We take a look at what's available and review each product.
Octopus have launched a number of special EV electricity tariffs that offer very low cost energy at off peak periods.
Not only are there 'set off peak periods' but on the Intelligent EV Tariff - if you have the right EV charger (and or vehicle) - the system will vary the charge going to your car according to real time energy prices - in some cases - where there is a surplus of energy on the grid - you can even get paid to take it and store it in your cars batteries.
You can check what tariff you might pay by filling out your postcode and details here https://octopus.energy/intelligent-octopus/rates/
There are however a limited number of EV's and Charging Points that can be used to get the very best deal from Octopus. If you have the right thing - then getting it set up is fairly (but not completely) straightforward - as Octopus has to be able to log into your charger or vehicle and carry out a test charge to varify that they can take control of the charging session - but once done - it takes care of itself.
The current integrated chargers are from Ohme, Hydra, Wallbox, Zappi (Myenergi) and Simpson & Partners - with more becoming available over time (this information is not updated regularly by Octopus - so best to seek advice from your local EV Charge point specialist (like us!)
Ohme Home Pro
These are a small budget model unit with either a cable attached (tethered) or just a Type 2 Socket (untethered). They offer load balancing using the supplied CT current clamp that monitors the amount of electricity coming into the property and the unit is set up by the installer to make sure that the maximum allowable power coming into the property cannot be exceeded - thus protecting the main incoming fuse.
The unit comes with a small LED display which can be used to control the charger - or there is an app that can do the same - but can also offer power usage data to help track costs etc. It's quite discreet as well - with the main body only measuring 200W x 170H x 100D (mm) - the downside here is the quite unwieldy look of the cable on the tethered unit - although it scores above some others by coming with a wall mounted holster in which to put the plug as standard.
Simpson & Partners
This top of the range charger is made in the Cotswolds here in the UK - the build quality is excellent with an anodized aluminium main body that's available in multiple colour option and with a top of either powder coated metal or 3 different Wooden options - altogether there are 103 variations on the colour and material combinations for this unit making it ideal if kerb appeal and aesthetics are a consideration.
The one shown here is untethered - but tethered options are available in either 6.8m or 9.6m cable lengths - you can even get a holster and cable tidy hook in the same colour to match the charger.
As with the Ohme - the unit has load balancing (albeit as an option) - but also it can integrate with your solar PV if you are lucky enough to have one - so that it can take full advantage of the free energy coming from the sun and stick it in your EV rather than sending it back to the grid. When used in conjunction with the Octopus Intelligent Tariff - you can really start to charge up for very little! Unlike the Ohme - this charger is only controlled using the manufacturers App - but this is well thought out and full of features like scheduling and 'locking' the charger against unauthorized use.
This is the latest charger from Hydra EV - and comes packed with features as standard that many other manufacturers charge for as options.
So - load management, solar integration, wall holster and hook (on the tethered unit) and FRID cards or key fobs to make starting your charge session without having to open the App (which is also very good) all included to make this our overall best budget model.
MyEnergi - Zappi
Ok - so if you want to talk about integration - and if you are keen to have 'same branded' kit - then this will likely catch your attention.
The MyEnergi group of products started many moons ago with a product that diverted excess solar PV electricity and sent it into a hot water immersion heater.
Since then - the company have developed a fully integrated package of products that all talk to each other and use very clever technology to establish where energy should be flowing. So for example - from your cheap rate electricity into a Libbi battery system for use during peak costs periods - or from the solar on your roof direct to your EV for free. You could see this as the Apple of the home renewables marketplace - and in may ways - that would be true (but also in the sense that it only really works its very best if you fully adopt all of it's components).
The App is brilliant (when it all works) and frustrating when it doesn't - but once it's all set up properly - which can take a little patience (or a devoted team such as we are at EV Electrical) then it's great.
Downsides - looks - it's not to everyone's taste, price - not the most cost effective solution if you are just looking to charge your car using the Octopus Intelligent Tariff - and the interface - it's got buttons that you can press - but unless you set up a pin number (which is then a pain to put in) then any button you press can override what you have carefully set up on the App. Finally - the company have had a number of technical issues recently (all of which are being dealt with) - but this has resulted in a very high demand for their call centre which has resulted in quite long waiting times for support.
Again this is a budget charger and comes in tethered with a choice of 5m and 7m cables - and in black or white finish.
The App is straightforward and comes with Alexa voice integration (we haven't experienced yet what this will enable - so can't really comment on it!) The units are quite a good shape aesthetically and have a nice LED halo showing the charging state.
As a company we have not fitted many of these in the past - so we are mentioning them as they are 'on the list' of compatible chargers - we will return and update this section once we have had one installed at the office and gained some real life experience with them.
Things in the EV, renewables, energy and technology sectors are really moving at a pace. All combine to lower emissions, give us cleaner air and ever more comfortable ways to drive around - and this Octopus EV Intelligent Tariffs also mean that the cost of all this is going down.
There are other similar tariffs being offered by other energy providers - but Octopus - from our perspective have and are leading the charge to this more integrated and intelligently balanced way of producing, delivering and storing electricity to the benefit of all.
There will ultimately be many more EV charge point manufacturers joining those mentioned above and we will try to keep up with developments and post them periodically.
If you would like any more information about either Domestic or Commercial charging points - please fill out the contact form on our website and we will be in touch.
PLEASE NOTE - WE ARE NOT OCTOPUS ENERGY - BUT YOU CAN FIND THEM HERE
Written by Simon Whittle - Director and Founder of EV Electrical Essex Ltd.