What you should know about charging your electric car at home

charging your electric car

What you should know about charging your electric car at home. Although I have written a previous article on charging cars at home now that the Spanish Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Mrs Reyes Maroto last week, has put down as deadline for the full establishment of electric cars establishing the year 2040 as a “prudent” goal that can be achieved and hence forbidding all combustion on that year, I think it would be a good idea to go again over the ins and out of having a charging point at home.


What you should know about charging your electric car at home


As a recap, on the the 14th of November speaking to the media in the Congress, Maroto has stressed that the Executive’s proposal on the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition is a draft, a “working document” that is being analysed pointing out however that in any case is “an urgent matter”.

Maroto also pointed out that other countries such as France and the United Kingdom have marked the same goal of 2040 and that Germany, with great weight in the car industry, has a more ambitious horizon, 2032. The Netherlands, for its part, has set the year 2025 as its limit.

So sooner or later it seems that the future is electric, my friends. Therefore, here are some facts that may throw some light on the subject.


First thing first

Recharging your vehicle at home is a great advantage of the electric cars, both for convenience, for the environment and of course cost.

Electric cars can be charged in any socket that has certain technical characteristics (starting with earthing), but there are some small considerations to consider. The faster we want the load to be, the more we have to go into technical matters.

If we have a detached house with a private garage, we will surely have a 10-amp outlet, which would give a maximum of 2.3 kW of power. Before continuing, it is worth remembering a basic formula regarding electricity:

P = I x V, or power is equal to the product of the current (in amps) by the voltage

For example, with 16 amps and 230 volts we get 3,680 watts, or 3.68 kilowatts (kW). The speed at which an electric car is charged depends on the load power, and this in turn of the intensity, since the voltage is “constant”.

If you have a power of 3.68 kW, it means that every hour you can recharge a little less than 3.68 kWh, since there are small losses to be considered in the process. For every full hour, multiply by 10 hours we will have loaded something less than 36.8 kWh. Ok so far?

Electric cars can have either a small charger for occasional use, or a specific connector for charging points designed for that purpose. In some cases, the occasional charger is sold separately and is not included in the equipment.


What you should know about charging your electric car at home


The Usual socket versus the rapid charging point

The occasional charger is not as fast as the specific charger, and it can work really slowly. For example, if it works at 6 amps, we would need 12 hours to reach 16 kWh. If we talk about the Nissan Leaf with the largest batteries (30 kWh), in those 12 hours we would not recharge even half, but would provide us sufficient for something more than 100 kilometres of autonomy.

The ideal is to have a specific recharge point, with 16 amps and 3.68 kW of power

Depending on the installation, there will be some modifications to the electrical circuit. The thickness of the cables, for example, is a factor to be taken into account. The regulation that regulates all this is called TC-BT-52, from the Spanish Low Voltage Electrotechnical Regulation, approved last year. All installations must be carried out by qualified personnel, it is not something that one can do by going a couple of afternoons to IKEA.

Rapid recharging points and superchargers have not been designed for home users because of their high cost. Its purpose is to solve specific mobility problems, they are not for regular and continuous use.

As I have mentioned in previous articles on electric cars, we can install a recharging point in a communal garage, informing in writing the president of the community, as defined by Law 19/2009, of measures to promote and streamline the rental and energy efficiency of buildings. In the case of needing a secondary meter, the approval of the community of owners is also necessary.

Depending on the case of each, a separate meter will be installed (sometimes with a second contract) or a line will be derived from the main meter to the user. It is advisable to consult with a qualified electrician, because this type of facilities can only be done by them. The cost depends on what needs to be done in each case.

In no case the community of neighbours will assume these costs so all expenses will be on us.

What you should know about charging your electric car at home

In my previous article on charging cars at home we analysed the minimum electric power to have contracted with your local electric company. We also looked at the different types of sockets to have and the procedures to follow if you live in a community of owners.


What you should know about charging your electric car at home


In this article we will go one step forward and will examine the best tariffs to have and the differences of charging the car at home compare to public charging points.


Cost of recharging the car.By other way, it is necessary to consider the cost of the recharge point itself, depending on its power, safety measures and types of connectors. The most basic have a Schuko connector (the one used for electric ovens etc in any home), others have European Mennekes connector (or type 2) and others the Yazaki (or type 1). As a quick guide the prices will be between 500 and 1,500 euros….a big difference so check beforehand.


Contract costs and electricity.

Few people have read in depth the electricity bill, and it is convenient to do so. The most advantageous rate is the lowest rate of 3.45 kW with time discrimination, you will pay every kWh of consumption to 0.067189 euros. Each kilowatt of available power costs 3,503,605 euros. For 3.45 kW of power, so you would pay a fix rate of 12.09 euros per month, consumption and electric taxes go separately. That is the fixed term contract.

However, with this power you cannot recharge at 16 amps, the fuses would trigger off when exceed the 3.45 kW.

Therefore, to charge 16 amps requires more power contracted. A single-family home usually has more power; 16 amps are not a problem.

An electric car consumes about 12-14 kWh per 100 km

Without the hourly discrimination type of contract, the 30 kWh of a Nissan Leaf could recharge with 3.82 euros, without considering losses. With nightly rate it would go down to 2 euros.

Returning to the example of 10 amps, to get energy to do 100 kilometres, on average (13 kWh), I would need about six hours and it would cost me 0.87 euros. Without time discrimination, it would not reach 2 euros. That cost is unattainable for any car with a thermal engine, even if it uses gas.

Hence the importance of seeing the bill, to give an estimate of how much it would cost to recharge. If a second contract is needed, the fixed term or the contracted power would have to be paid separately.

Seen the seen, one understands that it is not viable to place a quick recharge point at home (requires 40 kW of power) unless you have a very healthy current account. It would be 140 euros per month only of contracted power, even if the car was not loaded even once.


What you should know about charging your electric car at home

New possibilities: customized plans from electric companies.

Custom plans have emerged from the popularization of the electric car. Through them, the electric companies offer different possibilities to charge our electric cars at home. Generally, these plans have especially advantageous conditions during the night hours and can also be associated with the cost of installing the recharge equipment to a monthly fee.

Without going any further, as of October 18, 2018, the electric distributor Iberdrola offers an “Electric Vehicle Plan” which ensures that recharging during the hours promoted (from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.) can be have 100 kilometres for 50 cents (slightly more than 60 cents taxes included). This plan can be complemented with the “Smart Mobility” solution, which includes the installation of the recharging point as well as the possibility of controlling all the recharges from your mobile.

For its part, Endesa offers its “Integral Recharge Electric Vehicle Solution” that includes installation, maintenance, warranty and payment facilities. In addition, there is the possibility of combining this solution with the “Tempo Rate” through which you can recharge up to 200 kWh bimonthly to a cost of zero euros in the term of energy.

Many times, this type of offers imply very advantageous conditions in the night hours in which the electric car is recharged, but they are more expensive in the rest of the hours of the day.

In any case, before contracting an offer of this type it is important to analyse it well and to take account to know what is best for you. Some people prefer a tailored plan where they take care of everything (installation of the equipment, maintenance, have a mobile app for managing the recharge …) and there are those who prefer to get involved more, install the recharge point on their own and then hire electricity from a company in the market. Our recommendation is always to take the time to think it over and study the possibilities.


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