Hybrid & Electric Car Leasing Hub
If you're wanting to find out more about leasing an electric car, or have questions around charging, our comprehensive guides have everything you need to know.
Electric Vehicle Charging: A Complete Guide
The electric revolution has arrived in the UK, with the latest government data revealing there are around 2.3 million electric cars currently on British roads. New EV registrations are on the rise and an increasing number of Brits are embracing the environmental and financial benefits of all-electric cars.
Rechargeable batteries are one of the most prominent features of EVs and to get the most out of your electric car, it’s important to develop a good understanding of how the technology works.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every aspect of electric car charging, from the fundamentals to the finer details.
How do you charge an electric car?
Electric car batteries can be charged using different methods. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular options used in the UK:
Home chargers: Easy and convenient, home chargers are the most popular way to charge EVs in the UK. You can use a standard domestic outlet to ‘trickle charge’ or speed things up and install a dedicated home charging point.
Workplace chargers: Many workplaces offer onsite charging facilities. This makes it easy for employees to top up EV batteries during the workday.
Public chargers: Public charging infrastructure is continually expanding in the UK, allowing motorists to easily charge EVs on the go. Find them everywhere from suburban car parks to rural petrol stations.
Find out more about how EVs work in the Leasing Options electric car guide.
Electric car charging points
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK has improved significantly in recent years. The latest data from EV charge point locator app Zapmap reveals there were almost 48,500 charging points in the UK at the end of August 2023, spread across more than 29,000 individual locations. This represents a drastic increase of 42% since August 2022.
EV charger types
EV owners enjoy plenty of variety when it comes to charging. It depends on your electric car which chargers you can use so make sure you check before charging.
Here’s a quick overview of the most common charger types in the UK:
- Slow chargers: Suitable for overnight charging at home, 3 kW slow chargers use a standard domestic UK 3-pin plug or Type 2 socket. Expect around 5 miles of range per 30 minutes of charging
- Fast chargers: Fast chargers raise the bar with 7 kW to 22 kW of power, This will take the average EV from flat to fully charged in three to four hours
- Rapid chargers: Top your EV back up to 80% in less than an hour using a rapid charger. They charge at 43 kW and are common on motorways and are a great way to stay rolling on longer trips
- Ultra-rapid chargers: Starting at 150 kW and increasing to 350 kW, ultra-rapid chargers set a new standard. Both can take the average battery from 10% to 80% in one hour or less
- Tesla Superchargers: The crème de la crème, Tesla Superchargers offer lightning-fast speeds of 250 kW. Take a Model S from zero to 50% in 20 minutes or 100% in just over one hour
Electric car charging at home
EV charging at home is convenient, affordable and safe. To install a home charger, you'll need a dedicated parking space and access to electricity.
Electric car charging at work
Workplace EV charging is becoming an increasingly desirable perk for British employees. Some employers may offer free charging, while others might charge a fee.
Public electric car charging
From shopping centre car parks to countryside service stations, you’ll find a huge network of EV charging infrastructure across the UK.
Here are some common places you’ll see chargers:
- Motorway service areas
- Shopping centres
- Public car parks
Electric car charging points near me
Purpose-built technology means finding EV charging points has never been easier. Use the interactive Open Charge Map on the Leasing Options website to track down your closest charge point or download an alternative app like Zapmap. Many EVs can also find charge points using their built-in navigation system.
Cost of charging electric car
The cost of charging EVs varies depending on your location and the type of infrastructure you use.
Public stations in the UK often use pay-as-you-go or subscription-based models. Costs are calculated by the kilowatt-hour (kWh) or by the total time spent charging.
Cost of charging an electric car at home
Charging your EV at home is usually a more cost-effective option than using public stations. The cost of electricity varies by location and your provider, though in general, charging an EV at home is significantly cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car.
How to reduce my electric car charging cost at home
Here are some tips to minimise your home charging costs:
- Choose the right tariff
- Charge at night
- Use smart charging technology
- Invest in solar panels
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
EV charge times depend on several factors, including the make and model of the car, charger type, power output and battery capacity.
Here's a general idea of what to expect:
Standard home charger (3kW-7kW)
Approximately 8-12 hours for a full charge.
Fast public charger (22kW)
Around 2-4 hours for a full charge.
Rapid charger (50kW-350kW)
30 minutes to 1 hour for an 80% charge.
Installing a home charger
Installing a home charger in the UK is a simple and easy way to get the most out of your EV. Here's what you need to know:
How much does it cost to install an electric car charger?
The cost of installing a home EV charger can vary depending on factors like your preferred charger type, location and if electrical upgrades are required. You can get quotes from providers so look around to find the best deal.
Can I get a grant for an electric car charger?
Yes, grants like the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) offset up to £350 of the cost of installing a home EV charger.
How do I install a home charger without a private space?
While it’s easier to install a home charger in a private space, it’s also worth seeking permission from your local authority to install a communal charging point.
Do I need to charge a hybrid car?
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use both electric and internal combustion engines. This means charging is an option and plugging in your PHEV will maximise the all-electric driving range and reduce fuel consumption.
Electric car charging FAQs
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