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How to Charge an Electric Car?

There are many different ways to charge your electric car. Charging is certainly something you want to consider before buying your new EV.

In this guide, we aim to demystify charging electric vehicles and show how simple it is to keep your car on the move.

Charging your car is broken down into four categories. This includes at home, work, public or at a destination, or en-route like on a motorway.

You will likely use a combination of these options day to day. Let's run through each individually to show you what your options are.

<p>Charging an EV at home</p>

Charging an EV at home

Home Charging

Charging your car at home is the most popular option. Just plug in your vehicle and let it sit overnight. Simple, reliable, and convenient.

There are two methods available to recharge your EV at home. Options include using a standard three-pin plug or a dedicated home charger.

Dedicated Home Chargers

Using a dedicated home charger is undoubtedly the most effective option. Power outputs for this style of charger do vary to suit all needs. Typically these come in 3.7kW, 7kW, or 22kW. Which you choose will depend on the car you are charging and driving needs.

Connection Types

There are two connections for home chargers with Type 1 and Type 2 chargers. The difference between these models is that Type 1 is only capable of single-phase charging while Type 2 offers single and 3-phase main power to be connected to the vehicle.

Type 2 is increasingly becoming the norm, but it is best to check which is compatible with your car before committing to a charger. The manufacturer usually provides a charging cable. You can buy one separately, though.

Installation Options and Costs

Are you looking to get a dedicated charger installed in your home? We would recommend getting in touch with BP Chargemaster.

Charging units start from £599 with installation included. This investment will be more than worthwhile with the attractive charging rates and convenience it offers.

If you are looking for a bit more information, head to the BP Chargemasters website.

Three-pin Plug Charging

It is also possible to recharge your EV from standard sockets in your home. Definitely an option you'll only want to use when you are in a bind.

Here are a few examples to illustrate how the home charging solution you choose will impact your day.

Charging Times

Car model

3-pin plug

3.7kW

7kW

22kW

Jaguar i-Pace (2018)

39h

25h

13h

8h

Audi e-tron 50 (2020)

31h

19h

10h

7h

Volkswagen eGolf (2017)

16h

10h

5h

5h

Nissan Leaf (2018)

18h

11h

6h

6h

As you can see, if you are looking to run a small city car such as the Volkswagen eGolf, a lower wattage charger will do fine, especially if you don't rack up the miles. More robust models such as the Audi e-tron will feel the benefit of a more powerful charger.

Another key reason to opt for a home charger is the integrated safety features it boasts.

What is the Cost of Charging at Home?

Charging your car at home is far cheaper than fueling conventional ICE models with petrol or diesel. Check out the table below to see how cheap charging your electric vehicle can be.

As you'll see from the table below, no matter which car you opt for, home charging can be a cost-effective, handy solution. Even a 2020 Audi e-tron costs under a tenner for a full charge.

Car model

Avg full charge

Cost per mile

Jaguar i-Pace (2018)

£12

4.8p

Audi e-tron 50 (2020)

£9.50

5.8p

Volkswagen eGolf (2017)

£4.50

3.7p

Nissan Leaf (2018)

£5

3.5p

* The table assumes electric cost is around 14p per kW. The actual cost will depend on your own rate.

<p>Charging an EV at work</p>

Charging an EV at work

Workplace Charging

Your workplace will be the next most typical place for your car to sit for a prolonged period after your home.

Why not use the opportunity to top up your battery at the same time? The good news is that on-site charging is becoming increasingly popular as time goes on with employers.

Types of workplace chargers

Typically workplace charging solutions have the same power as home alternatives.

Depending on your requirements, it is possible to have more powerful charging solutions at work. Options include rapid 50kW chargers for a fast turnaround on fleet vehicles.

Most workplace chargers will have Type 2 sockets which are becoming increasingly prevalent, as noted above. Charging units can come tethered or untethered. It is best to keep your cable in the boot just in case.

How Popular is a Workplace Charger?

Data from BP Chargemaster suggests that electric vehicle parc will rise above 1 million during 2022, and as a result, companies need to consider installing charge points for both employees and visitors.

On-site charging is essential if you believe having an EV fleet is an excellent strategic and investment point of view for your company.

Workplace Charging Scheme

If you are an employee and want your business to invest in a charging point, you may persuade the business owner by informing them about the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS).

The WCS grant offers to subsidise £350 per socket at 75% of the installation's total cost up to a maximum of 40 sockets per company from 1st April 2020.

The units will need to be positioned off the street and be for employees, visitors or fleet use only. This grant is eligible for business, charities and public sector organisations - making charging at work much more palatable.

Head over the government's page about the WCS for more information.

A business can also benefit from Polar Workplace, which allows organisations to manage their network of charging points, enabling them to set their tariffs, monitor usage, and invite employees to join.

Polar Workplace will help not only you but your employees with charging at work, all great reasons to apply for your grant today.

<p>Charging an EV in public</p>

Charging an EV in public

Public and Destination Charging

Next, we have public and destination charging. This style of charging can be a lifesaver when you are on the move.

Public Charging

The accessibility of an EV charger is becoming increasingly easy to find out with work and home. Zap-Map shows that there are over 38,000 connectors spread over more than 14,000 locations across the UK.

Public charging points vary in power from slow to ultra-rapid. The most common power output level is fast, making up 42% of the chargers available.

Like charging at work, it would be best to keep your cable to hand just in case.

Public Charging Costs

The convenience offered from public charging does come at a cost. For example, our partner BP Chargemaster sets the rates at:

  • Subscription members: Rates starting from £0.12/kW
  • PAYG users: Rates start from £0.18/kW for most chargers and £0.25/kW for 150kW chargers.

With subscription memberships only costing £7.95 per month,

signing up is an easy decision for anyone looking to access public charging. For more information, check out the BP Chargemasters site.

Destination Charging

It is becoming increasingly popular for businesses to offer to charge their cars.

Places like gyms, supermarkets, shopping centres, and town centre car parks are starting to feature on-site charging to encourage people to visit over competitors.

Chargers at these locations often have a 7kW output and are often complementary. This is still more than enough for a quick top-up while you shop. It will add around 20-30 miles of range to your vehicle per hour connected for BEV's.

To find locations near you for this, we recommend checking out Zap-Map's live map and using the filters to find the correct information.

Destination chargers generally offer untethered connection so bringing your cable is a must. Connecting can vary from downloading an app or just plugging in. No matter which, you will very quickly get to know your local charging options.

<p>EV motorway charging</p>

EV motorway charging

En-route Charging

If you are travelling longer distances, a single change might not do the job.

Luckily there are also high-powered rapid chargers placed on motorway service stations and other locations across the UK. These power supplies offer far higher output than your typical charger ranging from 50-350kW.

These more powerful chargers help you get back on the road as soon as possible. They are also typically tethered with a cable capable of handling the higher wattage, so there is no need to worry about having a suitable line.

BP Chargemaster offers access to these high-performance chargers. As noted above, costs are a bit higher than standard chargers.

  • Subscription members: 27p per kW
  • PAYG users: 42p per kW

Conclusion

As you can see, if you've made it this far, charging your EV couldn't be easier with technology developing at an incredible pace and new charging points being added daily over the UK.

Using an EV as your primary vehicle will be a lot lighter on your wallet. Combine this with the lower depreciation of EV's value and environmental factors, and you will be hard-pressed to find a reason not to make your next car electric.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out our reviews of the latest models to find the perfect EV for your needs.