What you need to do to get your EV charged up

The uptake of electric cars is really soaring here in the UK at the moment. This popularity is being reflected by manufacturers, too, who are bringing out more and more battery-powered models. It’s something a lot of people are being attracted to, that’s for sure, but are there any things you need to know about getting an EV topped up?

It’s not quite as simple as just plugging in and going. Here, we’re going to explain what you need to do to get your EV charged up.

Discover which charger you need

  • Using a Wallbox - A Wallbox is essentially a more powerful way of charging your car at home – providing you have off-street parking.

    Most Wallboxes can pump out a charge of around 7kW – meaning that, for the vast majority of EVs, an overnight charge offers plenty of time to top your car’s batteries up to full.

  • Using a domestic plug - Using a domestic home socket is often seen as a last resort for EV owners, or if they’re away from home without a wallbox – at a holiday home, for example. While this can often be quite convenient, using a domestic plug is a slow way of charging up your electric car – charges taking more than 24 hours on models with large batteries.
  • Charging at work - If you work at a set site, and leave your car parked up all day, it could be worth mentioning to your employer about installing an electric car charging point, if they don’t have one already. It can be a fantastic way of leaving your car on charge on the morning, and returning later in the day to find it topped up and ready to go. There are various grants available to businesses to get charging point, while many firms don’t charge their employees for electricity.
  • Public charging - They can be very handy – even more so at various locations where they’re free to entice people in (shopping centres for example). Before charging you should check the rate of charge, as some charge quicker than others, while you may also need to sign up to various providers to use these. That’s because, in a similar way to there are multiple petrol station firms, there are various charging providers, too.
  • Rapid charging - If you’re on the go and want to charge your car up as quickly as possible, rapid chargers are absolutely the way to go. They’re most often installed at motorway service stations and at the side of A roads, but increasingly more supermarkets are fitting them, too. They can be great to keep you on the go – most charging at a minimum 50kW, which means many EVs can be topped up fully within an hour.

Finding out where to charge

Part of the challenge when it comes to public charging is actually finding somewhere to top up. Fortunately, Zap-Map, which is the UK’s leading EV charger mapping service, has a really up-to-date view of the chargers up and down the country.

Available either via desktop or a smartphone app, Zap-Map will show you the nearest charger, as well as the speed it offers, the price and whether or not it is working correctly.


Speed makes all the difference when it comes to charging electric vehicles. All chargers are rated in kilowatts - or kW - and the higher the number of kilowatts, the faster you’ll be able to charge. The fastest ones in the UK will offer 350kW - though there are a limited number of these - with the vast majority of rapid chargers bringing around 50-120kW. These are great for shorter stops where you need a quick charge.

However, if you’re staying overnight or have more time at one place, then a slower 7 or 11kW will still be useful. They’re often much cheaper than their speedier counterparts, so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re trying to reduce charging costs. Remember, however, that each car has a specific ‘rating’ when it comes to charging speed. So, if your car is rated to charge at up to 40kW, this is the maximum that it’ll accept - even if you plugged it into a 125kW charger, the most you’d get would be that 40kW limit.

How do I pay?

Paying for your charge should be relatively straightforward. Though some older charging points may require you to download and log into an app, all new chargers must come with contactless compatibility, so you’ll be able to pay via your card or smartphone wallet.

If you need a receipt, most chargers will give you the option to have one emailed to you. Failing that, the website of the associated charger will likely have a place where you’ll be able to download a receipt.


Most chargers will give you a short run-through of when to connect and how. Some might require you to connect prior to starting the charge, while others will wait for you to confirm payment before you’re able to hook up.

Pretty much all will run through some pre-charge checks to make sure everything is working well. It’s worth listening out to the machine itself to ensure that it’s working - you’ll likely hear a loud whirring noise (a bit like a fan) when the machine starts charging.

When to disconnect

When your car is topped up sufficiently, it’s time to disconnect. If you’ve used an app to start the charge, then you’ll need to use this to stop it once you’re done. If you’ve paid using a contactless pad, however, you’ll need to use the card that you swiped with earlier in order to stop the machine charging.

Listen out for your car’s port unlocking before removing the cable. If it doesn’t want to come out, then it’s always worth hitting the unlock button on your car’s key - this should do the trick. Return the cable back to the machine once you’re done.

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