Guide to Charging
Our step by step EV charging guide will take you through the basics of how to keep your car charged. When considering an electric car, charging can seem confusing or challenging. In this guide, we will demonstrate how simple it is to keep your EV full of power.
When you own an electric car, the concept of heading to the garage to fill up with fuel will be a thing of the past. Instead EV drivers wake up every morning with a “full tank” and will almost never need to fuel up whilst out and about (except on those special extra long journeys.)
“Cars in the UK spend 96% of the time parked. That means 162 hours a week to charge your car!”
Never queue at the pumps again, saving you time and money.
It is possible to charge your car anywhere there is an electricity supply and a standard domestic plug socket you can use (for example when visiting friends.) There are also many places to charge your electric car. These are known as charge-points. They can range from a standard to large rapid charging unit, and can be found in city centres, car parks, motorway service stations, hotels, and an ever-expanding range of easily accessible locations, all across the country.
For all common electric cars, there are four types of chargepoint you need to know.
Charge Point Types and Connectors
|Standard||Fast||Rapid AC||Rapid DC|
|Power||Up to 3KW||7-22KW||Up to 43KW||Up to 50KW|
|Average Charge Time||6-8 Hours||1-4 Hours||30-60 minutes (80% Charge)||30 minutes (80% Charge)|
|Connector||3 Pin (Household)||Type 1||Type 2||JEVS|
|Type 1||Type 2||CCS|
|Best Use||Work / Home (In some cases)||Home / Work / Out and About||Out and About / Long Journeys||Out and About / Long Journeys|
|EV Compatibility||All||Most||Newer vehicles||Many Cars / Mainly Newer Models|
The type of charger you use will be affected by where you are, what is available, and how much time you have.
“Type 2 is the most common charging socket required, and all you need for the majority of charging points”
Standard Charging is available in most locations but is most commonly used either:
• At home or work when the vehicle is parked up for a long period of time
• When there is no fast charging available at the chargepoint
• When visiting friends without a chargepoint
Standard charging can take 6 to 8 hours for a full charge. This method of charging is useful during any prolonged stops or overnight. Many EV owners will carry a standard 3 pin plug for additional slow charging at any location.
Standard charging is offered at many locations and requires either a Type 1 or Type 2 connector. Typically, you will also be able to standard charge through a household three pin plug.
Is the next step up on the charging ladder. If it is within your budget we would recommend buying an EV with fast charging capabilities (most of our stock will be capable, but please ask.)
Fast charging simply allows you to charge your batteries a lot quicker. Most chargepoints you find will be of the fast charger type with a Type 1 or Type 2 connector. Typically, a full charge will take around 3-4 hours.
Fast chargers are significantly more useful when out and about. Due to the higher rate of charge they become much more useable when parked for shorter periods.
is currently the fastest way to recharge your car, and how you would charge as part of a long journey, and it is the charging format used a most public charge points. Most EVs are capable of rapid charging. It is best to check before purchase if this is a requirement.
Most vehicles are able to gain an 80% charge in less than thirty minutes. Whilst this is the ideal form of charging during a long journey, it is unnecessary for domestic charging as the car is parked at home and able to charge at a much slower rate.
Rapid charging can be supplied in A/C or D/C. The charger will provide a choice and this will be dictated by your vehicles capabilities. Rapid charging also requires a 3 phase electrical supply, so would require an electrical supply upgrade if you were to have one installed at home.
See our Charging on the UK Public Charger Network section below for more information on rapid charging. *link to Public Charge Points section*
Connecting your vehicle to a chargepoint will require a cable with the appropriate connectors for the charger’s output and the vehicle’s input.
What Connectors Do I Need?
The ZapMap button above allows you to see which connectors and chargers are compatible with your vehicle.
Typically, it is good to carry two charging cables for general use – a Type 2 cable that will fit most charging points, and a 13amp plug version just in case, as demonstrated in the video from EV Connectors below.
If you are interested in Rapid Charging connectors take a look at this video about the Ecotricity
Electric Highway chargers, which come with their own tethered cables:
Rapid chargers will always be fitted with a tethered cable so you will not be required to carry any additional equipment.
Charging at Home
Most EV owners will charge at home to ensure that they start every day with the car ready to go.
“We recommend that EV drivers consider installing a fast method of charging at home if budget and location allow. However, if you are able to leave your car on charge every night you may find slower charging with a standard plug to be perfectly manageable. This is also the perfect means to charge when you are visiting friends.”
The charging method available to you at home will be dictated by where you are able to park and your access to an electricity supply.
If you don’t have off-street parking?
