We’ve partnered with Autotrader to answer the most common questions about charging – so please check out our videos and frequently asked questions below.
How far can electric cars go?
Where can you find a chargepoint?
How much does charging cost?
How many chargers are there?
There are over 11,000 publicly accessible chargepoints across the UK. Britain has the best rapid charging network in Europe, including 96% of motorway services, which could recharge your car to up to 80% in just 30 minutes. You can explore the public charging network here.
Where can you charge?
You can find the locations of chargepoints across the UK using our chargepoint map.
The vast majority of electric car drivers charge their cars at home, so you might never need to use a public charger. The government even offers a grant of £500 off the cost of a home charger.
How long does charging take?
The length of charging time depends on the kind of charger you use. There are three types:
- Rapid chargers (found at public locations, including motorway services) – could recharge to up to 80% in 30 minutes
- Fast chargers (found at public locations such as supermarket car parks) – usually 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the battery
- Standard chargers (often used for charging at home overnight) – around 6 to 9 hours
How far can you go on one charge?
This depends on the type of electric car you are driving, as well as your driving style.
- Plug-in hybrids, which also have a combustion engine, have total ranges of up to 800 miles, with around 30 miles of that being 'pure electric' range.
- Pure electric cars typically have a range of around 100 miles, which is improving all the time as new models are launched.
- Range extender electric cars, which have a small petrol engine that tops up the battery when it is getting low, have a range of around 200 miles.
How much does charging cost?
You can fuel an electric car from just 2p per mile – much cheaper than the 10-12p per mile it costs to fuel a petrol or diesel car. If you charge at home overnight you can take advantage of off-peak electricity prices to make further savings on fuel. Speak to your electricity supplier about which tariff is right for you.
Many of the chargepoints in the UK are currently free to use. Costs for using public chargepoints varies by provider, just as it does with petrol stations. It costs £6 for a 30 minute rapid charge at one of Ecotricity’s chargepoints, which could be enough to charge a pure electric car to up to 80% from nearly empty. That’s much cheaper than filling up a petrol or diesel car.
Can I get a charge point at home?
Yes. A dedicated home charging unit is the easiest, safest and most convenient way to charge at home - and the government will even give you £500 off the cost of installing it. This discount will be sorted out by the chargepoint company when they install your charger, but to learn more visit the government advice here. Eligibility criteria applies.
If you install a home charger, it may be worth switching to an eco tariff, as this could save you money by offering cheaper off-peak electricity. It’s also good for the environment because more off-peak electricity is generated by renewables. To find out more about these tariffs, visit the Energy Saving Trust.
Do I need loads of different charging cables?
No. Your electric car should come with a charging cable which you simply plug into the standard socket found on public chargers. This same cable can also be used to charge your car from a dedicated home charging unit - or if you prefer you can chose a home charger with a 'tethered cable' already built in, which plugs straight into your car.
Rapid chargers all have their own cables built in, a bit like a petrol pump, so are always ready for you to use without the need for a separate charging cable.
Some cars also come with a cable that can plug into a normal 3-pin socket – this isn’t recommended for everyday use, but can be useful as a back-up.
Do the batteries wear out?
Evidence shows that electric car batteries last a long time, out-performing the endurance of many petrol or diesel engines. Unlike mobile phone batteries, those in electric cars are precision engineered for long-life and come equipped with sophisticated management systems to protect them. Some electric cars have done over 150,000 miles without noticeable degradation in battery life.
Is charging safe?
Yes. All chargepoints and charging cables are rigorously safety tested and are safe to use – even in the pouring rain.
Can someone unplug my car while it is charging?
No. Charging cables lock in place when you start to charge, and can only be unlocked by you once you finish using the chargepoint.
Thinking of switching to an electric car?
Find out why over 90,000 drivers have already switched to electric.