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EV Charging Knowledge Bank

Which EV Charger - Domestic

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Introduction

There are a few considerations to be made when choosing an EV charger in your home.

First you need to work out which charger type you need.  We have written a page all about charger types here. 

In general, we recommend you install a Mode 3 charger (dedicated socket and circuit), and we generally recommend you install a 32A charger, giving a power output of 7.2kW on single phase (but check this works with your car first, and make sure you choose correctly between Type 1 tethered, Type 2 tethered and Type 2 universal socket - again our charger types page should help, along with the link to Zap Map's car model look-up).

Note "Should I get tethered or untethered?" is one of the questions we get asked the most.

We have historically recommended universal socket chargers as it gives flexibility if you move say from a Type 1 (e.g. old Nissan Leaf) to a Type 2 vehicle.  A lot of users however do prefer a tethered unit as it is so much more convenient - lifting the cable in and out of the car every time you want to charge it can become onerous after a while.

This is one of the reasons we recommend EVBox's Elvi. With Elvi you can buy a tethered charger and if you swap from Type 1 to Type 2 or vice versa, you can buy a replacement cable and swap it out yourself. There’s a security pin inside the unit that holds the cable in place.

With EO's untethered chargers you can get around the hassle of taking out the cable by simply leaving your car charger cable attached. This doesn't negate the access security, however you need to be happy to leave the charger cable trailing on the floor, or find your own way of securing it to the wall.

Once you have sorted the basics of your charger, you need to work out what functionality you require:

  • is a 'dumb' charger suitable (a 'dumb' charger is essentially a dedicated car charging socket, without monitoring, remote stop-start etc)? 'Dumb' chargepoints are no longer eligible for the OLEV home chargepoint grant, so a smart charger is definitely worth considering!
  • do you want to monitor 'charger time' or kWh consumption (e.g. if you need to get reimbursement from your grown-up kids or your employer), and if so do you need a MID approved kWh meter, and how will reimbursement work?
  • do you have solar PV and if so is there excess solar PV that could be diverted into your car?
  • do aesthetics matter?
  • future proofing - can your 'dumb' charger be upgraded with intelligence, or Type 1 tethered swapped for Type 2 tethered etc, or would you need to rip it out and start again?
  • is the charger approved for the OLEV grant and what's its warranty (OLEV grants require 3 years)?

Which charger?

Some electric car manufacturers also supply chargers. We are often asked to install chargers by Tesla, Porsche or Mercedes for example. But by far the majority of chargers that we install are independent of the car make. 

The most popular brands that we install are EO, EVBox and Rolec.  In addition, if you have a solar PV system, the myEnergi zappi is well worth considering. 

The zappi is our most popular charger amongst solar PV system owners and the eoMini is the most popular 'dumb' domestic charger for people without solar PV. 

The best mainstream domestic 'intelligent' charger is EVBox's Elvi, with HomeLine the best for company vehicles. Overall we believe EVBox chargers offer the most developed and most comprehensive functionality. Rolec is the 'budget' choice.

To enable you to make an informed decision as to which charger is right for you, we have dedicated a page to each of these charger manufacturers (click on links by charger name above, or in the header row of table below), and we have also prepared the following "Home Charger Comparison Table." to compare them.

Whilst this table doesn't give a comprehensive list of every charger available, it does highlight functionality to be aware of, and the different approaches being taken in the market. You may also be interested in our equivalent "Commercial Charger Comparison Table".

Home Charger Comparison Table

 

  EO EVBox Rolec zappi
Overview

EO's philisophy has been to create a simple, modular and scalable system. The entry level eoMini is a 'dumb' charger providing an easy-to-use and cost effective home charger. The eoMini Pro is its smart counterpart, which is eligible for the OLEV grant. The eoBasic range is a ‘dumb’ charger which comes with a socket or a tethered cable. The eoGenius is a 'dumb but smart-ready' charger to which intelligence (monitoring etc) can be added as required via eoHUB, eoAPP and eoCloud, with a  subscription fee per charger, with up to 30 chargers per eoHUB.  The fact that the intelligence sits outside the charger is one of the key differences between EO and competitor chargers.

