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EV Charging Explained: How Do You Charge an Electric Vehicle?

Published on
July 12, 2022

All Your EV Charging Questions Answered

Are you ready to make the switch to an electric vehicle?

You’re not the only one. More than half of motorists aged 16 to 49 years say they will switch to an all-electric vehicle within the next 10 years, when the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars comes to an end. However, charging anxiety, that’s the fear of not being able to charge their electric vehicles, is still holding some new EV drivers back. 

But you shouldn’t worry. There are now more than 16,000 places where you can charge an electric vehicle in the UK, which is nearly double the number of petrol stations. The process itself is also very simple. To help put your mind at rest, we’ve answered some of the most common EV charging questions to make charging your electric vehicle a breeze. 

How to charge your electric vehicle

EV Charging on street
Photo by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash

How does EV charging work?

Rather than petrol and diesel, electric vehicles rely on electricity to power the batteries that make them run. You can use charge points that are installed outside homes and businesses and in public places such as supermarkets, shopping centres, service stations and on public streets. They give you access to the electric grid and provide an outlet connection that you can plug into a socket in your car. 

You pay for your charge depending on how much electricity you have used. Charging an electric vehicle typically costs around £10-£15 for 200 miles of range.  

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

You can charge your electric vehicle at home, at work (if your employer has installed a charge point) or at a public charging point.

Home charging

Home charging can be very convenient as you can start each day with what is effectively a ‘full tank of fuel’. You can also use the domestic three-pin sockets you already have in your home, although getting a home EV charger installed will allow for faster and more cost-effective charging. 

If you plan to use a domestic three-pin socket, you’re looking at a charge time of around 8-10 hours for a full recharge. If you get a dedicated EV home charger installed, it will typically deliver around 7kW of power, which is three times more than a standard three-pin socket. That gives you three times faster charging.

Workplace charging

Another easy and convenient way to charge an electric vehicle is to plug it in while your work. Workplace chargers make electric cars viable for those who commute long distances.

The most common workplace charger is a 7kW, Type 2 charger, which can provide a full charge in 3-7 hours (depending on the battery size) and is compatible with most of the best-selling electric vehicles. Alternatively, some businesses may choose to install faster 22kW chargers, which can deliver a full charge in 2-3 hours. 

Public charging

You can find public EV chargers at the side of the road, in car parks, at service stations and at destinations such as supermarkets, cinemas, restaurants and more. 

Public chargers vary in their speed, with on-street chargers typically offering between 7kW and 22kW charging and taking 3-4 hours to recharge. Chargers at petrol stations, motorway service stations and supermarkets usually offer faster charging, with some providing rapid and ultra-rapid chargers that can deliver a full recharge in as little as 30 minutes (for compatible EVs).  

Man charging EV
Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

How much does it cost to install an EV charge point at home?

The cost to install a dedicated home EV charger is around £800, although that can rise depending on the type of charger you choose. The UK government currently provides a grant, called the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), that covers up to 75% of the installation costs for domestic properties, capped at £350 including VAT (although the terms of this scheme will change from April 2022). That can bring the cost of installing a home EV charge point down to around £450. 

Most people choose to install a 7kW charger, which charges three times faster than a standard three-pin plug socket. You’ll typically need private off-street parking and a Wi-Fi connection to install your own charge point. 

How do I charge my electric vehicle if I don’t have private parking?

One thing holding some would-be EV drivers back is not having their own private parking space at home. However, switching to an EV can still be a practical option if you have on-street public charge points nearby or you have charge points available at work. 

How do I charge my electric vehicle if I live in a rented property?

If you live in a rented property and have an off-street parking space, it’s well worth asking your landlord if they’d let you install an EV charge point. Let’s face it, electric vehicles are the future and research suggests that a home charge point installation can increase the property’s value by £3,000 to £5,000. The landlord might even be willing to split the cost of the installation with you. As a tenant, you may also qualify for the EVHS grant

If you move home, you can take the charger with you. However, the cabling will remain at the property and make it cheaper and easier to fit another EV charger in the future. 

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

That depends on the type of charger you use and the size of the battery in your car. Here’s a quick guide to the time it will take with different speeds of charger, although exact times will vary from vehicle to vehicle.

• Slow charging - Slow charging units have a charging rate of between 2.3kW and 3kW depending on the location. They typically take between 10-14 hours to deliver a full charge.

