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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I understand the GTE takes 3.75-4 hours to fully charge, this seems quite quick so is an on wall dedicated charger necessary, as I have read they bring the charging time down to 2.25 hours or so? Does it reduce or increase the cost of charging, what are the advantages over plugging in to a standard socket (UK). My car will be static at home most of the time, other than school and supermarket runs, so I’m unlikely to be too time pressured for charging.

I’m hoping to get a GTE over the next couple of months and don’t know if I would need to get a dedicated charger as they are £500 and I’m not sure if I would need it and thought I would ask as you are all extremely knowledgeable and very helpful.

take care all
 

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Kia Soul EV 2020
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Hi @Eleven
A couple of things:
  • which GTE, depending on the Model Year, you can have a GTE with either 7.7kWh or ~13kWh battery. The latter one is probably only MY20 or 21.
  • 3-pin charging brick, a.k.a. "granny" is very limiting. There are a lot of people that have used them for extended periods, but you should always be mindful of the limitations/dangers: overheating sockets, fire, slow at ~10A max or 2.2kW max.

It will always be better to fit and use a dedicated charger with the GTE: no danger of overheating/fire, and at 16A or 3.6kW it will half the charging time.
 

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Had my GTE since January, its a 2018. I don't see the need for a dedicated charger for a plug in hybrid. 3.5 hours from your household 3 pin plug is not a problem, for me anyway. Its also better for the batteries to charge them at a slower rate.
You shouldn't have to worry about overheated sockets, it's roughly the same draw as a 2 kW heater. Just don't use an extension, plug it directly into the socket.
You'll love the GTE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your responses, additionally I was thinking of using solar panels on the garage to help with the cost of charging, any thoughts on the feasibility of this and what type, numbers of panels would be needed etc?
 

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You shouldn't have to worry about overheated sockets, it's roughly the same draw as a 2 kW heater.
A 2kW heater doesn't usually draw 2kW continuous, it cycles on and off so the average load is often lower than an EV charging over the same time period. 2kW continuous is fine as long as your socket and wiring are up to scratch, but crap sockets are everywhere, so it's always worth getting it checked by a decent sparky to be safe.
 

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additionally I was thinking of using solar panels on the garage to help with the cost of charging, any thoughts on the feasibility of this and what type, numbers of panels would be needed etc?
Don't know how far south you are in UK but can't see this making any economic sense under current Smart Export Guarantee 2020 replacing Feed in Tariff. Under "old system" FIT pays out for 20 years with system having paid for itself after 7 years.
 

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Although my Mk8 Golf GTE has a 13kWh battery only 10.9kWh is actually available (presumably to protect the battery since fully charging and fully discharging a battery has a negative effect on longevity). I find plugging into a 13 amp socket will fully recharge the battery in about five and half hours. Since I have yet to make another journey before it’s fully charged the 13 amp works fine for me and I seeno reason get a dedicated charger.
 

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Although my Mk8 Golf GTE has a 13kWh battery only 10.9kWh is actually available (presumably to protect the battery since fully charging and fully discharging a battery has a negative effect on longevity). I find plugging into a 13 amp socket will fully recharge the battery in about five and half hours. Since I have yet to make another journey before it’s fully charged the 13 amp works fine for me and I seeno reason get a dedicated charger.
Have a quick search around the forum - there are lots of anecdotes about people's granny chargers overheating/melting, and there's lots of recommendations to use them on the low current setting to avoid these problems. A dedicated charger gets around this (although to be fair, they're not without their problems either). The other thing is preheating - some cars don't preheat properly (or discharge the battery) when using the granny charger. Although as with all of this stuff, YMMV...

Personally, I got one because I think that the grants are probably going to get pulled when EVs become more common - and the £650 off that you can get north of the border is pretty significant saving.
 

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If there are possible issues with 13amp ‘granny chargers‘ I’m surprised that VW supply them with the car. Until I get a recall notice I will happily continue using mine!
 

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If there are possible issues with 13amp ‘granny chargers‘ I’m surprised that VW supply them with the car. Until I get a recall notice I will happily continue using mine!
It's wear and tear. Run a lot of current through a wire and it'll eventually degrade and cause problems - whether it happens quickly enough for you to notice depends on how much you use it, how well the charger is designed and luck. Hence, anecdotal. Everything will wear out eventually, electrical systems included, but that doesn't mean that they are subject to recall notices.

The other way to look at it is that tyres, brakes, lights and seat belts wear out and cause significant safety issues, but VW still supply those with the car and haven't issued a recall notice. Wear and tear applies to everything.
 

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Use a dedicated charger, every time. Reasons :

7kW = quick - but not "rapid" charge. The car is built to take it and a kW is a kW so you don't pay more than with the granny.
You might get a grant to install it, if you're fortunate enough to have the facility to do so.
You don't rely on household wiring and any deficiencies that come with that system, such as ancient wiring, or dodgy modern wiring done as cheaply as possible with no headroom.
Having a dedicated charger installed forces new wiring in, possibly along with a nice new separate fuse box, and definitely with a nice new on/off switch.
You might even get an app to play with which lets you see your consumption.
I have a POD point which tells me I spend between £15 (May) and £24 (Dec) a month, for instance.

Solar panels. You need a reason to fit them??
If you go for the typical 4kW variety then if the sun shines and you're plugged in (and not using any electrons elsewhere), you get the benefit. Obviously that won't work at night. (lol)
You could be clever and use the timer on the car to allow that purpose.
I have panels but mostly charge early evening so don't get much benefit before this time of year.
 

