Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more mainstream for drivers and thousands are choosing to make the switch from a petrol or diesel engine to an electric car. One of the most daunting parts of changing to an EV is the charging aspect that comes with them.

At Pure Vehicle Leasing, we are experts in all kinds of vehicles, including EVs, and we have put together this guide to cover everything you need to know about electric car charging. If you are wondering how long it takes to charge an electric car, or what is the longest range electric car, you have come to the right place.

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Vehicle?

One of the most common questions about EVs is ‘How long does it take to charge an electric car?’. There is no one answer to this question, as the charging time for an EV will vary depending on a number of different factors. The most important things to consider are the make and model of the vehicle, and the type of charging point being used.

Electric vehicles can take as little as 30 minutes or over 12 hours to charge, which is quite a difference to consider. The bigger the battery in the car, and the slower the charger you are using, the longer it will take to reach full charge. For example, a typical EV has a 60kW battery and will charge in around eight hours using a 7kW charge point. A rapid charger at 50kW can give you 100 miles of charge in just 30 minutes.

White car charger plugged into white electric car

To understand how long it takes to charge an electric car, you need to understand the different types of chargers available:

  • Slow Chargers: The slowest charge points around will fill a battery at 3kW. This is typical for an ‘at home charger’ which uses a three-pin plug. Electric vehicles with a small battery can take up to 12 hours to charge, and a larger battery could take up to 24 hours.
  • Fast Chargers: Fast charge points can vary between 7kW and 22kW, making them more than twice as quick as slow chargers. These kinds of EV charge points need to be installed by an engineer as a wall box charger, and the average for these is 11kW, although this depends on your energy supply. With a 7kW charge point, most cars can be fully charged in less than eight hours. A public charge point with 22kW can usually charge an EV in one to two hours.
  • Rapid Chargers: The fastest way to charge an EV is with a rapid charger. These are often found at motorway service stations and deliver up to 50kW for rapid charging. Just 30 minutes of charging with a rapid charge point can give 80% of battery capacity. In fact, most EV manufacturers recommend charging to 80% rather than 100%. This is because fully charging an EV every single time can impact the lifetime of the battery, and the last 20% of charge takes longer than the rest. Chargers will fill the last bit of the battery more slowly, so as not to overcharge it.

What Is The Range Of An Electric Vehicle?

Many drivers considering an EV ask ‘What is the range of an electric car?’, and it is important to understand this, so you are not caught short on your journeys. Range anxiety is a real fear for some drivers and it comes about from when electric cars first hit our roads. The range of an EV has improved dramatically in recent years, and now not only do cars have a longer range, but charging points are more frequent and readily available.

The exact range of an electric car will depend on the make and model, as well as how you drive it. To help you understand the kind of range you can expect when you lease an electric car, we are looking into the longest-range electric car manufacturers:

The range is based on the manufacturer’s specifications, but it is important to remember that real world driving can differ from this.

What Conditions Can Affect Charging And Range?

Electric cars are impacted by various different conditions during real world driving, and these can affect both the range and charging speed. Some of the conditions which affect range and charging speed in an EV are:

  • Outside Temperature: The outside temperature has a big impact on the efficiency of an EV. When it is cold outside, your electric car range will be reduced compared with warmer days. This is because car batteries are made using lithium ion, and when the temperature drops, the ions in the battery cannot move as quickly. When it is warmer weather, the ions have more freedom to move around, causing the range to increase.
  • Internal Temperature: When you turn your heating on in an electric car, it will use the batteries’ charge and decrease your driving range. You should remember this while driving, and use your heating at appropriate times to maintain the range you need. During the summer, air conditioning in your car will have the same effect, and it has been estimated that extreme cooling or heating can reduce EV range.
  • Driving Speed: Just like combustion engines, how fast you drive an electric car will affect its range. Staying at low speeds will make your battery last longer, as slow driving does not put much stress on a car battery. In contrast, if you drive on motorways often and do a steady 70mph, the car’s range will decrease. An EV battery has to work harder when you drive at 70mph compared to driving at 30mph. If you are out driving and concerned about running out of charge before reaching your destination, you should slow down to improve your range. You should do the same if you want to conserve fuel in a petrol or diesel car.
  • Terrain: Driving uphill will use more of your battery than driving on flat terrain. This is because the EV has to work harder to fight against the force of gravity. If you are driving downhill, your EV can benefit from regenerative braking. As you go downhill, you lift your foot off the accelerator which will put the electric motor into reverse and charge the battery.
  • Battery Condition: Over time, EV car batteries cannot hold as much charge as they could when they were brand new. If you have an 80kW battery it will allow 100% of charge when it is brand new. After five years, it might only charge to 95%, effectively becoming a 76kW battery. This loss is very gradual over time and often difficult to notice, but it does result in a reduced range for your EV. Therefore, a shorter lease may be an appropriate option for some drivers.
  • Acceleration: Just like with a petrol or diesel engine, electric car ranges will decrease if you accelerate a lot on a regular basis. If you are a smooth driver and accelerate gently, then your EV will get more miles.

