page title icon How to charge an Electric Car

Charging up your electric car (or van or truck) is super easy following these steps

Renault Zoe charge port
(c) Renault
  1. Open the charge port compartment and the weather flap on the car
  2. Connect the charger cable* into the car’s charge port
  3. The car will start charging automatically at the fastest speed available
  4. Most cars will have progress indicator lights or you can track charging progress via an app
  5. When finished the car will switch itself off. Rapid chargers will usually get to 80% capacity and then slow down the rate or switch off.
  6. If you don’t want to wait until the car is fully charged you don’t have to.
  7. When the charging is complete, simply pull out the connector and close the charge ports on the car

*There are different types of charging connectors and charge point speeds. Click here for more information.

Where can you charge your car?

Here is a quick run down of the options for charging your plug-in vehicle

Home

Most people will opt for a home charger if they have a driveway. This is by far the easiest and most convenient option and you can get a grant towards the installation cost. Typically a home charge point will be rated at 7kW which means around 4 hours for a full charge (assuming your car can support that speed..). However if you have shared or on-street parking that’s not going to be an option, at least not for the moment until lamp post, pop-up chargers or wireless charging becomes mainstream.

The other big advantage of home charging is the lower per unit cost – typically less than half what you will pay at a public charge point.

Workplace

If your workplace has parking spaces then it’s quite often feasible to get a chargepoint installed. I have a neighbour where this is the case; he has an EV company car and he is able to charge it at work. This could be free of charge, or your organisation could choose a pay-as-you-go charging model.

In the UK the Government provides financial support for workplace EV charger installations – see this link

Public

Almost every EV driver will have to use a public charger at some time. There is large investment in this infrastructure and the number of charging stations increases daily. If you live in a urban area the chances are you are no more than a mile or so from a charge point.

The number of charge point providers, costs and payment methods (in the UK) is pretty confusing. So we’ve created a separate page on this (coming Aug 2019…)

To find out where your nearest charge points are we recommend OpenChargeMap – this is the public non-profit registry site and will show you charger location, status (available, in-use, broken, etc) as well as comments from other EV users. You can access this in a browser or use their apps. Other commercial mapping services are available.

OpenChargeMap >> type in your location or zip/postal code

Semi-public

There are a number of other locations where you can charge; some may well be free but these are becoming less common. These include hotels, car dealers, universities and sports centres. Access to these will vary so you can’t rely on them – so check before you travel.

If all else fails..!!

As a last resort you can plug your EV into a standard 2 or 3 pin electric socket using a custom connector (‘EVSE’). This will be 240v or 110v depending on your country, and the power rating will depend on the individual electric circuit. The downsides of this are: