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Charging an electric vehicle guide

Depending on your personal circumstances the mix of the three options will be unique to you, this guide looks at each of the three options in greater detail.

If you’re new to the world of electric vehicles then we recommend that you give thought to how and where you expect to charge your vehicle.

Charging an electric vehicle at home

Once you have your electric car or van you can further reduce your motoring costs by setting up a suitable low-rate overnight tariff with your energy provider.

Both the electric vehicle and the charger (in most cases) come with smartphone apps with the ability to decide when to and when not to charge the vehicle. This can be used to ensure that you can take advantage of any off-peak rates, as well as charging the vehicle when there’s a lower load on the national grid, reducing the likelihood of any carbon intensive additional measures taking place to meet peak daily demand.

We also recommend that you should aim to have your home charger installed just prior to the delivery of your electric vehicle, so you can charge it from home as soon as it needs it.

And while you can charge an electric vehicle using a standard domestic 3-pin socket, it will take significantly longer to do so (x3 times the duration of most home chargers) and it is recommended that you do not use a domestic extension lead and only plug the charging cable directly into a wall socket.

Instavolt Banbury location

Charging an electric vehicle in public

We are seeing an ever increasing number of public charge points in the UK, from a wide range of providers, at various price points. Today you’ll find public charging in a wide variety of locations, such as petrol stations, hotels, shopping centres, leisure centres, on-street and car parks. There are over 30,000 public charging points in the UK*, a figure which is increasing week-on-week, month-on-month.

At DriveElectric, we know that doing your research pays dividends if you need to use the public network. There are several charging provider networks in the UK and they all offer different payment options. Some allow for a simple tap and recharge approach using a bank card, while others require you to sign up to become a member first. To avoid any frustration it always pays to know the provider of the chargers you’re anticipating to use to see whether they have any special requirements, before you travel.

To help you get started DriveElectric recommends downloading and using Zap Map, a searchable map of the UK’s ever-growing network of public charging.

To make use of the various charge-points available it is important that you know what types of charge-point your vehicle can use, as electric car charging can be carried out in a few different ways, dependent on the type of vehicle and cable connectors.

Charging an electric vehicle at work

Employers across the country are beginning to offer charging access in workplace car parks, which serve as the next most-likely place a vehicle will spend time parked.

The ability to charge at work can potentially double an EV driver’s all-electric daily commuting range. For more information take a look at our ‘Guide to charging electric vehicles at work‘.

How long will it take to charge?

There is a growing choice of charger speeds in today's electric vehicle world. Things can be confusing for the first few times you come to charge your vehicle. Let's take you through the four types of charger speed...

Slow Charger circle

Slow (up to 3kW)

Standard charge is available in all UK homes with a home charging unit and via a 3 pin plug charging cable to a domestic socket. It will take approximately ten to twelve hours to charge the average pure electric car.

Fast Charger circle

Fast (up to 22kW)

7kW domestic chargepoints are widely available for use with 32A circuits. Higher power (22kW) fast charging will normally occur at dedicated public charge bays rather than at home. This will fully charge an average-sized electric vehicle battery in three to four hours.

Rapid Charger circle

Rapid (up to 43kW AC, or 50kW DC)

Rapid charge will only occur at dedicated charge bays. This will charge the average pure electric car to 80% charge in around 30 minutes. Cars are usually configured for either AC or DC rapid charging, but not both. Many rapid chargers offer both AC and DC rapid charging connecting options.

Ultra-Rapid Charger circle

Ultra-rapid (up to 350kW DC)

Ultra-rapid charging is only available at select charging points, and typically offered at three rates: 100kW, 150kW and 350kW. Ultra-rapid charging is exactly that, and can fully charge an EV between 20-40 minutes. If you drive aTesla, then their Supercharger network offers ultra-rapid charging up to 150kW.

Our top electric car lease picks

HatchbackRange 125 miles

Volkswagen e-Up 60kW E-Up 32kWh 5dr Auto

  • £2,203 Initial rental (inc. VAT)
  • 36 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
  • £1,836 Initial rental (ex. VAT)
  • 36 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£245 Personal contract hire per month (inc. VAT)
£204 Business contract hire per month (ex. VAT)
Volkswagen e-Up front
Special offer
SUVRange 175 miles

Volkswagen ID.4 109kW LIFE Pure 52kWh 5dr Auto

  • £3,035 Initial rental (inc. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
  • £2,529 Initial rental (ex. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£337 Personal contract hire per month (inc. VAT)
£281 Business contract hire per month (ex. VAT)
Fast delivery
EstateRange 210 miles

MG MG5 115kW Exclusive EV 61kWh 5dr Auto

  • £2,938 Initial rental (inc. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
  • £2,448 Initial rental (ex. VAT)
  • 48 Month term
  • 5000 Annual mileage
  • Subject to status and conditions + arrangement fee
£326 Personal contract hire per month (inc. VAT)
£272 Business contract hire per month (ex. VAT)
MG5 electric estate car
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