Although the thought of charging an electric car can appear more confusing than refuelling your petrol or diesel car – it’s actually very simple. With a little forward planning you’ll soon feel comfortable to take on the growing UK charging network when embarking on those longer journeys. Here’s everything you need to know about charging an electric car.
Charging at home
If you have a driveway or garage, the most convenient way to charge an electric vehicle is at home. Although it’s possible to charge your car directly from the mains with a three-pin socket, it is recommended to install a charging point designed to power up your electric car battery more safely and quickly.
A home charging point will be connected to your normal home electricity supply with electricity charged by your provider at your normal rates. You can decide where the charge point should be installed outside your house so that it is easily accessible. Charging outside won’t be a problem, so come rain, snow or shine you’re absolutely fine!
Government grants are available for the installation of home EV charge points through the Electric Vehicle Home Charge Scheme (EVHS), which covers a proportion of the total costs.
Charging away from home
The number of available public charging points is constantly increasing and there are currently more than 42,000 in over 15,000 locations in the UK. There are a number of maps and apps such as Zap Map which show where charging points are located including on-street charging and new all-electric charging forecourts. Some maps will also show whether the points are in use or out of order allowing you to plan ahead for your journey.
If you’re unable to charge at home but your workplace has charging points it can be a convenient way to recharge your electric vehicle whilst parked during the day.
How long does it take to charge?
Depending where you charge your electric car it could take as little as half an hour. There are 3 main types of electric car charging points – rapid, fast and slow.
Rapid chargers (50kW+) are the quickest way to charge an electric vehicle, typically recharging a vehicle to 80% in around 30 minutes to 1 hour. They can usually be found at motorway service stations or close to main routes.
Fast chargers (7kW-22kW) are ideal for when your vehicle is parked for a few hours. They can fully recharge an electric car between 2-7 hours. Most home charge points that are installed are fast 7kW charge points.
Slow chargers (3kW) are often the cheapest to use and are suitable when your vehicle is parked for several hours, such as during working hours or overnight.
How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?
Costs can vary for public EV charging depending on how much charge is required, the cost of electricity for each network and what type of public charge point is used. Rapid charging will typically be priced higher than fast charging.
Charging at home is the most cost-effective way to keep your car fully charged. It will add to your annual electricity bills, however, this will be offset by the amount you’ll save on fuel.
Electric vehicles are currently exempt from paying London Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge and other Clean Air Zones across the UK. Saving you even more if you regularly drive in the areas where these charges apply.
How far can an electric car go?
The distance your electric car can go depends on the vehicle you choose and the battery’s capacity. The bigger the kWh number, the further the car can typically drive without needing to be charged. However, the range will vary depending on a number of factors that can impact the energy use such as driving conditions, temperature, car size and weight. Exactly the same as a petrol or diesel car.
Most manufacturers have an electric car available in all different sizes from supermini, to hatchback, saloon to SUV. There really is an electric car out there for all lifestyles.