Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006
Genesis GV60

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.

Virtually all new EVs now have a CCS socket for rapid (DC) charging; a very small number of new EVs have a Chademo socket. Rapid chargers have CCS connections, and also Chademo connections in most cases.

For slower AC charging, virtually all of the latest EVs use a ‘Type 2’ socket.

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 on a standard tariff will cost around 8p to 9p per mile (or £535 to £602 over a year) to run an electric city car or a small electric hatchback like the Renault Zoe.

Charging at home will cost around 8.3p to 10p per mile (or £584 to £689 over a year) for medium and large cars, such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3 respectively. It’s a similar amount for compact SUVs, such as the Hyundai Kona.

Charging at home will cost around 8.8p to 11.5p per mile (or £621 to £838 over a year) for medium/large SUVs like the Audi e-tron.

To get the lowest costs available, there are special electric car/off-peak tariffs at home that you can take advantage of. If you charge during off-peak times when the cost of electricity is low, it would mean you’re paying just 3.2p per mile. That’s a big saving compared to all other fuel types and charge rates.

Conversely, that cost could go up to 20p per mile if you’re using regular public chargers regularly, or 25.5p per mile if you’re using the more expensive rapid/ultra-rapid chargers. That makes it more expensive than the same sized petrol or diesel car per mile.

The above figures are based on a typical annual mileage is 7,050 miles and a price per unit of 27.35p per kWh, which is the standard unit cost of electricity from 1 October 2023 to 31 December 2023.

From 1 January 2024 the standard unit price of electricity increased to 28.62p per kWh, so those charging at home will see their costs increase by an average of around £30 per year, or by 0.4p per mile.

Source: Which?

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 being introduced.

Electric vehicle charging is dependent both on technology built into the vehicle and that built into the charging infrastructure. For example, you need an EV that can charge at 100 kW and a 100 kW charger to charge at 100 kW. If the EV can only charge at 50 kW, it will only charge at 50 kW at a 100 kW charger. If the EV can charge at 100 kW, but the charger is only 50 kW, it will only charge at 50 kW.

It’s important to note that a maximum charging rate will be quoted for an EV, but the EV will only charge at that maximum charging rate for a short time, then the charging rate will reduce as the battery charge increases. Therefore it is often best to stop charging at a public rapid charger before 100% charge is reached – such as at 80% – because the charging rate will reduce at an increasing rate after this point, and so charging will take longer.

What are the different types of electric car chargers?

Domestic 3 pin plug: Only recommended for occasional use – a full charge could take up to 24 hours for one of the latest EVs with a large battery.

Home ‘wall box’ chargers are typically 7.4 kW (AC) (although they can also be 3.6 kW) – a full charge could take around 8 hours.

Workplace chargers may use a commercial three-phase 11 kW (AC) electricity supply; a full charge could take around 5 hours.

There are some 22 kW (AC) chargers; a full charge could take around 2-3 hours.

Public (DC) rapid chargers are 50 kW – 149 kW. A 10% to 80% charge could take 30 minutes, or less.

There are increasing numbers of ultra-rapid DC chargers: 150 kW and above, and even up to 350 kW, which could give a 10% to 80% charge in as little as 15 minutes.

Note that the EV needs to be able to charge at the same rate as the charger to achieve these charging times, and that the charge speed will reduce as the battery charge increases.

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 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).