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7kW = quick - but not "rapid" charge. The car is built to take it and a kW is a kW so you don't pay more than with the granny.
GTEs are limited to 3.7kW (unless they've increased it for a mk8), which to be fair is still more than you can get through the granny charger. Granny chargers are known (at least anecdotally) for being less efficient than a wallbox, so a kW is a kW, but you may spend more using a granny due to extra losses. Which incidentally is what VW says in my car's manual:
142224
 

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If there are possible issues with 13amp ‘granny chargers‘ I’m surprised that VW supply them with the car. Until I get a recall notice I will happily continue using mine!
There is no problem with granny charging. There is a problem with your house catching fire, because your 3-pin socket is not designed to take sustained 2kW of power.

Take it from a random person on the interwebs: do not suggest to anyone to charge their car on a 3-pin socket!!!! Yours might be working fine for you, enjoy it. But you don't know the situation on the other end. How about if it catches fire, because they live in a 150yr old building?!!?

Granny chargers are only to be used as a stop gap or in an emergency. Any use comes with warnings, checks and re-checks of the condition of the socket and plug. If you don't do it, it is your own risk.
 

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This is getting a bit OTT. It's 2kw not a 12kw shower running from a 3 pin plug, now that would be risky.
Granny chargers are not for emergencies, no where in the manual does it say that.
The manual does say that your electrical installation must be tested and fault free before using the granny. Doesn't take much for a loose connection to generate a lot of heat (just ask the old wall switch on my electric shower, which looked fine on the outside and was an absolute mess on the inside). Get your wiring checked and your golden. But how many people regularly do that?
 

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I didn’t have a 13 amp socket in my garage but when I purchased my GTE I had one installed. The electrician knew that it was for charging a PHEV and I guess if he thought that a granny charger was a fire risk I think it would have refused to fit it.
 

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I didn’t have a 13 amp socket in my garage but when I purchased my GTE I had one installed. The electrician knew that it was for charging a PHEV and I guess if he thought that a granny charger was a fire risk I think it would have refused to fit it.
The granny is not a "fire risk", when everything is done properly. You have done the right thing, I did the same before fitting a dedicated charger. I had an electrician install a socket that I could use for charging using the granny: it was high grade 3pin socket, armored cable capable of handling 32A(!), RCBO in my consumer unit. Used it for 3 or 4 months without any issues, before getting the dedicated charger.

But I have also used the granny away from home on multiple occasions and various sockets. I have had what I would call a "close call" but was saved by the overheating protection fitted in the granny plug. On many other occasions I have had heat generated which has forced me to reduce the charging current on the granny. That usually mitigates a lot of the problems.

If you are careful, the granny is as safe as a dedicated charger. But you have to know the risks and monitor them.
 

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I guess if he thought that a granny charger was a fire risk I think it would have refused to fit it.
See post 5:
2kW continuous is fine as long as your socket and wiring are up to scratch, but crap sockets are everywhere, so it's always worth getting it checked by a decent sparky to be safe.
Your wiring is up to scratch, so you should be good. At least until wear and tear starts rearing it's ugly head.
 

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I have run a GTE for 6 years, only over the last couple of months have I used a (PodPoint) EV charger (installed for the Tesla we now have)

For the previous ~5 years 10 months I exclusively used the provided 'granny charger' plugged into a 13amp socket in my garage to charge the GTE. Nothing has got hot. Nothing has melted. Nothing has caught fire.

We have a 4kWh array of solar panels on our roof. Using the Ap which monitors solar electricity generated / electricity being used, it is straightforward to switch the car to charge (again remotely using the VW app) when excess solar is being generated.

There are also EV chargers available (Zappi for example) which will auto-monitor and switch to charge your car when excess solar is being generated. We have a similar system which switches excess solar generated electricity to our immersion heater in the first instance.

For ~8 months of the year we have charged the GTE using this system very effectively at very, very little cost.
 

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Hello,

I understand the GTE takes 3.75-4 hours to fully charge, this seems quite quick so is an on wall dedicated charger necessary, as I have read they bring the charging time down to 2.25 hours or so? Does it reduce or increase the cost of charging, what are the advantages over plugging in to a standard socket (UK). My car will be static at home most of the time, other than school and supermarket runs, so I’m unlikely to be too time pressured for charging.

I’m hoping to get a GTE over the next couple of months and don’t know if I would need to get a dedicated charger as they are £500 and I’m not sure if I would need it and thought I would ask as you are all extremely knowledgeable and very helpful.
Hi Eleven, welcome.
Here's a little rundown of my 4 months of ownership re: charging.
I retired last year, happily, & purchased a 2018 GTE (sold my 2011 1.6 tdi Golf).
My daily drives now mainly consist of running my wife to & from work, approx 30 miles per day.
Ok, I'll get to my point, I'm in the fortunate situation of living near to, & 'working' in the proximity of, a PodPoint charger.
A full charge via PodPoint i.e. 0 miles range to fully charged is approx 2hrs 15m.
This delivers approx 7.1 kWh to your battery.
Best of all, this is a free service!
My 1.4 petrol engine hasn't started up in the last 5 weeks.
I start off with a full charge, top-up while on our break & return home with a few miles on the gauge.
Although the gauge reads 30 miles when fully charged I'm realistically getting approx 22-24 miles from a full charge.

Download the Pod Point app & check out your nearest pods.
Since I purchased my car in Dec 2020 I've currently received 394 kWh of FREE charge, I roughly work this out to be approx 1124 miles.
Hope this helps.
 
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