Charger questions? smart/fast/slow/dumb?

AMc

Distinguished Member
Just had my Golf GTE delivered :clap:

The car has the "granny" charging cable and the type 2 to type 2 leads - both 6m long.
I've just charged it fully from the granny charger but the lead is so short, I had to push the car up to the back door and leave the door open so that's not a long term option :)

Looking at charging options
A - The simplest one is to fit an external 3 pin socket and buy a longer granny charger. Screwfix have a 10m Masterplug 3 pin > type 2 charger for £160 + an external power socket - no stock right now mind!
I have a mate who is competent and certified to fit an external 13a socket and the "ideal" place to put it apart from needing a 10m lead :facepalm:.
It would be slow but I'm looking at using the car to time it's charge overnight on economy 7 it would work.
My worry is the long term reliability of using something like the Masterplug charger and 3 pin socket. Leaving it out overnight on semi regular basis.

B - more complicated would be to pay £600 and get something like an EO Mini Pro installed + a 10m type 2 to type 2 cable (perhaps another £150-200).
In the future that will charge at 7kW but the Golf can't charge that fast and I'm struggling to justify that.
If I go for a tethered charger with a 10m cable it works out slightly cheaper but the suppliers are coy about how long their tethered cables are.
Obviously a smart charger with an app etc. is more fun but I don't think I really need all the bells and whistles.

Doing A doesn't stop me doing B later but if I'm doing B in the end then am I just wasting money/time?

Thoughts? :thumbsup:
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
Easiest option may be A, but be careful what plug socket you plug it into, most should be ok but pulling a significant ammount of power over a period of time can prodcue some heat in the cable so ensure the socket is not a spur off a spur off a spur etc.... :) Also if plugging it into an outside socket, make sure it's not possible for someone to knick it, I presume the GTE will lock the socket the car end to stop this? Can your car start and stop the charger based on time to get the best / cheapest rate, some are between 00:30 and 04:30.

Option B may be a good option if you can get the £350 OLEV grant, which I think the GTE qualifies for. Not sure if this still makes it £600 as that already took account of that or if it's £600 - £350 = £250. This option would would charge faster at 3.7kw instead of 2.3kw so 60% faster, but potentially will futureproof you a bit. Also you never know the govenrment may remove or change the grant next year, I think tehy've already reduced it in 2020 from £500 to £350. Some of this option may come down if you plan to stay in your current house also..
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
I don't know the geography of your premises, but is there something stopping you from having the socket (whether it be a 13a on the existing circuit or a 7kW Mennekes/Tethered install) placed closer to where you park - thus negating the need for a new cable? Mine, for example, is inside my garage and easily reached by the cable that came with the car.

If you do choose a dedicated charger, I suggest it be a socket rather than tethered; reason being: it's somewhat future-proof in that, if you ever did get a vehicle with a different inlet on it (such as, a Leaf, I think) you'd only need the supplied cable, rather than having someone out to alter your installation.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
Easiest option may be A, but be careful what plug socket you plug it into, most should be ok but pulling a significant ammount of power over a period of time can prodcue some heat in the cable so ensure the socket is not a spur off a spur off a spur etc.... :) Also if plugging it into an outside socket, make sure it's not possible for someone to knick it, I presume the GTE will lock the socket the car end to stop this? Can your car start and stop the charger based on time to get the best / cheapest rate, some are between 00:30 and 04:30.

Option B may be a good option if you can get the £350 OLEV grant, which I think the GTE qualifies for. Not sure if this still makes it £600 as that already took account of that or if it's £600 - £350 = £250. This option would would charge faster at 3.7kw instead of 2.3kw so 60% faster, but potentially will futureproof you a bit. Also you never know the govenrment may remove or change the grant next year, I think tehy've already reduced it in 2020 from £500 to £350. Some of this option may come down if you plan to stay in your current house also..

I'm OK with the potential socket location and wiring.
I have a 3 phase supply because I have 2 air source heat pumps in the room all new in 2009 - so I'm confident there's enough juice and the wiring is up to scratch.
There's a spare RCD in the consumer unit which is a couple of metres from the outside wall so I can get my mate to run a dedicated circuit if he's not happy repositioning one of the existing ones or adding a new one to the circuit in that room. The "only" thing plugged into the circuit in there is the washer dryer - but that's quite a high load device - so a new circuit might be sensible.