If you do not have access to off-street parking then you may have to charge elsewhere. Many EV owners charge at work or at a public charge point.
In January 2017, the government initiated the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme. This is a 2.5million grant to be used for the installation of roadside chargepoints. Your council can petition the government to fund the installation of a charging post as long as there is limited access to off-street parking. It is thus possible for you to ask your local council to install a roadside charge point near you home for you to charge from.
If you have off-street parking
With off-street parking, you are able to fully exploit an EVs benefits. The typical driver will be waking up every morning with a full battery and maximum range.
Most EV drivers have a choice of two options for charging at home:
1) Installing a dedicated EV chargepoint
2) Using a standard 3 pin household plug
At Drive-Green we would always recommend you consider installing a dedicated charge point. They are tidier, easier to use, and can allow for a quicker charge.
Which chargepoint to choose?
There are many models of chargepoint available from several reputable manufacturers. Home chargepoints come in many shapes, sizes, and outputs. We would recommend going for a higher output ‘Fast Charge’ capable chargepoint, even if not necessarily required, to help futureproof your technology.
The main thing is to make sure the chargepoint has all of the features you require and has the right connectors to allow it to charge your vehicle.
At Drive Green we can not only advise on the most suitable charge point for your needs, we can also arrange for its installation.
Currently the government will cover up to 75% of the total costs of chargepoint installation through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. Our charge point installers are OLEV approved enabling you to benefit from the government support available for your home charge points installation. For more information, you can visit the government low emission vehicle grant website:
Renewable Energy Charging
By moving to an electric car you have already taken a very positive step towards a greener low carbon lifestyle and protecting the environment. Even using conventional fossil-fuel generated grid power your carbon emissions are vastly reduced. If however you want to really minimise your carbon impact we suggest looking into renewable electricity. To us EVs and renewable energy generation go hand in hand.
There are two ways that EV owners typically approach renewable integration:
Buying electricity from a 100% renewable energy supplier such as Pure Planet is the simplest and most cost effective way to run your EV with zero carbon emissions.
Not only are companies like Pure Planet 100% renewable, they are one of the cheapest providers in the UK. We recommend making the change, even if you’re not considering an electric car.
Domestic Solar PV Systems
The second option is to generate your own electricity from you own solar pv panel array. This will give you completely green and sustainable electric power, that you can use to power your home, as well as charging your EV free of any cost. The energy to power your vehicle comes from literally a few meters away with no carbon footprint and no cost. Many EV owners think of the purchasing a solar system as pre-buying their fuel for the next few years.
Read more on solar and renewable energy integration in our Solar Charging section.
Charging at Work
Electric cars are designed to perform well on the commute. If you are able to charge at work then there are many more benefits to enjoy.
• Commute further without range issues
• Reduce the costs of charging at home, and charge at work for free
• Help your employer meet their green targets
• Always be ready to go with a full charge
Many employees find that their employer is very co-operative when it comes to charging at work. Standard three pin sockets are often accessible and able to fully recharge an EV during a standard work day.
There are government grants to help incentivise the installation of workplace chargepoints. This is something you may wish to discuss with your employer if regularly commuting by EV. We are able to help advise employers and businesses on the benefits of Charge point installation, as well as arrange for their installation though our charge point installers.
If you park in a public car park when you got to work, most public car parks now offer free electric vehicle charging in special reserved EV parking spots. Charging typically is included free as part of your parking fee – amazing.
Charging on the UK public network
You will most likely find that almost all of your charging will take place at home or at work. However, when you go further afield you may need to use the UK’s public charging network.
The public charging network is massive and continuously expanding. Most public chargepoints allow for fast or rapid charging. With the rapid charging network, you are able to travel great distances with only short stops.
ZapMap gives up to date information on the UK charge point network here:
Most chargepoint providers offer their own apps for locating and reserving chargers however we would recommend an app such as ZapMap which is able to locate chargepoints from any provider.
What if I run out of charge!
The short answer to this is… you won’t. It really just doesn’t happen, a modern EV has a long enough usable range that unless you regularly take journeys which take you to the absolute limit of the vehicles capabilities it just won’t happen.
However, as a back-up we suggest two things:
1) Always carry your standard household plug charger. That way when you get to your destination and you realise you will be cutting it fine you can top up your battery from any standard plug. That extra 30 minutes of slow charging could get you another 10 miles.
2) Ensure you have breakdown cover. Running out of electricity is the same as running out of petrol in a conventional vehicle (and it is a much more common occurance in a petrol vehicle.) Some manufacturers even have their own (sometimes included) breakdown cover for EVs such as Nissan EV Recovery.