Electric cars are becoming more and more popular every day. Up to the end of July, almost 130,000 new EVs have been sold this year, which is a 50% increase on the first seven months last year.
But the reality remains that an electric vehicle is a far more viable option if you’re able to charge it off-street at home, rather than relying on the public chaging network. The electricity is much cheaper and you can charge your car while you sleep, rather than having to sit around waiting for your car to chrge while you’re out and about.
The same, of course, applies to plug-in hybrids since their smaller batteries are more likely to require charging every day if you want to get the maximum benefit from them.
And if you’re charging at home, you realy need a wallbox rather than relying on a standard three-pin plug socket. While you can charge your car this way, it’s slower and more hazardous if your home’s wiring isn’t up to scratch. A wallbox is pretty much a must-have.
Inevitably, even relatively early on in the current EV revolution, there are already many suppliers offering home charging solutions and it can be a task trying to decide which one is best for you.
For most households, a 7kW wallbox is sufficient since that’s all your home electricity installation is likely to be able to supply. If you’re lucky enough to have three-phase power, you can probably get a 22kW wallbox which will charge your car significantly faster.
Here The Car Expert looks at some of the best websites offering advice and equipment for drivers looking to charge up at home. We have listed them in alphabetical order for simplicity, as well as one to avoid.
Best websites for buying an EV home charger in 2022
They say: Small. Smart. Full of power.
Established in Norway in 2018, Easee’s mission is to create the world’s smartest EV charger. It’s UK office is based in Glasgow.
The landing page tells you about the company’s ‘Charging Robot’ which it says will take the place of a power grid in the future and act like an electricity valve, distributing power more efficiently and using existing capacity where possible. The page gives three options: home charging, apartment blocks and commercial buildings.
The company has developed Easee One, a 7kW charger specifically for the UK domestic market. It claims to offer more power, smarter control and higher security, and it automatically works out what power your car requires.
There’s an app to help you control the charger and set up charging sessions, and other features are explained such as charging three connected cars at the same time with the technology distributing the power automatically between the vehicles. A Q&A section deals with other queries and an accessories page offers cables, an aluminium post for several chargers and a U-hook to keep your cable in place.
No prices are given but there is a ‘Quote’ button in which you complete your details and an estimate is sent to you. The site also includes advice about claiming for government grants (mostly for people living in apartment buildings, rather than having their own private space for off-street charging).
They say: Say hello to hassle-free charging
Egg began its journey ten years ago when it set about making life easier for people to get the most out of the sun and solar power. The company makes and installs solar panels for homes, but it also provides home charging options for EV owners.
It all sounds very easy as you land on the Egg page. Simply sign up to the Egg EV charger plan online, request a socket-only charger or one with a cable attached, and Egg asks where you want to install it. Pick an install date, up to a year in advance, and they take care of the rest.
For £38 a month (£35 for the charger lease and £3 for the Egg Plus plan) you get an EV charger installed, a management system to look after it and a charging app. It’s a three-year deal and if anything goes wrong with the charger during that time, Egg promises to repair or replace it. When the original three-year loan period ends, you get to keep the charger and can continue with the £3 a month plan to keep the equipment covered against damage or failure.
The site explains in full how the app works, all about the repair or replace guarantee, the way in which equipment is installed and offers a way to spread the cost of the charger over three years.
They say: The home charging station to kick-start your journey
EVBox has been offering charging solutions since 2010 – initially mainly to businesses. But use the drop down menu on its website and go to ‘home charging’ and there’s a good page there explaining what it does and how it does it.
The site is centred around sustainability and with that comes encouragement to charge your vehicle via your smartphone or by scheduling charges at certain times of the day, and most commonly at course, at night.
The various levels and speeds of charging are explained quite well: there are examples of how many miles a certain level (ie Level 1) charging station will get you per hour. Broad costs are given on the different levels with useful advice asking you to consider what power output your car can cope with and what is your home capable of providing without expensive upgrades.
There is a section on the supplier’s Elvi charging station, plus details of software you can buy to manage the system remotely. Explanations of how the installation takes place and how the three year warranty works are useful, along with sections on guarantee extensions and care plans.
They say: No guesswork. Just straightforward prices
EV Home doesn’t have its own chargers. Instead it works with leading suppliers and arranges the whole insulation process for you.
