EV Charger fitting part 4 - Insane prices!

So as previously mentioned in the last two posts I've been looking at getting an EV Charger installed, the last two posts were a little muddled up as I tried to write both to be seperate but an issue in publishing then caused conflict and issues with ghost.

Anyway...

The quotes have varied a lot, all the way from £450 to £2,474.4! And this is on top of the £500 grant from the government.

Now the reason why seems to vary between company to company and which charger they're installing.

Now my installation isn't what most deem as Standard which is for a cable of 10-15 Metres to be fitted from the fuse box to a drive way or garage which is on the side of your house, Assuming the fuse box is on an external facing wall and has capacity for a charger. You also require a driveway / garage of your own to qualify for the grant.

In our case it is relatively standard, our fuse box is on an outside facing wall however our driveway is detached from the house and is seperated by a 10M garden requiring a total of around 30M of cable. It has the capacity for a 7KW charger. However while we have a garden the base of our fence is concrete with concrete posts.

Rolec Wallpod
This one comes up as one of the top results in Google with a 7KW charger from only £149 or a tethered one from £199!

In both cases these were the most expensive quotes with one being £2,474.4 and the other being £2155.32 both for the 7KW Tethered model after the £500 grant is applied.

This was because the companies that fit this brand of charger in both cases wanted to dig the garden up using mini diggers and not clip it along the base of the fence and both wanted to install earthing rods which required additional work.
One deemed that it was neccesary for the charger to be fitted onto a metal post while the other deemed that an extra fuse box would have to be fitted in the garage on top of the MCB in the fuse box and the RCBO in the charger itself...

One wanted an extra £50 for a tethered unit and the other an extra £155 for a tethered unit. (For reference I can buy this charger from an electrical supplier for £355 for the non tethered, and £435 for a tethered unit £80 difference).

Chargemaster
This was one of the most reasonable quotes at around £450-500, however in this case they didn't get an accurate quote based on photos or anything and just on the basis of the extra length I measured on top.
However interestingly the website states clearly starting from only £279 with a picture of the model car I have for a slower 3.6kW charger however when enquiring about this was told that the Zoe requires extra work. Maybe a bit misleading?

Screenshot-from-2018-10-06-21-33-51

I suspect this quote would total around £500-600 once actually installed with the extra work which is a fair price. However still more than I wanted to pay. This company however said that it would be fine to clip the cable along the base of the fence as it was made of concrete.

In this case they didn't charge any more for a tethered cable.

Charged EV
Charged EV was an interesting one, if I remember correctly the price for a non tethered was £199 and the tethered £249 which was surprising as the charging unit was a re-badge of the one Chargemaster sell!

However apparently they've had reports that when charging customers can hear the sockets in their house "Buzz" and would require its own distribution board which while they could do it for free as part of a "Special Deal" but this would require getting an isolation switch fitted by my electric provider or electrician with permission from the DNO. This was easily going to add extra money on top of around £100 and potentially with the extra works was going to be quite expensive as they wanted to do groundworks instead. However I haven't heard back for a week on arranging a survey for the extra work.

Newmotion
New motion in total quoted £834.00 which was quite high compared to some quotes but not as high as the Rolec installers, however their charge point requires to have it connected to the internet via Cat 5 cable (an extra cable required to be fitted from the closest switch) and if I am reading the quote correctly a subscription of £3 a month!

Upon questioning if I could charge without internet connectivity it wasn't made very clear if this was possible. While I can understand adding internet connectivity (usually via wi-fi) is a benefit if it can report back charging statistics as we have experienced internet outages of over a day and intermittent internet of periods of a month. I don't fancy not being able to charge.

Podpoint
Finally there's pod point, I didn't request a quote from these to begin with as the price was starting from £359 and while it has wifi and such I just wanted a cheap fast charging unit. However when quoted originally I was provided with a quote of £834 including basic groundworks, this was before the other quotes so I thought this was expensive. However they then reduced it to £514 as they could clip the cable along the edge of the fence.

However as it has the wifi and such I should be able to view how much electric I'm using at no extra cost (While not official I noticed this as a new feature in their app). In most others this was an extra cost.

DIY?

I have looked into doing it myself and the cost saving is borderline depending on what unit I went for.

As a consumer the three tethered types were a DIY one from Evbitz, the Rolec Wallpod and a EO unit of which the Rolec and EO unit were around £400 which with cable and the MCB was going to be around £500. The DIY One was going to be around £400 all in all with us doing the work.

