If you have used any of the vehicle manufacturer’s ‘Configurator’ facilities to work out a price for an electric vehicle you may have seen the option to upgrade the onboard charger to 11kW. Is it worth it? What does it mean?
Firstly let’s look at home charging for EVs. For the vast majority of UK residents a 7kW EV charger such as the Hydra Zodiac is the maximum that you can install as this operates from a 32amp 240v single-phase electrical supply. If you only have access to a 16amp 240v supply then a 3.6kW charger is what can be fitted*.
Anything above a 7kW charger requires a 400v three-phase electrical supply, more commonly found in shops, offices and other commercial properties. Hydra offer a range of commercial EV chargepoints which can be connected to a three-phase supply in order to deliver an output of up to 43kW.
So why 11kW charging for an EV?
At home you can use your 7kW domestic charger but in other places, maybe your office, or a supermarket car park, could have faster chargers offering outputs of up to 43kW from an AC supply. So if you upgraded your EV’s onboard charger to accept 11kW charging or it comes as standard with an 11kW charger you could potentially recharge your vehicle 50% faster than at home.
You can still connect your EV to a public charger with an output of over 7kW or 11kW but that is the maximum that your EV will use. A 7kW EV chargepoint will give you an additional 30 miles of range per hour. An 11kW chargepoint will give you 38miles in the same time.
NOTE: These are different to the 100kW+ Rapid DC chargers you find on motorway service stations. A DC charger bypasses the onboard charger and charges the battery direct so is not limited to a certain output.
Is it worth the cost?
If you want to charge at 11kW or higher at home you’ll need to talk to an electrician to see whether it would be possible to upgrade your home supply to a three-phase supply. This is fairly straight forward but the additional cost is hardly worth it unless you really MUST re-charge your vehicle every night in 5 hours instead of 8.
Whether it is worth option for the 11kW onboard charger for your EV is more of a subjective discussion. At the time of writing Vauxhall were offering the higher 11kW charging capacity as an option on some EVs for an additional £360 – Interestingly some models already have it as standard – So it could reduce your charging times at some public chargepoints. Whether this is worth the additional cost is entirely up to you. For a family runabout, maybe not, for your everyday commuting vehicle, it could be. Only you can decide.
Hydra EVC charging options
The Hydra Zodiac is available as 7kW or 22kW output options. The 7kW is designed for domestic, residential or workplace charging for a single user. The 22kW requires a three-phase supply so is more suitable for commercial or workplace use.
We also offer other AC fast chargers in our commercial range. Get in touch for details.
* You can still fit a 7kW EV chargepoint to a 16amp supply but you may also need a Dynamic Load Balancer to limit the supply or downrate the load via the chargepoint’s App. The Hydra Zodiac can be used with a load balancer or be downrated via the Hydra Home App.