The type 2 locks into the front of the car and you can only release it by unlocking the car itself.
The 3 pin could be unplugged but where I live that's unlikely.

The car has scheduled timing - I need to dig into this more carefully - but you can set times to charge, times to warm up/cool down, departure times etc.

The GTE does qualify for the grant. The prices I quoted are inclusive of the £350 grant :eek:.
If it was £250 I wouldn't be considering A, but £600+ is a lot of money for a fractional advantage with this car. The car only took about 3h30m to charge from "empty" today on the 3 pin plug so faster charging won't make much difference to it managing that overnight during cheap power.
In the distant future I might have something that would benefit from a faster connection but not now.

The grant going is at the back of my mind having missed out on the best grants for the heat pumps but in the end there seems to have been substantial inflation in the price of the installs looking back over previous posts.

I don't know the geography of your premises, but is there something stopping you from having the socket (whether it be a 13a on the existing circuit or a 7kW Mennekes/Tethered install) placed closer to where you park - thus negating the need for a new cable? Mine, for example, is inside my garage and easily reached by the cable that came with the car.

If you do choose a dedicated charger, I suggest it be a socket rather than tethered; reason being: it's somewhat future-proof in that, if you ever did get a vehicle with a different inlet on it (such as, a Leaf, I think) you'd only need the supplied cable, rather than having someone out to alter your installation.

The position I'm thinking of is on the back wall of the utility room which already has a consumer unit in there and I can cut holes and route cables without needing to do much redecoration.
To get the socket much closer to where the car is would mean taking out at least one kitchen cupboard and potentially running cables along dry lined walls - not much fun - or running cables on the outside of the house which would have to be rearranged when we rebuild the porch on the back door.

At a pinch I could park in a way that the existing 6m VW cables would reach if I put the socket where I'm thinking, but it would partially block the rest of our parking :(

It's further complicated that we have plans to renovate an out building and rearrange the drive to suit that. The 10m cable would mean I could fit the socket once and it would suit both locations.

It seems that 10m type 2 to type 2 cables are expensive as are 3 pin to type 2 and they're both thin on the ground! I think I may be a non plugin hybrid for a bit!
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
10m Type 2 £167 here: EV Public Charging Cable | Type 2 to Type 2 | 16/32 Amp | 3.6/7.2 kW | 5/10 Metre | and apparently in stock.

FYI my garage install was done thus: Starting from the meter cabinet which is on the outside of the house, an armoured 32a cable was routed along the exterior wall for a short distance above some paving (to save lifting it) and then went down and underground the rest of the way - buried under the lawn (which was easy enough for him to do. Turf carefully laid to one side and replaced afterwards. Would have worked equally well for an external wall install. It worked for my garden geography.

Inside the meter cabinet the installer added a separate consumer unit (fusebox) just for the charger - off "my" side of the meter of course.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
@LV426 That link is useful thanks :thumbsup:

I had to dig and lay armoured cable from the front of the house where the mains supply arrives and the existing consumer unit is around to the utility where the heat pumps are along with a new 3 phase board.
The heat pumps also have armoured cable for power and 4 refrigerant lines running from the utility, buried under the current gravel/dirt drive along with the pipe for the LPG we use on the hob :eek:
I'm very, very keen not to put a spade anywhere near those until we're demolishing the porch and levelling off the drive for the new parking spots - even then if I can convince the architect to leave them alone I will! I have a cold sweat even thinking about someone messing about with a spade or mini digger there!

I suspect I'm going to need to contact someone local to work out how best to do the install if I want to be able to claim the grant as well as fit a 7kW charger.

Thanks for the help so far, happy to hear any other ideas :)
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
@LV426 That link is useful thanks :thumbsup:


I suspect I'm going to need to contact someone local to work out how best to do the install if I want to be able to claim the grant as well as fit a 7kW charger.
Yes I think it has to be done by someone who registered for the government scheme although there's plenty of them and they'll have to notify your local DNO. I think even though it sounds like you've got oodles of capacity, they have to be notified / consulated as a formality.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Ooph this is a tough one. I'd normally say go for a Zappi, but I think on this occasion I'm going to recommend option A as close to the car as you can, and here's why:

As you have 3-phase, that potentially gives you the capability of charging a car in the future at a much faster rate (21kW I believe?) but of course you cannot make any use of that now. Also, V2G and V2H chargers (and vehicles) are coming and your choice will expand in the coming years. A 13A socket in a weatherproof lockable box could work now, but I'd definitely plan for 3-phase in the future, even if that means you won't be able to obtain the grant.