• Fast charging - Fast charging units range between 7kW and 22kW. A 7kW charger will typically take around 4-6 hours to power up your EV’s battery, while a 22kW charger can do the job in 2-3 hours.

•Rapid charging - Rapid chargers can recharge your car in the quickest possible time. They deliver 43kW or 50kW and can charge an EV battery to as much as 80% in as little as 20 minutes, although a new EV will take around an hour to fully recharge.

• Ultra-rapid charging - A new generation of ultra-rapid chargers are emerging which can deliver anything from 100kW to 350kW (that’s rapid), with a typical charge taking 20-40 minutes, even for cars with a large capacity battery.  

If you’re not sure how long it’s going to take to charge your car with a particular charging unit, there’s a very simple calculation you can do to find out.

The battery size of your car (kWh) / Charger power (kW) = Charging time (hours). 

On Street EV Charging
Photo by Marc Heckner on Unsplash

Is every EV charger compatible with my car?

The good news is that the power delivered by EV chargers is restricted to whatever your car can handle. So, if your vehicle can only accept a maximum of 50kW, you can still use a 350kW ultra-rapid charge point without doing any damage to your battery. However, things get a little more complicated when it comes to the plugs and connectors you need. 

To use slow and fast chargers, you may have to use your own cable, which will usually be supplied with the car. EVs in the UK will either have a Type 1 or Type 2 socket. A Type 1 socket is common for Japanese and American vehicles, while European vehicles and European Tesla models have Type 2 sockets.  

Most rapid and ultra-rapid chargers have two cables to fit the most popular rapid charge connector types (CCS and CHAdeMO). So, you just have to plug in the cable that fits your EV. 

How do I know which chargers my EV can use?

The last thing you want is to rock up at an EV charge point only to find that it’s not compatible with your car. That’s where the Bonnet app can help. It provides you with details about every charge point, including its speed, location, availability and connector type, so you never have a wasted trip. 

How can I find EV charging points? 

Bonnet is the easiest way to find EV charge points near you and the best charge points when you’re on the move. 

As well as the location of charge points across the UK and Europe, Bonnet provides up to date information about each charge point so you know whether it’s available and the charging speed it provides. You can even report if the charger is blocked and ping other drivers using the charge point to let them know you’re waiting (as long as they're Bonnet users). 

How much does EV charging cost?

There are dozens of EV charging networks in operation across the UK, with each charging its own rate. That starts at around 25p/kWh and can go up to 70p/kWh for the fastest chargers. There may also be connection fees and signing up fees to look out for. 

At Bonnet, we charge a pay-as-you-go flat rate of 35p/kWh on any charger, any network, anywhere. We also offer upfront payment deals that can bring your unit price down to 25p/kWh. Find out more about our EV charging deals

Do the batteries in electric vehicles need to be replaced?

Most electric car batteries last at least 10 years, while some will give you up to 20 years of use. So, as long as it’s properly looked after, replacing your car battery is not something you should worry about. Many EV manufacturers also offer warranties of around eight years of 100,000 miles on their electric car batteries for added peace of mind. 

Can I use an EV charger in the rain?

Yep, there’s nothing to worry about there. Electric car chargers and cables are weatherproof and there are exacting standards that must be met. So, you’re perfectly safe to charge your EV at home or at a public charge point in the rain. You can even drive your EV through a car wash if you don’t fancy washing it yourself.  

Can I use my phone while charging my electric vehicle? 

The most common way to access the UK’s many EV charging networks is through a smartphone app like Bonnet. Bonnet and other smartphone charging apps continue to work in the background while you do other things on your phone, so you’re free to scroll the socials, listen to music, or watch mindless videos on YouTube. You can then check on the progress of your charge whenever you like.

EV Charging Car Park Symbol
Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash

How do I pay for EV charging?

If you charge your electric vehicle at home using a three-pin plug socket or your own EV charger, the cost of the energy you use will be added to your next electricity bill. Simple. If you use public EV charge points, whether they’re on-street chargers or chargers at service stations or supermarkets, you can choose how you pay. You have four main options:

RFID cards

One way to pay for a charge that’s now becoming less popular is to use an EV charging card known as an RFID card, which is sent to you in the post by a charging network. Similar to an Oyster card, you just swipe the card to start charging. Although this system can be easy to use, you have to wait for the card to arrive in the post and you need a different card for every charging network. There’s also the risk that your card could be cloned. 

