Home Electric Car Charging: Tethered or Untethered? A Guide for Ireland

Citroen C5 X Plug-In Hybrid


Electric Car Charging: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


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It is amply clear that the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) continues to expand across Europe. It is also equally clear, in that, this momentum is only set to increase further for the remainder of this decade, as we move towards a lower carbon economy.

Ireland too has witnessed a continued increase in the sales of electric cars, to include pure electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). A number of global automotive manufacturers are already selling electric cars in Ireland, to include: Tesla, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Renault, Volkswagen, Volvo and many more.

Of course, with the increase in the availability of electric cars, there has been a similar and widespread increase in the availability and installation of EV charging infrastructure in Ireland, to include public and private electric car charging infrastructure. Again, like the sale of EVs, expect a significant increase in the sale and deployment of EV charging stations across the country.

In regards to home EV charging, we expect most households in Ireland to install an EV charging station to meet the future needs of electric driving in Ireland. There are approximately 2 million households in the country, with many homes yet to have EV charging capability.  


What Is A Tethered Home EV Charging Point?


Put simply, in a tethered home EV charging station, the EV cable that is used to charge the electric vehicle (EV) is permanently fixed (attached) to the EV charging station. The length of the attached cable varies depending on the manufacturer, but most manufacturers offer a length between 4m and 8m. As an example, the myenergi tethered zappi EV charger has a 6.5m cable attached to the electric car charger.

In general, tethered electric car charging points are popular with residential customers in Ireland. Tethered electric car charging stations come with either a Type 1 or a Type 2 EV cable. One of the arguments so far for choosing an untethered (socket only- cable not attached) EV charging station, is the flexibility for charging EVs that require either a Type 1 or Type 2 EV cable.

However, most of the newest battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) require a Type 2 EV cable, therefore mitigating to a large extent the need for a Type 1 charging station. An example of an EV that requires a Type 1 cable is the older generation of the pure-electric Nissan Leaf. However, the latest Nissan Leaf use a Type 2 EV cable. As the electric vehicle industry continues to mature, we can expect a continued focus on type 2 charging standard.

The advantages of a tethered charging station are convenience and safety. In a tethered unit, the EV cable can be safely stored back into the unit after operation, reducing the risk of anyone tripping over an EV cable left on the ground.

Moreover, with an attached cable, an EV owner simply has to come home and plug-in the charging cable, making it fast and convenient to commence EV charging. In the case of an untethered charging cable, the EV owner needs to remove the EV cable from the boot etc., which is not as convenient as a tethered charging station, in particular on cold days or after a long work day.

For some households, that only charge their electric car at home, buying a tethered EV charging station reduces the need for buying an additional EV cable (i.e. no need for a spare EV cable in the boot for public charging). In any case, we recommend inculcating a habit of neatly folding the tethered EV cable after the charging session. It is better for the long-term maintenance of the EV cable and EV charging station.

zappi EV charger
myenergi zappi Tethered Home Charging Point Available Via e-zoomed (credit: myenergi)

What Is An Untethered Home EV Charging Station?


In an untethered electric car home charging unit, the EV charging cable that is used to charge your EV is not permanently fixed to the charging station. Such an EV home charging station is usually referred to as ‘socket only’. An untethered home EV charging point is popular with those families that may need to have the flexibility to charge both a Type 1 and Type 2 electric car.

With a socket only charging station a user can use either a Type 1 or Type 2 EV charging cable. A socket only EV charger does not come with an EV cable, which needs to be purchased separately. One of the advantages of the socket only EV charger, is that the same EV cable can be used for home and public EV charging. Of course, if the EV cable is too long to carry, another shorter EV cable will be required for public charging.

The other advantage is that you can use an EV cable of any length and not restricted to just the manufacturers specifications. In some homes, the EV charge point is located much further from the location of the electric vehicle (EV). At e-zoomed we sell EV charging cables up to 50m and it is not uncommon for residential customers to purchase long EV cables from us. These customers usually have specific parking limitations that does not allow the EV to be parked close to the EV charger.

Easee Untethered Home Charging Point Available Via e-zoomed (credit: Easee)

What About EV Cables?


