We now agree that the future of the car is electric. However, there is still a great deal of ignorance about the practical issues involved in switching to an electric vehicle. For example, a traditional refuelling process is no longer an issue with electric cars. If you want to drive electrically, you will need to plug your car into a charging point. That charging can also happen perfectly at home – while you sleep, for example. But what should you take into account if you are having a charging station installed? In this blog we will answer the most frequently asked questions about the installation of a home charging point and list the most important points for consideration.
What power can you charge an electric car at home?
Normally, you can always charge your electric car at 7.4 kW. Although most cars can also charge semi-fast (at 11 or 22 kW) or fast (at 43 kW). When charging at home, 7.4 kW and semi-fast charging are the most common options. Be sure to ask the car salesman at what power you can charge your electric car.
What kind of charging stations can you choose from?
When you choose a charging station, you have several options. For example, a charging station can not only charge, but also record your consumption and pass it on to your employer. Be sure to discuss the following options with the installer of your home charging point:
- Safe and (semi-)fast charging: if you choose this option, the charging station only needs to convert the power from your home network. This makes the charging session completely safe and also faster.
- Safe (semi-)fast charging and recording the consumption and forwarding it to a ChargePointOperator: do you have a company car and does your employer pay for the charging of your car? Then this type of charging station is probably a good choice. Of course, this option is also completely safe and fast.
- Safe (semi-)fast charging, recording and forwarding the consumption to a ChargePointOperator and balancing the power consumption for charging the vehicle with the rest of the home consumption (load balancing): this solution is the most advanced. As with the other two options, you can charge quickly and safely at home, although you need a digital meter or an extra module in your charging station for this type of charging station.
To determine which charging station is best to install, you must look at two things: you must consider the technical capacity of your car and the technical capacity of your electricity network. We will tell you more about the latter below.
Which connection does your own network need?
Your domestic network can be connected to a 1-phase network or a 3-phase network (also called a multi-phase network). If you want to charge semi-fast, you will need a 400-volt 3-phase network. You may therefore have to invest in a 3-phase connection to install a semi-fast charging station. The charging station installer will check whether such an increase in your network is necessary. If it needs to be increased, contact your network administrator; they can arrange that.
How do you identify your connection?
The difference between the two connections is easy to distinguish. With a 1-phase connection you will see two cables coming out of the meter box. In the meter box you will see one double fuse. With a 3-phase connection there are four cables and two double fuses in the meter box.
The table below gives you a brief overview of the possible power at which a charging station can work, the charging time and the power you need. The data in the table is based on an electric vehicle with a battery capacity of approximately 60 kW. Vehicles with such battery capacity include the Volkswagen ID3 Pro Performance (58 kWh), the Renault Megane e-Tech (60 kWh) and the Polestar 2 Standard Single Motor (61 kWh).
How do you calculate the charging time of an electric car?
We talked about the charging capacity of your electric car, the types of charging stations and the different electric networks. But you are probably mainly interested in the charging time of your electric car. To find out, you need to consider all the aspects discussed above. Calculate the charging time of your car in two steps:
- First you need to calculate the power of your charging station. To do so, multiply the voltage (expressed in volts) by the current (expressed in amperes). The result is a value expressed in watts. For example:
- Power: 230 V x 16 A = 3680 W
- 3860 W/1000 = 3.68 kW (rounded 3.7 kW)
- Then divide the capacity of your car’s battery (in kWh) by the power of your charging station (in kWh). For example:
- A BMW iX3 has a battery capacity of 74 kWh.
- So with a 3.7 kWh charging station, it takes 74/3.7 or 20 hours to charge an iX 3. If you were to use a 22 kWh charging station, it would take 3 and a half hours.
What are the most important questions to ask yourself when you have a charging station installed?
There are two important questions if you want to have a home charging station installed. Firstly, you should definitely ask the car salesman what power your electric car can charge. Finally, ask the charging station installer what power your home charging installation can use. The network manager will also tell you whether your installation should and/or can be increased.
Do you have any questions about electric cars and electric driving? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our experts.