Contactless payments

Contactless payments are similar to RFID cards but rather than using a card sent to you by your charging network, you just swipe your credit or debit card. With no sign up required, this is a quick and easy way to pay for your charge. However, the cost involved in installing secure card readers can make contactless charge points expensive, with each usage incurring an additional transaction fee. 

Smartphone app

Most public charge point operators have a mobile app that you can use to pay for your charge online and track your monthly spending and usage. The benefits of this payment method are that any smartphone user can download the app and get access to reduced charging rates. You can also manage your billing and see the locations and availability of charge points on the app. The downside is that numerous apps are needed for different networks and each of those sign ups takes time. 

That’s the benefit of an app like Bonnet. Just sign up to the Bonnet app and you can enjoy flat-rate charging across more than 17 charging networks, all from a single app. 

Subscription models

More and more charge point operators now offer subscription-based charging, where you pay a small monthly fee upfront and receive a greatly reduced rate per kWh when you use a charging station from that provider. At Bonnet, we also offer a subscription model. However, when you pay a small upfront fee with Bonnet, you enjoy a reduced rate per kWh across all of our partner charging networks. Find out more about our Bonnet Refills.  

What do I need to charge my EV?

Depending on the location, you may be able to start charging your EV simply by plugging in your car and paying for your charge with a swipe of your debit/card. Alternatively, you may need to download an app or request an RFID card from the charge point operator. 

Not all charge points offer a contactless payment option, and those that do can be more expensive per kWh due to the expensive technology involved. So, it’s worth thinking about where you park and drive most regularly and looking at the charge points that are installed at those locations. For most people, that means near your home, at work, and then other destinations you often visit. 

In most cases, you’ll need to download the charging network’s smartphone app to start your charge. That will allow you to access all the charge points within that network. Some older charge points also require you to request an RFID card from the charge point operator, although these charge points are now being phased out. 

Alternatively, you can download the Bonnet app to charge your electric vehicle on more than 17 charging networks. Payment is easy on the app and you can use the Bonnet map to find charge point locations, see their availability, and find out what speed and connector type they are.   

How can I talk to other EV owners?

Speak EV is a thriving forum where you’ll find discussions, tips and opinions on just about every aspect of EV ownership. It’s a great place to share your thoughts and learn the basics if you’re thinking about buying your first electric car. 

What EV charging rules and regulations do I need to be aware of?

Currently, there are very few EV charging regulations. New UK laws have come in that will require charge points to respond to periods of high demand by slowing or delaying charging sessions. This will encourage off-peak charging to lighten the load on the grid. Importantly though, peak-time charging isn’t being banned, so drivers will still be in control. 

The only other EV charging rules you need to be aware of are the recent changes to the Highway Code. It advises that when using an electric vehicle charge point, you should:

• Park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for pedestrians with your cables

• Display a warning sign if you can

• Return charging cables and connectors neatly to avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

Osprey Electric Vehicle Charging Hub in Croydon
Osprey Hub in Croyden

Anything we’ve missed?

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about charging your electric vehicle, please get in touch and we’ll happily answer your questions. 

April 23, 2022

All Your EV Charging Questions Answered

Are you ready to make the switch to an electric vehicle?

You’re not the only one. More than half of motorists aged 16 to 49 years say they will switch to an all-electric vehicle within the next 10 years, when the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars comes to an end. However, charging anxiety, that’s the fear of not being able to charge their electric vehicles, is still holding some new EV drivers back. 

But you shouldn’t worry. There are now more than 16,000 places where you can charge an electric vehicle in the UK, which is nearly double the number of petrol stations. The process itself is also very simple. To help put your mind at rest, we’ve answered some of the most common EV charging questions to make charging your electric vehicle a breeze. 

How to charge your electric vehicle

EV Charging on street
Photo by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash

How does EV charging work?

Rather than petrol and diesel, electric vehicles rely on electricity to power the batteries that make them run. You can use charge points that are installed outside homes and businesses and in public places such as supermarkets, shopping centres, service stations and on public streets. They give you access to the electric grid and provide an outlet connection that you can plug into a socket in your car. 

You pay for your charge depending on how much electricity you have used. Charging an electric vehicle typically costs around £10-£15 for 200 miles of range.  

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

You can charge your electric vehicle at home, at work (if your employer has installed a charge point) or at a public charging point.

Home charging

Home charging can be very convenient as you can start each day with what is effectively a ‘full tank of fuel’. You can also use the domestic three-pin sockets you already have in your home, although getting a home EV charger installed will allow for faster and more cost-effective charging. 