It should be noted that all the above factors also affect the range of petrol and diesel vehicles as well as electric vehicles.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Vehicle?

The cost of charging an electric car is an important consideration when deciding if this kind of vehicle is the right option for you. The cost of fully charging an EV will vary depending on the battery size, type of charger and charging location. Charging an EV is always cheaper than filling up a tank with petrol or diesel.

A lot of people want to know ‘How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home in the UK?’ and this comes down to the electricity supplier, charge point type and size of EV. Typically, it costs between £8 and £9 to fully charge an EV at home. If you have a 60kW electric car, you can expect to pay £9 to fully charge which will give you roughly 200 miles of range. Some electricity tariffs are designed with home EV charging in mind, and can reduce the cost of fully charging a vehicle to less than £5.

Blue electric charger charging grey car

Charging an EV at a public charge point is going to be more expensive than charging at home. Most EV drivers will use public charge points to top up their battery instead of a full charge. The cost of charging at a public charge point will depend on the type of charger and the location.

Rapid chargers are often used at service stations and on motorways, for providing a fast top up during a journey. They generally cost around £6 to £7 for a 30-minute charge, which can provide 80% of a battery charge.

How Frequent Are Charge Points?

Today, EV chargers are readily available all across the country. Currently in the UK, there are more than 42,000 electric charge points in over 15,000 locations. That means there are more places to charge an electric car publicly than there are petrol stations in the country. The number of electric car charge points is constantly increasing, as more and more businesses are beginning to introduce them.

You will find charge points for EVs at all major service stations in motorways up and down the country. At these service stations you are likely to see rapid chargers as opposed to slow chargers. Most supermarkets and large shopping centres now have electric car charging stations in their car parks, for customers to use while they shop. Many other businesses such as hotels, restaurants and leisure centres are choosing to install electric charge points in their premises.

Charging At Home

The majority of those who drive electric cars rely on charging at night time in their private homes. This means the vehicle can charge overnight and be ready to use in the morning, making it a convenient option. Not only that, but charging overnight is often the cheapest time.

It is easy to get an EV charge point installed in a private home and the UK Government offers financial support for those who want to have their own charging station at home. This is called the EV Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), and it covers a certain amount of the installation cost. There are hundreds of accredited charge point installers across the country and over 40 manufacturers making home chargers. Please note that the EVHS is subject to end April 2022.

Charging At Work

A lot of companies are installing electric charging points at their business premises, allowing people to charge their vehicles at work. Some companies allow free charging for employees, while others opt to charge for this service.

The Government supports charging at business locations with their Workplace Charging Scheme, covering 75% of the total costs of the purchase and installation of EV charge points, up to £350 per charge point installed. If you are a business, offering charge points at your premises can be an excellent employee benefit which will only continue to grow in importance.

Charging At A Public EV Point

There are various public EV charge points across the country and these work across a range of networks. The majority of the networks available offer rapid, fast and slow charging options, so you can choose the right one for you. Public EV charge point networks, include:

  • BP Pulse
  • ChargerNet
  • Energise ESB Energy
  • Gridserve
  • Instavolt
  • Osprey
  • Pod Point
  • Shell Recharge
  • Zap Home, and many more.

Every public EV charge point will have a slightly different pricing structure, so it is important to check the cost before charging.
For more information on EV charging, or if you are ready to lease an electric car, get in touch with Pure Vehicle Leasing.