How to Charge an Electric Car

With the 2030 fossil fuel car ban on the horizon, the push toward purchasing and driving an electric car is greater than ever. Thanks to this demand and the increased availability of electric vehicle models, there were over 480,000 battery-electric cars on UK roads, plus a further 390,000 plug-in hybrids at last count.

The use of electric vehicles unlocks many perks for UK drivers as well as the planet. Those going from a petrol or diesel model to an electric vehicle (EV) however are certain to have a few questions about how to charge their new, eco-friendlier mode of transport.

How to charge an electric car at home

Whilst the UK has an increasing number of electric car charging points available, the only way to make electric car use as convenient as possible is to install a charging point at home.

The majority of electric vehicle charging will happen at home, with charging your vehicle overnight via your own charging point being not only more convenient than using public electric car charging points but cheaper and safer.

Whilst EVs can be charged via a domestic three-pin socket, this method should only be used occasionally or in emergencies. Installing a dedicated EV charging point on your property is the best and speediest option. To put it into context, the current of a domestic socket is 3kW, which would take a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery up to 13 hours to reach full charge. A basic home charger with a 3.6 kW current will charge the same vehicle 1.6 times quicker. A standard 7kW charging point will be three times faster and a whole lot safer.

When considering your home-based charging points, you’ll have to choose between tethered and untethered. If you are purchasing a new EV or leasing, many manufacturers provide free or discounted home charger installation.

Charging your electric vehicle on the go

Many workplaces are integrating electric car charging points as part of their commitment to greener travel. There are also a growing number of public electric charging points which are easily accessible at the roadside or at service stations. 

Fast chargers with currents up to 22kW are becoming commonplace throughout the UK, both in public and at home. Even rapid chargers operating at a rate of 43kW to 150kW providing 80% charge in just 20 minutes are now being seen at service stations and dedicated public hubs.

Using these public charging points is simpler than you think. You can use a variety of payment methods, including phone apps, contactless and specialist cards (called Radio-Frequency Identification or RFID) to pay for the power you need to go about your day.

Most EV drivers choose to do the bulk of their charging at home and then access public or work electric car charging points for short top-ups.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

The cost of charging your electric car depends entirely on your charging method. Rates vary across public electric car charging points. At home, the cost will be dictated by your electricity tariff, and whether you are charging your vehicle during peak or off-peak (between 12am and 5am) times. 

Whilst rates vary from supplier to supplier, the average cost of charging an EV at home is between 9p and 14p per kWh. This is far cheaper than the 12p to 27p per kWh found at many service station charge points. You could face costs of up to 69p per kWh when using a rapid electric car charging point.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

How long it takes to charge your electric car depends on the size of its battery, its electrical current capacity and the speed of the charging point. Again, using our Nissan Leaf as an example, a basic charger would see a model with a 40kWh battery reach full charge in around 12 hours. Rapid chargers would achieve 80% of this charge in under 30 minutes.

How much to replace the battery in an electric car? 

Like any car component, your electric car battery is subject to wear and tear, and may require electric car repair and eventually battery replacement. 

The majority of EV manufacturers provide battery warranties of between five and eight years or up to 100,000 miles to safeguard you from the cost of electric car repair. Most however predict that their EV batteries will not need replacement until 10 to 20 years of use. 

Replacing the battery in an electric car isn’t cheap. In 2016, a brand new 40kWh battery cost roughly £10,000. The cost of battery replacement and electric car repair is however expected to drop as electric vehicles become standard on UK roads.

For further information on charging your electric vehicle, EV maintenance or electric car repair, contact our team today.