Part of choosing an electric motorcycle, scooter or moped is choosing how you’re going to charge it. Find out if you need a charging point at home and how to get it installed.
Whether you’ve finally decided to upgrade to an electric motorcycle or you’re just doing some research, it’s important to think about how you’re going to charge it. Most electric vehicle (EV) owners choose to install a charger at home so they can charge their bike at their leisure. But what is a charging point, do you need one, and how do you get them installed?
What is an electric vehicle (EV) charging point?
An EV charging point is a weather-proof installation that can recharge your electric vehicle. It will typically be mounted on an internal or external wall, depending on where you store your vehicle, and connects to your vehicle via a dedicated power cable.
Quick guide to electric vehicle (EV) charging
There are three types of EV charging points, and which one you’ll need depends on the type of vehicle you buy.
A level 1 charging point is the easiest way of charging your bike: it’s just a regular 3-pin socket (BS1363)!
Unfortunately, this method of charging your bike is also the slowest. A level 1 charging point takes 4 hours to charge a Zero SR/F to 95%, and 12.5 hours to charge a Harley-Davidson Livewire to 100%. This means a level 1 charger is most suitable for overnight charging.
Level 2 chargers, also known as J1772 chargers, are dedicated to charging EVs, so they don’t use a 3-pin socket. But although you’ll need a specialist charging point to use level 2 charging, you’ll be able to charge your bike much faster.
Charging your bike with a level 2 charger can reduce charging times to 2 hours for a Zero SR/F.
Level 3 chargers reduce charging times even further, but the trade-off is that they are less common and therefore more expensive.
But that cost does deliver a drastically reduced charging time. A level 3 charger can fully charge your bike within just 1 hour, making it ideal for anyone who needs to “fill up the tank” in a short space of time.
Do you need a charging point?
But before you place any orders, you need to ask yourself: do you really need a charging point? Two primary factors mean that you might not.
Some scooters feature removable batteries that you can charge at your desk or at home. These tend to be pretty heavy, so you wouldn’t want to carry them too far! But it certainly makes it easier to plug in your scooter’s battery in a corner overnight, and removes the need to install a charging point in your home.
How will you use your vehicle?
If you’re likely to be stopping off at home for an hour or so before heading out on your bike again, having a faster charging point may be a necessity.
But otherwise you might be fine with level 1 charging. A rider who uses their scooter to commute to the office and back, for example, doesn’t need to charge their ride very quickly. If you’ll only need to charge your bike overnight, you could save yourself the expense of a charging point by sticking to the good old 3-pin socket.
How much do charging points cost?
Depending on the type of charger you opt for, you could be spending anywhere between £200 and £1600. However, there is help available to offset the cost.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) offers a grant for installation of charging points, offering up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints up to a maximum of £350 (including VAT). To be eligible for the grant, you must:
- be using an authorised installer
- be installing a charge point for a vehicle that is also eligible for the Plug in Motorcycle Grant
- have private off-street parking (if you don’t have off-street parking, some Local Authorities are offering their own schemes).
You can claim the grant for a second charge point if you have a second electric vehicle. You can also potentially claim the grant if you are installing a charge point for a company vehicle or a leased vehicle.
Some manufacturers also run offers and deals that will help you to cover the costs of your charging point.
How to find a charging point installer
If you want to claim the OLEV grant for your charging point installation, you will need to use an authorised installer. The last time we looked at this list there were over 1,600 installers on it, so there are plenty to choose from!
If you aren’t eligible for the grant, or you aren’t claiming the grant, it’s still important to choose a certified installer. They’ll make sure that the installation meets the necessary safety standards. Not all electricians will be aware of these.
There are tools available, like this one from Zap Map, that help you to find an installer. All you need to do is put in your postcode!
Which charger is right for you?
The electric motorcycle market is still in its infancy, so we’re always interested to hear what our readers think. If you’ve already got an electric bike, which charger did you choose and why? Or, if you’re thinking about upgrading to electric, which charger would you go for? Let us know in the comments; we want to hear from you!