I hope that makes sense.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
As you have 3-phase, that potentially gives you the capability of charging a car in the future at a much faster rate (21kW I believe?) but of course you cannot make any use of that now.

That's something I hadn't really considered. I saw some of the installers offered 3 phase supplies now but you're looking at a over a grand :eek:.
I guess future vehicle batteries might make better use of all that speed - at the moment I can't see myself arriving home after 250 miles or whatever and needing the car to have the same range in a couple of hours. I guess with a small battery like a Leaf it's more probable but it still seems quite unlikely.
I think it's far more likely that I'd arrive home after a short or long trip and want the car with decent range later that day but much more likely tomorrow morning.

The other thing is the reason I have 3 phase is because I have 2 dirty great heat pumps capable (in theory) of pulling 12kW each under extreme weather. If I were to configure them to be allowed to use their internal direct heat as well as the fans and heat exchangers. At the moment they can't because I nearly had a heart attack watching the meter spin when they were first commissioned and tested :rotfl:
If I have a very fast charger, I doubt I'd be doing that at the same time I was pulling the max power from the heat pumps but I know that the design of the system would need to take that into account even if I never chose to do it. Might make other people's lights dim a little :p

I also discovered that in order to qualify for the government grant on installation the charger has to be "smart" not just the car. Which makes (some) sense in terms of potentially being able to manage supply and demand but I'd lay money on the current generation of charge points not being compatible like the first generation of "smart meters" were a nightmare.

More food for thought, thanks!
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
My charger is smart (newmotion) and qualified fine, but it's not as smart as I want, i.e. can't do timed charges, although it's apparently coming. If I'd had a choice I would have gone for one of the cheaper £600-700 smart meters, but I had no choice as it came with the car.
Chargers like myenergy Zappi can do timed start of charge (and importantly, timed stop of charge) and also track the wholesale energy prices for if you're on a agile energy tarrif. I think they also tie in with home PV generation etc. I think the probelm is do you spend more now to get all the bells and whilstles or just accept it'll porbably need changing in the future (say 5 years) for an upgraded model..
 

Chester

Well-known Member
That's right, you can use the Zappi 2 to divert surplus solar PV that would normally just be exported to the car, then timed boost overnight for low tarrifs and now this can be configured using Myenergi's cloud service where the times are variable (Octopus Agile for instance). We managed to charge the Honda e from below 20% to fully charged in 2 days from just solar in January. That was an exception rather than the rule though!
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
At the moment I'd be happy with a "you may charge between midnight and 6am if the battery isn't full" or "charge now". The car can do that by itself with the press of one or other button by the port, so I don't need anything but a dumb socket at the moment.
All that could change in the future but not the immediate future.

The outbuilding renovation could include some PV but that would be quite an expensive extra and we haven't even started the detailed planning on that project!
All our power currently comes from Good Energy so 100% renewable - just I'm paying commercial rates for it!
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
Our car does timed charging periods, but it's flawed in reality, its a bugger to set, you need a planned journey pre-programmed to make it work. However if the journey is scheduled for closer than 1 day ahead it overrides the timed charge period and starts charging roughly 1 hour after you set the timer anyway just to make sure you're at 100% in time, as if it think it'll only charge at 1kw! Our trick is to set the upcoming journey for next week and then timed charge starts fine in the prefered period, say 00:30-04:30, however the car is so dumb, it never actually stops charging at 04:30 and so will carry on charging till 100% even if your next planned journey is set for 14 days ahead!!
Reading the brochure of how smart our charger was going to be and how smart the car would be I had no issues ordering it, however had I known then how it works in reality, I would have bought a smarter charger.
YMMV if your cheap period is longer than our Octopus 4 hours and / or if your car can charge fully in a shorter period, ours is a 90kw battery so in theory could take as long as 12-13 hours.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I'll need to have another look at tariffs but the heating is a much larger drain in winter than this car will ever be.

It's surprisingly difficult to find accurate timings on charging but this link suggests 4h on a 3 pin plug or 3h on a 3.6kW dedicated charger

The Golf GTE is only 8.7kWh - so even slow charging it will completely charge during my economy 7 period...assuming it starts on time!
 

