How Much Does a Home Level 3 EV Charger Cost?
A level 3 EV charger is significantly more expensive than a slower model designed for home use. You might pay £2,500 (plus VAT) for an individual rapid charging dock, but commercial businesses can invest tens of thousands of pounds in dual charging stations.
Level 3 EV chargers are the fastest charging units available and use direct current (DC) rather than alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity used in the overwhelming majority of domestic properties.
It would be unusual to have a home with DC-compatible electricity components since this is used in commercial premises with a three-phase electricity supply.
However, if you want to install a rapid charger, which can recharge an EV with around three to twenty miles of range in a minute, you will also need to consider the cost. A standard home charger usually costs up to £1,000 for a more complex or integrated installation, but the average paid is closer to £500 with the OZEV government grant.
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Installing a Level 3 EV Charger at Home
Level 3 chargers, or DC Fast Chargers, are more powerful than most EV chargers intended for domestic use. They are very fast but often unsuited to residential properties because installation costs could multiply your investment and electricity bills just as quickly.
Most homeowners go for a level 2 charger if they wish to speed up their charging time, which doesn't require such extensive modifications to a property's electricity supply.
While you can charge an EV in around half an hour with a level 3 charger, they are also not recommended for repeated use since the higher heat generated causes the battery to degrade much faster than it would with a slower, steady charge.
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Cost Variables in Home EV Charger Installations
As an idea of the different cost components and how these impact your charger installation budget, we have listed below some of the potential work required:
- Purchasing the charging point: from £800 to £1,500 less available grants.
- Installation costs: up to £1,000 – without subsidies or grant funding.
- Driveway installation: an additional £2,000 for groundwork and cabling, plus relaying concrete, paving slabs, or brickwork.
- Fuse box installation: £350 if you require an additional or separate fuse box to manage your charging station.
- Cabling: from £150 to £500, depending on how far the charging dock is from your electricity supply and the complexity of the cabling needed.
Fitting a level 3 fast charger will be more expensive, not only in the cost of the charging dock itself but in the electrical work required to adapt your property to accommodate the surges of power.
Level 2 chargers are faster than the original level 1 slow chargers but need a 240-volt power supply, like a washing machine or another domestic appliance.
A level 3 charger needs a DC electrical supply, which will command extensive modifications to your circuit box or potentially a separate network altogether. A standard electricity system will fail if you try to power a rapid charger through an incompatible AC supply.
Different EV Charger Levels
There are three different levels of EV chargers you could choose from, depending on the electricity supply available at your property.
Level 1 chargers are slow but are also the lowest cost and widely available through EV charger installers. These chargers plug into any 120-volt outlet, a standard throughout the UK, and do not require additional work besides fitting the charging point and connecting the cables.
Level 2 chargers are quicker and require a professional installation from a contractor or electrician. However, they remain affordable, suitable for any EV model, and compatible with domestic UK power systems.
Level 3 chargers are also known as rapid chargers and are normally found at workplace charging stations, service stations and commercial businesses. They provide a very quick charge in as little as 30 minutes but create heat which, if used extensively, can cause deterioration to the EV battery.
The cost of fitting a level 3 charger is significantly higher than a domestic model. A residential installation would require electrical work to ensure the system was robust enough to provide the required power output.
Electricity costs associated with running a level 3 charger are also higher than for any other model. It is important to remember that a charging dock usually requires a standby supply, which stops the station from disconnecting when not in use.
A standard level 1 or level 2 charger can normally be turned off or the cable disconnected. In contrast, a level 3 charger will cost a small amount of standby electricity even when you are not actively charging your EV.
Level 2 vs Level 3 EV Chargers for Home Installation
For most EV drivers, a level 2 charger is a good compromise. They are quicker than level 1 chargers, can be used with any EV, and don’t commonly require much electrical work during the installation process.
Most level 2 chargers need a 240-volt power outlet, similar to that used for a higher-powered appliance such as a washing machine.
However, in some cases, you may need a new fuse box or have an electrician modify your existing fuse box to ensure it can handle the higher power outage requirements.
Additional work that may be necessary to fit a level 2 charger includes:
- Fitting 120-volt connections attached to a circuit breaker to upgrade your consumer unit and prevent the charger from flipping all the other fuses in your property.
- Adjusting the electrical circuit to create an isolated circuit for the charger if your consumer unit isn’t large enough to accommodate the additional supply.
- Connecting cabling from the charging station to your fuse box, with insulated wiring required if the charging dock is outside rather than inside a garage.
A qualified electrician or EV installation specialist can provide a quotation and will normally ask to visit your property to review your existing consumer unit and electrical circuits to advise whether these tasks are necessary.
Pros and Cons of Rapid Level 3 EV Chargers
Rapid chargers are not usually suited to residential properties because they use three-phase, 63-amp electricity with type 2 charging cables, which are normally found on business premises or public charging stations.
The power outage is huge and rarely practical for a domestic home and will require a DC supply, which is incompatible with an AC electric circuit.
Drivers sometimes prefer rapid chargers for the practicalities since they can recharge an EV up to 80% in 20 minutes and reach a full charge in half an hour – depending on the EV model and the size of the battery.
Ultra-rapid EV chargers can provide a power supply of 100kW or more, compared to domestic level 1 and level 2 chargers, which vary from 3kW to 22kW at the higher end of the spectrum.
These next-gen chargers are extremely quick, but smaller EVs can only manage a maximum 50kW DC charge, so the most powerful rapid charger is not necessarily more convenient.
EVs can still recharge with an ultra-rapid charging dock but will be limited to the maximum power capacity of the battery, so they won’t charge any faster with a higher power supply.
It is important to note that rapid or ultra-rapid charging is not recommended for ongoing charging because it can put excess strain on the battery and shorten its range or performance, impacting the overall longevity of the battery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you still torn between installing a fast level 2 charger or a rapid level 3 charger at home? Please read our FAQs below for further information.
Can I Fit a Level 3 EV Charger at Home?
In most cases, an electrician or EV charger installer won't consider fitting a level 3 charger at a domestic property because these DC-powered charging units are incompatible with an AC residential power supply.
It may theoretically be possible, but the costs of reconfiguring your electrical systems and fitting a commercial charging unit on a residential property normally mean it isn't considered safe or economically viable.
Why Is Level 3 Charging Bad for an EV Battery?
Level 3 rapid chargers use a much higher power source than a normal level 1 or level 2 slow or fast charger and generate more heat during the charging process. Although research is still in its early days, most EV manufacturers recommend against using rapid charging more than necessary on longer journeys to avoid damaging the battery.
How Quickly Can I Recharge an EV With a Level 3 Charger?
Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers can charge an EV battery in a fraction of the time it would take with a slower AC charger. Most level 3 charging docks can reach up to 80% charge in half an hour – although that varies with the size of the battery and the maximum power output the battery can accept.
What Is the Benefit of Charging an EV Through an AC Power Supply?
AC power, used in domestic properties, is slower and less powerful than a commercial DC current. Although it takes longer to charge an EV, the costs are considerably lower, and the charging process will not put unnecessary strain on the battery.
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