New locations to charge your electric car are popping up all the time
If you are thinking about getting an EV, one of your first questions will be: “Where can I charge my electric car?”
Fortunately, there are lots of options including at home – if you have off-street parking – at motorway service stations, increasingly at supermarkets and at work, as well as many hotels, leisure centres, etc.
Charging infrastructure is growing quickly and the chargepoints themselves are getting faster. Every year, it takes less and less time to charge an EV.
Although the charging point network for electric cars is expanding very quickly, EV drivers usually find the bulk of charging is done at home.
A typical scenario:
You leave your house in your lovely electric vehicle at 8am, and drive 20 miles to work. At 5:30pm, you leave work, drive the 20 miles back, and then plug your car into your home charging point.
At the moment, for most EVs, the charging point energy flow is one way only: from the house through the charger to the car. Here are typical home charging point ratings:
- 3 kW
- 7 kW
Please note: the maximum charging rate of your particular EV charging point may not be exactly 3 kW. It might be say 3.6 kW. The precise charging rate varies from model to model.
The same is true at 7 kW. The maximum charging rate may not be exactly 7 kW.
If you are not sure what kW stands for, please read our helpful Energy Terminology page.
A 7 kW charger will charge your car’s battery roughly twice as fast as a 3 kW charger.
3 kW charging points are known as slow chargers. 7 kW charging points are known as fast chargers.
Top tip: go for a 7 kW charger at home to charge your EV more quickly.
Work Charging Points
If you are lucky enough to have a charging point where you work – and the boss hasn’t nabbed the space – the most likely ratings will be:
- 7 kW
- 22 kW
A 22 kW charging point will charge your EV’s battery three times more quickly than a 7 kW point.
A 22 kW charging point is still referred to as a fast charger.
Public Charging Points
The charging points you typically find at motorway service stations can have very high ratings.
- 43 kW
- 50 kW
- 120 kW
These will charge your car very quickly. For example, a Nissan Leaf with a 40 kWh battery at only 20% charge will get up to 80% charge in about 30 minutes on a 50 kW charger.
Charging points in the 43 kW to 120 kW range are called rapid chargers.
To make things even more confusing, rapid chargers are either AC or DC:
- DC rapid chargers can access your battery directly – bypassing the car’s on-board charger – to charge more quickly.
- AC rapid chargers cannot access your battery directly and are limited by your car’s on-board rapid charger rating.
The vast bulk of non-Tesla public chargers have a maximum charge rate of 50 kW. However, as we speak, the next generation of public charging stations are being installed. Many of these will charge at 150 kW and some as high as 350 kW.
Gradually, the charging technology inside electric cars is being upgraded to allow for charging at these higher rates.
Here are some examples of current EV models that can already handle charging above 50 kW:
150 kW charging capability
120 kW charging capability
100 kW charging capability
80 kW charging capability
70 kW charging capability
In March 2019, Gridserve announced a brand new way of charging your electric car when out and about: Electric Forecourts.
There will be Electric Forecourts up and down the country. When you are running low on charge in your EV, you simply pull in, park, plug in, and the charging starts.
Electric Forecourts are designed from scratch for electric vehicles – no diesel or petrol cars in sight. They are also large, with plenty of charging bays.
In addition to the fastest charging points technically possible – in the not too distant future, charging an electric car will take no more than 10 minutes – Electric Forecourts will also be friendly, welcoming places to visit and will include:
- Coffee shops in an airport-style lounge
- Ultra fast internet access
- Convenience store shopping, and so on