Types of charger
The speed that cars can charge at is determined by how much electrical power the charge point delivers and is measured in kilowatts (kW). There are three main types of EV charger – rapid, fast, and slow.
Rapid and ultra fast – these are the fastest type of charger usually found in service stations and other public areas. They operate at between 43kW to 50kW of power which means they can charge 80% of an EV battery in 30 minutes to an hour.
Fast – a fast charger is anything between 7kW and 22kW, and will charge an EV in up to four hours. While not as fast as rapid chargers they are probably the most common type of charger in the UK right now. These are ideal for home use too but may incur additional costs from Electricity North West to reinforce the local electricity network.
Slow – a slow charger is anything up to 3kW and is used mainly for overnight charging at domestic properties but could also be used for business. Generally your EV will be partly charged already so a slow charger will normally fully charge it in around four hours. Slow chargers (suitably designed and rated outdoor 13amp sockets) have the advantage of being much cheaper to install and are unlikely to incur any additional reinforcement costs.
For more information on different types of chargers and connectors, visit Zap Map.
Installing a charger
In July 2019 the UK government announced proposals to fit all new-build homes with an electric car charge point. In the meantime, if you decide to buy an electric vehicle and want to charge your car at home, you will need to install either a fast EV charge point or a slow charger.
In some cases when purchasing a new electric vehicle the cost of the installation of a charge point may be bundled into the cost of the vehicle. If not, you will need to contact an accredited EV charge point installer.
The government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing EV charge points at domestic properties across the UK. The grant brings the cost of a standard 3kW unit plus installation to around £300 while a faster 7kW unit would be in the region of £400.
From 1 July 2019 all home charge points funded under the EVHS must use innovative ‘smart’ technology which means they can be remotely accessed and capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal. Smart charging can help reduce your energy bills by restricting charging to periods when electricity rates are cheapest. This can also help reduce peak demand on the electricity network.
You can find out more about EVHS grants and a list of approved installers on the Office for Low Emission Vehicles website.
Before you install a charge point, your installer should contact Electricity North West. Find out more about connecting your charge point to the electricity network.
There are now around 10,000 public electric vehicle charge points nationwide and this number is growing on a daily basis. Charge points can be found at public car parks, on-street, coffee shops, supermarkets, hotels, workplaces and service stations. Research carried out by car manufacturer Nissan in August 2019, suggests that there are now more EV charge points across the country than fossil fuel filling stations.
There are a number of publicly available sources to locate charge points such as Zap-Map which contains maps of charge points across the UK. The maps are updated regularly and provide details of charger type and connector type.
Not all charge points are ‘pay as you go’. Some electricity supply companies such as Ovo Energy offer contracts to provide your home supply with access to their network of EV charge points included.
If you are planning on buying an EV but you don’t plan to have a charge point at home, you should consider where you will be able to charge your vehicle, such as at your workplace or at your local supermarket or retail park. Some public car parks enable you to book a parking space with a charge point in advance.