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charging electric cars

A guide to electric car charging

published: 12 May 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

Electric vehicles do not depend on a combustion engine to power them, meaning the need to ‘fill up your tank’ has been replaced with the need to ‘charge your battery’.  Read on to learn all you need to know about electric car charging, including how much it costs and how long it takes.

How do I charge my electric car?

Charging your electric car at home is as simple as plugging it in and leaving it to charge, just like you do with your mobile phone. To do this you’ll need to install a charging point at home.

Another option is to charge your car at a public charging point – they are located across the country, and you can use this map tool to find your closest.

Electric car charging in street

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Whether you charge at home or at a public charge point will make a big difference to your running costs. But public charging of electric cars and hybrids still costs less per mile than a petrol/diesel car. (A Tesla Model-3 driver could pay approx. 8.3p per mile, while a non-electric vehicle driver would pay around 20p per mile).

Charging your electric car at home

One of the many benefits of an electric car is how cost-effective and easy it is to charge from your own home. 

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home? 

Even with increased energy costs, charging at home remains the cheapest option for electric car charging.  There are serval factors affecting the price you pay to charge your car at home including:

  • Your car and its battery size: The larger and heavier the car, the bigger battery and the more power you’ll need

  • The type of charger you have: Will affect the speed and price of charging

  • How you charge: Do you charge little and often or charge from low to full less frequently 

  • Your electricity tariff: The lower your tariff, the lower the cost of the charge

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

A home charge point typically costs between £800 to £1,500. This price depends on which home charger installer you go for and which charge model you choose.

In April 2022 the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) which provided grants for home charger installation closed. However, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles has announced that a similar scheme is available for people that live in flats or currently rent their home. Just like the previous scheme, the Government will contribute up to £350 of the cost for one charge point and its installation. 

What type of energy tariff can I get for my electric car?

Domestic energy suppliers are offering two kinds of tariff that would be beneficial for electric vehicle customers:

  • ‘Time of use’ applies to electricity tariffs that have a cheaper ‘off-peak’ or overnight unit price. We would recommend charging your electric car during these time periods to make charging cheaper. The cheaper time is determined by the energy company

  • ‘Type of use’ tariffs are new to the market and offer a cheaper price for EV charging via an ‘intelligent’ charger/app. For example, you could tell your ‘intelligent charger’ that you want your car to be charged to 80% by 7:00am. The charger will then ‘choose’ when to charge based on demand periods and the lowest price available. Most Intelligent offerings provide around 6 hours of energy at a cheaper unit price

Learn more about electric cars and energy bills.

What about charging my car in public?

Most people charge their electric cars at home – it's cheaper and often more convenient. But if you do find yourself out and about and in need of a charge, you should be able to find a public charger near you. According to government figures, there were 28,375 electric vehicle charging points available in the UK in January 2022 (37% more than January 2021), over 5000 of those were rapid chargers.  

That being said, the approximate 17,000 locations for these charging points are not evenly distributed across the UK. And you will find many more charging points in London for example, than you will in the Midlands. This should improve though, with the government investing more money into making chargers readily available across the UK.

How much do public charging points cost?

The cost of public charging varies. Some places like supermarkets, shopping centres and leisure centres usually let you charge your electric car for free while it’s parked there as long as you used their service. Most businesses with workplace charging points will let employees charge for free too.

There are more than 30 networks offering chargepoints around the UK, including Pod Point, ChargePlace Scotland, InstaVolt, Osprey and Shell Recharge.  

Some charge points let you drive up, plug in and pay with your contactless credit or debit card, but others need you to download an app first. You then pay in-app for the amount of electricity you use.

It makes sense for regular charger users to forget pay-as-you-go and instead pay a monthly subscription to a service. This speeds up access and makes charger use either free or at least far cheaper. Most will find it’s better value for money if they require a rapid charge more than once a month, or a standard top-up once a week.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Put simply, the higher the kiloWatt output of a charger, the faster your EV’s battery will be charged. There are four different charging ‘speeds’ currently available in the UK:.

 

kWh

Charge time (average time to fully charge battery)

Found at

Slow

3 – 6 kWh

8 to 10 hours

Home charging points

Fast

7 – 22 kWh

3 to 4 hours

Public spaces such as car parks or supermarkets

Rapid

25 – 99 kWh

30 to 60 mins 

Public places such as service stations, car parks or supermarkets

Ultra-rapid

100 kWh plus

20 to 25 mins

Public places such as service stations, car parks or supermarkets

We’ve pulled out some of our most popular electric vehicles to give you an idea of charge time and costs to charge at home and in public. These are approximate figures. Your energy consumption and cost per kWh will differ depending on your circumstances.

 

Charging at home (0-100% battery capacity)

Charging in public (20% -80% battery capacity) 

Tesla Model-3 Long Range

10. 7 hours charge time

331 miles added to battery

£21 total cost to charge

6.3p cost per mile

54 mins charge time

199 miles added to battery

£16.50 total cost to charge

8.3p cost per mile

Nissan Leaf Acenta

5.7 hours charge time

151 miles added to battery

£11 total cost to charge

7.4p cost per mile

30 mins charge time

91 miles added to battery

£10.20 total cost to charge

11.2p cost per mile

Kia ENiro

5.6 hours charge time

171 miles added to battery

£11 total cost to charge

6.4p cost per mile

30 mins charge time

103 miles added to battery

£10.02 total cost to charge

9.7p cost per mile

Renault Zoe

7.4 hours charge time

215 miles added to battery

£15 total cost to charge

6.8p cost per mile

36 mins charge time

129 miles added to battery

£12.36 total cost to charge

9.6p cost per mile

Jaguar I-Pace

12.9 hours charge time

277 miles added to battery

£25 total cost to charge

9.1p cost per mile

1.1 hour charge time

166 miles added to battery

£19.20 total cost to charge

11.6p cost per mile

Hyundai Kona

5.6 hours charge time

151 miles added to battery

£11 total cost to charge

7.2p cost per mile

30 mins charge time

91 miles added to battery

£10.02 total cost to charge

11p cost per mile

MG ZS

7.3 hours charge time

179 miles added to battery

£14 total cost to charge

8p cost per mile

36 mins charge time

107 miles added to battery

£12.18 total cost to charge

11.4p cost per mile

Home charging based on 28p kWh and home charger power of 7kWh (fast charger). Public charging based on 30p kWh with a £3 connection fee, using a 50kW rapid charge point. Based on battery capacity of 20% to full charge. https://www.zap-map.com/tools/public-charging-calculator/

How often does my electric car need charging?

This depends on the type and brand of electric car you own, and how often you drive it. Most models claim to provide between 125 and 348 miles on a single charge.

Will an EV make my electricity bill higher?

You will likely see a rise in your electricity bills if you switch to driving an electric car and charge it at home. But you will no longer pay for petrol or diesel and your overall spend on driving will be less. 

It’s a good idea to take a look at your energy provider because it may be worth switching. Lots of energy companies are keen to attract EV owners. Some have introduced tariffs specifically geared toward helping EV drivers save on electricity and the cost of charging their cars, others offer incentives like discounts or cash rewards.

What about electric car insurance?

Just like any other vehicle, you need insurance for your electric car. They key to getting a great deal is to compare quotes from different insurance providers. That’s what we’re here for.

Whether you’re looking for a quote on your car insurance or a better energy deal, compare with MoneySuperMarket and see if you could save. 

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