Building a garage for your electric car
With electric vehicle (EV) sales steadily increasing over the past few years, many people are now in need of electric charging at home. Nothing beats the convenience of powering up your car while you relax, eat dinner, or sleep. You won’t need to queue at charging stations or wait for the car to charge fully by reading a book. Plus, home charging is a lot more economical.
Unlike with a standard garage, there are many factors to consider when building a garage to store an EV. In this article, we look at everything you should consider before choosing and ordering a specific design.
Why have a garage on your property for your EV?
Keeping your car in a garage is becoming more and more common throughout the UK. For those who own a new or recent electric car, indoor storage becomes even more desirable. Let’s see why.
Inside a garage, the electric car will be sheltered from the elements - snow, rain, hail, and wind. The vehicle exterior will stay in much better condition through the years. Electric cars, at least today may well be of a higher value than your old car, they are also likely to hold their value for longer (fewer expensive parts to go wrong) so it is more important to think about keeping your car looking good.
Storing your EV inside a building will make it more secure. More powerful, with the rise in value of your car comes the need to consider security, so it’s wise to hide them from view. Some insurance providers offer cheaper policies for drivers who store their car in a garage, rather than outdoors.
The temperature remains more constant in an insulated outbuilding. This is very beneficial to the batteries of an electric car, which don’t handle changes in temperature well. Colder weather can affect an EV’s battery range by 10-12%. Moreover, if stored indoors, the car will need to work less to bring the interior temperature up (or down) once you turn it on.
Many people fit their garage with electricity and water. Building such an outbuilding will allow you to charge your car indoors through the mains or alternative energy sources, such as solar panels installed on the outbuilding’s roof. The amount of electricity required to sensibly charge an EV often means electrical upgrades and the addition of protection devices which need to be covered and integrated with existing supplies. A garage is an easy blank canvas for this and is often a cheaper and easier location to install such technology compared to tight retrofit surroundings of an existing house consumer unit.
With the EV tucked away under a solid roof, you won’t have to worry about visibility before setting off. The windscreen will never be iced or covered in sap and leaves. You will never run late.
Factors to consider
Let’s look at the elements to think about before choosing a specific garage design. Ordering or picking the EV you will buy first will make it easier to make the right decisions.
Height and width
First, you’ll need to think about width and height. Electric cars typically charge from a port located at the front or back of the vehicle, on its side. Find out where the port is located on the car you’ve ordered to allow for a wide enough building. Make sure to check the height of the vehicle, too, before you settle on a plan.
We recommend opting for a bigger garage than you need, where possible. We don’t know how the design of EVs will change in the future. They could become smaller or bigger and the location of the charging port may change. When you upgrade vehicles, you might struggle to park the next one in your nice, long-lasting garage.
While selecting the size of your outbuilding, think about where it’s best to locate the charging station. Will it be more convenient at the front or the back of the building? How far from the electric car charging port can it be? Charging cables vary in length based on the station model.
Next, consider where the energy for charging your EV will come from. You can either use your house’s mains or fit a solar power system on the garage itself. Both options require some careful calculations and a consultation with a certified electrician.
Connecting to the mains will likely require some groundworks and a fuse box and wiring upgrade, while the solar system is self-contained - you can run the cables through the roof and walls. The electrician will take care of everything.
No matter what you decide, make sure you can provide enough energy to the charging station to fully charge the EV each night.
The charging station will require an independent circuit. In case you are opting for using the mains, you’ll need to allow for a decent amount of cabling in the foundations of the outbuilding. Thinking of storing two EVs in a bigger outbuilding? You’ll need to allow for two charging station circuits, plus one for the lights and plugs.
Always get a full consultation with an electrician before you order a garage, so the building can be designed with your energy needs in mind.
Wi-fi or no wi-fi
If you’d like to fit a smart charging station in the garage, which you can control remotely, you will need to install a wi-fi network in the building.
You can either test if your home wi-fi reaches the outbuilding, use a range extender, or buy a 4G router. Any router and modem need electricity to work. Bear all of this in mind.
Which type of garage suits my EV?
This will depend nearly entirely on you, where and how you live. A traditional carriage house or oak framed garage sits perfectly next to a period property, they offer incredible flexibility and you can choose to have open bays or closed bays with garage doors. In some instances though, a slightly simpler wooden garage may be the ideal solution, these can be lower profile and are always enclosed for security. The Olson team are on hand to help with choices and suggestions, to match garages and car heights and widths and even to assist with planning drawings. Explore the ranges and drop us a line.