How do I get a charge point installed? What do they cost?
If you’re thinking you can get by with just the three-pin plug socket which you usually use for the lawnmower and Christmas lights, forget it. Unless you have a tiny electric car like a Renault Twizy, the small amount of electricity you can get through a conventional plug is just not going to be practical for a car you need to use every day. A Tesla Model X for example would take nearly two solid days to completely charge from a so-called “granny charger”. They’re useful in an emergency or if you are going to stay somewhere overnight (on holiday or visiting relatives for example) but you won’t be wanting to use it every day.
So, you’re going to need to get a dedicated charge point installed at your house. Besides being safer and faster, most of the points have tethered cables, which means they’re permanently attached to the charger, so you don’t need to fish them out of your boot every time you want to plug in.
Getting a point installed should be fairly painless, depending on where you want it screwed to your house. If you are buying the car from a dealer, they’ll be able to help guide you through the process, which is normally just handed over to a company such as PodPoint.
The good news is that the government (and sometimes the car maker too) will throw some money into the pot to help with your installation as part of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant. In Scotland there’s even more cash available, with an additional £300 up for grabs from the Energy Savings Trust Scotland.
There are a few requirements and regulations around it, but if you have a relatively modern house and an easy-to-access location, you could (should) get the charge point for free. You might be offered an upgrade to a faster charger too, which might be worth it if you have a car which is capable of taking it or want to make your point ‘future proof’.
Bear in mind though that the installer won’t be happy if you have old wiring, an antique fuse board or want to install the point somewhere unusual. They will happily spend a few hours at it but are not going to tunnel under your ornamental pond and block paved driveway to run a cable. If you think you might need a bit more work, it might be best to get your own electrician to do the basic preparation and upgrades and call the installer in last.
If you’re in rented accommodation or a communal car park, you’re going to have to make some calls to ask permission for the work too. Most landlords and management companies will have had some experience of this by now, but don’t expect your neighbours to pay for your car charging from a communal electricity bill.
It sounds like hassle, but you’ll only need to do it once and then you have your very own filling station on your driveway.
Your very own filling station on your drive. As long as you don't have an ornamental pond in the way.