If you plan to use a domestic three-pin socket, you’re looking at a charge time of around 8-10 hours for a full recharge. If you get a dedicated EV home charger installed, it will typically deliver around 7kW of power, which is three times more than a standard three-pin socket. That gives you three times faster charging.

Workplace charging

Another easy and convenient way to charge an electric vehicle is to plug it in while your work. Workplace chargers make electric cars viable for those who commute long distances.

The most common workplace charger is a 7kW, Type 2 charger, which can provide a full charge in 3-7 hours (depending on the battery size) and is compatible with most of the best-selling electric vehicles. Alternatively, some businesses may choose to install faster 22kW chargers, which can deliver a full charge in 2-3 hours. 

Public charging

You can find public EV chargers at the side of the road, in car parks, at service stations and at destinations such as supermarkets, cinemas, restaurants and more. 

Public chargers vary in their speed, with on-street chargers typically offering between 7kW and 22kW charging and taking 3-4 hours to recharge. Chargers at petrol stations, motorway service stations and supermarkets usually offer faster charging, with some providing rapid and ultra-rapid chargers that can deliver a full recharge in as little as 30 minutes (for compatible EVs).  

Man charging EV
Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

How much does it cost to install an EV charge point at home?

The cost to install a dedicated home EV charger is around £800, although that can rise depending on the type of charger you choose. The UK government currently provides a grant, called the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), that covers up to 75% of the installation costs for domestic properties, capped at £350 including VAT (although the terms of this scheme will change from April 2022). That can bring the cost of installing a home EV charge point down to around £450. 

Most people choose to install a 7kW charger, which charges three times faster than a standard three-pin plug socket. You’ll typically need private off-street parking and a Wi-Fi connection to install your own charge point. 

How do I charge my electric vehicle if I don’t have private parking?

One thing holding some would-be EV drivers back is not having their own private parking space at home. However, switching to an EV can still be a practical option if you have on-street public charge points nearby or you have charge points available at work. 

How do I charge my electric vehicle if I live in a rented property?

If you live in a rented property and have an off-street parking space, it’s well worth asking your landlord if they’d let you install an EV charge point. Let’s face it, electric vehicles are the future and research suggests that a home charge point installation can increase the property’s value by £3,000 to £5,000. The landlord might even be willing to split the cost of the installation with you. As a tenant, you may also qualify for the EVHS grant

If you move home, you can take the charger with you. However, the cabling will remain at the property and make it cheaper and easier to fit another EV charger in the future. 

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

That depends on the type of charger you use and the size of the battery in your car. Here’s a quick guide to the time it will take with different speeds of charger, although exact times will vary from vehicle to vehicle.

• Slow charging - Slow charging units have a charging rate of between 2.3kW and 3kW depending on the location. They typically take between 10-14 hours to deliver a full charge.

• Fast charging - Fast charging units range between 7kW and 22kW. A 7kW charger will typically take around 4-6 hours to power up your EV’s battery, while a 22kW charger can do the job in 2-3 hours.

•Rapid charging - Rapid chargers can recharge your car in the quickest possible time. They deliver 43kW or 50kW and can charge an EV battery to as much as 80% in as little as 20 minutes, although a new EV will take around an hour to fully recharge.

• Ultra-rapid charging - A new generation of ultra-rapid chargers are emerging which can deliver anything from 100kW to 350kW (that’s rapid), with a typical charge taking 20-40 minutes, even for cars with a large capacity battery.  

If you’re not sure how long it’s going to take to charge your car with a particular charging unit, there’s a very simple calculation you can do to find out.

The battery size of your car (kWh) / Charger power (kW) = Charging time (hours). 

On Street EV Charging
Photo by Marc Heckner on Unsplash

Is every EV charger compatible with my car?

The good news is that the power delivered by EV chargers is restricted to whatever your car can handle. So, if your vehicle can only accept a maximum of 50kW, you can still use a 350kW ultra-rapid charge point without doing any damage to your battery. However, things get a little more complicated when it comes to the plugs and connectors you need. 

To use slow and fast chargers, you may have to use your own cable, which will usually be supplied with the car. EVs in the UK will either have a Type 1 or Type 2 socket. A Type 1 socket is common for Japanese and American vehicles, while European vehicles and European Tesla models have Type 2 sockets.  

