Electric car charging: busting the myths

With their numbers on the up, electric vehicles (EVs) are fast-moving from transport of the future to the reality on our roads. But while EVs are an increasingly practical choice, many would-be drivers are put off by the myths about owning one. Things have moved on, but with so much information on topics like recharging how do you find the answers to questions like: "how long does it take to charge an electric car?

The myths persist, so here we debunk six of the most common misconceptions about charging an EV.


It takes how long to charge an electric car?

The myth: EVs always need charging, so they're impractical.

Technology has moved on, and the ever-improving range of EVs means that most won't need a daily recharge. When they do, in most cases it'll finish overnight.

Increasing range also means that, for most drivers, mid-journey top-ups are rare. At public charge points, a rapid charge can return an exhausted EV to 80% of its range in half an hour. While that's not as quick as filling up with fuel if you've driven far enough to need a recharge the chances are you'll want a break anyway.

Want to read more about EV charging? Visit our charging page.


There aren't enough public charging points

The myth: There aren't enough charge points, so EV drivers face queues or risk running out of power.

The UK already has tens of thousands of public charging points, and the network is growing to improve rural coverage.

If you're thinking of buying an EV but you're worried about finding a charge point, view the UK's growing network service like Zap-Map.

How easy is it to drive an electric car in rural Wales? Watch our electric adventure.


You can't get further than your electric car's range

The myth: you can't travel long distances.

Most of today's electric cars now have a practical range of more than 100 miles, with the best capable of well over 300 – enough to drive from Newcastle to London without stopping. Even so, the latest charging technology means that stopping to recharge usually isn't a big deal.

Rapid charging - supported by most new EVs – can give you a meaningful charge in the time it takes to grab a coffee. In fact, within an hour you could charge even the highest capacity battery from empty to 80%. In practice, batteries are rarely empty to begin with, so a rapid top-up is often enough to restore your EV to almost full range.

Charging an electric car is confusing

The myth: You can't just plug an EV into the nearest socket – different speeds, connectors and networks make recharging confusing.

The fastest way to charge an EV? You can double the speed of home charging by installing a 7kW charging point, which may qualify for a 75% grant.

When it comes to public charging there are competing standards, but they needn't be confusing. Most new EVs support rapid charging – the fastest type – and have either a Type 2 (CCS) or CHAdeMO connector. Both are widely supported by public charge points, and it's impossible to mix them up. Tesla vehicles use Tesla's own high-speed Supercharger network, supplemented by slower 'Destination' chargers.

EV owners quickly learn to recognise the correct connectors, while vehicles' navigation systems - and third-party apps like Zap-Map – will help you find a compatible charger.

Read more about home chargers available


Using a public charge point is expensive

The myth: Public charge points are expensive.

There are many free charge points across the UK, but the majority cost money. How much depends on the operator, but on most networks, you'll pay for the electricity you use while charging. Sometimes there's also a membership fee or connection charge.

The fastest, and most expensive, charge points might cost around three times what you'd pay to recharge at home. But public charge points often come with other benefits - such as city centre or supermarket parking. Most owners charge their EVs at home or work, using public charge points when needed to extend their range.

Charging at home can cost about £6 for 100 miles – read more about home charging and costs. 


You need a special socket to charge an EV

The myth: Electric vehicles can only be charged from special sockets, making them impractical if you're staying away from home.

You can recharge any electric car from any domestic 13A socket (though this is not a recommended method of charging). It may also be slow, though: fully recharging a 40kWh EV from a 3kW socket could take more than 13 hours, while brimming a 62kWh Nissan Leaf could take 20 hours or more. For a quicker charge, seek out a public rapid charge point.

Interested in learning more about EVs? Read all about buying an electric car with our buyer's guide.
Or find out more about our electric vehicle options: including leasing an electric car, a charger and a special tariff for cheaper charging. The future's electric, so let us take you there. Find out more today.​

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