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.
Many vehicle manufacturers or dealers offer a free charging point with the purchase of a new vehicle so take up that offer. If the EVSE on offer does not fit with your charging scenarios then ask if it can be upgraded, most likely at your cost.
At present a government grant is available to assist with the installation of EVSE. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is a grant that provides a 75% contribution to the cost of one chargepoint and its installation. A grant cap is set at £350 (including VAT) per installation. The main requirement is that a person owns, leases, or has ordered a qualifying vehicle and has dedicated off-street parking at their property. A person may apply for 2 chargepoints at the same property if they have 2 qualifying vehicles. Check the details of the 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 to apply for some of the £20M ORCS funding available.
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. There is a workplace charging grant available to support businesses wishing to install charging facilities.
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
In Northern Ireland there is currently one predominant EV charge network, ESB eCars. To use this network you need to register for an RFID card via the eCarsNI website ecarni.com. At present access to all charging points 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.
EVANI are campaigning to have the current charge network, which is plagued with off-line units or congestion improved to be fit for purpose and positioned for the growth of EV’s in the coming years.
If you need access to charge points in the Republic of Ireland you will need to download and register to use the ESB eCar app as charging is not free. You will register a patent method and use the app to commence and terminate charging sessions.
A number of other charging options are starting to emerge and any expansion to the charge network is welcomed. Hopefully these will only require contactless payment methods and not require registration of additional apps or membership cards.