It’s a simple website and a simple idea. You complete an enquiry form that helps find the most compatible wallbox for your home and car. EV Home uses your property layout and electrical set-up to recommend a design and specification that they think will best suit you, your car and house.
They also arrange for an approved installer to fit your charger at a fixed price. Three chargers are offered: Ohme Wall Charger, Wallbox Pulsar Plus Power, or Zappi Tethered and, following the initial inquiry one of these is recommended. Prices range from £775 to £900.
There’s a no-commitment inquiry form at the foot of the web page, a 24/7 telephone number – or you can go straight to the next step and book an installation. More detailed information on pricing and charge points is offered along with an explanation of any government grants available.
They say: We’re on a mission to simplify EV home charging
Operating for 14 years and with a wealth of experience, the company says it has created the perfect charge point for EV owners who charge at home. It’s called the Evios One and costs £1,195 fully installed.
There are options to have a 7.5-metre cable instead of the standard 5-metre one for £50 more and you can opt for a charger to be supplied ‘without installation’ if you want to arrange your own installation (handy if you’re building a new house, for example). Different charging modes are offered: Pure Speed (the fastest version) Pure Green (the most environmentally friendly) and Pure Value (identifying lowest tariffs).
Evios will integrate with any existing solar panels your home might have, you can share your charge point with friends and family using a PIN code pad, and you can even link in with an Amazon Alexa home pod and get charging updates on a voice command.
A simple form allows you to reserve your charge point with Evios. If you change your mind, you can cancel the order at any time up until installation has been confirmed.
They say: Energy is changing: Join in
Battery and solar supplier JoJu has spent years installing thousands of charging system for councils, schools and business – and it does the same for homeowners, too. The company’s vision is of a world powered by the sun and there’s plenty of advice on solar panels and power storage on its site.
But scroll down and you’ll also find a section called ‘EV charging’ which is aimed squarely at people who ‘want to drive an electric vehicle’. Open up this page and it explains, in simple terms, how electric change is coming and what you can do about it. Getting the right EV in the right location with suitable payments options is important, it says, and offers solutions to your search for a wallbox.
Joju is not tied to any manufacturer. It recommends the Zappi solar car charger for customers with a solar-panelled roof, while other options include the EO eOLEV home charger as a start point, the NewMotion which has add-ons such as an RFID charge card, security so your neighbours can charge too and direct billing to your employer.
To sign up you download Joju’s pricing brochure (prices aren’t listed on the website), choose the charge point you like and upload some photos of your home’s fuse board and preferred charge point location. The company will then confirm a price and book in an installation.
They say: How much can I save with Ohme?
Ohme runs an environmentally-friendly smart charging system that nudges its customers to charge their vehicles at off-peak times, using spare energy that can’t be stored on the grid while saving money too. Its website asks you to input an EV of your choice and tells you the full cost with a standard charger and tariff compared with the cost with Ohme’s equipment and using its smart ‘time-of-use’ tariff.
Its new Home Pro charger, costing £949 fully installed, is the ‘lead’ wallbox on the site. It’s their newest model, the most up to date, and comes with a choice of cable lengths, a mobile app, over-the-air updates, home power balancing and a three year warranty among other features. There are though, other, cheaper chargers available on the site. A click-through guide will help you decide on the best one for you if you’re not sure.
There are some interesting and helpful guides on the Ohme website including details of the chargers and the app, explanations on how the company operates to save money and there’s a helpful section for people who are new to the electric revolution and are ‘getting started’ on their journey.
They say: We believe travel shouldn’t damage the earth
Pod Point’s mission is to put an electric vehicle charge point everywhere you are likely to park a car. Formed in 2009, it claims to have already provided 592 million miles of electric power to customers and sent out 175,000 charge points to UK customers. Additionally, it operates a network of 7,300 public bays.
For domestic information, go to the site’s ‘Driver charging’ section and drop down to ‘Home charging’.
Fully installed from £799, you get a 3.6kW, 7kW or 22kW charger, activity monitoring using Pod Pont’s App, off-peak charge scheduling, automatic balancing of electrical load in your home, especially when you’re using a lot of energy, and software updates via Wi-Fi.
Two wall boxes are offered: ‘Universal’ with no cable attached but there’s a socket for any car to plug in, and ‘Tethered’ with a Type 1 or Type 2 cable included specifically for your car. Upgrade from 3.6kw to 7kw and you’ll pay £100 more – for the 22kW superfast set-up it’s £1,549.
