Essential Guide to EV Charger Installation: Understanding Supply Assessment Stages

Apr 25, 2024

EV Charger Installation Assessment

Introduction to EV Technology and Benefits

The surge in electric vehicle (EV) ownership is not just a trend; it’s a shift towards a more sustainable mode of transportation. EVs offer numerous benefits over traditional gasoline vehicles, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower running costs, and less maintenance. As more consumers opt for electric vehicles, the need for convenient charging options becomes increasingly essential. Installing an EV charger at home is not only about convenience; it’s about maximizing the usage of your EV and ensuring it’s always ready for the road.

 

Evaluating Your Home’s Electrical System: The Stage 1 Supply Assessment

Before installing an EV charger, it is crucial to ensure that your home’s electrical system is capable of handling the additional load. This begins with a critical Stage 1 Supply Assessment, which is fundamental in ensuring safety and functionality. This guide delves into the critical areas assessed during this stage, illustrated with real image examples to identify potential issues and necessary actions to prepare your home for an EV charger. Understanding these initial steps ensures your installation process is safe, compliant, and efficient.

Cable Entry and Capacity Requirements

Observation: The first image (example 1) shows two grey cables entering from the top right of the meter box, and the second image (example 2) shows one grey cable entering from the bottom left, indicating different setups or modifications. Action Required: These setups usually suggest an outdated 8KVA Maximum Import Capacity (MIC). To determine the MIC of your property, contact ESB Networks to confirm the MIC. If it is indeed 8KVA, you’ll need to request an upgrade to a 12KVA supply, which is the minimum required for an EV charger according to the ESB Code of Practice.

The term “Maximum Import Capacity” (MIC) refers to the maximum amount of electrical power that a property can draw from the national grid at any one time. It’s measured in kilovolt-amperes (kVA) and is a crucial factor in determining the electrical infrastructure’s capacity to handle various appliances and systems, including electric vehicle (EV) chargers. In order to determine the MIC of your property

(TNCS stands for “Terra-Neutral Combined System,” which is a type of earthing system commonly used in electrical installations. It’s one of the standard methods to ensure safety by effectively managing the earth and neutral connections. This system is also known by its formal name as PME (Protective Multiple Earthing)

Cable Condition and Specifications

Observation: The first image’s cables (example 1) are adequately thick at 16sq mm, meeting standard requirements. The second image (example 2), however, shows outdated 6sq mm black cables. Action Required: If a meter tails upgrade is in your plans, these cables will likely be replaced. If not, report this condition to ESB immediately as a potential hazard.

Earthing System Verification

Observation: Both images indicate the earthing system is TNCS (Terra-Neutral Combined System). However, in a few cases where we cannot see the earth in their positions, this requires further investigation as it could be an old TT system. Action Required: Possible upgrade outdated TT Earthing Systems to the safer TNCS system. If a meter tails upgrade is underway, it will address this issue. Otherwise, consider using an RCD temporarily for protection until upgrades are completed.

Fuseboard Cable Compliance

Observation: Both images suggest older wiring to the fuseboard, potentially non-compliant with current standards, whereby an EV charger cannot be installed.

Action Required: Ensure cables to the fuseboard are at least 16sq mm. If your wiring is old, a meter tails upgrade is essential to meet safety standards. Your electrician will need to assess and perform necessary work, including issuing certifications to ESB Networks.

Regulatory and Safety Standards

Installing an EV charger involves compliance with a variety of safety and regulatory standards. It’s essential to understand the requirements of The National Rules for Electrical Installations NSAI I.S. 10101:2020 that pertain to EV charging systems, including proper grounding, circuit protection, and outdoor safety enclosures. Consulting with a licensed electrician who is fully knowledgeable with these standards ensures that your installation is both safe and compliant. The EV chargers in these two images were installed by a third-party contractor in a manner that was unsafe and not in accordance with regulatory safety standards. Fortunately, all identified issues have been successfully resolved

Cost Analysis EV Charger Installation

Cost Analysis of EV Charger Installation 

The cost of installing an EV charger can vary widely depending on your existing electrical infrastructure, the type of charger, and labour costs.

However, homeowners in Ireland are eligible for the EV home EV charger grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which offers a €300 grant toward the installation of an electric vehicle (EV) charger. Additionally, businesses can benefit from The Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA), which provides tax relief for the upfront cost of purchasing energy-efficient equipment. More information can be found at Electric Vehicle Fleets For Business | Electric Vehicles | SEAI

Risks of Inadequate Assessment and Improper Installation

Consequences of Neglect: Skipping or improperly conducting a supply assessment can lead to severe risks. Overloaded systems may cause breaker trips or, worse, fires due to overheated wires. Incorrect earthing or inadequate cable thickness can also lead to electrical shocks or system failures, posing serious safety risks to inhabitants.

Historical Issues: In some cases where EV chargers were installed without proper assessments, all the works had to be rectified post-installation, leading to additional costs and extended downtime. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to find homes that have been rewired without updating the meter tails or using incorrect cable sizes, compromising the entire system’s safety and efficiency.

Properly assessing your electrical supply before installing an EV charger is crucial not just for compliance, but for the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system. Remember, while upgrades may incur costs, they are a vital investment in your property’s safety and functionality.

Final Advice

Always ensure a professional review and upgrade of your electrical system before proceeding with an EV charger installation. This approach not only guarantees safety but also avoids the inconvenience and expense of rectifying improper installations.

Environmental Impact of EV Charging

By installing an EV charger and utilizing it regularly, you are contributing to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. This shift to electric vehicles, supported by a network of home chargers, plays a crucial role in advancing global sustainability efforts.

Future Trends in EV Charging Technology

Future Trends in EV charging technology

Maintaining EV chargers is crucial for ensuring their longevity and reliability. Regular inspections can help detect issues like wear and tear on connectors or potential electrical faults. Software updates are also vital, as they enhance charger functionality and integration with newer EV models

 

Taking the first step towards installing an EV charger doesn’t have to be daunting. Our team of certified professionals is here to guide you through every stage of the installation process, from the initial supply assessment to the final setup. We ensure your installation is compliant, efficient, and tailored to your needs.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards a greener, more convenient future. Let us help you make the switch to electric with confidence and ease.

EV Charging Ireland | Providing Home & Commercial Electric Car Charging

 

Are you eligible for the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant?

The SEAI scheme provides a grant up to the value of €600 towards the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle charge point for a homeowners property. The applicant must be the owner of an eligible new or second-hand electric vehicle. For more information click here.

Eligibility Checklist:
  • You must be a private owner who bought an eligible EV from 01/01/2018
  • You must have dedicated off-street parking
  • The property can not be associated with a previous EV vehicle grant and charge point offer.
  • The vehicle has to be registered to the applicant and to the address of the property where the home charger is being installed (unless this is a Company Vehicle application)