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Dear all,

I've just ordered my first BEV via a salary sacrifice lease scheme at work. It seemed very affordable and included installation of a 7kW home-charger (Pod-Point).

I signed on the dotted line and was delighted when Pod-Point contacted me to sort out OLEV grant and installation.

I thought this would be a formality as my house was rewired when I moved in 3yrs ago.

Now that I've received the small print from Pod-Point, it seems likely I may have some additional costs.

The picture below shows the layout of my property (note 60A main fuse, long cable runs to off-street parking area and low amp capacity cable (16A-20A?) under patio linking house to outbuildings (which otherwise have modern electrics)



This is the proposed area for charger installation and the mini-CU (correct term?) in that garage:







The electrician who rewired the house thinks the cable under the patio from house to outbuildings is probably only good for 20A: this is the value of the "fuse" for the outbuildings (picture shows 2nd CU in the house):



So, I filled- in the Pod-Point pre-installation survey, with all the photos required (wish they'd stated a max file size at the start of that...) and am awaiting their response.

In the meantime, I read around the subject on here and saw that Pod-Point may insist on an upgrade to the supply onto the house (possibly ancient, hence 60A labelled main fuse).

I contacted Western Power to enquire about this (and upgrade hardware to 80-100A); they sent a jargon-ridden form about EV charger installation and heat-pumps. This mentioned load surveys and such. Western Power were very helpful when I rang and told me to send the form to Pod-Point, assuring me that Pod Point would be entirely familiar with this. They also said that, if justified, upgrade to 80A would be free but 100A "would depend". They didn't say what it would depend on nor how much it might cost.

My Questions:

Is this common and is my layout even compatible with a 7kW home-charger?!
Is my proposed off-street charging point too far from meter? Long-runs, several CUs etc.
Is the form from Western Power a formality to justify upgrade to 80A?
Is 80A enough? (We are quite high intensity users already, I think, and our ancient kitchen is about to get an induction hob and two ovens- which will require some additional electrical work)
Is there any point getting an electrician to upgrade the cable to the outbuildings?
Does it matter if I can't get wifi to the Pod-Point charger?
When Octopus install smart meter (I've just switched) will they upgrade the tails if needed?

Sorry for all these newbie questions; I'm beginning to feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew (had budgeted for kitchen work/wiring but not this and not the tax bill I just paid!) The EV was calculated to save money once it replaces the unreliable, thirsty ICE vehicle: looking less likely now (though I'll still be happy about environmental benefits.)

Thanks in advance.
 

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Your current wiring to the garage will most likely only be suitable for a 16A (~3.6kW) charger. That may well suffice depending on the car you are buying, your daily usage, and hence how much you would need to charge outside of your proposed cheap rate hours.
 

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Lots of questions! Nice looking property though.
  • Is this common
    No
  • and is my layout even compatible with a 7kW home-charger?!
    Yes, but ....
  • Is my proposed off-street charging point too far from meter?
    No, but ...
    • Long-runs
      which will require thicker than "normal" cable to prevent too much voltage drop
    • several CUs etc.
      Not in itself a problem although not ideal
  • Is the form from Western Power a formality to justify upgrade to 80A?
    Yes
  • Is 80A enough? (We are quite high intensity users already, I think, and our ancient kitchen is about to get an induction hob and two ovens- which will require some additional electrical work)
    Yes, for one EV. Ovens likely to be 16A x 2, Hob 13A, EV 32A so getting close, but there is a thing called diversity which means that ovens don't pull the full current continuously (they cycle on and off while in use) so you should just be fine. The killer would be if you want a mega 12kW shower as well. However, PodPoint can fit an overall current limiter that "turns down" their unit if the total current draw is close to the limit. Realistically, will you run both ovens and the hob etc between 00:30 and 04:30?
  • Is there any point getting an electrician to upgrade the cable to the outbuildings?
    Yes, the voltage drop will be too great for even 16 amps with the current length of run. You really need 6mm^2 or ideally 10mm^2 for the length that you are going. Most of the cost will be the groundworks unless you are very lucky and it was done really well with ducting, so you may as well pay slightly more (50p/m) for the thicker cable.
  • Does it matter if I can't get wifi to the Pod-Point charger?
    Yes otherwise you'll not get the OLEV grant. You'll need to put in an ethernet cable with the new mains cable.
  • When Octopus install smart meter (I've just switched) will they upgrade the tails if needed?
    At a cost, Yes. Do you have a main switch in the meter cupboard next to the meter? If so they only need to do between the two and your sparky can do the rest. If not then it could be expensive.
If I were you I'd seriously think about whether you need to move to 3 phase if you want to add something like GSHP or ASHP to the property in the future. Normally it is expensive, but it may not be too bad in the overhead lines that cross your property have 3 phase at a sensible voltage.
 

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PS!
Assuming that your picture is oriented to the North, could you run a new cable to the South of the path and Garage 1 and mount the PodPoint on a post near to where the path meets the driveway? This would be a lot easier than replacing the rest of the wiring and because it is shorter require only 6mm^2 cable. It would also not involve digging up the existing hard landscaping, and the car would be relatively close to the house and hence convenient except you wouldn't be able to charge in the garages.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
PS!
Assuming that your picture is oriented to the North, could you run a new cable to the South of the path and Garage 1 and mount the PodPoint on a post near to where the path meets the driveway? This would be a lot easier than replacing the rest of the wiring and because it is shorter require only 6mm^2 cable. It would also not involve digging up the existing hard landscaping, and the car would be relatively close to the house and hence convenient except you wouldn't be able to charge in the garages.
Thanks for those helpful replies. Yes- the pic is north up. We don’t have power showers but both our showers are those crappy “heat-as-you-use” ones that just trickle out if you want hot water.

