If you have ordered an EV, just taken delivery or are just thinking about making the switch, then you’ll want to consider how best to prepare.
First lets look at the different types of charging, which can be broadly divided into 2 categories.
AC, or Destination Charging is usually measured in hours and happens somewhere with a long dwell time. That might be at a hotel, cinema or retail location, as well as your home. Most public destination chargers require you to bring your own cable to connect your car.
DC, or Rapid Charging is usually measured in minutes and can be used to quickly top up your battery before returning to your journey. Rapid chargers can be found car parks, filling stations as well as special ‘hubs’ where multiple chargers are in a single location. Rapid chargers all have their own cables built in.
Your Car’s Capabilities
You may plug into a 22kW Destination Charger and notice that your car is pulling considerably less. This is because the charger is actually built into your car and so performance differs from model to model. Common charging speeds are 3, 7 and 11kW.
Your car will also have limits around Rapid Charging. You may for example connect to a 200kW charger but find your vehicle reaches a maximum of perhaps 100kW, the limit of its capability. DC charging speeds also depend on your battery’s SoC (state of charge) and temperature. DC charging speeds will always slow down as the SoC rises and that makes it undesirable to rapid charge all the way to 100%.
A great resource to check your car’s charging capabilities (and real world range) is the ev-database.org
The CCS Trap
New drivers are sometimes caught out by the covers that some manufacturers fit to the DC pins of the CCS connector. When users don’t realise this cover is removable, they often mistakenly believe their car is not compatible with DC Rapid chargers.
Charging at Home (With Off Street Parking)
If you have off street parking then installing a charger at home will likely be your most convenient and affordable option. A 7kW AC charge point is now the most common option and will give you the maximum charging rate available from a domestic single phase supply (If you have a 3 phase supply you can have 22kW AC charging).
Read the EV Drivers Guide from NIE Networks for more information on what’s required to connect your charger to the grid and the different connection processes that may be required
Determine what is important to you and your charging scenarios, do you need smart features, integration with a solar PV system or charging for multiple cars, or do you have a strict budget or aesthetic requirements? Watch the helpful video below and take a look at our EVSE charging point article.
A government grant is available to assist with the installation of chargers at some types of home (rented properties and flats), check the details here – EV Chargepoint Grant
Contact the installers on our supporters page for more information or a quote, or talk to your chosen charger manufacturer to 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.
Charging at Home (Without Off Street Parking)
Currently home owners in Northern Ireland that do not have a driveway or other off-street parking have been unsuccessful in applying for permission to cross the pavement with a charging cable.
EVANI continue lobbying the Department for Infrastructure to allow this using one of these example solutions. Please consider getting in touch with DfI and writing to your MP, MLAs and local councillors so demand for this is acknowledged.
As for public on-street charging, a grant is currently available to local councils for the installation of these facilities. EVANI lobbied all NI councils and in August 2022 a consortium was awarded ORCS funding for 124 new AC chargers in 9 council areas here.
Home Energy Prices
To compare up-to-date energy prices in Northern Ireland, check out these Price Comparison Tables from the Consumer Council. Agile Tariffs are not yet available here, while we wait for smart meters to be rolled out. However, you should consider an Economy 7 tariff, a cheaper rate available during a 7 hour window (1am to 8am while on GMT, 2am to 9am while on BST). This is convenient as the majority of EV drivers charge their vehicles overnight and can usually be scheduled from a timer in the car or on the charger.
Charging at Work
Charging at work is a good option as your car may be parked up for many hours each day. However, not many employers 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
Here are the Charge Point Operators currently available in Northern Ireland (there are more public chargers on the way too).
New legislation came into force in November 2023 that means that contactless payments will be required on all new public charge points above 8kW and must be retro-fitted to all existing rapid chargers above 50kW within 12 months. In the meantime most charge point operators still require either an app or an RFID card / fob. At some locations a card / fob may sometime start a charger where an app cannot connect to the Internet, so they are still worth having
Click the links below to these useful apps that allow you to view chargers from multiple networks on a single map
You will also find a ChargePlace Scotland card invaluable if you are considering a ferry crossing. An Octopus Electroverse account provides access to over 400,000 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 Electric Vehicle Guide from the Consumer Council.
If you are new to electric vehicles, then have a listen to this podcast for some useful advice.