hand holding an ev charger
Charging & Range Explained If you’re interested in hybrid or electric vehicles, you may be wondering – how long does they take to charge and how far do they go?

Hybrid and Electric Car Charging

If you’re interested in hybrid or electric vehicles, you may be wondering – how long does it take to charge electric cars? This is a perfectly valid question, of course, as you need to know the practicalities of the vehicle you’re buying, including charging times and how long a vehicle can travel without needing an energy top-up.

At Swansway Group, we’re here to answer your questions, so here are some important details to help with your buying journey.

Hybrids you don’t need to plug in

Firstly, it’s important to realise that many regular hybrids don’t need to be plugged in at all – such as the all-new Honda CR-V Hybrid. So, if you don’t want to fuss around with power cables or travel long distances and are worried about running out of charge, this could be the right option for you.

How long will it take to charge my electric car?

How long it takes for your EV to be charged will depend largely on the size of your battery and which kind of charging station you decide to use.

Charging speeds are an essential part of using and charging an electric car. The charger’s speed will depend on how many kilowatts (kW) it can provide - the higher the number the faster the charging speed.

In the UK there is the option of Rapid, Fast and Slow chargers;

  • Rapid is the quickest, and delivers a charge of up to 150kW, though 43kW and 50kW are the most popular. They’ll be able to charge most electric cars to 80 per cent in between 30 minutes to an hour. Some cars such as the Nissan LEAF are not compatible with rapid charging as they must be charged at a maximum of 3.7kW. There are also different plug connectors: Type 1 and Type 2 and the charging point must match the connector.
  • Fast chargers are anything which delivers between 7kW and 22kW, and will take around 3-4 hours to top up an EV and fully replenish the battery.. These are great for overnight stops or for longer periods away from the car when a rapid charge isn’t needed. A 7kW charge is also what you’ll get from a home charger.
  • A slow charger is anything up to 3kW, so essentially a three-pin socket. These are only really useful for when you can leave the car for an extended period of time, as via this charging source it’ll take many hours - and possibly days - to fully charge a modern EV, depending on the size of battery of course. Slow charging with a 3kW rate can take between 8-14 hours.

How can I recharge a plug-in or electric vehicle?

If you do opt for an EV or a plug-in hybrid that you want to run on pure electric power, then your vehicle will need to be charged. You can do this in two ways – either from home, or at one of the many dedicated charging stations dotted around the UK.

Home charging

Charging a car at home can be one of the most convenient and cost-effective methods to add energy to your electric car. You can charge the car via a three-pin plug, but the best way is via a home wallbox.

Many car companies will include both the unit and the installation of this with the purchase of a new EV, but if you have to install it under your own steam then there are incentives too.

There’s a grant, provided by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), for EV owners who want to charge at home.The OLEV Grant, specifically named the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) allows you to receive a grant of up to 75 per cent for the total purchase and installation cost of an EV charger at home (capped at £350).

Public charging

When you’re out and about, public charging is what you’ll be relying on to top up your car battery.

With new charge points being added daily, the UK’s charging point infrastructure is continually changing. In fact, according to ZapMap, as of January 2021, there are now more than 36,000 connectors across the country, made up of over 21,000 charge points in more than 13,000 individual locations.

How to use a public charging point for Electric Vehicles

1. Find a charger

Most EVs have these locations automatically built into their sat-navs, so they’ll be able to direct you in the right direction. If you’re planning your trip beforehand, then you can use websites such as Zap Map to plot out your route with charging stops programmed in.

2. Ensure your car is compatible with the charger

You need to ensure that you’ve got the right adapter. Your owner’s manual will tell you what type of charger you need, or - again - ZapMap will be able to tell you both the type of connection a charger offers and the one your car accepts too.

3. Sign in or register

Once you’ve found the correct charger for you, it’s time to read the instructions. Once registered, most machines require you to use your mobile phone close to an RFID reader on the machine itself, and it’ll unlock and allow you to charge. Once finished, it’ll take payment automatically.

Some companies issue a small card instead, which you can loop onto your car keys. Tap this against the reader and it’ll unlock the machine, linking up to your account automatically via the card, but by far the simplest way to charge is via contactless car, allowing you to unlock a charger and start adding charge simply by tapping your credit or debit card.

4. Plug in

Once you’re all logged in and ready to go, lift the plug up and attach it to your car. It should sit firmly into place. Check the machine’s screen to check that a charge is being delivered and have a look on your car’s main screen to ensure that it too is registering a charge. If you’re planning on leaving your car there, then remember to lock it before you go.

5. Ending a charge

Added enough charge and want to get on the move again? It’s now a simple case of reversing the above. Follow the instructions on the screen to end the charge and it’ll also show you how much the session has cost. Once ended, you’ll be able to remove the plug from your car and return it to the charger.

line up of peugeot hybrid vehicles
Other Electric Services Got a question or need help with an electric vehicle? If you're looking for your next vehicle, our teams across the country will be happy to assist to help meet and exceed your requirements. Click on the link below to get in contact with your local retailer.

What is the range of a fully charged EV?


Most electric vehicles can travel between 100 and 200+ miles before they need to be recharged. This can vary from model-to-model, however, so it’s important to eye up all the specifications before making a purchase.

How can you get the longest range out of your EV battery?


  • Reduce rolling resistance – make sure your EV is fitted with low rolling resistance tyres and keep tyre pressure spot on.
  • Decelerate don’t brake – in an EV deceleration recoups energy so using your brakes will waste energy.
  • Drive smoothly – smooth acceleration and measured deceleration use less energy.
  • Reduce air resistance – the faster you drive the higher the air resistance; keep to 50-55mph.
  • Limit your climate control usage – Heating or cooling your EV can be expensive in terms of energy usage, keep it a minimum to maximise your battery’s range.
  • Stay local – most journeys will be well within your EV battery range, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride!