Your EV starter kit
Thinking of buying an electric car but wondering what you need ahead of taking the plunge? We answer your questions…
Electric vehicles are becoming ever more popular. The RAC estimates that there are around 239,000 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVS) on UK roads as of April 2021 – with over 100,000 of them registered in 2020 alone. In addition, there are 259,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and 629,000 conventional hybrids 1. If you’re thinking of buying an electric car, here are the basics to consider before getting started.
1. Do I need an EV charger at home?
There are plenty of public charge points - over 40,000 2 - and your workplace may offer EV charge points too, so an EV charger may not be essential at home. But, it’s definitely the most hassle-free way to charge. Hybrid cars don’t need to be plugged in to recharge, but BEVs and PHEVs do.
2. Is it expensive or difficult to install a charger at home?
Hive EV charging starts from £1149, and you may be eligible for a government grant of up to £350 if you live in a rental property or own a flat. You’ll need to use an authorised installer, so it’s a job best left to the professionals.
Standard installation of Hive EV charging is done by an expert British Gas engineer and takes about two and a half hours. And with Hive EV charging, we take care of everything too, from the initial virtual survey to installation and grant paperwork.
3. Do I need to buy EV charging cables?
Most cars will come with an EV charging cable that you can plug in to a standard 3-pin socket, although charging your car this way is much slower than using a dedicated EV charger. When you have an EV charger installed at home, you can choose between a tethered or untethered EV charging cable.
Tethered EV charging cables have a power cable permanently attached, which makes it convenient for charging at home as you can just pull up and plug in. Untethered EV charging cables give you the flexibility to swap out the lead, which means you’ll need to retrieve it from the boot every time you want to charge up.
You can choose the length of your EV charging cable too, which is a balance between having one with a long enough reach while not being too bulky to store in your boot. With Hive EV chargers, the tethered EV charging cable options are 5m and 8m, while the untethered ones can be purchased separately at either 5m or 10m.
4. What kind of charger do I need?
Type 1 plugs are usually found on older cars and EVs built in Asia, while almost all EVs sold in the UK nowadays come with a Type 2 connector – the one you need will depend on your car. Hive EV chargers offer both options.
Chargers are available in different speeds, and one of the most common for home charging is 7.4kW. You could go for a slower one, such as 3.6kW, to save some money but this will take longer to charge your car. It’s possible to have even faster chargers, up to 22kW, but these require a three-phase network whereas most UK homes have a single-phase connection, and not all cars are capable of charging at the higher rate.
You can also choose whether to go for a smart charger or not, but only those with smart functionality are eligible for the government grant. Smart chargers allow you to monitor your car’s charging remotely and can allow you to choose exactly when your car charges – for example, overnight when the tariff is cheaper. With Hive EV Charging you can set schedules, charge when it’s cheaper and power your EV sustainably, all with a tap of the Hive app.
Sounds complicated? Hive EV charging is your one-stop shop that looks after everything – no hassle, no headaches. You’ll get expert installation of the 7.4kW Alfen Eve Single S-line charger by a friendly British Gas engineer. We’ll take care of all the paperwork, and provide a 3-year warranty on both the charger and installation.
5. Do I need to buy an EV battery separately?
The battery in a new EV should last for at least 10 years 3, so if you’re buying new you won’t need to worry about electric car battery replacement for a long time. With a used car, you might need to replace the EV battery depending on how long is left on its warranty. You can either buy a replacement EV battery outright, or lease one.