Installing electric vehicle charging

If you are considering making the move to an electric vehicle, the good news is that most vehicles can charge from your standard home power socket.  But we have a few pointers to help ensure you get the best solution for your home:


At your home

There are a few things to consider if you plan to charge your car from home.  What type of charger does your vehicle require?  How fast do you need to be able to charge you car? 

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, there can be different charging options available to you.

Two Charging Technologies - AC & DC

The two technologies for electric vehicles charging are AC and DC charging. 

All electric vehicles can be charged by connecting directly to a normal domestic socket, using Alternating Current (AC) power – the same as in your home, or a similar industrial style AC socket. 

Direct Current (DC) charging is available from public charging stations.  It feeds the battery directly, and is suited to providing a fast top-up (typically 20-30 minutes). 

DC charging technology is what you will usually find at a public charging station, like a Unison Power Park, or at a business with a fleet of electric cars. Not all vehicles can charge at a faster rate by using a DC (direct current) fast charger.

Difference in charging speeds for AC and DC technologies

Type
Charge Time
Power Rating
AC
8-10 hours
2 – 7 kW 
(some 22kW)
DC
20-30 minutes
25 – 50 kW 
(some as high as 120kW)

The actual time taken to charge a vehicle battery will depend on number of things:

  • The capacity of your electric vehicle’s battery
  • The current state-of-charge of your battery
  • The capacity of the charging supply point
  • The power rating of  the  AC/DC converter  your EV has (for AC charging)

Plug Types
Most electric vehicles come with two plug types – a portable charger that allows you to charge using a standard three-pin plug (Type 1), and a charging lead designed to be used with an electric vehicle charging point.

A standard domestic plug will generally suit most owners, who have their car parked in the garage overnight.

A full charge using a standard, three-pin plug in your home will take approximately 8-10 hours to get around 100km of driving range, whereas an AC fast-charging set up (using a suitably rated connection circuit and heavy-duty plug) could take just an hour or two.

If you need to have a fast-charge option at your home, you will need higher rated circuits and connections installed by an electrician. 

AC Charging Circuit Types

10 amp (3-pin plug)
2.4 kW
16 amp*
3.7 kW
32 amp*
7.4 kW
16 amp 3 Phase*
11 kW
32 amp 3 Phase*  22 kW 

*You will need to get your electrician to install outlets 16 amps and above, and they may determine you will need your supply upgraded by Unison to support charging above 16amps, as a standard home runs on 60 amp supply providing 15 kW.

Not all vehicles are compatible with 3 Phase charging, so check with your vehicle dealer or hand book before spending on an upgrade!

For fast, Direct Current (DC) charging there are two different international plug standards, one from Europe, the other from Japan (the technical names being CCS and CHAdeMO). 

Tesla vehicles have their own charging system (unique plug and charging management system), but do offer adaptors to enable use of the DC fast charging (CHAdeMO) system.


Charge your car at a discounted rate

Electric vehicles are well suited to off-peak charging (usually overnight), enabling owners to take advantage of lower priced electricity supply periods.

If you plan on charging your car at night, this could reduce your operating costs even further.

Unison offers pricing options such as ‘Controlled’ or ‘Night Only’ price categories that are complemented by additional electric vehicle-specific packages by some retailers.  To use these options, you may need to get a separate metered supply installed, which can be done via your electrician.


At your business

If you are considering installing an electric vehicle charging station at your business, multi-tenant building or customer/staff car parking area, or are looking to move to commercial electric vehicle fleets, you will need to consider the future impact on your site's electrical capacity. Unison can design and supply a suitable electric vehicle charging solution to meet your current and future electric vehicle charging needs.

Need to know more about installing charging stations at your business? Call us on 0800 2 UNISON.