Electric Car Charging

Charging your electric car: how, when and where?

Charging an electric car is not that much different from filling the tank of a petrol or diesel vehicle, but with one big advantage: you can also do it at home.

Instead of finding a petrol station, you will need to find a charging point location. At the time of writing there are over 18,000 of these in the UK, with almost 30,000 chargers between them. This figure is increasing every day.

You can find public chargers at places such as supermarkets, car parks, and motorway service stations. Many employers provide charging points at their premises. And in addition, you can have a charging point installed at your home (depending on suitability), for easy charging overnight and any other time your electric car is not being used.

The easiest way to find a charger near you is to use an app, like the ones provided by Pod Point and Zap Map.

The cost of charging will vary with the price of electricity, the speed of charging and the location of the charger. For example, an overnight charge at home will normally cost less than a rapid charge at a motorway service station. 

3 easy steps to charging your electric car


Charging an electric car is like charging any other electric device. See the three steps below:

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Find your charging unit

This could be a home wall box, a charging unit at your place or work, or a public charging unit. Then find the charging port on your vehicle. Ensure you are using the correct port for the charging unit, this could be AC or DC.

charging cable icon

Connect the charging cable

Usually home wall boxes and AC chargers don’t have a cable included so you can use the charging cable that comes with your vehicle. If you are using a DC charging station, the cable will be attached to the unit ready for you to plug your vehicle in.

icon of a car plugged into charging station

Charge your car

Most vehicle will produce a light or signal to confirm they are charging so once you see this you can lock your vehicle (if you are leaving it) and allow it to charge. Please refer to your vehicle guide for model specific charging times.

Charging points and charging times

When you drive an electric car, you have a range of options for charging its battery. Instead of being limited to a petrol station, you can charge at home, at work, or at a charging point – some of which are free. Where you charge and for how long will affect the amount of range added, and the cost.

At home

If you have a home charger installed you can fully charge your battery with maximum convenience. Some suppliers even offer tarrifs with lower electricity prices at night for you to take advantage of. 

At work

More and more employers are installing charging points in company car parks. These will usually be slow chargers which take the whole working day (8-10 hours) to fully charge the battery.

At a public charging point

Public charging points can often be found in the places you would be driving to anyway: supermarkets, shopping centres, public car parks and hotels, for example. Most of these chargers will be free to use, though they may limit how long you can connect or require you to be a customer. These chargers will usually be fast or rapid.


Charging speeds

How long it takes to charge your electric car can vary depending on the size of the battery, the distance driven between charges, the type of charging plug used to connect, and the type of charger. There are three main charger types:

Slow - Mainly used for overnight home charging, or all-day charging at the workplace.

Fast - 3-4 hours to fully charge a battery. Usually found in car parks, supermarkets and similar public locations.

Rapid- Specially designed for electric cars which have a rapid-charging function. 30-60 minutes to fully charge a battery. Usually located at motorway service stations, petrol stations and supermarket car parks.

Electric car charger types

There are 5 different charging plugs. Which one you use will depend on your electric car and the power rating of the charging point:

  • UK 3-pin- For charging at home from a domestic socket. Very slow (30 minutes to add approximately 5 miles range) and for safety reasons not recommended.
  • Type 1 - No longer common in new electric cars. Adds approximately 12 miles range per 30 minutes of charging.
  • Type 2 - Becoming the standard European solution. Adds approximately 75 miles range per 30 minutes of charging. All Volkswagen Group electric vehicles use type 2 charging plugs. 
  • CHAdeMO - An older type of rapid charging plug, compatible specifically with Japanese vehicles. Adds approximately 85 miles range per 30 minutes of charging.
  • Combined Charging System - The most versatile connector and likely to become the DC connector standard. Adds around 85-200 miles range per 30 minutes of charging.

Home Charging

Having an electric car gives you the ability to charge your vehicle with ease and at a time that suits you from the comfort of your own home. You can use a domestic three-pin socket to charge it however, it is recommended that you install a home wall box.

Pod Point are our recommended wall box supplier who can help you choose the right charging unit for you and your vehicle. You may also be eligible for the Home Grant Scheme.

Benefits of installing a home wall box


Installing a wall box within your home can significantly reduce charging time of your electric car. Take a look at some of the other benefits below:

Schedule a charge when it's cheapest

Charge your vehicle up to 10 times faster than a 3-pin plug

Potential to improve the value of your property

Charge your vehicle at a time that is convenient for you

Wide range of home charging products available

Potential of EV charging point grant (OZEV) to reduce the cost of your home charger

Frequantly asked questions about charging electric cars at home

Want to know more about home charging and wall box installation?

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Charging on the go

There are now thousands of public charging stations across the UK including motorway service stations, supermarkets and car parks.

Each public charging point is owned by a charge point operator which means there are plenty of ways to pay for them, from pay-as-you-go schemes to subscription models - some points are even free, like the ones that Volkswagen have joined up with Pod Point and Tesco on now in many Tesco car parks.

Find out more information about the different public networks, their charging methods and payment options by visiting Zap-Map.

Visit Zap-Map

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Take a look at these useful links to find the answers to all your electric car questions.

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