What Is Length Of A Cable In A Tethered Charging Unit?As mentioned, there is no one length. It varies depending on the manufacturer and charging unit model. For example, the myenergi zappi charging point comes with a 6,5 m cable. We at e-zoomed recommend choosing an electric car charging station that has at least a 5m tethered cable. It is far more practical for the long-term! We also recommend measuring the distance from the EV charger to the electric car carefully, so that you are certain the tethered EV cable can reach the EV easily.
What Is Length Of A Cable In A Untethered Charging Unit?There is no one length. It varies depending on your requirements but usually sold at lengths between 5 m and 25 m. Of course, also carefully consider storage when deciding on a cable. Ideally, the EV cable is stored in a cool and dry place indoors. We at e-zoomed sell electric car charging cables (type 1 and type 2) in various lengths, from 2m up to 50m! We also offer bespoke lengths of any size. To enquire please email us at shop-ie@ezoomed.com.

EV cable type 2
Electric Car Charging Cables Available Via e-zoomed

Which Is Better: A Tethered Or Untethered Electric Car Charging Station?


In general, most EV drivers carry an EV cable in their electric car boot to enable public EV charging when on the road. However, the majority of time, an electric car is charged at home and usually overnight when the tariff rates are cheaper. We always recommend using green energy to power your home and plug-in electric car. This way the ‘well-wheel’ emissions are zero.

By owning a tethered home EV charging station, the EV owner is not inconvenienced by removing the cable from the boot every time the green car needs charging. Practically the best option, given the weather in Ireland and avoids the hassle of uncoiling and coiling an untethered cable. On the flip side, the length of the tethered cable is fixed and can sometimes have limitations for home charging if you need to change where you park or the type of electric vehicle to be charged.

Tethered cables can be stowed away in a tidy and easy manner which avoids any potential for tripping or injury when left running across the driveway. There is also the added comfort of security i.e. the cable cannot be removed or stolen from the charging station. Replacing a cable can be expensive and in most cases costing over € 250, if not much more.

The advantage of untethered cables is that the EV driver is not restricted to a particular connector type, specially if the household has more than one electric car and different connectors are required or the household is looking to buy EV’s in the future that may need other connector types. However, if the family only owns one EV, then a tethered unit will do just fine. With untethered you are not limited to the length of the cable i.e. much more flexibility.

In conclusion, there is no straightforward answer. It depends on the circumstances, the type of EV you own, your budget, aesthetics, future proofing and your personal choice.


Buying EV Charging Cables: Pitfalls To Avoid


1). Never Buy CheapNot all EV charging cables are the same. It is simply false economy to try and save a few euros on buying a cheaper cable, when in all probability the EV you own is worth over €40,000! Nor are we suggesting you buy the most expensive.
There is always a balance between price and quality, and electric car charging cables are no different. The last thing you need is to have the EV charging cable stop working when you most need it. At e-zoomed we have put significant effort in sourcing EV cables that are well priced but also high quality.
EV cables on the e-zoomed Electric Living Shop are made from TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), a higher quality material that is extremely flexible, durable and smooth to touch.
These EV cables also have superior ergonomics and design by leveraging the fantastic properties of TPU (rubberised grip). Moreover all our cables are IP54/ IP55 rated (water and dust), CE certified and TUV certified. The cables will operate in dusty conditions, resist low pressure water jets when mated. Please note that the EV charging process is not fully water sealed and the EV cables should not be submerged in water or operated in the rain!
2). The Shortest Length Is Never The Best ChoiceA number of customers seek the shortest length (2m EV charging cable) because it is the cheapest. However a 2m EV cable is limited in practicality and usually not a good long-term investment. Most charging destinations (home or public) require an EV charging cable that is longer than 2m. In our experience, most customers buy EV charging cables between 5m and 10m. We recommend at least a 5m charging cable. It is long enough to meet most charging needs, but compact enough to be carried and put away easily! Of course, a number of customers need even longer EV cables.
3). A Lower Technical Specification EV Charging Cable Is Never the Best ChoiceAs number of electric car owners seek to buy a 16 amp (single-phase) EV charging cable, instead of a 32 amp (single-phase) EV charging cable. The reason is simple. The 16 amp is marginally cheaper! However, a 16 amp charging cable charges at 3.6kW, a much slower rate to a 32 amp EV charging cable that charges at 7.2 kW. An ampere is the unit for measuring electricity.
The accepted standard unit used for measuring how fast an electric current flows is an example of an ampere. The reason why customers buy a single-phase EV cable, is because most homes in Ireland are powered by single-phase power supply.

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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