A guide to electric car charging at home with no driveway

There are many benefits to driving an electric car, including saved running and maintenance costs and a smaller impact on the environment. However, around a third of UK homes don’t have any kind of driveway or garage, which leaves drivers wondering how they will charge their EVs if they make the switch to electric.


How do you charge an EV if you don’t have a driveway?

For drivers who have access to a driveway, a home charge point can make their lives easier. Having an EV charging point at home is fast, simple and convenient. However, many drivers don’t have access to a garage, driveway, or another form of off-street parking that’s close to their homes.

Drivers who live in terraced housing, flats, or city centres often have to park on the street or in a shared car park. That means installing a charge point might not always be feasible.

So, how can you charge an electric car if you don’t have a driveway?

Public charge stations

According to Zap Map, at the end of April 2023 there were 42,566 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 24,909 charging locations. That means you’re never too far from somewhere to charge your EV, such as at supermarkets, public car parks and service stations. By using a rapid charge point, you can charge your EV from 20% to 80% in less than thirty minutes.

At work

Many employers are now installing charging stations at offices and other commercial premises as it’s seen as a highly desirable perk. Usually, employees don’t have to pay to charge their EVs while on site. There are also government grants available to businesses interested in installing charging stations.

Community Charging

Community charging is a great way for EV drivers to use chargers that are sitting idle. It’s a real game-changer for people who don’t have a driveway to install their own charger. 

There’s also an app called Co Charger that makes it super easy. It’s basically the Airbnb of electric car chargers. You can rent someone’s home charger through the app and give your EV’s battery a well-deserved refill. If you’re lucky enough to have a home charger, you can make a little extra cash by renting it out to locals who need a charge.

Charging delivered straight to your EV

If you’re in London, Charge Fairy offers a convenient service where they will find your car and charge it at its parking spot using a modified power van. Charge Fairy keeps an eye on your car’s battery remotely and arrives to charge it whenever necessary. For a weekly fee of £5.99, you receive 10kWh of electricity, which is approximately equal to a 30-mile range. Any additional kWh you require will cost you 63p, which is more affordable compared to various rapid charging networks.

Standard three-pin socket

It’s absolutely fine and completely safe to charge your EV from a standard three-pin, 2.4kW wall socket. All you need is an EVSE cable. However, it can take up to 24 hours to charge your battery to 100%.

Forecasted number of charge points in the UK in 2030
Forecasted number of charge points in the UK in 2030. Source: deloitte.com

Can you run an EV charge cable across the pavement?

It is perfectly legal to run your charge cable across the pavement in the UK. However, the council does have the power to remove your cable if it’s found to be causing issues.

So if you plan on running a cable across the pavement to charge your EV, there are a few things you’ll want to consider: 

  • Ensure that your car insurance has the correct level of cover | If your insurance doesn’t cover this, it’s strongly advised that you don’t run a cable across the pavement until you’ve updated your policy. 
  • Consider ways to make cable more visible | For example, using bright colours (particularly for use at night). A cable protector will also allow for pushchairs and wheelchairs to easily traverse the cable, and should be removed when you’re not charging your EV.

How do you charge an electric car if you live in a flat?

Unfortunately, charge points are only available in certain lengths, which means it can be difficult to charge your EV from your flat unless you can park close by. EV manufacturers don’t allow for charge cables to be extended, so it’s advisable you don’t attempt this if it doesn’t stretch far enough.

It is possible to have EV chargers installed at residential car parks, and the government has a grant that allows landlords to apply and receive up to £30,000 to help install charging stations. If you and other residents speak to your landlord about the need for EV chargers, they should be able to have these installed with relatively little hassle or expense.

If you’re in a terraced house or a flat, you might also find it trickier to charge your EV without running a cable across the pavement and it may not always be possible. However there are several alternative options and solutions:

  • Green Mole | Green Mole is a company looking to expand a service that enables the creation of a small tunnel connecting your terraced house to your parking space, specifically designed to accommodate a charger cable. This can also be done without any excavation. However, with an estimated cost of £3,000, it does incur a significant additional expense.
  • Contact your local council | It’s also possible to ask your council to install charging points in nearby lampposts. If you live in London, you can contact your borough to suggest a location for an EV charge point. Then there’s also ChargeLight to help; ChargeLight is UK startup that installs chargers in lampposts. By using existing street infrastructure, they can offer charging services at a lower cost compared to rapid charging options (currently priced at 30p per kWh, plus a 20p connection fee). To get this started in your area, you can complete ChargeLight’s On-street charger request form.

  • Community charging schemes | Community charging schemes, such as ChargeMyStreet, offer assistance in installing chargers. They provide communities with the necessary resources and support to identify suitable locations and secure funding for their own charging points. This way, you can address the specific needs and benefits of your community. To learn more, check out the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme.

How will EV charging look in the future?

By the year 2030, new petrol and diesel vehicles will no longer be sold in the UK. That means more drivers will turn to EVs, and as a result, the surrounding infrastructure will also continue to grow. With that, there will be far more charging stations (the number grows weekly) and a wider variety of charging options, including:

  • Cable Gullies – terraced housing usually includes a gulley that runs from the house to the road to prevent rainwater from flooding pavements. These gullies also make for ideal paths to lay a cable between homes and the kerb and prevent the need to cause an obstruction.
  • Lamppost charging – chargers found in lampposts are already beginning to be installed in the UK, with 5000 in London alone. They allow drivers to charge an EV at the side of the road without causing any hazards and are concealed within normal, unassuming lampposts.
  • Kerbside chargers – kerbside chargers are small, public chargers that resemble bollards. Some kerbside chargers can even be hidden in the ground, only emerging when in use. This means they take up even less space on cramped residential streets.
  • Overhead chargers – a device known as a ChargeArm can be installed at the front of a house, and stretches over the pavement and down to your car, therefore not causing a hazard.
SMMT report showing total number of new car registrations as of April 2023
Source: smmt.co.uk

Is an EV still worth it if you don’t have a driveway?

As we’ve highlighted, there are plenty of options for EV drivers who don’t have a driveway, as well as the new and emerging technology that continues to improve how we charge our electric cars. The UK is moving toward an electric future, and that includes making charging easier and more accessible for all types of residential and commercial properties.

Electric car charging at home with no driveway may initially appear challenging (especially if you’re in a terraced house or flat), and while having an off-street charger is convenient, there are plenty of options available so that EVs are still a cost-effective choice for drivers. It’s also worth remembering that drivers don’t have any kind of at-home fuelling service with their petrol and diesel cars, so will be used to filling up the car while out and about.

Ready to make the switch to electric?

At elmo, we offer an electric car subscription service that means for just one affordable monthly cost, you get an EV and everything you need to drive it, including insurance, MOT, service, breakdown cover and more. Why not browse our range of electric cars and see just how easy and convenient an electric car subscription through elmo can be?

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