Volkswagen to offer wall-mounted home chargers for electric cars
Volkswagen's home charging device will be priced from around £400 when sales begin later this year...
Volkswagen will offer its own range of domestic wallbox chargers to electric car drivers by the end of November. The new units, dubbed ID Charger, are said to charge batteries almost five times faster than a conventional three-pin plug.
Wall-mounted chargers can be installed at your home to allow for easy charging. And while many people still don't have access to public charging points, they're vital in helping more buyers switch to an electric or plug-in hybrid car. Indeed, Volkswagen says it expects half of all electric vehicle charging to be done at home.
The ID Charger can fully charge a 58kWh electric car battery – such as that available in Volkswagen’s upcoming ID 3 family hatchback – in about six hours.
Three versions of the device will be offered. The regular ID Charger comes with no add-ons; the ID Charger Connect can link up to home networks and smartphones, enabling monitoring, remote maintenance and wireless software updates; and the range-topping ID Charger Pro has an integrated electric meter so you can see in real time how much electricity your vehicle is using.
All three ID Chargers provide a peak charging rate of 11kW. In comparison, a typical public fast charging point dispenses up to 7kW, while most rapid chargers – the type you'll find at motorway service stations – operate at 50kW. Three-pin plugs, meanwhile, have an output of just 2.3kW.
Prices for the ID Charger are yet to be finalised, but they should start from around £400 and rise to around £850.
Only a few electric car makers, such as BMW and Tesla, currently offer their own wallboxes. However, there are numerous aftermarket options, with prices starting below £300 and approaching £1000. Those prices also factor in the Government's Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grant, which covers up to 75% of the cost of a home charger, providing it has connectivity. Volkswagen's cheapest unit, then, wouldn't qualify for this grant.
Potential ID Charger customers can scope out the wallbox’s installation process before purchasing or call upon Volkswagen to arrange a professional fitting.
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The best and worst electric cars
If you're interested in Volkswagen's charging solution for electric cars, then chances are that you're also interested in going green by buying a zero-emission vehicle. And if that's the case, you'll want to know which are the cream of the crop, and which should be avoided. Below and over the next few pages, we'll sort the wheat from the chaff.
10. Tesla Model X
On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little cheap given the price.
9. Renault Zoe
The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping. The Q90 version managed 132 miles in our Real Range test.
This second-generation Leaf is a much better all-rounder than the original model. It’s faster, more sophisticated to drive, bigger inside and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of longer distances between charges. Just make sure you resist the temptation to go for the e+ version; it may have the biggest range of any Leaf yet, but it's also expensive and hard-riding.