Charging points for electric cars

Whether it's charging your electric car at home, in public or at work, we have all the information you need to choose your charging solution.

Charging points for your home

Charging an electric car at home is the easiest and most convenient option for most electric vehicle drivers. Electric vehicles (EV's for short), come with a standard three pin charging cable and can be used on any 13 amp home socket. This type of charging is known as "slow charging" and typically refers to overnight charging and includes any electrical socket with a power rating up to 3 kW, meaning a typical 40 kWh battery can charge in 6-12 hours.

If this seems like a long time, do not fear, many homes have the available capacity to install a "fast charger". A fast charge point is a dedicated home charging station or socket, with a typical power rating of 7kW. A typical time to fully charge a 40kWh battery with a 7kW charger, will take around 6 hours, depending on the vehicles on-board charger. Some earlier electric vehicle models are limited to a 3.3 kW charge, however this isn't the case anymore for more modern fully electric cars.

How often should I charge an electric car?

car charging in garden

How often electric cars will need a recharge, depends on how often and how far you drive them. Just like if you drive a car, with an internal combustion engine, all day every day, the number of times you fill up is going to be more frequent than a person who only drives their car to the shops once a week.

Another key factor that may impact the number of times you need to charge your electric car or van is temperature. Lithium-ion batteries perform better in warm weather, so you might notice a slight drop in the range your EV can travel in the colder winter months.

Electric vehicles (EV's) often come with battery warranties based on the number of charging cycles (1 cycle is equal to 1 full charge and 1 full discharge), with many manufacturers offering anything from 60,000 to 100,000 miles on their battery warranties as standard.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Try this handy charging calculator to see how long it will take to charge your electric car at home.

Public electric car charging points in the UK

This is a fantastic, interactive map of all the charging stations around the UK – you'll be surprised at how many there actually are! So no matter where you're going, you can check where to charge your electric car on-route or before you leave.

Public charging points

There are plenty of electric car charge points all over the UK. Use the map above to see where they are and which ones are nearest to you. Rapid chargers offer an 80% charge in just 20-40 minutes, so they're a great way to top up during long journeys. You can often find them in motorway service car parks, petrol stations, larger shopping centres and supermarkets. There are also a number of slower chargers available, which are ideal if you are going to be parked somewhere for a while, like city centres, cinemas and hotels.

To use public charging points, you'll need to register with a membership scheme before you can use them. Some networks provide a radio-frequency identification (RFID) card while others will require a smartphone app to use their services, however, the govenment has announced that it "wants to see all newly installed rapid and higher powered chargepoints provide debit or credit card payment by spring 2020".

To help you plan your journeys, you can find charge point locations with the following maps:

Zap-Map can help identify which charging schemes your desired charging points belong to. How much it costs to charge your EV on the go depends on the network you're on and your car model. This handy calculator will help you to estimate how much it'll cost and how long it'll take to charge your electric car.

Workplace charging points

For employees, charging at work offers a great alternative to public charging and is a convenient way to recharge during the day. Workplaces that offer charge point facilities on site, can help to increase the interest, understanding and adoption of electric vehicles within their companies.

Businesses, charities and local authorities can take advantage of the Workplace Charging Scheme, which allows them to claim 75% (up to a maximum of £500), off the total cost of a charging point, with a maximum of 20 sockets per site. The scheme makes installing chargers more affordable for all eligible businesses, so they can help employees who own an EV.

Also with companies being incentivised to reduce their carbon emissions, workplace charging can go a long way to helping businesses meet their CO2 emissions targets.

Customised, integrated solutions using battery storage, solar, Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Demand Side Response (DSR) are all potential revenue savings and streams, that will give you more options to get the most out of your energy supply.

Find out how we can help your business

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Public charge point costs vary depending on the power rating and whether it's slow (lamppost charging), fast (Car parks) or Rapid (Motorway service stations).