Most rapid and ultra-rapid chargers have two cables to fit the most popular rapid charge connector types (CCS and CHAdeMO). So, you just have to plug in the cable that fits your EV. 

How do I know which chargers my EV can use?

The last thing you want is to rock up at an EV charge point only to find that it’s not compatible with your car. That’s where the Bonnet app can help. It provides you with details about every charge point, including its speed, location, availability and connector type, so you never have a wasted trip. 

How can I find EV charging points? 

Bonnet is the easiest way to find EV charge points near you and the best charge points when you’re on the move. 

As well as the location of charge points across the UK and Europe, Bonnet provides up to date information about each charge point so you know whether it’s available and the charging speed it provides. You can even report if the charger is blocked and ping other drivers using the charge point to let them know you’re waiting (as long as they're Bonnet users). 

How much does EV charging cost?

There are dozens of EV charging networks in operation across the UK, with each charging its own rate. That starts at around 25p/kWh and can go up to 70p/kWh for the fastest chargers. There may also be connection fees and signing up fees to look out for. 

At Bonnet, we charge a pay-as-you-go flat rate of 35p/kWh on any charger, any network, anywhere. We also offer upfront payment deals that can bring your unit price down to 25p/kWh. Find out more about our EV charging deals

Do the batteries in electric vehicles need to be replaced?

Most electric car batteries last at least 10 years, while some will give you up to 20 years of use. So, as long as it’s properly looked after, replacing your car battery is not something you should worry about. Many EV manufacturers also offer warranties of around eight years of 100,000 miles on their electric car batteries for added peace of mind. 

Can I use an EV charger in the rain?

Yep, there’s nothing to worry about there. Electric car chargers and cables are weatherproof and there are exacting standards that must be met. So, you’re perfectly safe to charge your EV at home or at a public charge point in the rain. You can even drive your EV through a car wash if you don’t fancy washing it yourself.  

Can I use my phone while charging my electric vehicle? 

The most common way to access the UK’s many EV charging networks is through a smartphone app like Bonnet. Bonnet and other smartphone charging apps continue to work in the background while you do other things on your phone, so you’re free to scroll the socials, listen to music, or watch mindless videos on YouTube. You can then check on the progress of your charge whenever you like.

EV Charging Car Park Symbol
Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash

How do I pay for EV charging?

If you charge your electric vehicle at home using a three-pin plug socket or your own EV charger, the cost of the energy you use will be added to your next electricity bill. Simple. If you use public EV charge points, whether they’re on-street chargers or chargers at service stations or supermarkets, you can choose how you pay. You have four main options:

RFID cards

One way to pay for a charge that’s now becoming less popular is to use an EV charging card known as an RFID card, which is sent to you in the post by a charging network. Similar to an Oyster card, you just swipe the card to start charging. Although this system can be easy to use, you have to wait for the card to arrive in the post and you need a different card for every charging network. There’s also the risk that your card could be cloned. 

Contactless payments

Contactless payments are similar to RFID cards but rather than using a card sent to you by your charging network, you just swipe your credit or debit card. With no sign up required, this is a quick and easy way to pay for your charge. However, the cost involved in installing secure card readers can make contactless charge points expensive, with each usage incurring an additional transaction fee. 

Smartphone app

Most public charge point operators have a mobile app that you can use to pay for your charge online and track your monthly spending and usage. The benefits of this payment method are that any smartphone user can download the app and get access to reduced charging rates. You can also manage your billing and see the locations and availability of charge points on the app. The downside is that numerous apps are needed for different networks and each of those sign ups takes time. 

That’s the benefit of an app like Bonnet. Just sign up to the Bonnet app and you can enjoy flat-rate charging across more than 17 charging networks, all from a single app. 

Subscription models

More and more charge point operators now offer subscription-based charging, where you pay a small monthly fee upfront and receive a greatly reduced rate per kWh when you use a charging station from that provider. At Bonnet, we also offer a subscription model. However, when you pay a small upfront fee with Bonnet, you enjoy a reduced rate per kWh across all of our partner charging networks. Find out more about our Bonnet Refills.  

What do I need to charge my EV?

Depending on the location, you may be able to start charging your EV simply by plugging in your car and paying for your charge with a swipe of your debit/card. Alternatively, you may need to download an app or request an RFID card from the charge point operator. 

Not all charge points offer a contactless payment option, and those that do can be more expensive per kWh due to the expensive technology involved. So, it’s worth thinking about where you park and drive most regularly and looking at the charge points that are installed at those locations. For most people, that means near your home, at work, and then other destinations you often visit. 