Further, EO is working on vehicle-to-grid charging and on their vision to provide an integrated system combining EV charging with solar, battery storage and other smart devices with the 'smart-grid', enabling users to optimise use of solar PV, and keep grid import costs to a minimum.  

EVBox was founded in the Netherlands, which is a few years ahead of the UK in adoption of electric vehicles. The company has become the sole public supplier of public charging infrastructure in cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Monaco. EVBox has an installed base of over 50,000 chargers across nearly 1000 cities. The company has recently been bought by energy giant Engie and it is generally regarded as a supplier of high quality products with strong financial backing.

Overall, EVBox has developed superior aesthetics, solutions for leased / business cars (cost reimbursement) as well as 'shared charging' at home where more than one owner is using a single charger. 

The main model for the homeowner is Elvi, which utilises the free Hey app for monitoring. There is also HomeLine, aimed at businesses installing chargers in domestic properties as part of a leased car scheme.

From a homeowner point of view, Rolec is usually considered to provide the 'budget' offering, coming in lower on price, but also scoring lower on aesthetics and functionality. The default warranty term of their products is 12 months, as opposed to the 3 years plus on competitor models.

The WallPod charger is the main homeowner offering, with a 'smart' version called EV HomeSmart. This offers monitoring at a monthly cost of around £5 per month.  

 

 

zappi is aimed purely at the domestic market. It's all about optimising the use of solar generation and using excess to charge the car rather than export to the grid.

Many of our customers have installed an iBoost or Immersun or similar to divert excess solar PV into their hot water tank. If you have an electric vehicle (EV), it makes sense to divert excess electricity into the EV battery. In fact if your hot water is heated by gas, oil or biomass, it makes more sense to charge the car than it does to charge the hot water tank. An iBoost is generally displacing fuel costing ~ 5p per kWh, and so 1kWh of diverted electricity is worth ~ 5p. Charging the EV displaces grid electricity at the ‘full value’ ~ 15p per kWh.

So the zappi is well worth considering if you want a standalone charger to optimise the use of excess solar in your property.

Domestic charger models 

eoMini: compact single socket charger (Type 2 universal socket). Provides  power at 16A / 3.6kW or 32A / 7.2kW (standard 230V single phase connection).

eoMini Pro: compact single socket charger (Type 2 universal socket). Provides  power at 16A / 3.6kW or 32A / 7.2kW (standard 230V single phase connection). Also avaulable as a tethered unit, the eoMini Pro is the smallest smart unit on the market, with control from the JuiceNet app

eoBasic: available in single phase (16A / 3.6kW or 32A / 7.2kW) and three phase (16A / 11kW or 32A / 22KW). Available as a Type 1 or Type 2 tethered charger (single phase), or as a Type 2 universal socket (single phase / 3 phase).

eoGenius: When combined with eoHUB, it becomes an intelligent charger. This requires a subscription to eoCloud.

 

Elvi: compact charger available in single phase (16A / 3.6kW and 32A / 7.2kW) and 3 phase (11kW / 22kW). Available with a tethered Type 1 or Type 2 cable, with universal Type 2 socket due to be launched later this year. Ability for user to swap from Type 1 tethered to Type 2 tethered (and vice versa). Monitored by the free Hey EVBox app using WiFi or via an optional UMTS modem (for which there is an annual data charge). Elvi can be installed with or without an MID approved kWh meter. 

HomeLine: available in single phase (3.6kW / 7.2kW) or 3 phase (11kW / 22kW), with a fixed Type 1 or Type 2 charging cable or universal Type 2 socket. Unless installed as a 'dumb' AutoStart version, HomeLine includes a kWh meter and accessible via BackOffice to automate the tracking, invoicing and settlement of power consumed with the employer (BackOffice available via paid subscription).  

The chargepoint can also offer load management within the property if there is a possibility of a grid constraint.

