Charging Your Electric Car at Home

You can charge at home by either plugging in to a standard UK three-pin socket, or you can get a special home fast-charging point installed. Although charging from the standard socket is easy and convenient, it is also the slower option. Over 40 manufacturers provide charging units suitable for residential use – examples of popular models are shown below. The units are usually wall-mounted, and available either with a tethered Type 1 or Type 2 cable, which can be plugged straight into the car, or with a Type 2 socket for use with the vehicle’s charging cable.

It is safe to charge your EV in the rain and it is worth noting that Lithium-ion batteries perform better in warm weather so therefore, there may be a slight drop in the range of travel your EV can achieve in colder months of the year.

Some car manufacturers will supply you with a complimentary home fast-charging point with your electric car.

Because the largest amount of car charging occurs at home, it’s probably worth having the fast-charging point installed especially as the Government will cover up to 75% (or a maximum of £500) of the cost of installation.  An additional £250 grant (in remote areas of Scotland , this is increased to £350) is available to Scottish EV drivers via the Energy Savings Trust Scotland.

To be eligible to apply for the scheme, EV owners must provide evidence of keepership, lease, be named as the primary user of an eligible electric vehicle (bought new or second hand), and have off-street parking facilities suitable for charge point installation. Applicants may apply for two charge points at the same property if they have two qualifying vehicles

The charge point must also be installed by an OLEV authorised installer. Choosing a supplier that is not on the list will most likely mean incurring the full cost of the unit and installation. The date of installation must not be more than four months ahead of the date of delivery of the vehicle.

How long will it take to charge your electric

How long it takes to charge an electric vehicle (EV) at home depends on things such as the make and model of the car, its battery capacity and what type of charging system is being used.

The charger’s speed will depend on how many kilowatts (kW) it can provide, and how many your car can accept: the higher the number of watts the car can handle, the faster the car will charge. At home, you get a choice of two speeds:

Scottish Power
Smart Homecharger
Alfen Eve Mini

Slow charging

Maximum rate of  3.6 kw.  If you charge your car from ‘empty’ (either at home or at a charging station), a full slow charge will take six -twelve hours.

Fast charging

Rate 7-22kW. A fast-charging point will take around three to seven hours to fully replenish an electric car’s batteries from zero charge

myenergi Zappi
EO Mini Pro

Cost to charge an electric car at home

Again this depends on exactly what type of electric car is being charged and the capacity of the battery. It works very much in the same way as a car with a small petrol tank; it will cost less to fill up, but you won’t be able to cover as many miles as a car with a far larger tank.

Rolec Wallpod
Ohme Wall Charger

Of course one of the major attractions of an electric vehicle is that it will cost you much less to charge an electric car than it would be to fill a car with the equivalent amount of petrol or diesel. In addition, you could reduce your costs even more by switching to one of the ‘Economy’ tariffs which will give you much less expensive electricity at night with which to charge the car.

Not all cars are compatible with fast charging, because their wattage is too low or because their connector doesn’t fit with the fast-charging unit. For example, the entry-level Nissan Leaf can only be charged at a maximum of 3.7kW, which means it’ll take up to 8 hours to fully charge.

Slow and fast charging can have different plug connectors. Most slow chargers will use the Type 1, 5-pin connector. This can be plugged into either a fast-charging point or directly into the domestic electricity supply via a regular wall socket. The other main type of connector is the Type 2 seven-pin connector that can be plugged only into a proper EV charging point. This is more common on fast-charging cars, but you will find it on some slow-charging models.

Using public charging points

Each day, the network of public charging points is increasing to cater for the fact that more and more individuals and companies are switching to electric vehicles.

As of 20/4/21, there were 40,164 charge point connectors across the UK in over 14,921 locations. (In 2020, around 7,000 charge point  connectors were added; the largest increase being 150 x 350 kW ultra-rapid chargers)

It is estimated that in the UK 400,000 public chargers will be needed by 2030


Public charging stations usually charge at a faster rate
The Rapid Charging Rate is usually 43-50kW. More and more electric cars are now compatible with rapid charging, so if you own a car such as the Tesla Model S or Kia Soul EV, a rapid charger will give you an 80% charge in as little as 20 to 40 minutes. Though not as common as fast-chargers, their numbers are increasing very quickly to try to keep up with demand. Tesla has its own proprietary Supercharger network for use exclusively with its cars.

Finding a public charging point
Many new electric cars have a sat nav system which will direct you to the nearest charging point. There are also websites that list the position of charging points and even show whether they are in use in real time. These include Zap-Map, which shows the charging points nearest to where you are searching from, what sort of connector they are compatible with and how fast they’ll charge your car.

How to use a public charging point
Most public charging points are operated by using the appropriate swipe card, or mobile phone app in order to access the charging point.

The charging point will usually include a lock around its cable to stop it from being disconnected unintentionally. This means that you would have to use the same access method to disconnect the electricity supply and unlock the cable. Unlike the refuelling system at petrol stations, there is not yet a standardised charging point system and each provider goes their own way.

The charging points you can use

Chargemaster, Polar and Ecotricity are some of the largest operators of charging points, but there are also a number of large regional ones.
A monthly flat membership fee will usually entitle you to unlimited use of that company’s charging stations. Different operators often dominate different regions, so depending on your travel patterns, you may find it necessary to join more than one membership scheme.

Polar is the largest Company and they charge about £8 a month, but some providers like Zero Carbon World do not ask you to subscribe and there’s no charge to use its stations. Then you have Nissan who allows Leaf owners to use the charging points at its dealerships.

Tesla has a UK network of around 300 ‘Supercharger’ charging points for owners of its Model S and Model X electric cars, plus another 500 or so ‘destination chargers’ at hotels, restaurants and landmarks. Tesla’s Superchargers cost about 24 pence per kW/h.
The points provide rapid charging which can charge to 80% in about 30 minutes.

Free Charging

There are many free EV charge points in the UK – often found at shopping centres, supermarkets, public car parks, hotels and sometimes in service stations . (Be aware there may be some restrictions , such as requiring an instore purchase or for a set period of time only)

Charging on the motorway

Ecotricity provides charging stations on the motorway, with over 50 charging stations offering around 300 individual chargers which costs around a £6 charge for 30 minutes of use, but if you also get your electricity from Ecotricity, you are eligible for 52 free charges per year.

The Company was criticised for this move, but it defended itself by saying that the charge was introduced to stop plug-in hybrid (PHEV) owners from ‘hogging’ the charging points when ‘pure’ electric cars have more need. This is because, unlike PHEV owners, pure electric vehicles rely on their battery packs alone, a PHEVs has small petrol or diesel engines that will top up its battery pack if necessary. Some manufacturers, like Tesla, have introduced ‘idle fees’ that penalise drivers who stay parked in electric car spaces after their battery has finished charging.

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