Charging your Electric Car

Everything you need to know

Charging your car is absolutely core to the EV experience. After all, without charge you’re not going anywhere - so plugging in is something you’ll be getting up to speed with very quickly during EV ownership. 

But there’s a lot to know about charging. At home, you’ve got different types of chargers and the small matter of installation, while out and about there are public chargers of various speeds and prices to deal with. Here, we'll take a look at everything that you need to know to help navigate this world of chargers, connections and power supplies.

Charging your EV at home

If you’re thinking of making the switch to an electric vehicle, then how you’re going to charge it up will no doubt be one of your primary concerns. 

One of the easiest and most efficient ways is to charge at home using a wallbox. It means that when you get back home you simply plug in and then your EV will be fully topped up when you head out the following day. 

Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the things you need to think about when it comes to installing a home charger.


One of the first things you'll need to consider before you even start the process of getting a home charger installed is access .

Power supply

How much power your home can handle will dictate how much energy can be sent through a charging point.

Charging unit type

There's the option of either tethered or universal charging unit. You might also want to consider a 'smart' charger.

Additional work

The installation of an electric charging point will come with some extra installation requirements.


At the moment, it’ll cost around £1,000 for a charging point, which includes the cost of installation and the unit itself.

Home Charge Point Offer

We've partnered with Shell Recharge Solutions to bring you fast and efficient home charging from £1,149*

Public charging points

If you can’t charge an electric car at home, or do a lot of driving away from your local area, you’ll likely be heavily reliant on public EV chargers. 

The good news is that the number of chargers is increasing at quite the rate. There are now 37,851 chargers dotted across the UK at more than 22,000 locations, according to EV charging service Zap-Map

Here’s everything you need to know about public electric car charging points.

BMW i4 Charging with person holding app

With an increasing number of electric car chargers, there’s now greater coverage than ever when it comes to finding points. However, it’s worth doing a bit of planning to make sure where a local charger is as they’re often not as well-signposted or noticeable as more familiar petrol stations. 

A great place to start is with a navigation service that can help find a nearby charger. Even Google Maps lets you search for them, while many of the latest EVs can help you find a charger via their satellite navigation system. 

However, we recommend a dedicated app, such as Zap-Map, which is able to tell you if any problems have been reported recently by other users and also show the ‘live’ status of many chargers listed. 

Once you’ve located a charger and arrived to find it free, you need to park up being mindful of where the charging port on the car is. Each different charging firm will have a slightly different method of letting you charge, though there are plenty of similarities between the different companies.

To begin, plug the cable into the car, and then ideally the charger will be contactless and just let you tap your debit card or phone to begin, and then the same to stop the charge. 

Some providers, however, require you to register before you can start charging. It might seem a slight inconvenience at first, but once you have an account and are registered, it will enable quicker charging with that provider next time. 

Many car manufacturers also offer their own charging services, whereby a single card will provide easy access to a whole range of public chargers from a host of different providers. 

Before you think about anything else, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the different types of charging connectors for your car, but don’t worry it’s not as complicated as it sounds. 

With the majority of EVs, there are only two you need to know about. The first is CCS, or combined charging system. If you want to charge as quickly as possible, you need to search for one of these ‘rapid’ CCS units, which are capable of charging an electric car at up to 350kW. 

The other main one is called a Type 2, which is a slower connector that will take longer to charge your car, and is used at ‘destinations’ such as town centre car parks, workplaces and also for home chargers. 

It will take longer to charge your electric car this way, but it’s a more affordable method. Just be aware that many Type 2 chargers require you to plug your own cable into the car, but don’t worry as most cars come with this cable as standard – you just need to remember to keep it in the boot with you. 

The third type of connector is called CHAdeMO, and is a type of rapid charger connector that is only used on certain Japanese electric cars, including the Nissan Leaf and Lexus UX300e. However, every location with a CHAdeMo will also have the more common CCS unit.

If you want to be charging for as little time as possible, the best option is to choose a rapid charger. Again, how long charging will take varies on the car itself (the size of the battery and the maximum charging rate it can handle). Take the Volkswagen ID.3 as an example, hooked up to a 150kW rapid charger – that would take around 35 minutes to charge the battery to 80 percent. 

Meanwhile if you plugged into a slower 11kW charger, it would take six hours 15 minutes, which is why this method is favoured as a small top-up or for an extended period where the car will be parked up for a number of hours.

How much public charging costs varies significantly, in the same way that petrol station prices fluctuate depending on which firm you choose and where you fill up.

As a rule the most affordable electric car chargers are slower chargers using a Type 2 cable. BP Pulse, one of the largest charging firms in the UK, prices its slower chargers currently at 57p per kilowatt hour (kWh). 

A normal-sized EV – a Volkswagen ID.3 with a 58kWh battery, for example – would cost £33.06. However, a BP Pulse 150kW rapid charger is priced at 69p/kWh, and would cost £40.02 to do the same charge. This would be enough for a claimed range of 264 miles. Prices are correct as of February 2023.

Owning an electric car

Running costs

The running costs involved with an EV can be substantially lower than those of an equivalent petrol or diesel car.

Servicing & maintenance

Though EVs need far less upkeep than a traditional petrol or diesel, there are still some things you need to keep your eye on.

The home of electric

If you’re looking to join the growing number of people buying and driving EVs, we take a look at everything you need to know.