Electric Car Charging

Find answers to your questions about electric car charing…

How do you charge an electric car?

Most people charge their electric vehicles at home overnight using a home charge point. Grants are available for home charge points. There is also an ever-increasing public charging infrastructure around the UK, including rapid chargers, which are located at virtually all motorway service stations.

Some public charging points are ‘open access’ (free). But most belong to one of the main network providers. You may need either their contactless RFID card or mobile app, depending upon the provider. There is a government and industry push for inter-operability of charge points.

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.

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 Ecotricity 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: 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: 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


Rapid

(AC) 43kW
(DC) 50kW

Charge time: 0-80% in 30-40 minutes

Type 2 (Mennekes)

CHAdeMO/JEVS G105
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 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).