Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity in the UK, providing a more environmentally-friendly way to travel, as well as helping to save on fuel costs. There are also a wider range of charging options, with the option to charge at home, or one of the many electric charging points located across the UK.
Electric vehicle charging is straightforward and easy to do. Charging your EV at home is the easiest way to maintain a regular charge, using either your typical wall socket or having a specialist vehicle charger installed in your home. You can also charge your vehicle at designated charging points, including your workplace if there is one installed.
Electric charging cables are safe and secure. They lock into place once they’ve been connected, so they can’t be stolen. They’re also safe to charge in the rain, thanks to the multiple layers of waterproofing built into electric vehicles.
There are several types of electric vehicle chargers out there, but unfortunately, not all car EV connector types fit all cars. At the most basic level, many electric cars can be charged using a three-pin adapter, but this provides a slower charge.
Fast chargers are able to provide a full battery charge in around 3-4 hours, around twice the time of a slow charger. They range between 7kW and 22kW, with both tethered and untethered charging points available.
Most fast chargers today have a Type 2 connector. In 2014, the European Commission announced that Type 2 connectors must be available at public charging points, making it now the standard connection type for all new electric and hybrid plug-in vehicles. In the UK, all new models feature a Type 2 EV socket or connector.
Fast chargers are becoming increasingly wide-spread across the UK, available in locations such as supermarkets, car parks, etc., making them a useful option to charge your car in places where you’re going to be parked for longer.
As the name suggests, rapid chargers produce a super-fast charge. They use either a DC or AC (direct high-power charge or alternating current), helping to deliver the fastest possible charge.
While the time it takes to rapid charge an EV varies depending on the size of the car, some models can benefit from an 80% charge in up to half an hour (for vehicles capable of a 120kW charge). The standard charge, however, is around 50kW on a DC charger, which takes around an hour for an 80% battery charge, while AC chargers provide a 43kW charge.
All AC rapid chargers use a Type 2 connector, making them compatible with most EV types. DC chargers may use a CCS (Combined Charging System), making a CCS socket on your vehicle necessary.
Slow chargers are typically designed for charging your electric vehicle at home. This can take up to eight hours for a standard electric vehicle, meaning they’re typically designed for charging overnight. Most electric and hybrid cars come with slow chargers, designed to plugged into a typical three-pin outlet, with up to 7.4kW. There are also options for outdoor, weather-proof plugs which are more suitable for people who don’t keep their car in a garage or under shelter.
While slow chargers are typically associated with home use, they can also be available at workplaces and some public charging points, although these are becoming less common thanks to other, faster types of charger.
This type of plug will fit in your average plug socket, found in homes, garages, workplaces, etc. It’s the most basic charge available, providing convenience and no additional installation.
A socketed EV charging point allows you to connect your own cable to charge your vehicle. Socketed charging points feature a Type 2 connection, and some support Type 1 charging.
A tethered charge point has a cable attached to it, usually supporting Type 1 and 2 connections.
It’s important to get to know your car and understand the charge it requires to help you choose the right charging point.