House with wall charger charging car

Welcome home: smart wallboxes for electric cars

A wallbox is a convenient way of charging your electric car at home. It allows you to fully charge the batteries of plug-in hybrid or battery-powered electric vehicles in a few hours or overnight (depending on the battery capacity and charging power). (Image: Adobe Stock) 

A wallbox is a convenient way of charging your electric car at home. It allows you to fully charge the batteries of plug-in hybrid or battery-powered electric vehicles in a few hours or overnight (depending on the battery capacity and charging power). (Image: Adobe Stock) 

When a wallbox is connected to the internet,

  • it becomes a 'smart wallbox',
  • can be integrated into your smart home system,
  • and features many practical everyday benefits.

A home wallbox is connected to a 400 V and 16 or 32 amp high-voltage power supply, as is found in most homes. Installation is simple: like an electric cooker, your electrician simply routes the cable to the charging point and gets the charging station up and running. You can then charge your electric vehicle at home with up to 11 kW using the right charging cable – usually a Type 2 connector.

Charging station control by smartphone

As the smart wallbox is usually installed on the wall of your house, in a carport or garage, it can quickly also become part of your smart home. This is done by connecting your smart home and charging controllers or other intelligent systems to your home automation system.

Depending on the brand, the cost of a smart charging station is around £125 to £210 more than a simple model without online functions. However, the extra investment makes sense even if you only plan to integrate your electric car into your smart home in a few years’ time.

A smart wallbox
Charging station for the home: At Volkswagen , the wall box models are called ID. Charger, ID. Charger Connect and ID. Charger Pro.

Power from your solar panels

Anyone with a solar PV (photovoltaic) system installed on their roof can reduce the energy costs of their electric vehicle: simply use the solar power generated on your roof to charge your electric car. Just link the solar PV system to your smart wallbox and control the power supply using a smartphone app. Depending on the provider, the charging process and load management can be monitored and controlled remotely.

You decide how much solar power you wish to use to charge your car and how much for your household appliances. And if your self-generated power is occasionally insufficient due to the time of year or the weather, the energy management system will automatically use electricity from the power grid.

Bidirectional charging: Vehicle-to-Home

If a home with its own roof-mounted solar PV system generates more power than it consumes, the surplus is fed automatically into the power grid and a feed-in tariff is paid for this. However, as the feed-in tariff has been reduced in recent years, the customer may need to buy back the electricity at a considerably higher rate. It would be much more cost-effective to temporarily store your self-generated electricity for later use.

And this is where your electric vehicle comes in. Your electric car has a large enough battery capacity to power your home for several days. Of course, the prerequisite for Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) is that current can flow through the cable bidirectionally – that is, into the electric vehicle and back into the house or apartment.

Home and car automation are developing in parallel, as this bidirectional charging principle could soon work with a new bidirectional wallbox: intelligent software connects the electric car to the smart home, and the vehicle battery can then be used as a power source. An initial pilot test in Wolfsburg, Germany, with around 1,200 households and 270 bidirectional wallboxes, is intended to show how reliably and conveniently an electric car can store self-generated solar power and then feed it back into the smart home.

Pod Point is currently our recommended provider.

As our recommended wall box supplier, Pod Point, can help you choose a charging unit and even guide you through the process of applying for a grant. You may be also eligible for the Home Grant Scheme¹ (up to £350 towards the installation of a home wall box).

1. In March 2020 the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) announced that the Electric Vehicle Homecharge scheme (EVHS) would continue until 2021 and that the level of grant for EVHS is to be set at £350 (previously £500). The new rate is applicable to installations on or after 1st April 2020. The Government grants are subject to full terms and conditions and eligibility may be revised or withdrawn at any time without prior notice. This information is correct as of March 2020.

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