Okay so a little while ago I arranged to have a home charger installed by Chargemaster. This is done under a government scheme called OLEV. To cut a long story short the government wants to lower the country’s CO2 emissions so is willing to pay companies to install electric vehicle equipment. If you currently want a 16amp charger its free and via chargemaster a 32amp charger costs just £95. The government pick up the tab for the remaining £900!
On the first visit installation was not possible as my consumer unit did not have any free slots. So I got an electrician friend, to install a secondary consumer unit, as can be seen below.
This meant I had some spare ports for the wiring to the charger. So Dan from Chargemaster was able to make a return visit this week to finish the job.
As you can see from the photos this involved placing the charger in the garage on the wall, then drilling some holes through the substantial end wall of the house for the cable. This runs to the consumer unit, via the outside wall and the hallway where it sits in some chunky trunking.
The job was completed without any drama and only took 2 hours. Dan was very helpful and professional. I filled in some paperwork for the government grant, they need to ascertain if you have an electric vehicle and that you are happy for them to get usage stats via the charger (which has its own sim-card and internet connection) and paid the £95 over the phone.
Everything worked fine, and now I can charge the car in 4-5 hours from empty or, more normally in 2-3 hours from half-empty/full. This is a step up compared to using the Nissan-supplied charger which plugs into a standard wall socket which takes 8-10 hours from empty as it only draws 10 amps.
However I wouldn’t say I ever found this to be too slow as I only do one journey each day to work and back, and I have a second car which I am more likely to take if I am making a short trip extra to this journey, as its not in the garage, needs using and is easier with the baby in tow. However there is supposed to be a safety benefit to having a wall charger, in that the plug-in-charger (as shown above) which use 10 amps does so continuously for 8+ hours which is potentially capable of heating up the cables and pins in your home wiring and causing a fire. I have seen, via a forum, one example of an extension lead where the plug melted.
I opted for a type 2 socket on the charger which allows me to connect almost any electric vehicle, so future proofing myself. However you do need to buy a cable, which is also useful for some public chargers and can be sold if you change vehicle later.
My Nissan Leaf has a built in 3.3kW charger so it can draw 16 amps. The newer leaf can fully utilise this new wall-charger and draw 6.6kW or 32 amps.
The only issue occurred the next evening when I connected the car and got a red error light on the charger – it seems you need to insert the cable at the charger-end first then the car, not the other way around and it is also recommended to unplug the cable from the charger after charging.
In hindsight I would have asked them to locate the charger somewhere else as the plug at the charger end sticks out a fair way making it hard to squeeze past the car when it is in the garage but nothing’s perfect.
I took this image of my home energy meter this morning in the wee-hours, when economy7 began and it shows £13300 annual electricity bill at that moment as my night storage heaters, water tank, car and dishwasher were all running. This should be much less frightening in the summer, and my average energy usage should not annualise out to £13,000, I hope!