You are going to buy an electric car. You’ve even tried several models and you love the immediate response when you step on the accelerator and the way that that little spaceship sound. Good bye gas stations, drive around the city centre, park for free and pollute much less. You want an electric car and that is it.
Obviously, according to your economic possibilities, you can choose between electric cars with more autonomy, among the fastest electric cars, or among the cheapest electric cars. Perfect, but before that, do not forget that you may need to install a charging point for your new car.
Where can you recharge an electric car?
The owners of a Tesla electric car enjoy something that for now others cannot have: a super-fast charging network of its own at 120 kW of power (and up to 145 kW).
Right now there is a great disparity between the autonomy of some electric cars and others. The oldest, and generally cheaper, tend to have less autonomy, and conversely: the more modern tend to be more expensive (but not always) and have more autonomy. Depending on the autonomy of the car, and your way of using the car, you could consider one way or another of recharging.
In an electric car with very little autonomy you will have to reload the battery every day. On the other hand, with a great autonomy, you could consider reloading every several days, and even not doing it at home. The choice is yours.
Speaking of figures of average autonomy, and according to the new cycle of harmonized homologation WLTP, something more realistic than the obsolete cycle of homologation European NEDC, we travel approximately between 100 km and more than 500 km, depending on the car (in the first case by example a Peugeot iOn, in the second case for example a Tesla Model S).
Recharge at your own recharging point
In Spain there are not as many public recharging points as some say: so think about having your own recharging point, it may be very useful if you don’t want to be stranded more often than you had anticipated.
Basically there are three possible options:
- The most recommended and comfortable one: you get home, you park the car, you plug it in and while you do not use it, normally at night, when there is less electricity demand in the electrical system, it is recharged quietly at low power, taking care of the battery. It is also the cheapest if you use the night tariff. Of course for this you need to have a parking space (and certainly not everyone today has one).
- Recharge at a “borrowed” recharging point: Some people are lucky enough to be able to use a normal speed charging point in the parking lot of their workplace, and almost always it is also free. In general, 8 hours of the working day are enough to recharge the battery. In shopping malls, we can also find “borrowed” charging points, but you may not have enough time to fully recharge the battery if the recharge power is low (and is usually the most common).
- Recharge at public charging stations: There are recharging stations of normal speed (ie slow), and others of semi-fast speed (about 20-22 kW of power), fast (about 50 kW) and even super-fast (about 120 kW).
Speaking of fast recharge, in general in about half an hour or an hour you could have recharged the battery almost completely. However, except with a Tesla and its network of superchargers, recharging at these stations is much more expensive than recharging at home. It is also not advisable to abuse fast recharges, since the high power system subjects the cells to a higher temperature, and this accelerates the degradation and premature loss of load capacity.
Are there any aids to install an electric vehicle charging point?
Yes, there are, but from time to time, and they are also conditioned. The latest aid plans for the purchase of electric vehicles from the central State (MOVEA Plan and MOVALT Plan), forced the point of sale adhering to the plan to pay up to 1,210 euros (1,000 euros + VAT) from a recharging point, to the buyer of an electric vehicle that would have accepted the aid.
The problem is that the funds for these grants are used up very quickly the last two years. In 2018 there will be a new aid plan, but almost certainly it will exhaust again very quickly (and when we say very fast, we say fast, in just 24 hours, so be careful).
The car dealer adhered to the state aid plan will pay you up to 1,210 euros from the recharging point for the electric car that you buy.
In some Autonomous Communities there are other own aid plans to install recharging points. They can be direct as in Catalonia, or they can be via deductions in the annual IRPF declaration as in Navarre. Beware, because the central government’s aid is not always compatible with other regional or local aid, inform yourself well.
In spite of all this, keep in mind that it is not strange that the different car manufacturers, as a promotional strategy, usually “give away” the charging point for the car, or make an equivalent discount (look carefully at the fine print of the advertisements).
How much does an electric car charge point cost?
Well, it depends. If you are going to buy it, the price can range between approximately 700 euros to about 1,500 euros. It hinges on several factors.
- Thetypeof wall power base, or wall-box that you choose. It can be just a normal brand of electrical power base and that is it, or a design of your car manufacturer. You can have one protected by key or by RFID card (so that nobody uses the base but you). It can include one or several recharge sockets. It can include a recharging hose. It may also include a timer, or a consumption meter, etc.
- Thelengthof the wiring that is necessary to reach the recharging point from the main fuse box. The more meters, the more expensive.
- Amount ofworkmanshiprequired from the electrician. If the installation is more complex (for example if it has to get to a basement from the ground floor), more hours of work required by the electrician the more expensive will result.
In general, you will not be far out if you calculate that you will have to spend up to 1,500 euros to have your own recharging point in your garage.
Do not forget that the installation must comply at all times with the mandatory technical regulations that affect it: In Spain is the Low Voltage Electro-Technical Regulations, and in particular the Complementary Technical Instruction number 52. When you install the wall-box remembers to obtain from the electrician the bulletin, or certificate of installation according to standard.
Where to ask to install a recharging point
Not all electricians may be apt for the job. As in so many things, it is always more advisable to go to one that has some experience in these businesses.
You may deal with it directly yourself and hire the installer that most convinces you. You should know that there are some companies (well, few really) that have specialized in the sale and installation of charging points for electric vehicles. If you get in touch with them they will know exactly what to do.
Apart from companies specializing in the sale and installation of charging points for electric vehicles, you can also contact a charging manager, who can not only sell and install the recharging point, but also electricity, instead of your normal electric company.
In some cars dealerships, can advise you about the installation of the charging point
Keep in mind that some car dealerships can advise you, and either manage it themselves, or refer you to a trusted installer and experience. I do strongly recommend this later approach as it could save you from a lot of unnecessary problem because this is a relatively new business. You could also ask the company that sells you the electricity.
What to do if you do not own your parking space?
All the above information on charging point for an electric car is fine if you own a garage or parking lot, but, what if you do not own one? Well, in this case the task becomes a bit more difficult, but not impossible.
Unfortunately, if you park on the street, forget to install a recharging point for your electric car, obviously. You will have to see if any of the other recharge options that we discussed on my first article can be of help (if not, I would suggest you discard having an electric car for now).
If you have rented a parking space, then you should try to talk to the owner. There are several alternatives that you may propose:
- Bare yourself all the cost, this option is a bit unwise, unless you have the certainty that you will be letting that parking lot for many years.
- That the owner pays the full cost as one more paraphernalia of the parking lots. if you leave the parking space, there will be the recharging point, the wiring and everything else for the owner of the car park, but it will be useful for the next person who wants to rent it. As a “special” place, the owner could advertise that extra feature, and even charge a little more in the monthly fee (similar to rent an apartment with a lift or air conditioning) the price would be a little higher.
- If the owner is not up for the task, you can try to negotiate a half-price option: the owner pays for the wiring installation, and you for the wall-box. The day you leave that parking space you disconnect the wall-box, unscrew it and take it wherever you go, all the wiring would form part of the car park.