In most cases, you’ll need to download the charging network’s smartphone app to start your charge. That will allow you to access all the charge points within that network. Some older charge points also require you to request an RFID card from the charge point operator, although these charge points are now being phased out. 

Alternatively, you can download the Bonnet app to charge your electric vehicle on more than 17 charging networks. Payment is easy on the app and you can use the Bonnet map to find charge point locations, see their availability, and find out what speed and connector type they are.   

How can I talk to other EV owners?

Speak EV is a thriving forum where you’ll find discussions, tips and opinions on just about every aspect of EV ownership. It’s a great place to share your thoughts and learn the basics if you’re thinking about buying your first electric car. 

What EV charging rules and regulations do I need to be aware of?

Currently, there are very few EV charging regulations. New UK laws have come in that will require charge points to respond to periods of high demand by slowing or delaying charging sessions. This will encourage off-peak charging to lighten the load on the grid. Importantly though, peak-time charging isn’t being banned, so drivers will still be in control. 

The only other EV charging rules you need to be aware of are the recent changes to the Highway Code. It advises that when using an electric vehicle charge point, you should:

• Park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for pedestrians with your cables

• Display a warning sign if you can

• Return charging cables and connectors neatly to avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

Osprey Electric Vehicle Charging Hub in Croydon
Osprey Hub in Croyden

Anything we’ve missed?

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about charging your electric vehicle, please get in touch and we’ll happily answer your questions. 

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All Your EV Charging Questions Answered

Are you ready to make the switch to an electric vehicle?

You’re not the only one. More than half of motorists aged 16 to 49 years say they will switch to an all-electric vehicle within the next 10 years, when the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars comes to an end. However, charging anxiety, that’s the fear of not being able to charge their electric vehicles, is still holding some new EV drivers back. 

But you shouldn’t worry. There are now more than 16,000 places where you can charge an electric vehicle in the UK, which is nearly double the number of petrol stations. The process itself is also very simple. To help put your mind at rest, we’ve answered some of the most common EV charging questions to make charging your electric vehicle a breeze. 

How to charge your electric vehicle

EV Charging on street
Photo by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash

How does EV charging work?

Rather than petrol and diesel, electric vehicles rely on electricity to power the batteries that make them run. You can use charge points that are installed outside homes and businesses and in public places such as supermarkets, shopping centres, service stations and on public streets. They give you access to the electric grid and provide an outlet connection that you can plug into a socket in your car. 

You pay for your charge depending on how much electricity you have used. Charging an electric vehicle typically costs around £10-£15 for 200 miles of range.  

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

You can charge your electric vehicle at home, at work (if your employer has installed a charge point) or at a public charging point.

Home charging

Home charging can be very convenient as you can start each day with what is effectively a ‘full tank of fuel’. You can also use the domestic three-pin sockets you already have in your home, although getting a home EV charger installed will allow for faster and more cost-effective charging. 

If you plan to use a domestic three-pin socket, you’re looking at a charge time of around 8-10 hours for a full recharge. If you get a dedicated EV home charger installed, it will typically deliver around 7kW of power, which is three times more than a standard three-pin socket. That gives you three times faster charging.

Workplace charging

Another easy and convenient way to charge an electric vehicle is to plug it in while your work. Workplace chargers make electric cars viable for those who commute long distances.

The most common workplace charger is a 7kW, Type 2 charger, which can provide a full charge in 3-7 hours (depending on the battery size) and is compatible with most of the best-selling electric vehicles. Alternatively, some businesses may choose to install faster 22kW chargers, which can deliver a full charge in 2-3 hours. 

Public charging

You can find public EV chargers at the side of the road, in car parks, at service stations and at destinations such as supermarkets, cinemas, restaurants and more. 

Public chargers vary in their speed, with on-street chargers typically offering between 7kW and 22kW charging and taking 3-4 hours to recharge. Chargers at petrol stations, motorway service stations and supermarkets usually offer faster charging, with some providing rapid and ultra-rapid chargers that can deliver a full recharge in as little as 30 minutes (for compatible EVs).  

Man charging EV
Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

How much does it cost to install an EV charge point at home?

The cost to install a dedicated home EV charger is around £800, although that can rise depending on the type of charger you choose. The UK government currently provides a grant, called the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), that covers up to 75% of the installation costs for domestic properties, capped at £350 including VAT (although the terms of this scheme will change from April 2022). That can bring the cost of installing a home EV charge point down to around £450. 

