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Although the upfront cost of an electric vehicle is often higher than a petrol or diesel vehicle, EVs can be cheaper to run due to the lower cost of electricity. Recharging at home (particularly overnight) will normally result in the greatest cost savings.

Types of electric vehicle chargers

There’s a bit more to charging an EV than filling up at the petrol station. You will need to get your head around charging speeds, battery sizes, and different types of connectors.

Home charging

The most common way to charge an electric vehicle is at home. This is the most convenient option, as you can simply plug your car in when you get home and let it charge overnight. There are two main types of home chargers:

  • 3kW home electric socket. Your EV will usually come with a plug that lets you charge from a standard three pin home electric socket. This is very slow compared to other charging methods, so it’s only really useful for occasional or emergency use.
  • 7kW home EV charger. Installing an EV charger at home makes it easy to keep your battery topped up and ready to go. Costs of home chargers vary and they can usually be installed in just a few hours. There are some government grants available, particularly if you are a landlord, or own/rent a flat.

On-street charging

In addition to home charging, there are also many on-street charging stations available. These stations are typically located in public car parks and on streets without off-road parking. The speed of charging at these stations varies, but they are generally a similar speed to home chargers (7kW to 22kW).

Find a charge point

Destination chargers

Another option for charging an electric vehicle is to use charge points at destinations such as supermarkets, shopping centres, and hotels. These charge points are typically faster (22kW) than home or on-street chargers. This is because of the shorter dwell time at these locations. They will usually be more expensive to charge at but are convenient if you are out and about.

It is technically possible to get a 22kW charger at home, but you’d need to upgrade to ‘three-phase electricity’, which can expensive.

Rapid charging hubs

For longer journeys, rapid charging hubs are a good option. These hubs typically have a number of rapid chargers that can add 80% of range to an electric vehicle in about 40 minutes. Rapid chargers deliver between 50 to 150kW, making charging very quick and particularly handy on long drives. Rapid charging hubs are typically located along major highways and can be a lifesaver if you are running low on range.

Ultra rapid charging

The most recent development in electric vehicle charging is ultra rapid charging. Ultra rapid chargers can add 80% of range to an electric vehicle in about 15 minutes. These chargers are rare, but they are becoming more common at petrol stations.

Energy Savings Trust - Charging electric vehicles

Which charging method is right for you?

The best charging method for you will depend on your individual needs. If you have off-street parking, home charging is the most convenient option and will likely be the most affordable. If you do not have off-street parking, you may need to use a combination of home, on-street, and destination charging. If you are planning on taking long journeys, rapid charging hubs will be the best option.

No matter which charging method you choose, it is important to do your research and find a charger that is compatible with your vehicle. You should also check the availability of chargers in your area before you make a purchase. We are working hard to install charge points across Warwickshire, but if you have an EV or are looking to get one soon, you can request a charge point near to you.

Zap Map - EV charging connector types

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