IronGiant

Moderator
It certainly sounds like, for now, the simplicity and low cost of an external 13 amp socket is the way to go. No point "future proofing" with a 7kW charger if your next car wants a 22kW or higher one.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
It certainly sounds like, for now, the simplicity and low cost of an external 13 amp socket is the way to go. No point "future proofing" with a 7kW charger if your next car wants a 22kW or higher one.

It does seem to be stacking up that way ;)

For the next week or so I'll have to be parking my car at the back door to charge as my friendly electrician is busy getting ready for Old Buckenham Airshow at the weekend.
He's working on a much more interesting electric vehicle charging solution.



 

gangzoom

Well-known Member
Our car does timed charging periods, but it's flawed in reality, its a bugger to set

Just to add not all EVs are created equal, our one 'knows' about off-peak charging, you can even set the hours!!

51332158594_0405baf9d7_c_d.jpg


75% of the time at home it also charges off this complex bit of kit. £50 to install, it can actually pull 22KW from a commando socket if the power was there!!

You can also 'turn down' the power as you see fit, the last few weeks I've been charging at sub 3KW to use mainly solar PV at peak generation times :).

Oh and charging, setting battery limits, can all be controlled from the App, so you don't need to be any where near the car. Apparently changing charge rates whilst the car is charging is also coming to the app soon.

So if your EV is 'smart' it doesn't matter what kind of power supply you plug it into.

51308501251_171b7aa70b_c_d.jpg


51343022404_86774f8291_c_d.jpg
 
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gangzoom

Well-known Member
I'll need to have another look at tariffs but the heating is a much larger drain in winter than this car will ever be.

With a heat pump that runs all the time in winter no EV specific tariff will save you money. Even though we only have a small home battery (13kWh), the difference a standard 7hr E7 traiffs versus a 4-5hr EV tariff is noticeable when trying to 'avoid' using more expensive electricity.

If however you installed say 20-30kWh worth of home battery storage you could shift your electricity consumption all to cheaper E7 rates. Though you have to make sure the battery setup can output the power the heat pumps require.

Ideally though you also need domestic generation to charge the batteries, solar works great in summer but useless in winter when your electric bill is highest.

Domestic wind generally would be ideal for us, but there is so much red tape there unless you are friends David Cameron its just not worth the hassle.

One day though I would love get a wind mill installed at the end of the garden, and use it to power a ground sourced heat pump, with any excess power feeding into a 30kWh home battery setup......I just cannot tell you when that day will be :).
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
Oh yes I’m fully aware of that. The car (and the ‘Smart’ charger) have both had the issue since day 1, they know about it but neither seem too motivated to fix it even though either could easily fixed it on their own and despite the car having had a number of over the air updates.
My point was in life you take most things at face value which often turn out not quite to be the case and you learn after it’s too late. Doesn’t bother me on ours, it’s the wife’s car, she got a great JLR bundled deal and she doesn’t do too many miles anyway tbh. It was a good learning curve and also converted us to appreciating how good EVs are despite what you read..
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
75% of the time at home it also charges off this complex bit of kit. £50 to install, it can actually pull 22KW from a commando socket if the power was there!!

You can also 'turn down' the power as you see fit, the last few weeks I've been charging at sub 3KW to use mainly solar PV at peak generation times :).

Oh and charging, setting battery limits, can all be controlled from the App, so you don't need to be any where near the car. Apparently changing charge rates whilst the car is charging is also coming to the app soon.

So if your EV is 'smart' it doesn't matter what kind of power supply you plug it into.

That's quite a monster :)
It does seem to me as a newbie that putting the "smart" in the car makes more sense than putting it in the charger. I've also tested the WiFi at the place I'd want the charger so I'd have to install a range extender in the utility to deal with the thickness of the external wall!

I went through the aggravation of registering for the Car-net VW thing yesterday. Should allow me to set charging, turn on the air con/heating from inside the house etc. find my car on a map, flash the lights and beep the horn.
Once I'd got through all the interminable set up it turns out the subscription for my car ran out in June (when the last owner traded it in after 3yrs).
VW want £55 for a new sub - it's really not clear how long that might be for or tbh why I'd want it :confused:

I've already told the car to charge at a 10A - there was a setting above but I see no reason to go any faster.

With a heat pump that runs all the time in winter no EV specific tariff will save you money. Even though we only have a small home battery (13kWh), the difference a standard 7hr E7 traiffs versus a 4-5hr EV tariff is noticeable when trying to 'avoid' using more expensive electricity.

