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Whether you run a business and want to convert your fleet to all-electric delivery vehicles, for example, or you’re a homeowner looking to install an EV charger on your driveway to charge your plug-in hybrid overnight. If you want to, you’ll need the right kit. Not all EV charging installations are future proof for the next generation of electric vehicles and not all installers think ahead to ensure that equipment is located in the best locations. Read on to learn what to expect if you opt for a professional installation and why it pays to turn to experienced EV installers.
Site Survey and Suitability
To begin with, many commercial sites require an installer to survey them before customizing the installation. Otherwise, you may end up with your EV chargers being mis-located where they cause pinch points and access issues. A survey will also help the installation company assess what types of EV chargers would be best suited for the site.
In fairness, in many home situations, surveys will not be required unless there are site-specific access issues. If you have a driveway or garage on your property, this step can often be bypassed. However, your installer should check your electrical distribution board before proceeding. A photo is usually enough, but if they don’t ask for one, they may not be as professional or experienced as they seem.
ordering the right equipment
Installation of any professional EV charger should not proceed without the appropriate tools. As mentioned, you want units that can charge your current all-electric or hybrid, but also be compatible with new models when they hit the market. EV manufacturers such as Easee, Hydra and Sevadis are fairly common and well established in the UK market today, but there are other options worth exploring. Make sure your installer is familiar with all the major brands. Asking them to supply you with your charger can also be a good move, as they can sometimes offer favorable rates.
Also, make sure that the EV charger you are ordering offers dynamic loading. This will help if you want to get the best out of the unit while charging. This can be especially useful if you’re using it to charge more than one electric vehicle or if you need to max out your charger for the fastest charge-up possible. While 7kW units are often suited for home installations, commercial properties may be better off spending a bit more to get a more powerful 22kW charger instead.
Wallbox and Floor-Standing Chargers
Regardless of which installer or manufacturer you choose for your EV charger, there are two main types of units to choose from. Floor-standing chargers can be located just about anywhere because they are self-supporting. These are ideal for car parks and commercial establishments where you will be charging people for using your charger. Typically, they can be sited in the middle of four parking bays so that they can be accessed from all sides. Watch out, however, for additional installation costs associated with protective bumpers and surrounds.
If you choose the Wallbox charger, obviously you’ll need a wall nearby where the unit can be mounted. However, not all Wallbox chargers look alike. Some can be very utilitarian in their appearance and resemble the kind of thing you’d expect to see in the forecourt of a garage. If you want a unit that blends in with your home’s architecture, be prepared to shop around before you get your wallbox fitted for you.
Armored Cable & Electrical Works
If you already have a power outlet where the EV charger will be installed, there may not be any additional work that is needed. If not, your installer may have to run a power cable from your distribution board or fuse box to the EV charger. Given that these units carry a higher load than the average lighting ring, you will need to account for the additional cost of armored cable or outdoor trunking if the installation must be secure and weatherproof. Armored cables can usually be disguised or even underground if the sight of them distracts you.
Performance and Warranty
For the installation of an EV charger to be truly complete, it must be demonstrated to you by the company that fitted it. According to Go Electrics, one of the most experienced installation firms operating in Essex and London these days, demonstrating how EV chargers work is important from a safety perspective. Of course, any electrical work that is carried out to your home or business premises should only be carried out by a NICEIC accredited electrician.
Also, ask to have your installation inspected objectively by a qualified electrician who did not install it for you. Only truly professional installation companies will offer this service, something that is vital for complete peace of mind after installation sign-off. After all, you don’t want to find out after several months of using your EV charger that there is a defect that isn’t covered by the manufacturer’s warranty because something was wrong with the initial installation. Note that 12-month warranties are standard but some manufacturers offer longer guarantee periods.
Lastly, you should expect some government support for EV charger installation in your home. Ask your chosen installer about accessing the OZEV grant scheme, which means hundreds of pounds – thousands in the case of commercial installations – could be wiped off your final bill. The government encourages people to install charging equipment by paying part of the cost. However, it can be awkward to fill out application forms that are a bit technical. Find an installer who can guide you through the process or better still do it for you. This way, you will stand a better chance of getting the full prize that you are entitled to claim.
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