The EV industry has witnessed spectacular growth in recent years, with thousands of  drivers choosing to make the switch. EVs are now most PCO drivers’ first choice, proving to be the most cost effective option for ridesharing. Although range has improved over time, reaching over 300 miles for certain EV models, range anxiety can still be a concern for drivers. 

Fortunately, in the UK, there is an extensive EV charging network all around the country. This network is constantly growing, with new charging points being installed every month. Moreover, there is also the possibility of having a home charger and even obtaining Government funding for installing one. 

Drivers are more used to filling up the tank at a petrol station and charging an EV may appear overwhelming at first. However, charging an EV is just a matter of habit. Once you’re familiar with how and where to charge, filling up your EV will become as easy as charging your mobile phone. 

Here is everything you need to know about EV charging. 

How many EV charging stations are in the UK?

Currently, there are around 32,000 charging stations all around the UK, across 20,000 charging locations. These numbers don’t include home and workplace charging points, which are estimated to be more than 400,000. 

In Greater London, there are more than 10,000 charging points, being the geographical area with the most EV charging stations in the UK.

How can I find EV charging stations in the UK?

Zap-Map is a useful app for searching available charging points. It allows you to see where the nearest charging station is and offer live updates for other EV drivers. Zap-Map to EV charging is similar to what Waze is for traffic — a trustworthy road-side assistant. 

For London, the authorities have implemented a charging points map where you can live-check charging stations. You can filter them by operator, charging type, and operation time. 

Where can I charge my EV in the UK?

There are mainly two types of charging that you can use — public and at-home charging. While public charging is available to anyone and can be free, setting up home charging might be a hassle, but it’s more convenient in the long run. 

Public charging networks 

There are numerous EV charging points providers in the UK. Here are the most popular:

  • Ubitricity – has the most public charging points in the UK. They use existing street light infrastructure by installing charging stations on lampposts. Charging requires a type 2 cable. 
  • bp pulse – stated as the most rapid network in the UK. They offer all types of charging stations located in convenient public locations. Their advantage is allowing drivers to access lower fares by paying a monthly subscription fee.
  • Pod Point – has charging points compatible with all plug-in vehicle brands. Their stations are located in public car parks, supermarkets or public attractions. They provide all types of chargers, mostly 7kW fast chargers.
  • InstaVolt – currently the highest rated charging network in the country. They’re also the largest operator of rapid DC charging points and an optimal choice for fast-charging. 
  • Chargeyourcar – has among the lowest charging fares on the market. They provide fast chargers located in shopping malls or town centers, great for quickly adding a few extra miles of range. 
  • Source London – popular in London, they provide both slow and fast charging stations across the city. They also offer dedicated subscription plans for PCO drivers, including lower fares and other benefits.

DID YOU KNOW? Private enterprises, such as retail companies, also provide charging points, some of them being free of charge.

There is a great variety of charging networks across the UK. Choosing the one that works best for you depends mainly on your area of interest, plus the costs, the charger speed and the location type. 

At home charging

Purchasing and installing the charging unit might get expensive, but it’s definitely the best long term solution. You can charge your car overnight and save plenty of time and money. Home chargers can be either 3 kW or 7 Kw. For a 3kW unit, the cost is between £250- £500 and for a 7 kW you will pay £450-£800.

The good part is that the British Government offers financial incentives for people who want to install home charging stations. The EV Chargepoint Grant offers a 75% contribution to the cost of one charge point and its installation, with a grant of £350 (VAT included) per installation.

To access this grant, you have to live in a rental accommodation or own a flat, and have a dedicated off street parking at your property. 

How much does it cost to charge my EV?

First of all, charging costs vary depending on car model, charger speed and other fees, such as provider fees. 

To get an idea of how much it costs to charge your car, you can use Zap-Map’s online calculators.

Public charging calculator

Home charging calculator

Here’s an example of charging rates, using the MG 5 EV for reference. 

  Type of charging   Full-charge cost
  Public Rapid   £12.60
  Home   £8.40

*The costs are approximate and are subject to change. 

Can I charge my EV for free?

Yes. 15% of all charging stations in the UK are free. Even better most of these are fast chargers. You can find free charging points in supermarkets, public, retail or work car parks and at leisure attractions, such as cafes, restaurants, museums, theaters.

Keep in mind that some of these charging points may request a parking fee or can be customer-only. It’s still worth looking into the using conditions and see if you can ever rely on these stations.

TIP: You can locate them on zap-map by selecting “free to use” within the payment filter. 

How long does it take for my EV to charge?

There are three main types of public EV charge points: slow (3kW), fast (7kW), and rapid (50kW). There are also around 6,000 ultra-rapid charging points (100kW+) across the UK, these being much faster, but with higher charging costs. 

Home charging units can only be slow (3kW) or fast (7kW). 

These are the estimated charging times for the MG 5 EV using different types of charging: 

Charger type Charging time
Public Rapid 50kW 50 minutes
Public Fast 7kW 8.5 hours
Public Slow 3kW 15 hours
Home Fast 7kw 7.5 hours
Home Slow 3kw 17.5 hours

What do I need to charge my EV?

You have to own an EV charging connector compatible with your car model and find charging stations compatible with your connector.

DID YOU KNOW? Not all car models can use rapid charges.

How do I charge my EV on public networks?

Most charging points require downloading an app. You might need a RFID card to use some older charging points. 

About Splend

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