Guide to charging electric cars – at home, at work, and out and about
From getting a charging point installed at your home or office to navigating a road trip with an electric car, here’s what you need to know about life without the petrol pump.
By Remy Maisel
A common concern people have about buying electric cars is whether they’ll have enough charge to get where they’re going or end up stuck somewhere along the way – otherwise known as range anxiety.
But there’s no turning back from going electric – it’s something people are going to have to deal with soon. With the Government’s plans to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, taking the electric leap is something more of us will have to consider. We've answered some of your questions about the 2030 petrol and diesel ban.
Right, let’s supercharge our charging up know-how.
How do you charge an electric vehicle?
You could get a home chargingpoint installed or use a public charge point – there are 25,000 of these across the UK already. You can find these on some streets, at service stations, and some workplaces and shopping centres. And just like paying for your fuel, you'll need to pay to charge up too.
Not all chargepoints and cars have the same connectors, but most chargepoints will have the two most popular rapid charge connectors, and your car might have adaptors.
Charging an electric car at home
If you have a private place to park, like a driveway or garage, you might want to get a wallbox charger installed. You can either get a box capable of:
- Slow charging (3kW): A full slow charge will take from eight to fourteen hours.
- Fast charging (7-22kW): A full fast charge can take less than half that amount of time and be done in three to four hours.
Getting a home chargepoint installed can cost from around £449 with the Government’s OLEV grant of £350.
Which one you choose will depend on what car you buy, because some older cars aren’t capable of fast charging and some specific models have their own networks – so be sure to check first.
Charging your electric car at work
In addition to public chargepoints, many workplaces have chargepoints installed. If yours doesn’t, you may want to let your employer know that they can take advantage of the Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme for businesses, charities, and the public sector.
Your employer will receive a voucher that goes toward the cost of installing an electric chargepoint. The scheme covers £350 per socket for a maximum of 40 sockets. See guidance on how the scheme works.
Charging your car at a public chargepoint
Even if you have a chargepoint at home and work, you’ll probably want to familiarise yourself with the network of public chargepoints. You can easily find this info by looking for nearby electric chargepoints on search engines such as Google or Bing.
Rapid chargepoints, such as the ones you might find at a motorway service station, have a rate of 43-50kW which can charge some newer cars to 80% in 30 minutes.
A note on etiquette: If you drive a hybrid vehicle, you should give electric-only vehicles priority at chargepoints, and never leave your vehicle at the chargepoint longer than necessary so you don’t leave anyone stranded.