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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've owned an electric car for 3 years now, and I live over 230 miles away from my parents. I've visited them many times and driving up there isn't an issue as leaving my house with 100% charge is great. The issue comes in that they live in a semi-rural area and there are very limited charging options nearby. I've put up with making an additional stop before I get to them to prepare for the return journey but leaving their house with less than 100% charge really screws up the return and means I have to think about charging way more than I want to. I want to remove that issue.

Now I hear you saying, "Matt, just buy a granny cable to use while there!". I did, and every time I plugged it in it would trip my parents' electrics. See, my parents' house must be 100 years old and my dad thinks he can do every bit of DIY going. He's fairly capable but I'll be honest, 30 years of him doing things to the house has left the electrical system... not up to standard.

I've decided that I want to pay for them to get a charge point installed at the house. Unfortunately, my parents aren't likely to go electric any time in the next decade so I won't be able to use a grant but I can accept that. So, with that in mind, I suppose there are a few things to discuss/solve.

1) What charger do I go for?
(I was thinking Maybe the EO Mini, or the QUBEV or something similar in terms of size/style)

2)
Their main fuse needs an upgrade.
Am I right in thinking that's free if I contact a DNO? Or is there a cost?

3) The fuse board is ancient and will need a replacement I guess.
What kind of cost is this? The poor thing is basically falling apart.

4) Will my dad's less than desirable DIY wiring cause issues?

With all that in mind, what are my options here? I'm willing to put the money in but I need to be confident in what I'm likely to need to fork out for before I commit and put it to my parents.

Will a charge point installer be able to figure out and quote/do all the work or am I best handling the fuse/board upgrade separately with a regular electrician and then getting the installer in after?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Once this is sorted I should be able to visit my family easier and not worry about the charging aspect.

N.B. Just had a thought. Despite the fuse board being terrible, if I got the main fuse upgraded it might not matter right? When I had my charge point installed they installed a separate RCD that is completely separate from the house's existing fuse box. That way I could bypass all of the fuse box/wiring upgrades right?
 

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Before doing anything, I think you're very best bet would be to get an EICR done, as much for peace of mind as anything else. It will be money very well spent, if you use a local electrician and make it clear that you're really after a survey of the state of the existing installation, and are not inviting them to do a full re-wire! The EICR will give you loads of useful info and will also steer you towards the most cost effective solution. The last thing you want is to select a charge point, then find that you are in for a whole lot of pain and grief due to the age and condition of the installation.

From the sound of it the house may be long over due an EICR, they are supposed to be done every 10 years (bit most people ignore them). The EICR wilkl give you key bits of information, though, like the type of earthing system, size of the main fuse, etc, as well as the really important safety inspection part.

If you opt to get this done, don't be too worried if there are a lot of apparent defects. No installation is likely to get a completely clean bill of health now. Post the results here and there are at least three or four of us that could interpret what they really mean in terms of work that must be done, versus work that it might be a good idea to get done.

The poor condition of older installations is a particular concern of mine, along with the tendency of a very small minority of electricians to try and take advantage of older people and try and get them to fork out for work that may not be needed. For that reason I do free EICRs for people locally, with the proviso that I will only fix major defects that need to be sorted immediately. There may be someone locally that does something similar, although they may well not advertise and, like me, only do this volunteer work on a recommendation basis, from something like a local community support group.

You are right that a charge point installation is often best fed from its own connection box, directly fed from the tails. That avoids any concerns about the safety of the existing installation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Before doing anything, I think you're very best bet would be to get an EICR done ...
Yeah, my partner was talking about this too. I think I'd like to get the EICR done anyway as you say. As my dad gets older and less able to fix things himself, it would be good to know how much of a mess the property is in and to have peace of mind that they're not living in an electrical death trap.

Just got to explain it all to my dad in a way that doesn't damage his pride and that he'll cooperate with!
 

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Path of least resistance might be a dedicated outdoor socket on its own trip with its own wiring for plugging in the Granny charger. They could also use it for powering items outside. Benefits them as well as you. Probably be a fraction of the cost of a full 7kw installation as well. Once you've got that passed them it might be easier to slowly improve their electrics over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Path of least resistance might be a dedicated outdoor socket
Certainly an option too. I'd have to check if there was space in the consumer unit for it's own feed though.

If the costs of the 7kW come out astronomical then yeah, I'd settle for the 3-pin plug.
 

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Certainly an option too. I'd have to check if there was space in the consumer unit for it's own feed though.

If the costs of the 7kW come out astronomical then yeah, I'd settle for the 3-pin plug.

Please bear in mind that a 13 A outlet installed for car charging still needs to have open PEN fault protection (if the installation is PME) and Type B RCD protection. It's notifiable work under Part P of the building regs in England and Wales, so is not a DIY job, as if it were DIY'ed without BR sign off it would be a criminal offence, carrying a maximum sentence of up to 2 years in prison.
 

