CHARGING AN EV
Charging an electric vehicle is extremely easy but it can seem complicated. This section aims to explain the differences between chargers, how long electric vehicles take to charge as well as how charging out in public works.
If you still have a question about charging and can't find the answer? Click the have a question link below.
COST OF CHARGING AN EV
The cost of charging an electric vehicle can vary massively as the is such a broad availability when it comes to battery sizes and where you charge. However, if we take the most popular electric vehicle in the UK, the Nissan LEAF, then we can easily work out the cost. The cost of charging at home varies dependent on the energy provider you are with and the tariff you are on. On average people pay at home around 14p/kw which works out to £5.60 (This is the cost of charging the 40kWh LEAF which is the largest battery configuration currently offered).
It is possible to reduce this cost even further by switching to an electric vehicle tarrif which more energy providers are beginning to offer. These tariffs work by giving you a cheaper rate, usually between the hours of 11pm - 6am. If you were to switch to such tariff then you could be looking at 10p/kw meaning a full charge cost of £4. For this, you could expect to travel between 120 - 150 miles.
HOW FAR CAN I TRAVEL?
A common question for people looking to make the switch to an electric vehicle is, how far can I go on a single charge? The answer, as with the cost of charging an electric vehicle depends on what you are charging.
A fully charged full electric vehicle can have a range from 60 miles up to 280 miles realistically dependant on the make and model. These figures are not based on what manufacturers quote but are what you should expect in real world driving. The average figure for a full electric vehicle is currently around 200 miles.
Plug-in hybrids have an electric range between 15 - 30 miles again dependant on the make and the model year.
To find our more information about vehicles and there range, check out the models available to buy section by clicking here.
CHARGING TIMES FOR ELECTRIC VECHILES
Charging times for electric vehicles depends on three factors, these are; the size of the battery, the speed of the charger and the max power the vehicle can take (Electric vehicles have on-board chargers which convert power from AC to DC to be able to charge the battery). Chargers fall into three main catergories, these being slow, fast and rapid. Most plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) can only charge at 3.6kW so will take the same time to charge on a 3.6kW charger as they will on a 7kW unit.
Slow chargers are any charging speed up to 3kW and provide a much slower charger time of around 10 hours or more for a pure electric vehicle or a PHEV in 2-4 hours. You will typically find these chargers at homes and at destinations such as shopping centres.
Fast chargers cover charge points which are anywhere from 7kW to 22kW. This means most pure electric vehicles can be charged in around 4-6 hours. Fast chargers are also commonly found at both homes and at destinations such as car parks and shopping centres.
Rapid chargers are what you tend to find at service stations or just off of major motorway junctions and usually come with the three types of rapid charging cable attached (CCS, CHAdeMO and Type 2). This means you can charge any electric vehicle. The power of these units is usually 50kW (DC) for CCS, CHAdeMO and 43kW (AC) for Type 2. As a result, most electric vehicles can recharge from 10% - 80% in around 30 - 45 minutes. We should see this time decrease in the next year as charging network providers such as Chargemaster are investing in 150kW chargepoints.
Tesla have their own charging network with chargers capable of delivering 120kW (DC Type 2). However, charging times are similar due to Tesla vehicles having larger batteries compared to most electric vehicles.
Grants available for a chargepoint (home and work) There are grants available for both charging points at home and for work. When you purchase an electric vehicle or are the registered user of the vehicle, the government gives you a grant of £500 including VAT off the cost of a home charge unit. They also offer a grant of £500 per socket off the price of a charging post for a workplace (two sockets per charging post). For more information on chargepoint grants, click here.
CAN I GET A CHARGEPOINT AT HOME?
It is possible to get a chargepoint at home if you have off-street parking at your place of residence. If you do, it is possible to get a unit fitted to your wall and even benefit from a grant of up to £500 towards the cost of a chargepoint. It is always recommended that you get a homecharge point installed rather than relying on a 3-pin charging cable as homechargers are faster, safer and more convenient. There are a few options when it comes to home chargers. The first of these options is what power you would like to go for, the choices being either 3.6kW or a 7kW (It is possible to have a 22kW homecharger although 3-phase electric is required which is uncommon in most UK households and most current electric vehicles are unable to charge at this rate due to it being AC). The next option you will get is the choice between a socketed or a tethered unit. A socketed unit is where the unit has a plug which you connect the cable you have with your car and plug it into both the charging unit and the vehicle. A tethered unit is one where the charging cable is permanently attached to the charging unit and you can simply plug this into your vehicle.
Electric Vehicle Expert's recommendation for a homecharge unit is to definitely get one if you have off-street parking as it is far more convenient than a 3-pin charging cable as well as being safer and faster. Always get the highest power possible (usually 7kW) as although you may have currently have a vehicle which is unable to charge at 7kW, chances are that you will in the future. Whether you go for a socketed unit or a tethered unit depends on the vehicle you have. If you are planning on getting, or have a vehicle which uses type 1 charging (mostly Japanese vehicles e.g. first generation Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander) then a socketed unit is the best option. If you have or are getting a vehicle with type 2 charging, then a tethered unit is best. This is due to most vehicles having type 2 charging and new legislation meaning vehicles coming out have to have type 2. For example the Nissan LEAF 2.0 now has type 2 charging.
For more information about the grant available for a homecharge unit, click here.
I CAN'T GET A HOMECHARGE POINT, HOW DO I CHARGE?
If you are unable to get a chargepoint installed at home then it is worth seeing if it is possible to get a chargepoint installed at your place of work. There are also government grants available for workplace chargers which makes it easier for companies to install chargers for their employees. For more information on the grants available to workplaces, click here.
If however you aren't able to, then there is a huge public network of charging points which you can use to charge your electric vehicle. In the UK we have just under 18,000 charging connectors at over 6000 locations across meaning that you are never far from a charging point. Access to these chargepoints is easy through the use of either an RFID card or application on your smartphone.
HOW DO I FIND PUBLIC CHARGERS?
Finding chargepoints is much easier than you might think. Most charging car manufacturers have SAT NAVS with chargepoint locations meaning you can easily find somewhere to charge. Further to this, charging network providers tend to have their own charging maps. However, Electric Vehicle Expert's preferred charging point map is ZAP MAP which you can see below or by clicking the link. Zap Map allows you to easily apply filters such as the type of connector and the speed of the charger making it quick for you to find a chargpoint.
Zap Map have also made it easy for you to be able to see the speed of a charger below by indicating different charger speeds with different colour icons. Yellow indicates slow (up to 3kW charging, blue indicates fast (7 - 22kW) and green/purple indicates rapid chargers (43kW AC / 50 - 120kW DC).
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Learn more about the cost savings you can make when switching to an EV.
Learn more about the process of charging your EV and the three main types of chargers for electric vehicles
Read through our Frequently asked questions to see if we can answer any of your questions.
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