Unless you’re an experienced electrician or DIY wizard, the idea of installing your own electric vehicle (EV) charger might be daunting. Where do you begin if this is the first EV charger you ever bought? Is it possible to install it yourself? And how much should it all cost? In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of installing an EV charger and answer your most pressing questions. You’ll be all set up in no time.
Please be always mindful of health regulations in your region, especially during the current pandemic!
Can I install my EV charging point myself?
No, unless you’re an electrician certified in EV chargers installation, don’t do it yourself. Always hire an experienced and certified installer. This might prove to be more expensive in the short-term, but it’s vital for making sure your charger is properly and safely installed and that you comply with all regulations. Furthermore, some EV charging points will lose their warranty, if not installed by a certified electrician. You don’t want to risk that.
Where do I look for the right EV charging station installation company?
Once you’ve got your EV charger, you’re probably wondering how to go about installing it. The easiest way to find an EV charging installer is to use an installer recommended by your EV charger brand. Some EV charger providers offer 360° service covering both the charger and its installation, like Wallbox.
If buying a bundled package isn’t possible, there are a number of options available to you: you could consult your automobile association; ask friends who have had EV chargers installed at home; check EV driver communities; consult your local car dealer; ask the brand you bought your charger from for guidance; or search for certified installers online. Remember, you’ll need an installer who has specific experience installing EV chargers (more on this below).
What exactly is the process of installing my EV charger?
4 important factors to consider when choosing installation services for your EV charger
1. Safety: a top priority for EV charging station installation
Installing an EV charger safely requires expert knowledge of both your home’s electrical system and the charger itself. Without this expertise, the installation process could go wrong and the safety and performance of your charger could be compromised.
Your charger mediates a high quantity of electricity from your house or apartment building into your car. So, if it’s not correctly installed, you and those nearby (your family, friends or neighbors) stand a chance of being dangerously exposed to this electricity. Therefore, to avoid the risks of fire or electric shock, it’s vital to choose an experienced, specialized EV charging station installer.
2. Compliance: make sure your charger is fully certified
Choosing an experienced EV installer also means you’ll be guaranteed compliance with national regulations, such as wiring regulations. When an electrician finishes an EV charger installation, they normally have to certify the installation with a government department. This is a validation that the installation has been completed safely and in compliance with all national regulations. Reputable installation companies will give you a copy of your charger’s compliance certificate. In some countries, having a compliance certificate is compulsory and without it you could face a fine, so make sure you double-check the requirements for where you live.
This compliance certificate isn’t just a reassuring guarantee of your installed charger’s reliability and safety. You also might end up needing it to qualify for insurance payouts if something goes wrong in the future. For instance, if there is an overcurrent due to the charger breaking or an event such as lightning, you’ll want to claim back the damages with your insurance company. Without the compliance certificate, the insurer may refuse to pay out because they don’t have any proof that your charger was correctly installed and protected to begin with. Moreover, if any issues arise with the EV battery and you need the manufacturer to fix it, you could need the certificate to prove that it is the car, not the charger, that isn’t functioning properly.
3. Price: determining EV charger installation costs
How much does it cost to install an EV charging station?
It should be clear by now that investing in a trustworthy, experienced installer is worth the money. It’s an investment in safety and regulatory compliance not only for you, but for your car, your home and others around you too. Based on our experience, the minimum price for a proper installation by an experienced electrician starts at around €700, though the exact figure will depend on your location and the specific technical requirements of your home.
For example, the distance between your fuse box and your parking spot or driveway will influence the cost of the cable and, therefore, the overall installation costs. So, if your parking spot or driveway is 10m away from the fuse box and your neighbor’s is 50m, your neighbor’s installation costs will be higher than yours. That’s not just down to the greater distance of cabling needed; it’s also because regulations oblige the installer to use higher-diameter cables for longer distances for additional protection, which incurs extra fees. Don’t forget that labor makes up a large proportion of your installation costs. Each of the installation variables mentioned here, such as specific cabling requirements, could also result in increased labor fees as your installer will need to adapt to the specifications of your home.
It’s for this reason that you should book a home visit and assessment with your installer before making any commitments. A home visit means your potential installer can give you a complete quote that’s tailored to your building’s specific requirements. In some cases, you could perform this home check online. Any quote which doesn’t take into account these requirements, such as a standard blanket fee or an ‘installation from €700’ quote for instance, might end up incurring extra unexpected costs along the way. Therefore, getting your installer to provide a custom quote at the outset could end up saving you money down the line. That said, it’s also worth noting that electrical components can cost a lot of money, which might come as a shock if you’re not an electrician yourself. Don’t be taken aback at how much your installation costs. Components, labor and expert knowledge don’t come cheap, but think of this as a worthwhile investment in your safety and future.
Save money on the EV charging station installation with grants
When considering costs, it’s also worth looking into national and local EV charging incentives. Many countries offer subsidies and tax rebates for individuals that want to install an EV charging point in their home or adjoining street. Depending on where you live, you could be reimbursed for anywhere from 15 - 90% of your initial charging installation costs. Take a look at our EU EV Charging Incentives Guide to find out which policies you could take advantage of in your home country.
4. Services and experience: look for specialization and end-to-end offers
Look for installers with specific EV charger expertise
Technician training and quality of service are also key considerations when selecting an EV charging installation service. Look for companies or electricians that have specific expertise in EV charger installation and the often complex regulations that surround it.
Be aware that even the most trusted and experienced electricians may not be familiar with the technical requirements and regulations specific to EV charging stations.
Opt for a seamless end-to-end service when you can
When looking for an installer, you don’t just want a company that installs your charger and then leaves you to figure out how to use it on your own. You should look for a comprehensive service package. Some installers will give pre-installation advice about which charger to opt for, as well as post-installation guidelines for how to use your charger along with its accompanying app or software. Aim for an end-to-end service so you can access expert insights into which type of charger is best for your current and future needs, and full analysis of how to install your charger in the best way for your home and electricity bill. An ideal option would be using a comprehensive service that covers both the charger and its installation.
For example, you might currently have a hybrid car that uses a 3.7 kW charge, but be considering an upgrade to a fully electric car that will require faster charging and more energy in the near future. By discussing with the installation or charger company, you can choose a charger and installation plan that fits both your present hybrid car and could also support your transition to a new EV in the future as well. That way you can simply insert a new charger for your new car when the time comes, rather than having to upgrade your entire installation infrastructure.
EV charger brands are likely to have access to a team of technicians with more advanced knowledge of how to install smart chargers than the average electrician. They’ll also be able to offer advice on using your smart charging app. This is important as some European governments are now mandating that all new private chargers must have smart functionalities built-in.
EV charger installation: a worthy investment for the future
Installing your EV charger may not be as cheap or as simple as you originally expected. However, by ensuring a proper and professional EV charger installation - notably in terms of taking the time to choose the best installer for you - you will reap the rewards in the long-run. From making sure your charger is safe and complies with national regulation, to actually increasing the value of your property, a solid installation service can make all the difference.
Whether you choose a comprehensive package offered by your EV charger provider or hire a local electrician, you should look for reputable, trusted electricians with specific expertise in EV charging station installation. Finally, finding the right installer that offers an end-to-end service will ensure you’re covered for all present and future charging needs.