WallPod: available with a tethered cable (Type 1, Type 2) or a universal Type 2 socket. Available in single phase (230V) with rating 16 A /3.6 kW or 32 A/7.2 kW. There is also a MultiMode option which has an additional plug socket, useful for garden maintenance, along with 3 phase (11kW / 22kW) options if required. 

A 'smart' version of the WallPod is available, known as EV HomeSmart. This system monitors and records all EV charging activity and history at a given property and relays it via GPRS or WiFi to a third party which can then be used for reporting, analysing and preparing statistics.

zappi: a single phase Mode 3 charger offering 6A to 32A variable charging (up to 7kW). Available with a Type 1 or Type 2 tethered cable, 5 or 8m in length.
Mounting 

eoMini is wall-mounted. eoBasic / eoGenius can be wall-mounted or pole- mounted, with one or two chargers per pole.

Elvi is wall-mounted. HomeLine can be wall-mounted or pole-mounted, with one or two chargers per pole. Wall-mounted, with optional mounting plate.  Wall-mounted.
Monitoring  eoCloud allows remote monitoring and reporting of the eoGenius charger. kWh meter not included at the moment but will be available later this year. RFID charge card / key fob tracks and registers all charging sessions via the free Hey App. Units with an internal kWh meter can also record kWh usage. Monitoring is available with the EV HomeSmart WallPod, which includes an MID approved kWh meter. This has an app with annual data management costs of around £60 a year.

Chargepoint has screen and includes data logging functionality.

Can be made smart by adding an My Energi Hub to monitor charging.

Shared use  Would need the eoGenius and eoHUB to automatically differentiate charging between different users. There is no facility for automated reimbursement by the employer for employee home use. Separate RFID cards can be used for different users, thus separating use by different individuals and also home / work use.  Distinguishing between one user and another, or home and work use, can only be achieved by 'manual' recording of session data.  
Payment options (e.g. for employer reimbursement) eoGenius chargers are monitored via eoCloud, which currently captures usage time. The addition of an MID approved kWh meter will be possible from Q2 2018.  Settlement and invoicing is automated using the payment gateway Stripe. Automated settlement / reimbursement is available with HomeLine, via the subscription service BackOffice. This also offers configurable rates and charging times. No automated payment platform available, although the EV HomeSmart WallPod can relay kWh usage for manual billing.  

Data logging will capture usage, but there is no payment platform available.

 

Remote stop/start  Available with the JuiceNet app for the eo Mini Pro Available with Elvi via the Hey App. Available with the EV HomeSmart WallPod.   
Economy boost   For the eo Mini Pro, charging can be scheduled for off-peak electricity times. Not offered by the chargepoint. Usually available via the car itself.  There is an Economy Boost option incorporating a time clock and boost button system which allows the charging of the EV to automatically commence during off-peak electricity times/rates.  Note that you can't have Economy Boost and EV HomeSmart.  Different charging behaviour can be programmed at different times of day, with economy boost function available to supplement excess solar PV.
Access / access restriction Key lock available.

Start and stop Elvi with charge card, key fob or remotely via Hey APP. HomeLine requires key fob or charge card. 

There is a 'dumb' AutoStart version of HomeLine which has no access restriction.

Electrical key switch control. Can be locked using a pin code.
Warranty 3 years 3 years, extension to 5 years available  Standard is 1 year, unless installed under OLEV scheme, in which case 3 years. 3 years 
Future proofing Start with a 'dumb' eoGenius charger, and upgrade with the eoHUB and software access if required.  In future the software will enable integration of solar, battery storage and EV charging with the 'smart-grid'.  No easy 'dumb' charger upgrade in line with EO's offering. If you want to upgrade an EVBox charger, you will need an engineer to visit to install communications within the charger itself.    
Qualifies for OLEV grant

Yes:

eo Mini Pro, eoGenius

 Yes

Yes:

Wallpod HomeSmart

Yes

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We are happy to provide comparative quotes for more than one type of charger. We can also assist in deciding which charger is right for you. Please call us on 0118 951 4490, email us at info@spiritenergy.co.uk for more information.