The weak wiring is only the stretch from house to garage 1 (the first thin red line), thereafter it is a chunky (expensive!) cable (the thin red line around the hard standing to the “barn” and second garage). So, if I understand you correctly, putting the charger at the end of the path would would be much the same as putting it on garage 1; both these locations partially block the drive (hidden by tree), hence getting charger further round hard-standing on garage 2 wall. A car can be tucked up near garage 1, though.

I think I can put a TP link in garage one to get WiFi to garage two (won’t be fast but I assume charger doesn’t need much bandwidth). I will test this tomorrow.

What is GSHP and ASHP?


Thanks again.
 

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I thought this would be a formality as my house was rewired when I moved in 3yrs ago.
Unfortunately a 7kW charge point is nearly always a separate installation from the house wiring. Typically it is fed from the meter in parallel with the house stuff. Yours is more involved, but you've hit the same problem of many in that the basic supply to the house is marginal.

From the picture it looks a big house and with existing electric 'trickle' showers that you may want to upgrade in future, the extra appliances going in soon and heat pumps instead of boilers on the horizon, I think you may find a halfway solution only temporary.
If you expect to live there 10 years or more then biting the bullet and getting a mains supply installed that will allow for future stuff (min 100A, possibly a 3-phase supply or cable) might be a better bet than nibbling at it by spending a bit less but multiple times. Even if you do move it will be a good selling point and not a total waste.
 

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What is GSHP and ASHP?
Ground Source Heat Pump, Air Source Heat Pump

TP link - excellent idea, but you might be pushing the range. The Pod Point doesn't need much bandwidth, just a regular connection.

I appreciate that you'll want to upgrade the "trickle" showers - the issue is whether you go for very high power versions of the tricke shower or use the hot water from the tank if there is a big reserve. The former add to the overall electrical load obviously.

I missed that you had a good cable between garage 1 and 2. I'd still look at keeping the cable run as short as possible and hence the car as close to the house as possible. Clearly I cannot see where the drive and parking are (I'm not stalking you :rolleyes: ) so you need to work that out for yourself.
 

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Sorry to hear of your woes. You haven't said how many miles you expect to drive a day and that is a key factor.

If you don't do a lot of miles a day, then the Podpoint can be switched down to 16A (3.3kW) and the load sensor fitted to the feed to your garage CU. This would allow the charging to stop if you (say) plugged in a mower to the garage 13A socket. Generally you can't install a charging point on a 20A garage supply as diversity isn't allowed, but with the load sensor I believe you would be OK - hopefully one of our qualified electricians here can confirm. This would be the lowest cost option and increasing the supply fuse to 80A would also probably suffice. If the car was charged for 10 hours overnight then you would get around 30kWh so maybe 100 miles (depending on BEV).

If you do a lot of miles in the day, then you may need to spend a lot more money to accommodate 32A (7kW) charging and there have been a few suggestions above. You could always install at 3.3kW initially and then do the remedial work later - I believe changing the Podpoint load settings can be done by them remotely.
 

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Good advice from @proddick but I'd suggest biting the bullet now and going for the full 32A now as you have gone for the Octopus 4 hour tarrif which limits you to around 40-50 miles a day without doing some at the higher rate. You also may and up with two EVs in the future and need even more capacity.
Good luck getting over this hurdle, once past it the pain will fade and the EV experience will be brilliant
 

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My electrician installed a new new circuit with a separate overhead power cable to my garage (obviously cheaper than underground). This might be a solution for you - although the distance from the house to garage 2 would probably preclude that.
 

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Regarding your wifi connection - While upgrading the cable to the outbuildings, run ethernet cable in the conduit with the new power cable.
If the podpoint doesn't have an ethernet connection, you can use it to install a wifi access point in the garage & have wifi access throughout that half of your property.
 

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Or if it's not in a conduit (direct in ground) you can get armoured Ethernet to lay in the trench with the armoured power cable.
True, but I'd go with conduit anyway. A bit more resistant to being dug up accidentally, and allows for further upgrades.
 

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I'd would find a local electrician who is registered for the grant, this way they can quote before hand and you pay when job completed.
 

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In your case, I would entirely forget about grants and get a local electrician to design and instal a charging installation.

Probably based on an 80A supply fuse upgrade and some load management.

The charging companies are entirely the wrong organisation to entrust the design of a bespoke installation, let alone the installation.
 

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I'm assuming that your new car is an iPace...
i wouldn't install anything less than a 7kW charger for an ipace or similar. It takes 12-14 hrs to charge from "empty". There's no point in getting a 230 mile car if it takes 2 days to recharge it. If i was a Leaf with a 3kW onboard charger possibly but even then I'd future proof.
Personally I would install a 100A fuse and personally install a big thick cable to the place I wanted the "charger" (with ethernet cable), then I'd get pod point to install the box onto the end of it. They will have a budget of around £300 on top of the OLEV grant that will mean they'll not be prepared to do anything meaningful to get you what you want. You'll need to look upon this as an investment for the future. Once you've driven your car you won't want to go back to ICE.
i can't see 3 phase supplies ever becoming mainstream in the UK and the cost to install and ongoing costs make them prohibitive. The only other consideration as people suggest is solar, battery storage and heat pumps, all of which seem to be appropriate fo your property.
The only other consideration with a salary sacrifice car, which I'm sure you've considered is the effect on pensionable income and the taper-that could be far more expensive than anything electrical you've considered.
 

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It seems to me that there is so much more to this EV business than the marketeers are ever going to tell us.

Good luck with whatever the solution is for you.?
 
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