Will my distribution board support my EV charger?
When buying a charging station, you may not be able to see the wood for the trees. Firstly, there are many different brands of charging stations, but the charging stations themselves also differ in terms of specifications and features. In this article, we will discuss the difference between 1-phase charging and 3-phase charging, among other things.
Many people wonder what is a smart choice. Do I have a 1-phase charging point installed or do I choose a 3-phase charger? This choice depends on a number of aspects. For some people, price may be a consideration, but in some cases, the layout of the meter box also guides the choice to be made. First, let's zoom in on the differences between a 1-phase charging point and a 3-phase charging point.
The difference between 1-phase and 3-phase
To explain this difference properly, let's look at your home's meter box. This shows whether your house has a single-phase distribution board or a 3-phase distribution board. The group box can be a limiting factor in making the right choice in the type of charging point you want installed. Some people can tell at a glance what type of distribution board we are dealing with, while others have no idea what they see when the meter box is opened.
You can recognise the number of phases by two points. You can recognise a single-phase distribution box if there are two wires coming out of the bottom of the distribution box, the phase and the neutral. However, if there are four wires coming out of the distribution box, you know you are dealing with a 3-phase distribution box. Unfortunately, this is not always visible, so it is not immediately clear whether you are dealing with 1-phase or 3-phase.
However, the law of the weakest link always applies. Your house may be ready for a 3-phase charger, but you can also only charge in such a way if your car can handle 3-phase AC. If you have an EV suitable for 1-phase charging, you can often achieve a charging power of 6.6 or 7.4 kW with a 1-phase charger and the load balancing feature.
Determining if my home electricity grid is suitable for charging an EV
Electricians first perform an electrical load calculation. Once that is determined, the maximum current rating of an EV charger can be calculated. These load calculations take into account the area of the house and the number of electrical appliances that need to be powered. A calculation is done using some demand factors, assuming that you will never use all your electrical appliances at the same time. Basically, any house is suitable for charging an electric car, but the issue is then at what maximum charging rate this can take place.
Group box upgrade is often a good investment
Although both load management systems and transfer switches allow the installation of an EV charger with a 100-amp panel, these are short-term solutions. Older 100-amp panels are still not suitable to meet today's energy demand. These panels will often struggle when additional appliances and devices are added.
Upgrading your electrical panel to 200-amp is a good long-term investment for several reasons.
Some of the benefits of upgrading your panel include:
* A higher level of safety, as your distribution board and associated fuses are the first line of defence against overloading and dangers such as electrical fire, and new models are more effective
* More circuits, allowing more demanding power consumers to be split off to avoid frequent power outages
* Future-proofing, as upgrading your distribution board means your home can handle even more appliances you may want to add to your home in the future
Charging your electric car at home is almost always possible. However, it may require a modification to your meter box to be able to charge your electric car at the highest possible charging speed. Whether it is a major or minor adjustment to your meter box depends on your meter box, of course, but also on your electric car. If it does not support 3-phase, a 3-phase adjustment is not necessary. So get proper advice and make sure the installation is done by a certified electrician.