Most people choose to install a 7kW charger, which charges three times faster than a standard three-pin plug socket. You’ll typically need private off-street parking and a Wi-Fi connection to install your own charge point. 

How do I charge my electric vehicle if I don’t have private parking?

One thing holding some would-be EV drivers back is not having their own private parking space at home. However, switching to an EV can still be a practical option if you have on-street public charge points nearby or you have charge points available at work. 

How do I charge my electric vehicle if I live in a rented property?

If you live in a rented property and have an off-street parking space, it’s well worth asking your landlord if they’d let you install an EV charge point. Let’s face it, electric vehicles are the future and research suggests that a home charge point installation can increase the property’s value by £3,000 to £5,000. The landlord might even be willing to split the cost of the installation with you. As a tenant, you may also qualify for the EVHS grant

If you move home, you can take the charger with you. However, the cabling will remain at the property and make it cheaper and easier to fit another EV charger in the future. 

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

That depends on the type of charger you use and the size of the battery in your car. Here’s a quick guide to the time it will take with different speeds of charger, although exact times will vary from vehicle to vehicle.

• Slow charging - Slow charging units have a charging rate of between 2.3kW and 3kW depending on the location. They typically take between 10-14 hours to deliver a full charge.

• Fast charging - Fast charging units range between 7kW and 22kW. A 7kW charger will typically take around 4-6 hours to power up your EV’s battery, while a 22kW charger can do the job in 2-3 hours.

•Rapid charging - Rapid chargers can recharge your car in the quickest possible time. They deliver 43kW or 50kW and can charge an EV battery to as much as 80% in as little as 20 minutes, although a new EV will take around an hour to fully recharge.

• Ultra-rapid charging - A new generation of ultra-rapid chargers are emerging which can deliver anything from 100kW to 350kW (that’s rapid), with a typical charge taking 20-40 minutes, even for cars with a large capacity battery.  

If you’re not sure how long it’s going to take to charge your car with a particular charging unit, there’s a very simple calculation you can do to find out.

The battery size of your car (kWh) / Charger power (kW) = Charging time (hours). 

On Street EV Charging
Photo by Marc Heckner on Unsplash

Is every EV charger compatible with my car?

The good news is that the power delivered by EV chargers is restricted to whatever your car can handle. So, if your vehicle can only accept a maximum of 50kW, you can still use a 350kW ultra-rapid charge point without doing any damage to your battery. However, things get a little more complicated when it comes to the plugs and connectors you need. 

To use slow and fast chargers, you may have to use your own cable, which will usually be supplied with the car. EVs in the UK will either have a Type 1 or Type 2 socket. A Type 1 socket is common for Japanese and American vehicles, while European vehicles and European Tesla models have Type 2 sockets.  

Most rapid and ultra-rapid chargers have two cables to fit the most popular rapid charge connector types (CCS and CHAdeMO). So, you just have to plug in the cable that fits your EV. 

How do I know which chargers my EV can use?

The last thing you want is to rock up at an EV charge point only to find that it’s not compatible with your car. That’s where the Bonnet app can help. It provides you with details about every charge point, including its speed, location, availability and connector type, so you never have a wasted trip. 

How can I find EV charging points? 

Bonnet is the easiest way to find EV charge points near you and the best charge points when you’re on the move. 

As well as the location of charge points across the UK and Europe, Bonnet provides up to date information about each charge point so you know whether it’s available and the charging speed it provides. You can even report if the charger is blocked and ping other drivers using the charge point to let them know you’re waiting (as long as they're Bonnet users). 

How much does EV charging cost?

There are dozens of EV charging networks in operation across the UK, with each charging its own rate. That starts at around 25p/kWh and can go up to 70p/kWh for the fastest chargers. There may also be connection fees and signing up fees to look out for. 

At Bonnet, we charge a pay-as-you-go flat rate of 35p/kWh on any charger, any network, anywhere. We also offer upfront payment deals that can bring your unit price down to 25p/kWh. Find out more about our EV charging deals

Do the batteries in electric vehicles need to be replaced?

Most electric car batteries last at least 10 years, while some will give you up to 20 years of use. So, as long as it’s properly looked after, replacing your car battery is not something you should worry about. Many EV manufacturers also offer warranties of around eight years of 100,000 miles on their electric car batteries for added peace of mind. 

Can I use an EV charger in the rain?

