Most of you know know I love electric cars, which has been fuelled by me covering them officially since 2017. But Nissan sent me the Leaf back in 2015 and that’s when I googled what I had felt, which turns out had a real name: range anxiety.
Fast forward to 2022, and the EV space is slowly picking up pace. To such an extent that I decided to buy a home EV charger. Upfront disclaimer: I considered it because I was offered a media discount from EV Charge who they told me I wasn’t getting the proper EV experience. So I saved up from a project I did and decided to get a wallbox charger.
This is no way a sponsored post; I was not obligated to write about it. I decided to share what my experience has been like because it is topical, given what the price of fuel costs these days. I’ve also been given the opportunity to cover EV topics from a consumer perspective for the Sowetan Motoring/TimesLive every month, and the more I research, interview, and learn about EVs, the more it makes sense to go that route. The actual cost of EVs is a separate topic. Side note: if there’s anything you want me to cover in future, let me know.
Why did I go for a wallbox charger?
EV Charge has many options to choose from but I personally prefer a wallbox to a portable. There’s no way I’m taking a portable charger if I need to go anywhere. For that, I will plan accordingly and use public or dealership chargers. For home, I thought it worked better and looks solid, instead of having cables run out of my garage. I like the idea of having a dedicated area for it and thought I’d do it now so it lasts over the years.
If you’re in the same position; it’s really a personal choice. Things that will influence your decision is speed of charger, what phase power you have, size of property, permission if you are renting, public chargers in your vacinity, and most importantly, price. At a stretch, brand?
Which type of wallbox charger?
I went for the Besen EV charger that has an app, you also get it without the app, but the difference is only R900. In the bigger picture, it made sense to get the one with the app. I also have three phase charging but opted to go with the single phase, purely because it had the app. The unit is 32A; 7.4kW. I also made this decision based on a DC charger being about 5km from my home, should I urgently need a faster charge.
Who can do your installation?
Any qualified, licensed electrician should be able to install your EV charger. This is what EV Charge told me when I queried it because I thought they may have a list of approved services doing it (they don’t have such a thing). I’ve used an electrician who worked on my house before to install batteries and a solar charging set-up. The cost varies, depending on the parts required for your individual set-up, plus the electrician’s labour.
How long did it take?
It took an afternoon to install the charger. Despite the electrician buying the parts, while he was doing it, the two of them made another quick trip to Builders. I would say it takes around 4 hours or so – I had left for an event so don’t know what time exactly he left.
My early impressions using it
I received the Audi e-tron to test the day after it was installed. It was really simple – plug it in and start the charge via the app. There is nothing complicated about this charger. The app paired with within two seconds on my iPhone, not an exaggeration. Before I knew what was happening, it paired. I’ve not tested it on Android because I don’t need to; this my primary phone. The day the e-tron went back, I left it to charge overnight the night before. I stopped the charge from app, while indoors in the morning; I didn’t have to go out in the cold to stop it.
What did home charging cost me?
So, this is complicated. I use an estimate of R2.20 at home for articles, but Eskom will rip us off whenever they can and make those complications for time of year, time of month, how much you already used, etc, to put it loosely.
I charged the e-tron slower at 16A, and it took 13.5 hours using 21.87kWh. Based on my last bill, it could be these rates:
- 21.87kWh x R1.67 = R36.52
- 21.87kWh x R1.83 = R40.02
- 21.87kWh x R2.64 = R57,74
- 21.87kWh x R2.89 = R63.20
The e-tron has since gone back and I now have the Mini Cooper SE on test. I did a quick charge yesterday at 32A for 5.15kW and it took 46 minutes:
- 5.15kWh x R1.67 = R8.60
- 5.15kWh x R1.83 = R9.42
- 5.15kWh x R2.64 = R13.60
- 5.15kWh x R2.89 = R14.89
Remember, the battery capacity AND your driving style will also dictate how frequently you need to charge an EV.
Before you comment about load-shedding, I’ve covered the fact that Eskom can handle it (as per my interview with GridCars). I like the convenience of charging either overnight or for short bursts; this ensures I don’t have to worry about range anxiety, and I wake up with a car that has enough charge to last me the day. Also, working around a load-shedding schedule.
I no longer have to drive around to use charging stations that are a) opened in certain hours b) not being used by another car (DC) c) get there and its faulty or d) not spend unnecessarily in malls while the car charges. I will consider purchasing an EV when the costs come down, but for now, I’m fortunate to be able to recharge test cars from home. Thank you, EV Charge.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. email@example.com