Wallbox experiences: Facts and tips

Do you need a Wallbox to charge your electric car?
22th October 2021


If so, you're probably asking yourself the following questions: How easy is it to install a Wallbox, and how much does it cost? Below, we take a look at how these devices work and help you answer the question of whether you need a Wallbox at home.

What is a Wallbox?

Wallboxes are wall-mounted chargers that usually replace the charging cables used to connect the standard sockets in vehicles. There are various models, including the 1-phase models with 3.6 kW and 7.4 kW (32 A) and the 3-phase models with 11 kW (16 A) and 22 kW (32 A). The 3.6 kW and 11 kW wallbox models are the most popular because they work well with the 1-phase and 3-phase sockets commonly used in Switzerland. The 22-kW boxes, however, let you charge faster when three-phase current with 32 A is available. These can also be downsized to 11 kW three-phase or 7.4 kW for single-phase connections, making them a good choice.

Understanding Wallbox costs in Switzerland

The cost of charging at a Wallbox is roughly the same as the price of electricity. In Switzerland, this is about CHF 0.20 per kWh. In contrast, public charging systems cost on average about CHF 0.60 per kWh. So a home charging solution is always cheaper. In addition, public subsidies can be obtained for wall charging stations, which lowers the costs. In Zurich, for example, homeowners can claim back 40% of the installation costs or CHF 80 per kW of connected load for chargers up to 22 kWh without load management. If load management is installed, the subsidy increases to 60% of the installation costs or CHF 150 per kW of connected load (whichever is lower).

Charging capacity and charging time

The charging time depends on the capacity of the car battery and the power of your wall charger. There are Phases I 3.6kW (16A) and 7.4kW (32A) and Phase III 11kW (16A) and 22kW (32A) power levels, and total charging times can vary significantly. Below you can see the charging time for different powers for a BMW i3 with a range of approx. 300 km.

  • 3,6 kW - 12 hours
  • 11 kW - 6 hours
  • 22 kW - 3 hours

In contrast, charging a BMW i3 via a standard household socket takes 19 hours. As you can see, you can fully charge your car with 11 kW in 6 hours while you sleep.

Using a wall charger at home

If you own your home, you don't need special permission to install a wall charger, but if you rent, you have to ask your landlord to approve the installation. The same applies if you are using a rented garage. Wherever you install the box, the result is a compact unit with an integrated charging cable and cable holder that looks a bit like a normal petrol pump or without an integrated cable. It doesn't take up much space, is easy to use, and becomes part of your daily life in no time. Many models have coloured LEDs to indicate charging status, and app control is also common to make the box easier to control.

Installing a Wallbox in your home

If you want to install a wallbox privately in your home, you will need to call in an electrician. He will check the home's power supply to make sure it meets the requirements for electric vehicle charging, lay all the necessary cables, install the box and make sure everything works properly. The cost of a professional wallbox installation in Switzerland is around CHF 3,400, including the cost of the charging station. The charging station itself (e.g., 11kW III-phase) costs around 1,600 CHF.

Do you need a private wall charger?

There are many reasons to install a Wallbox at home. A Wallbox at home is convenient because it allows you to charge your car in your own garage. It is safer than direct cables because it can control the charging load for different car models. It can charge faster than direct cables and costs less per kWh. This is because Wallboxes are more efficient and therefore the energy loss during charging is less than a normal socket, which can lead to a lower cost per charge. Sophisticated load management systems also ensure that the batteries are charged evenly and minimize the risk of damage. However, it is not suitable for everyone. If you don't have a parking space at home, installing a wall charging station is not an option. But if you charge at home and have the necessary space, a private wallbox installation is definitely a good investment.

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