I recently wrote up a quick overview of the BMW Occasional Use Charger which is included with the i3, and has become my daily charging solution.
As the next step in explaining how I charge our i3, I thought I’d show a bit more about how I plug it in – and with (almost) no installation cost.
What I was looking for from our electric car charging setup
As we’ve written about before, when you start owning an EV you realise that 99% of your charge time is going to be spent at home, when the car is on the driveway.
Many people are understandably a bit put off by the additional cost of installation of a charger, and whether they need a high power unit and professional installation. Of course, if you think you need or want this, you absolutely should go ahead with a professional install – but I was reluctant, for a few reasons.
We live in a rental house, so I didn’t want to spend $500 to $1,000 on an electrician fitting our property for a proper wall-charger, and that’s without including the cost of the unit (which we could move to another property).
We would have had to pay to have it removed when we move out too, plus get permission for the installation from the property owner. And for our usage, I suspected we wouldn’t need to charge particularly fast.
We do have off-street parking which is key to making electric car charging at home more feasible. If you don’t have a driveway, garage or other private parking space then this would be a lot harder.
However, there’s no power outlet near the most suitable parking space, so I needed to look at the best way of running power down to the driveway.
Where I ended up – our home EV charging set up
I thought the easiest way to explain would be to draw a quick sketch:
The closest, most durable powerpoint is on the outside of the house around 15 metres away from the parking space.
I ran a single, heavy duty extension lead (bought for $30 from Bunnings) from the powerpoint, down the side of and then underneath the house, where I’ve then wall-mounted the BMW charger.
The cable is connected to the Charger and surrounded with a weatherproof cable connection box, also from Bunnings.
As for whether I should be using an extension cable? Not according to BMW, as I covered in my look at the BMW charger here. But I’m OK with it, as I explained in that post.
It took a bit of trial and error to find the right route for the cables, extension cable length and whatnot.
After a few tests, everything was all done and I tidied it all up under the house.
Day to day charging is then made more convenient by adding a J1772 charge holster, also wall-mounted, for a permanent spot to place the plug when not in use.
That’s it! I only ever need to visit a public charger if I need a faster charge for some reason (or if I want to charge for free).
The key infrastructure that made charging our electric car simpler than I had expected are simply…
- Off-street parking
- An accessible, durable (outdoor) plug
- A wall to mount the charger and the holster
Beyond that, I just bought:
- The extension cable
- The J1772 holster to keep things tidier
Compared with a sunk cost of over $1,000 for installing (an admittedly higher powered) permanent charger, I am pretty happy with the outcome.