Believe me I've been around the houses on electricity suppliers and tariffs in the past economy 7, economy 10 - trying to work out when to get the ideal combination of heat pump efficiency (when the air is warmest) vs. price of the energy to power it (overnight) vs. the demand based on the difference between the outside temp and desired inside temp (first thing in the morning).
After several years of experimenting I've come to the conclusion that the gains/losses are marginal - I leave the heavy weight underfloor on almost all the time, only backing it off when the lightweight underfloor and radiators are calling for max heat first thing in the morning.
Bills are OK, house is warm, occupants aren't moaning at me very often ;)
For the last 3 years I've basically left it alone bar turning it all off in the summer and the stats down if we go away in the winter.

Ideally though you also need domestic generation to charge the batteries, solar works great in summer but useless in winter when your electric bill is highest.

We had PV in the budget for renovations a decade or more back.
Very annoyingly I applied for Bluesky (?) grants and was unsuccessful due to demand.
So we used the money elsewhere and then the FIT replacement came in and would have made it a no brainer to install the panels - by that point we thought we'd spent the money.
If I knew then what I know now, I'd have borrowed the money to fit 4kW on the roof and paid it back by now and be enjoying free energy - you live and learn!
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
Out of interest what is the off peak E7 rates you guys get and with who?
I had my E7 meter swapped ages ago now for a standard smart meter and then more recently a SMET2 smart meter. I was going to go to Octopus Go as it's 5p off peak 15p on peak and lots of people recommend, however it's easy to compare normal tarriffs and fixed tarrifs but not so simple to dig out and compare EV and E7 tarrifs.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I've been with Good Energy for years. Every time I look to switch I can't find a better price.
Their customer service has been variable - from allowing me to build up a giant deficit when we first went for electric heating (helpful at the time as we were broke) to over charging me on the direct debit then trying to increase it further when we'd built up several hundred quid surplus at the start of the summer :rolleyes:
The best was when the meter reading person reversed the E7 and standard meter readings in his handheld unit - they thought I suddenly owed them hundreds. I ended up having to take pictures and email them to get them to take it seriously and it took ages to sort out.
Latest was sending me a vaguely rude email about not having had a meter reading for >10 months when they'd sent someone over 2 weeks earlier and they'd been bothering me over the phone for readings repeatedly which they'd got.
I should probably see about a smart meter so I can stop having to deal with this!

That said the actual people are always polite and friendly - just the systems seem a bit disjointed!

Still cheaper than Octopus today in East Anglia
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
Sounds like a bit of a faff, although to be honest if you get a smart meter you'll probably have much less issues maybe.
Did you compare to the Octopus Go Smart / Inovative Tariff? Their ordinary tariffs aren't amazing, but the Go seems pretty good, couldln't beat it when I compared in detail recently as all tariffs seem to have shot up. Only issue may be their off peak is for a shorter period.

Having a quick scout I think Octopus rates for Elec in East should be :-
Unit rate (Peak): 15.96p/ kWh
Unit rate (Off): 5.00p/ kWh
Standing Charge: 25.00p/ day

I think Good rates (advertised - may not be yours) for Elec in East should be :-
Unit rate (Peak): 20.42p/ kWh
Unit rate (Off): 11.26p/ kWh
Standing Charge: 32.92p/ day
 

arenaman

Moderator
I've had my EV for about 6 weeks and done over 1k miles, haven't paid a penny to charge it yet :clap:.

I know I can't rely on Tesco and work for free charges forever so I'm looking at getting a home charger, probably go for a basic Rolec type 2 untethered fitted by a local company.

I'm in no rush to change my elec tariff, currently paying 13.3 p pkwh so when I get one fitted it will cost me less than £3 per 100 miles that's 5 times cheaper than the old ICE vehicle cost.

I'm going electric at the first opportunity with my other car too, sadly that's going to be 2 years.
 

gangzoom

Well-known Member
I'm in no rush to change my elec tariff, currently paying 13.3 p pkwh so when I get one fitted it will cost me less than £3 per 100 miles

The thing is once you realise how cheap EVs are to refuel, you really wouldn't care about 'free' charging.

We've done 50k in 4 years in our current EV. At 3p per mile in fuel it works out at £31/month in fuel to cover 12k miles per year, its ridiculously cheap.
 

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