The Tesla Supercharger Network for instance, bills customers in two ways. Where possible, Tesla owners are billed at 24p per kWh (kilowatt-hour). In other areas, they bill per minute. When billing per minute, there are two tiers to account for changes in charging speeds, called “tier 1” and “tier 2”. Tier 1 is 60 kW and below and tier 2 is 60 kW and above. Tesla advise that tier 1 is half the cost of tier 2. 

Certain Model S and X vehicles ordered before November 2, 2018 receive 400 kWh (~1,000 miles) of Supercharger credits annually.

For non-Tesla owners, charging fees vary depending on the network you use. Registration, subscription and connection fees may apply. Take a look at Zap-Map or an overview of UK’s main EV charging networks.

The power of wind

One explorer. An 86 year old skydiver. And an electric car powered by the Scottish wind. We challenged Camilla Thurlow to go back to her roots in Scotland and skydive with the fearless Dilys Price.

This is the fifth and final episode of Electric Adventures!

Electric car charger types

In order to charge any electric car, the first thing you need is a charger.

There are a variety of standards for charging points. Rapid are the quickest (43 kW+), generally capable of charging cars to 80% in 20-40 minutes, depending on how big the battery is and how much charge it's holding to start with.

Fast chargers are rated at 7-22 kW, and usually take between 3-7  hours to recharge an EV depending on the battery size of the car. 7 kW chargers are a popular choice for the workplace and at home and there are several models available to buy and lots of different installers who can fit them for you. It can be confusing, but all you need to do is decide what power rating you want and choose either a tethered or socketed charge point.

Slow chargers have a maximum of 3.6 kW available, and typically take between 6-12 hours to recharge a pure electric car. These chargers are ideal for overnight charging.

Whatever you choose, always remember to get a professional to install the charge point for you.

Tethered charge point

A tethered charge point comes with a long cable attached to the unit, it’s available with either a Type 1 or Type 2 cable and you’ll need to make sure you get the right type to fit your car’s charging inlet. Most newly manufactured electric cars in the UK come with a Type 2 connector, but it's always worth checking with the manufacturer before purchasing a tethered charge point. 

The benefit of a tethered charging unit is you can plug it straight in to the car when you get home. However, you are limited to vehicles with that connector Type.

Socketed charge point

A socketed charge point comes without a cable and is essentially a dedicated charging station, fitted with the necessary safety devices to protect you, your car, and your home’s main fuse board. Socketed chargers are universal, because any electric car with a fast charging cable, can be used with the charger.

The benefit of a socketed charge point is that you can accomodate all electric vehicles, so if ever you decide to change your car, you are not limited to vehicles with a specific connector type.

What power rating should I use?

When it comes to home charging, 3-7 kW chargers are the most popular and are widely recommended for the UK market. Many UK households have a single-phase (AC) electricity supply and can support the additional 7 kW load. Some households, with three-phase (AC) supply can support a more powerful fast charger up to 22 kW. However, this is far more common in countries like Germany with a more robust electricity network.

Always check with the installer that your fuse board has enough spare capacity to support the additional load of a home charging station. If there is not enough spare capacity, then you may have to pay to upgrade your distribution board.

Rapid chargers offer you a much quicker charge, perfect for longer journeys, when a quicker charge is needed, but it's not advisable to only use rapid charging because this can increase the degradation of your battery over time.

Here's a handy infographic on charging point connector types and speeds

Electric car charging point types infographic

Three tips for EV battery life

EVs use high-voltage batteries for power, so there's a few things you can do to make sure your battery stays healthy and holds charge for as long as possible.

Don’t use high-power chargers all the time

Over time, using rapid chargers often could limit your battery's ability to hold charge.

Understand the different driving modes

Investigate the driving modes of your car, some modes offer increased battery range by enhancing features such as regenerative breaking and minimizing acceleration options. Other modes enhance performance whilst reducing range.

Adapt your driving style

Boost your EV’s range by reducing unnecessary acceleration or braking and coasting where possible. Minimising usage of air conditioning and heating will also help to preserve energy.

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