Cost of Installing a Driveway Charging Station
A guide to installing an EV charging station, including the cost, government grant opportunities, and what the job entails.
This article will outline the work required to install a static charging point at your home and will examine any issues, problems and pitfalls that would normally be associated with this kind of work.
If you’re contemplating purchasing an electric vehicle, you will need to have a charging point so that you can charge it when it is at home and not being used. This will usually involve installing an electrical connection in your garage or driveway that allows the fitting of a cable that can be plugged into your electric vehicle and allow it to charge while it is not in use.
Costs involved with installing a driveway charging station
This will depend upon whether you have a mains point installed in somewhere like a garage, or opt to place a point outside, which will need to be weatherproof. If you have the charge point located in your garage, it is likely to cost around £200 to install, but to move the point to some place outside the garage and to make it weatherproof, may increase the cost to around £400. This will break down roughly as 65% labour and 35% materials. You may get help towards these costs with the Governments Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme.
What installing a driveway charging station entails
The fitting of a vehicle charging power point requires installing a new power point that is aligned with the fuse box and has a dedicated safety circuit. Since a qualified electrician must complete this work, it is an ideal opportunity to check other parts of the fuse box and ensure that the electrics are well planned and optimised.
General advice about driveway charging stations
The UK government supports the use of EVs by offering a grant that pays towards the cost of fitting an electric charging point at a domestic property, known as the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS). You can find more information about this here.
You will need to determine whether the charging point is going to be located inside your garage or outside within your driveway or parking area. Of these options, locating the power point in your garage is the easiest and quickest, only requiring that the proper connector is firmly mounted to a suitable wall in the garage – near the door – and connected to the mains supply at the house fuse box with suitable cabling. This connective work must be carried out by a qualified electrician. If, however, you decide to site a weatherproof connector in the driveway, it will have to be properly installed.
Electrical installations installed in a driveway must be firmly ﬁxed and sheltered against accidental damage and attack by rodents. Surface-ﬁxed cables should be secured to stable structures only and should be supported at an adequate height above the ground to stop unintentional contact with footwear and garden tools. Where electrical cables are buried in the ground, they must be routed such that they’re not likely to be broken by any conceivable disturbance. They should be buried at suﬃcient depth, which is normally taken as not less than 600 mm (approx. two feet depth). This means that a trench of that depth must be dug in the driveway to accommodate the cable.
Non-armoured buried cables should be fitted in a conduit or appropriate duct to offer defence against impact. Armoured cables and cables having an earthed metal sheath appropriate for use as a protective conductor, may be buried straight in the ground without further safety, except against corrosion, which may be cancelled by the facility of plastic covering. Once the cable is fitted. The trench will need to be filled with soil and the top layer rendered in the same material as the rest of the drive (such as tarmac, or brick).
Finally, 13Amp socket-outlets fitted in a garden must either include a 30 Ma RCD or be supplied from a circuit with additional safeguard by a 30 mA RCD, as covered by Regulation 411.3.3. While for household installations, only shuttered socket-outlets should be operated, industrial socket-outlets as well as plugs, connectors and appliance inlets conforming with BS EN 60309-2, may be used in places outside of the property where appropriate.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding installing a driveway charging station.
Q Do I need planning permission to install a car charging point?
Usually not. Schedule 2, Part 2, Class D of The Town and Country Planning Order 2015 (as amended) quotes that planning permission isn’t essential for the installation of a wall-mounted electrical outlet for recharging of electric vehicles, as long as the area is lawfully used for off-street parking. However, for an installation to be classed as permitted development, the electrical outlet - and its casing - mustn’t:
- Surpass 0.2 cubic metres.
- Adjacent to and be within two metres of a motorway.
- On a site selected as a scheduled monument.
- Hold the agreement of a listed building.
If your charging point contravenes any of these points, permission must be sought and approval obtained.
Q I have an existing 240-volt outlet in my garage. Can I use it?
Yes, but you will need the extension cable that fits between the socket and the car itself. There are currently four variants available, which vary depending upon which car you have. There is:
- The Type 1 plug which isn’t very common and is commonly used for slow or fast charging but isn’t suitable for rapid charging.
- The Type 2 connector is appropriate for slow, fast and rapid charging, and is now the European standard, so it’s the most predominant choice on the market.
- The CHAdeMO which is most suitable to rapid charging and is more normally used by Asian car producers (e.g. Nissan) although its design means that cars need an additional plug to have this on top of the legally required Type 2 plug.
- The CCS or Combined Charging Standard plug is comparable in its abilities to the CHAdeMO above, in that it’s best suited to rapid charging. However, unlike the CHAdeMO it builds on the Type 2 design with additional connections on the base of the plug.
Q Will the job need to be signed off?
The electrical portion of the work will require carrying out by a qualified professional, and for that reason, can be signed off by that engineer. Such work is Part P notifiable when carried out in an area of increased shock risk, i.e. bathroom, kitchen, outside area such as a car charging point.