EV charging. Through purchasing solar panels and an EV charge point you will technically be buying your fuel as a one-time purchase for the foreseeable future.

[1] Assuming petrol cost of £1.1/l, fuel efficiency on a petrol car of 37mpg, annual mileage of 12,000 and electricity cost of 16.7p/kWh.

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