The Pod Point app helps you to set the cheapest charge time, look at your previous activity and download itemised reports for vehicle budgeting.
They say: Energy is changing. Join in
Driven to help the environment and find good energy tariffs, Rightcharge offers to help you choose the right charger for your home, get it installed for you and save up to £400 a year into the deal by finding an energy rate that cuts your bills.
It’s a bold claim made on the landing page, and it’s quickly followed up by the proud boasts: ‘Money saved for drivers – £248,000’ and ‘Carbon emissions cut – 570 tonnes’. So what do they do then?
Scroll down the page and you’re invited to find a charge point. You do this by first inserting your postcode and then your electric car make and model. Next question: will the car usually be parked at home overnight. Rightcharge’s top three suggestions come up complete with price, picture and brief description. There’s an option to see more details if one takes your fancy.
If you don’t like the top three there’s still an option to view all charge points and a broader selection comes up. That’s good because if gives you more to compare. See one you like? Start by filling in your details which get passed to the specialist dealer and fitter. The price quoted is subject to the installer checking installation requirement.
Other sections on the website compare chargers and look at different energy tariffs, and there’s a whole section of charging guidelines with helpful tips and advice.
They say: The smarter, greener, cheaper way to charge your EV
Rolec has been an expert in the outdoor electrical services industry for 30 years and specialises in three main areas: marina and waterside, caravan hook-ups and EV charging, and is the manufacturer of the UK’s largest range of smart AC and DC rapid chargers.
A good start then. Click on the ‘EV charging’ drop down option and you’re taken to a list containing ‘Home charging’. Using Zura and WallPod chargers, Rolec says it could save EV drivers up to £250 a year on their energy bills.
Clear pricing tells you the cost of each charger including the VAT and a secondary cost including the installation. The WallPod starts at £838 while the fastest-charging Zura begins at £913. There are datasheets with more details if you need a closer look. The pricing is subject to a site survey and inspection of the property and charging point location.
Rolec offers in tandem a smart charging app called ‘ev.energy’ which finds off-peak rates by smart charging your car and integrating any home energy tariff. It’s a convenient way to control your car charging.
The company offers secure connectivity, automatic load balancing of the property’s electrical supply, a lock feature and there are even free coffee vouchers, just for using the system.
They say: Fully charged for your next adventure
Zaptec say that no matter what car you drive or where you’re going, it has the charger to power your journey. Using Norwegian technology, it has created an award-winning charger called Zaptec Go.
The equipment matches its maximum charge to the capacity of your car so that you get the most efficient charge for that vehicle. It’s a small and light package and, coming with 60% fewer parts than its competitors, Zaptec says it provides the market’s easiest installation. Peace of mind is assured with a generous five year guarantee.
The state-of-the-art technology inside the Zaptec Go is always connected to Wi-Fi or 4G and therefore keeps itself up to date on latest functions and updates. Prices aren’t given, instead you ask for a quote after giving your name and address details and a photographic image of the area you have in mind for the installation.
The website includes a full products page of all its equipment, including that for flats and apartments, plus an interesting news section with useful advice.
What about BP Pulse?
You may think it’s odd that we’ve not included the country’s largest supplier of EV home charging infrastructure, and a preferred supplier to many car companies. That’s because the company has had an atrocious reputation for its home charger services, covering all aspects of installation, operation and repairs.
At one point, the company’s TrustPilot review page was full of irate customers who had booked home charger installations and had been left waiting months with no updates, and/or had experienced faulty charging units, and/or faulty apps to manage charging, and/or had suffered botched installations. Almost no-one had anything good to say about the company at all. I even ended up being interviewed on BBC’s Watchdog TV programme to explain all of the problems the company had been having.
BP Pulse’s public charging network also cops a lot of criticism from EV drivers. Although being the biggest provider does tend to mean you’re likely to have more problems, the manner in which BP Pulse has responded (or not responded) to an enormous number of faults has made users all over the UK very angry.
The company does appear to be addressing its problems, and claims to have recruited more field engineers and customer service operators. There are still plenty of angry customers, although anecdotally it does seem to be reducing on the levels of previous months.
If BP Pulse can prove to have lifted its game and start operating at a consistently high level (which it should, given the amount of money BP has been making lately), we’ll certainly consider including the company in future. But for now, there are better options.
Stuart Masson, editor