When considering taking ownership of a Plug-In vehicle then you have to consider how to charge it.
Charging at Home
If you have off street parking then this will be the most convenient option. You can have an EVSE installed at home. A 7kW charging point is now the most common option and will give you the maximum charging rate in a domestic setting unless you have 3 Phase electric supply to the premises, in this case 22kW is possible.
Determine what is important to you and your charging scenarios, do I need smart features, coordination with solar PV output or charging for multiple cars or do you have a strict budget or aesthetic requirements? Do your research and take a look at our EVSE charging point article.
A government grant is available to assist with the installation of home chargers at some types of property, check the details here – EV Chargepoint Grant
Contact your chosen EVSE manufacturer and ask them to recommend an installer in your area. As EV’s have become mainstream many electrical wholesalers can supply EV charging equipment so talking to an electrician who has experience in this area can help. You can buy EVSE online but it’s not a DIY job, you could put yourself and your vehicle at risk if not installed correctly.
If you do not have dedicated domestic parking then one option may be on street charging. Whilst we do not have any local examples of this in NI yet, it is being rolled out in many locations across the UK. A grant is currently available to local councils for the installation of these facilities. Get in touch with your local council and councillors to show there is a demand for this. EVANI have been lobbying all NI councils and in August 2022 a consortium was awarded ORCS funding for 124 new AC chargers in 9 council areas here.
To compare up-to-date energy prices in Northern Ireland, check out these Price Comparison Tables from the Consumer Council.
Charging at Work
Charging at work is a good option as your car may be parked up for 8 hours a day. Not many workplaces offer this facility at present.
The Workplace Charging grant is a voucher-based scheme designed to provide eligible applicants with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of EV charge points. The contribution is limited to the 75% of purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £350 for each socket, up to a maximum of 40 across all sites for each applicant. Talk to your employer about their options for installing EV charging points.
Charging on the Public Network
Most charge point operators now give the option of using an app instead of an RFID card / fob. However, at some locations a card may sometime start a charger where an app cannot connect.
In Northern Ireland the largest EV charger network is run by ESB. To use this network you need to register for the free RFID card here. At present access to all ESB charging points in Northern Ireland is free. If planning a journey please check status of the charge point you may be relying on for onward or return journeys. Download the ESB eCar app from the Apple or Google app stores to access real time information and visit their map of charging points too. The ESB card / app also works in the Republic of Ireland but you will need to add funds to your account (PAYG) or sign up to a monthly subscription.
As new networks rollout by other operators you should also obtain a card/fob/app for EasyGo, Weev and ChargePoint who have sites here now. Other charging networks are planned for Northern Ireland too.
You will also find a ChargePlace Scotland card invaluable if you are considering a ferry crossing. An Octopus Electric Universe account provides access to over 300,000 chargers across the UK and Europe on the networks below, from a single card (note this card provides access to ESB chargers in GB only, not NI or RoI).
Check out the 2 videos below on how to use both the AC and DC (Rapid) chargers.