Standard vs non-standard EV charger installation

EV Installation | 11 April 2024

An EV charger installation at home is a relatively simple operation for a professional electrician.

However, there are two different ways in which this can be fulfilled—a standard and non-standard installation. While both achieve the same result, which is that your EV charger is fitted and ready to fuel your electric car whenever you need it, a non-standard installation will involve some additional site preparation work.

If you’re planning to install an EV charger at home (and “yay!” to you if you are—your life’s about to get a lot easier!), read on so that you’ll be fully clued into what to expect whether your installation is standard or non-standard. 

What is an EV Charger Standard Installation?

A standard installation is when your charger can be fitted without any additional work needing to be carried out. This kind of installation covers approximately 80 per cent of all installations in the UK. 

To qualify for a standard installation there are a few boxes that you must be able to tick. They are:

  • You need to own the property where the installation is to be carried out or have official permission for the work from your landlord.
  • You must have a secure Wi-Fi connection with a strong signal at the location where you want the EV charger to be installed. This is easy for you to check by simply walking to the location with your mobile and checking the strength of the wifi there.
    This is important as you’ll need to connect your charger to a central server through its accompanying app. Doing so will enable features such as modifying the rate at which your EV charges, and keeping track of energy usage.
  • You also need to have private off-street parking—i.e. a garage or driveway. If you live in an apartment, this will entail having your own parking space.
  • It’s imperative to confirm that your home’s electrical infrastructure can handle the extra load from an EV charger. The majority of 230-volt Level 2 chargers will need a dedicated circuit with at least 40 amps.

What to Expect in a Standard EV Charger Installation 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to confirm all of the above. All installers will carry out a comprehensive home assessment, usually online, to ensure that your home’s digital i’s are dotted and t’s crossed (if they don’t, make like Ariane Grande and say a polite, “Thank you. NEXT!”)

Once you are signed off on the above criteria, the standard EV charger installation can begin.

Just to be clear, only a certified electrician can complete your installation. Yep, your ability to change light bulbs in every room may be impressive to you but sorry to say, it doesn’t count here!

Typically, though, you won’t have to source these professionals as they’ll come as part of your package.  

Standard Installation Packages

Once you buy a charger, you’ll often have to look separately for an installer. The more convenient—and cost-effective—option might be to look for a company that’ll offer a standard installation as part of the package when you buy their charger. For instance, purchasing the solar-ready VCHRGD Seven charger from Powerverse comes with standard installation included, carried out by professional accredited installers.

All standard installations follow a series of specific steps. They are:  

  • The fitting of your EV charger on a permanent structure such as a brick or plaster wall.
  • The charging cable will be routed via a drilled hole up to 500 mm (20 in) when necessary. Routing this cable won’t involve drilling through more than two walls (if it does, you’ll need a non-standard installation).
  • A maximum of 10 meters of cable will be used. 
  • The fuse board, also known as the consumer unit, won’t be located further than 10 metres from the proposed charger location.
  • Between 3-7m (10-22 ft) of plastic trunking will be used to conceal the internal wiring.
  • Once everything has been installed, the electrician will test it and you’ll receive an EIC (Electrical Installation Certificate).

What is a Non-Standard EV Charger Installation?

A non-standard installation means that additional work is needed to prepare your electrical system for a home car charger installation. For example:

The Fuse Box is not a Trip Switch Type

It’s important that the fuses in your primary fuse box, or board, are trip switch types. Each switch on the fuse board is linked to different circuits around the home. When too much electrical current passes through a given circuit, the switch will “trip” to break the circuit, immediately stopping the flow of the current. If the fuse box is not a trip switch type, it’ll need to be upgraded in line with the UK’s Electrical Safety Standards.

A professional electrician can replace your fuses. As this is an additional cost to your EV home charger installation, make sure you get a few different quotes to find a competitive price. Or, for less headache, you could ask your installers for a quote and have the fuses replaced as part of the installation. 

Replacing the Primary Fuse Box

Most modern homes have a 100 amp supply. Some older or smaller-sized homes have only 80 to 60 amps. If this is the case (and you can ask your electrician to check if you’re not sure), you’ll need to replace your primary fuse box to ensure that you’ll have adequate power to charge your electric car at home without any issues. 

This is a big job that your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) will have to carry out. The good news is that in most cases they’ll do it for free.

A DNO owns and operates the electric power distribution system in your area and, depending on where you live, it could be National Grid, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), Electricity North West; Northern Powergrid, etc.

If you’re unsure who your DNO is, you can find out by entering your postcode via the Energy Networks Association website.

Installing a Secondary Fuse Box

An additional fuse box designed to aid in power distribution is called a secondary fuse box.

If, for example, you live in an apartment and your private parking space is not directly next to your home, the circuit will also be far from the main fuse box. That means a pretty lengthy cable is necessary to reach from the fuse box to the EV charger, and the installation process would be quite complex. In this instance, the best course of action is often to wire a backup fuse box. 

Your Meter Does Not Have an Isolation Switch

If your meter box is missing an isolation switch you’ll need to request one from your energy supplier. This is crucial because to securely install your new EV charger an electrician must be able to turn off the electrical circuit. The good news is that it will usually be installed at no cost to you by your energy provider. 

Your Home is on a Looped Cable System

When two or more properties share a single electrical cable, it is known as a looping supply cable. 

You can easily check for yourself whether this is the system you have—It will generally appear as two cables entering the bottom of your cut-out (i.e. fuse holder), which is situated below the fuse.

If your home is a terraced or semi-detached house, it’s more likely this is the cable system it has, and it’ll need to be replaced. 

Once again you must get in touch with your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) for this job, which they’ll carry out for free. 

The Cable Route From Meter to Chargepoint is Longer Than 15 Metres

If a greater distance of cabling is needed to install your EV charger then this is going to incur additional fees. This is not just because more manpower will be needed (though that is a consideration). It’s also because the installer will need to use different cables with a higher diameter (i.e. the distance from one side of the cable to the other), and these will need to be adapted to your home. 

The Cable Route Involves Drilling through More than Two Walls

A standard EV charger installation typically takes no longer than 2-3 hours and these labour costs are included in the overall package price.

However, if installers have to drill through more than two walls to route the cable from meter to charger, then the price will be increased. This makes sense: Not only will the job take longer, but it will be more complex and likely necessitate longer cable.

Generally, then, having to drill through more than two walls to route the cable properly will fall under a non-standard installation. The homeowner will have to pay for this to be carried out separately from the standard installation. 

Final Words

A non-standard EV charger installation will involve more preparation for the final installation, but it’s rare that all of the above work will need to be carried out. Most homes having an EV charger fitted will undergo a standard installation. 

If you want to find out more about standard installations, feel free to contact the team at Powerverse. We’re always happy to answer questions and explain exactly how our simple, seamless and super-fast installation process works. 

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