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I've owned an electric car for 3 years now, and I live over 230 miles away from my parents. I've visited them many times and driving up there isn't an issue as leaving my house with 100% charge is great. The issue comes in that they live in a semi-rural area and there are very limited charging options nearby. I've put up with making an additional stop before I get to them to prepare for the return journey but leaving their house with less than 100% charge really screws up the return and means I have to think about charging way more than I want to. I want to remove that issue.

Now I hear you saying, "Matt, just buy a granny cable to use while there!". I did, and every time I plugged it in it would trip my parents' electrics. See, my parents' house must be 100 years old and my dad thinks he can do every bit of DIY going. He's fairly capable but I'll be honest, 30 years of him doing things to the house has left the electrical system... not up to standard.

I've decided that I want to pay for them to get a charge point installed at the house. Unfortunately, my parents aren't likely to go electric any time in the next decade so I won't be able to use a grant but I can accept that. So, with that in mind, I suppose there are a few things to discuss/solve.

1) What charger do I go for?
(I was thinking Maybe the EO Mini, or the QUBEV or something similar in terms of size/style)

2)
Their main fuse needs an upgrade.
Am I right in thinking that's free if I contact a DNO? Or is there a cost?

3) The fuse board is ancient and will need a replacement I guess.
What kind of cost is this? The poor thing is basically falling apart.

4) Will my dad's less than desirable DIY wiring cause issues?

With all that in mind, what are my options here? I'm willing to put the money in but I need to be confident in what I'm likely to need to fork out for before I commit and put it to my parents.

Will a charge point installer be able to figure out and quote/do all the work or am I best handling the fuse/board upgrade separately with a regular electrician and then getting the installer in after?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Once this is sorted I should be able to visit my family easier and not worry about the charging aspect.

N.B. Just had a thought. Despite the fuse board being terrible, if I got the main fuse upgraded it might not matter right? When I had my charge point installed they installed a separate RCD that is completely separate from the house's existing fuse box. That way I could bypass all of the fuse box/wiring upgrades right?
Get a charging lead with a 6A charge rate setting, then it'll be fine. Also avoid overheating any plugs. Takes longer than at 10A but usually this is not a problem if you are staying more than just overnight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Please bear in mind that a 13 A outlet installed for car charging still needs to have open PEN fault protection (if the installation is PME) and Type B RCD protection. It's notifiable work under Part P of the building regs in England and Wales, so is not a DIY job, as if it were DIY'ed without BR sign off it would be a criminal offence, carrying a maximum sentence of up to 2 years in prison.
Got it. In which case it surely makes sense to install a 7kW charger if we're already doing all that.

Get a charging lead with a 6A charge rate setting, then it'll be fine. Also avoid overheating any plugs. Takes longer than at 10A but usually this is not a problem if you are staying more than just overnight.
When I visit it's often for one night or two. On the times the granny cable has behaved I've mostly had a full battery to leave but not always. I think 6A would just be so slow that it would kind of negate the point for me unfortunately.
 

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When I visit it's often for one night or two. On the times the granny cable has behaved I've mostly had a full battery to leave but not always.
You've not indicated what sort of car. Are you doing this trip without any en route charging and not stopping anywhere?

I suspect it'd be a lot cheaper and less effort to stop for a charge than the effort of installing in a property that probably needs a whole new electrical system and modernisation (if 10A can throw it).

If you do already stop for a charge, then 6A will be fine for you ... you only have to charge enough to make it to your charging point of preference, it should just mean you have to charge there [at the en route rapid] slightly longer (5 to 10 minutes, no more, I would expect).

And that's just for the one night stop. For two nights, no bother at all.
 

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If you get the tails split and install a consumer unit specifically for the charger the house electrics will be left untouched, it does sound as though they are in need of some professional help.
 

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Got it. In which case it surely makes sense to install a 7kW charger if we're already doing all that.

When I visit it's often for one night or two. On the times the granny cable has behaved I've mostly had a full battery to leave but not always. I think 6A would just be so slow that it would kind of negate the point for me unfortunately.

May well be much the same sort of price. I'd agree with what @richtrash has said, it can be kept separate, but I would have concerns about the safety of the existing installation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You've not indicated what sort of car. Are you doing this trip without any en route charging and not stopping anywhere?
I can (and do) stop to charge en route. It's just that I can currently land it that I turn up on low range which would be fine if I could charge at their house but I can't so I have to stop for another 45 minute charge to get to 80%.

On top of that if I decide to see friends while I'm visiting then I use the car during the day which may not leave enough time to get back up to 100% before the return journey.

Like I alluded to before, it's all perfectly doable and I can cope with it, but I just thought "Why cope when you can fix the problem?". Obviously if it's going to cost me several thousand pounds to fit a 7kW charger then yes I will just continue to cope but I'm hoping I can manage to fix it for a reasonable price.

Regardless of which way it goes, I think an EICR is a good idea anyway.
 
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