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Electric Car Charging

Find answers to your questions about electric car charging…

How do you charge an electric car?

Most people charge their electric vehicles at home overnight using a home charge point. There is also an ever-increasing public charging infrastructure around the UK, including rapid chargers, which are located at virtually all motorway service stations. All rapid chargers should now take contactless payment rather than having to use RFID cards or mobile apps.

There’s an agreed standard for the sockets found on the latest charging points – all now using the universal ‘Type 2’ socket. All new cars have Type 2 sockets, apart from the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which still has a Type 1 socket. Teslas have their own sockets which are compatible with the Tesla Supercharger network, but you can use an adaptor to charge Teslas at standard rapid chargers. The Tesla Model 3 can use a Type 2 connector.

Most electric vehicles come with a cable with a 3-pin plug to allow for easy charging at home or anywhere without a designated charging point, although charging times will be significantly increased. However, a cable with a 3-pin plug should only be for occasional use only; it is recommended that a charging point should be used rather than a 3-pin socket.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Most people charge at home overnight. Charging at home or at the workplace will cost around 2-3p a mile, as opposed to 12-14p a mile for a typical petrol or diesel car. This equates to between £1.50 and £2 per charge for around 80 miles depending on your electricity provider.

If an EV was only charged at rapid chargers it may well cost as much to run as a petrol vehicle. However, these facilities are designed for occasional use on long journeys, with most charging taking place at home or at a workplace where electricity is much cheaper.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

How long it takes to charge an EV depends on the type of vehicle, how depleted the battery is and the type of charge point used. Charging rates vary from slow chargers, which can take more than 12 hours to completely replenish a battery of a BEV, to rapid chargers, which can provide 80% charge in 20-30 minutes. Even faster chargers are due to be introduced.

Electric vehicle charging is dependent both on technology built into the vehicle and that built into the charging infrastructure. For example, when the charging capability of the vehicle is less than that of the charger, then the vehicle will charge only at the maximum speed allowed by the vehicle. When the charging capability of the vehicle is greater than that of the charger, then the vehicle will charge at the maximum rate allowed by the charger.

What are the different types of electric car chargers?

For home, workplace and public infrastructure:

Slow (AC) 2.3-3.7kW

Charge time for a typical EV: 0-100% in 10-12 hours

3 Pin Plug

Dual Socket Ground Mounted 3.7kW
Purchase Cost: £700-£2,000
Installation Cost: £300-£500

Fast (AC) 7-22kW

Charge time for a typical EV: 0-100% in 2-4 hours

Type 1 (Commando)

Dual Socket Wall Mounted 7kW
Purchase Cost: £1,400-£2,000
Installation Cost: £100-£350

Dual Socket Ground Mounted 7kW
Purchase Cost: £1,400 – £2,500
Installation Cost: £2,000 – £5,000

Type 2 (Mennekes)

Dual Socket Type 2 Ground Mounted 22kW
Purchase Cost: £1,700-£2,200
Installation Cost: £2,000-£5,000

Dual Socket Type 2 Wall Mounted 22kW
Purchase Cost: £1,700-£2,200
Installation Cost: £2,000-£5,000


(AC) 43kW
(DC) 50kW

Charge time for a typical EV: 0-80% in 30-40 minutes

Type 2 (Mennekes)

CCS Combo 2 DC

Dual Socket Type 2 and CHAdeMO Ground Mounted 43kW & 50kW
Purchase Cost: £15,000 – £20,000
Installation Cost: £10,000 – £30,000

Triple Socket Type 2, CHAdeMO and CCS Ground Mounted 43kW and 50kW
Purchase Cost: £15,000-£30,000
Installation Cost: £10,000- £30,000

(Prices exclude VAT and any Workplace or Home Charge Grant Schemes)

How do you choose a home charge point?

You can compare home charge points by using the Rightcharge system, but what should you look into when it comes to choosing your home charger? Here are 6 tips for choosing your home charge point.

Electric cars can be recharged for as little as £1.20 if you switch to a home electricity tariff with low overnight rates (a popular one is the Go tariff from Octopus Energy). You’ll also need something that can schedule your car so you don’t have to wake up in the early hours to unplug.

A smart charger can do this for you. Here’s a bit more information on smart features, plus some physical aspects of the charger to consider before choosing.

Smart features

Here are three reasons why ‘smart’ charge points are a great choice:

  1. Smart charging. Consider this if you’re often parked at home over night. Smart charging means your charger can schedule your charge for the off-peak hours of your energy tariff. This can save you over £200 per year on charging and can mean you’re using electricity when the average carbon emissions from the UK’s grid are 25% lower (there’s more low carbon generation overnight than during the evening).
  2. Solar charging. Consider this if you have solar panels or are you considering them. These chargers can be told to wait until you’ve generated excess solar power before they start charging. They can of course just be told to charge as soon and as fast as possible if you just need the juice.
  3. Fuse protection. Consider this if you could be getting a second charge point one day. Your installer may also recommend it once you start speaking to them about your install if you already use a lot of electricity in the home. Chargers with fuse protection temporarily lower the power to your car if they notice that your home and car electricity usage is approaching the limit of your home’s fuse.

Some cars have settings that can schedule charging. However, the apps that allow you to control charging via your charge point today are more convenient and accurate, which can mean a bit less cost and carbon compared to using the car’s timer.

Physical features

  1. Aesthetics. This is where it gets personal. Charge points come in different shapes, sizes and colours and they may be visible on the front of your house so it might make sense to get one that looks good! One of the smallest on the market is the EO Mini Pro. One of the highest quality finishes is the Andersen EV, which includes a storage compartment for the cable complete with a magnetic lid.
  2. The cable. ‘Tethered’ or ‘untethered’? Tethered means the charger comes with a cable permanently attached to plug into your car. Untethered means that it comes with no cable and you use your own to plug in at both ends. Tethered offers convenience (no need to grab your cable from the boot each time) but could mean you can’t charge a car with a different type of socket. There are only two types for home charging though – Type 2, which has become the new standard, and Type 1, which exists on some older cars, such as the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Untethered offers flexibility. You can use any charging cable, so you can charge a Type 1 or Type 2 car.
  3. Earth rod. Charge points need to be earthed for safety. Some have that technology within the charge point and others require an earth rod (a metal spike that goes into the ground). If you would prefer not to have a spike in the ground, plus the extra cabling involved, you can look for a charger that doesn’t require an earth rod.

You can find out if your car has Type 1 or Type 2 socket by clicking ‘Find my charger’ and checking the top of the results in the Rightcharge system.

How long do electric car batteries last?

While electric car batteries do experience some degradation over time, examples have shown that this happens too slowly to be considered a concern: a Tesla vehicle in the US lost 6% of its capacity after driving over 200,000 miles for shuttle company Tesloop.

C&C Taxis in Cornwall use Nissan LEAFs, which have retained over 70% of their battery capacity after 174,000 miles over a four-year period. One car was 7kW fast-charged 3,800 times and 3.3kW trickle-charged 7,000 times during its working life.

Most vehicle manufacturers offer extensive battery warranties, for example Nissan offers an 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty on the new LEAF, during which time Nissan will provide a new battery free of charge if there is a failure or if degradation reaches an unacceptable level (a reduction of 25% from its original capacity).