While this is cheaper or around the same price as some, this is without the £500 for the grant. While I understand that businesses have the cost of the installer, insurance, training etc I do wonder why for example the Rolec one would then cost around £1,500-1,800 to install.

Is more regulation needed? More money from grants? No grant at all?

I really can't tell as there's multiple issues which stem from this.

You own an EV so you should be prepared to pay
Unfortunately when I posted on the IET forums a comment made was that I was expecting it to be done for too little when just buying an expensive EV. It seems that most companies haven't realised that used ones are becoming very affordable expecially the Zoe which is cheaper due to the battery rental.

I suspect some people would just trust that it genuinely needs to be an expensive thing as EV Cars are new, however they're not new as they've been around for a rather long time. My car is 4 years old and over time costs should reduce from more people requiring the hardware and the time taken to install should decrease from the installers gaining more experience.

I can't check the code on installation
As mentioned I've had some companies require the cable to be buried and others fine with clipping it, I don't know which is allowed or not. Personally I see it as fine due to the fact our fence does have a concrete base. If it was fully wooden like at our previous house I could see the issue.

Another question has been if an earthing rod is required or not as we're on a TN-C-S (where the neutral is split to make earth at the incoming point). While I can understand the reason to potentially require this another issue stems that the Renault Zoe apparently requires a really low earth resistance when it performs it's check and won't charge if not and in some cases an earth rod can't get the low resistance required.

However because all of these are electrical codes set by the IET you require to pay for each book at £50-80. As a consumer I can't easily tell what is actually required and what's extra.

The grant is a reason for them to charge more?
Partially I think the grant is a reason to charge more, in some quotes the amount of extra work on top seems like this should be the price after the £500 from the grant. £800-1000 in my case seems reasonable for the charger and work required meaning I expect to pay £500 for it with the grant.

In the case of one company they wanted to do extra work despite asking them not to as it was unncessciary to fit a post for the charger to be mounted on. The same one also said they couldn't do a site survey in person as it'd cost too much for them to, despite being the one that quoted £2000!

Is the grant enough?
From the other angle is the grant enough? While mine isn't a standard install it's only a little bit of extra work. Should the UK gov be funding £750? £1,000?

Potentially, I think that in some ways this should vary based on your location and primarily the amount of free / at cost public charging stations are around you. If you have a lot of chargers nearby you likely can rely on almost full public charging only making a home charger more of a luxuary. However where I am the entire town has 2 chargers, one is at a Nissan dealer so I likely wouldn't be able to charge there (and due to the location unless I'm wanting to look at a Nissan Leaf have no need to) or at an industiral area (which is over the road from where I live) which apparently is for staff only to charge at leaving a total of 0 available chargers.

Compared to some areas where most supermarkets have a charger, council carparks have chargers etc where in my case would almost do all of my charging for me if our council carparks & local supermarkets had chargers.

I think that in areas with high density of chargers that a £500 grant is correct however think that if there is no public accessible charging this should be increased up to £1,000

Are the chargers too expensive?
Another debate is if the chargers are too expensive, in the case of the Pod Point charger I can understand the pricing of it more as it is a fully custom designed PCB with circuitry to control the charging, report back statistics and potentially have extra features in the future. In the case of the Rolec this is built out of an RCBO, 230V Contactor and a little communication unit as after all in the case of most type 2 chargers none of the actual power conversion is done by the charger. Its all done in the car of which the wiring literally is Earth, Live and Neautral into the car with a communication pin to the charger's communication unit that turns on the relay completing the connection for charging and tells the car how fast it's allowed to charge at.

And the winner is..........

I think I'll be going with Podpoint and unless I get a better quote by the end of Monday will be placing the order with them.

This is because it seems a fair price for what I'm getting, its got a few of the extra features which would be £50-100 more on other chargers. Also when comparing pictures of the insides you can see the design work of a custom PCB and circuitry that has gone into it compared to some others which are just a posh case for DIN Components.

However if on installation day they then increase the price too much then I'll have to decline and potentially go the DIY route.

Over fun things!

And a few other quirks of getting quotes:

  • One company spelt my name wrong as Mr R Ralmsey
  • One company sent their quote via the post despite me giving them my email. (Cmon its 2018, you're installing EV charging points, why waste the paper?)
  • I've been critacised by one for not expecting to pay over £1,000 for a charger and wanting it too cheap. Despite this being 20% of what i paid for the car itself.
  • A couple have never bothered to send the quote through.

Quotes / Prices correct at the time of me writing this article and as mentioned your own installation will vary depending on the extra work required. The price of installation of chargers in your area may vary based on the company installing them.

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