Charging your electric car

An electric car gets its energy from the battery, which obviously needs to be recharged. Here’s how to go about it.

How do I safely charge my electric car?

No car can run without energy. Conventional cars get their energy from petrol or diesel, while electric vehicles get theirs from the battery.

The battery can be charged using the electricity grid. The easiest way to charge your electric vehicle at home is with your own charge point*, also known as a ‘charging station’ or ‘wallbox’.

This has two major advantages:

  • You can charge safely: as the charging station is connected to your electricity grid separately, there is no risk of malfunctions or short circuits
  • You can charge faster: at least two and up to ten times faster than at a standard household socket

We advise against charging at standard household sockets: for one, it’s slow – at a charging capacity of just 2.3 kW – and secondly, they’re simply not designed for that purpose.

If you rent a house or an apartment, you and the owner will need to set some ground rules about using the charging station. If you own an apartment, you will need to make arrangements with the other owners and the managing agent about using a shared charging solution.

How do I choose the right home charging station?

There are three decisive factors:

1. The location of the charging station or charging point

  • Install your charging station near your usual parking spot
    • on a wall in your garage or carport
    • on a pole, for instance on your driveway
  • Check the distance between the charging station and the location of your electric vehicle’s charging port. While a five-metre cable might be long enough now, you may need a longer one for your next car. Make sure the cable is long enough for all electric vehicles, regardless of the location of the charging port. We recommend a cable of at least seven metres.
  • How much you pay also depends in part on the distance between the fuse box and the charging station.
    • The most straightforward solution is to have a cable run from the fuse box along the wall and through the wall to the charging station. This option is usually partly or fully included in the installation charges.
    • If you want a charge point at the beginning of your driveway, you will need to factor in at least 40 euros per running metre for excavation work. The price per running metre depends on the type of surface being dug up. 

2. Connecting the charge point to your home’s electrical system

The charging station needs to be connected and there are two ways to do this

  • By means of a single-phase connection
    • Nearly 90% of single-family homes today are connected to the electricity grid via a single-phase connection. A standard connection is a single-phase connection with a maximum power of 9.2 kW. In theory, this would allow you to simultaneously power multiple devices with a total power of up to 9.2 kW or 9 200 watts.
    • All electric vehicles are suitable for single-phase charging
    • The maximum charging power of your electric vehicle is 7.4 kW; that power is enough to fully charge your vehicle overnight.
  • By means of a three-phase connection
    • Certain electric vehicles are designed for three-phase charging. To be able to charge an electric vehicle at home:
      • you must have a three-phase connection to the grid
      • your home charging station needs to have a three-phase connection
      • you need to use a proper charging cable
    • The maximum charging power of your electric vehicle is 22 kW

Based on an (online) survey or an on-site visit, the charge point installer will analyse your charging needs and propose the best solution for your situation.

As part of their analysis, the installer will also take your preferences into account:

  • Where do you want to have the charge point installed?
  • When do you want to charge your vehicle and how quickly?
  • Does your electrical system need to be upgraded?

A legally required inspection must be conducted once the charge point has been installed. The addition of a charge point to your household electrical system (circuit) is considered a major extension and, therefore, is subject to the provisions of the new General Regulations on Electrical Installations (AREI), under the Royal Decree of 8 September 2019. In practice, this means that an AREI inspection must be conducted before you start using the charge point.

3. Choosing the right charge point

Last but not least, the charge point itself. The cost of a charging station including installation depends on a range of factors:

  • Do you want a wall- or pole-mounted charging station?
  • Do you want a charger with one or two connection points?
  • Do you want a basic model or a ‘smart’ charge point?
    • Basic models are generally not connected; this means you can only charge in safe mode with these types of points
    • Smart charging points are connected online to the CPO (Charge Point Operator) and may include a number of intelligent services:
      • Administration and access to data via a personal online user portal
      • Load balancing, where your household power consumption is prioritised over vehicle charging
      • Arranging automatic reimbursement of electricity costs incurred at home (if these costs are reimbursed by the employer)
      • Securing the charging station using a charge card <link to charge card awareness page>, which is essential when the charging station is accessible to other users
      • Setting up of guest usage
      • Remote management
      • Automatic software updates
      • Setting charging times
      • Choice between grid and solar power

These services are offered through various subscription packages. 

More info