Yep, there’s nothing to worry about there. Electric car chargers and cables are weatherproof and there are exacting standards that must be met. So, you’re perfectly safe to charge your EV at home or at a public charge point in the rain. You can even drive your EV through a car wash if you don’t fancy washing it yourself.  

Can I use my phone while charging my electric vehicle? 

The most common way to access the UK’s many EV charging networks is through a smartphone app like Bonnet. Bonnet and other smartphone charging apps continue to work in the background while you do other things on your phone, so you’re free to scroll the socials, listen to music, or watch mindless videos on YouTube. You can then check on the progress of your charge whenever you like.

EV Charging Car Park Symbol
Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash

How do I pay for EV charging?

If you charge your electric vehicle at home using a three-pin plug socket or your own EV charger, the cost of the energy you use will be added to your next electricity bill. Simple. If you use public EV charge points, whether they’re on-street chargers or chargers at service stations or supermarkets, you can choose how you pay. You have four main options:

RFID cards

One way to pay for a charge that’s now becoming less popular is to use an EV charging card known as an RFID card, which is sent to you in the post by a charging network. Similar to an Oyster card, you just swipe the card to start charging. Although this system can be easy to use, you have to wait for the card to arrive in the post and you need a different card for every charging network. There’s also the risk that your card could be cloned. 

Contactless payments

Contactless payments are similar to RFID cards but rather than using a card sent to you by your charging network, you just swipe your credit or debit card. With no sign up required, this is a quick and easy way to pay for your charge. However, the cost involved in installing secure card readers can make contactless charge points expensive, with each usage incurring an additional transaction fee. 

Smartphone app

Most public charge point operators have a mobile app that you can use to pay for your charge online and track your monthly spending and usage. The benefits of this payment method are that any smartphone user can download the app and get access to reduced charging rates. You can also manage your billing and see the locations and availability of charge points on the app. The downside is that numerous apps are needed for different networks and each of those sign ups takes time. 

That’s the benefit of an app like Bonnet. Just sign up to the Bonnet app and you can enjoy flat-rate charging across more than 17 charging networks, all from a single app. 

Subscription models

More and more charge point operators now offer subscription-based charging, where you pay a small monthly fee upfront and receive a greatly reduced rate per kWh when you use a charging station from that provider. At Bonnet, we also offer a subscription model. However, when you pay a small upfront fee with Bonnet, you enjoy a reduced rate per kWh across all of our partner charging networks. Find out more about our Bonnet Refills.  

What do I need to charge my EV?

Depending on the location, you may be able to start charging your EV simply by plugging in your car and paying for your charge with a swipe of your debit/card. Alternatively, you may need to download an app or request an RFID card from the charge point operator. 

Not all charge points offer a contactless payment option, and those that do can be more expensive per kWh due to the expensive technology involved. So, it’s worth thinking about where you park and drive most regularly and looking at the charge points that are installed at those locations. For most people, that means near your home, at work, and then other destinations you often visit. 

In most cases, you’ll need to download the charging network’s smartphone app to start your charge. That will allow you to access all the charge points within that network. Some older charge points also require you to request an RFID card from the charge point operator, although these charge points are now being phased out. 

Alternatively, you can download the Bonnet app to charge your electric vehicle on more than 17 charging networks. Payment is easy on the app and you can use the Bonnet map to find charge point locations, see their availability, and find out what speed and connector type they are.   

How can I talk to other EV owners?

Speak EV is a thriving forum where you’ll find discussions, tips and opinions on just about every aspect of EV ownership. It’s a great place to share your thoughts and learn the basics if you’re thinking about buying your first electric car. 

What EV charging rules and regulations do I need to be aware of?

Currently, there are very few EV charging regulations. New UK laws have come in that will require charge points to respond to periods of high demand by slowing or delaying charging sessions. This will encourage off-peak charging to lighten the load on the grid. Importantly though, peak-time charging isn’t being banned, so drivers will still be in control. 

The only other EV charging rules you need to be aware of are the recent changes to the Highway Code. It advises that when using an electric vehicle charge point, you should:

• Park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for pedestrians with your cables

• Display a warning sign if you can

• Return charging cables and connectors neatly to avoid creating an obstacle for other road users

Osprey Electric Vehicle Charging Hub in Croydon
Osprey Hub in Croyden

Anything we’ve missed?

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about charging your electric vehicle, please get in touch and we’ll happily answer your questions. 

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