A guide to electric car charging

By far the biggest difference to driving an electric car compared to a petrol or diesel one is the way it’s fuelled. But eletric car charging doesn’t have to be complicated.

Charging an electric car is both surprisingly inexpensive and simple – essentially, no different from plugging in your mobile phone, which is something most of us do before we head to bed.

There are some things to bear in mind though, so here’s our guide to charging an EV, including how long it takes to charge an electric car, how much it costs and how often you should do it.


We’ll go through:

First though…

Here’s three things to know before you go electric car charging:

Know your connectors

Make sure you know what type of connector your EV comes with (there’s a couple).

kW vs kWh

KW is how powerful something is, kWh is the amount of energy something can store.

Max charging speed

Each EV has a limit as to how much electricity it can take onboard at any one time.

Understanding EV charging

Short on time? Watch Josh as he explains some of the basics of EV charging in a short explainer video.

Electric car charging at home

While there’s a vast, ever-expanding network of EV charging stations, many EV drivers choose to install home chargers – also known as ‘wall box chargers.’ Charging your EV at home is more affordable and hugely convenient. However, it isn’t possible for all drivers, like those who don’t have a driveway for example.

Home charging is smart, with EV drivers able to control their chargers remotely too. Why is that useful? Let us explain:

  • You’ll know you always have a full ‘tank’ – never be late for the school run again. Because you’ve not got to stop for fuel, charging at home means you’ll always leave with a topped up battery making it easier to get around.
  • You can control when your car charges, overnight when electricity is cheaper for example, to keep costs down.
  • You’ll be able to see your car’s battery status while plugged in, great for planning your day.

Plus, there’ll be no queueing for chargers because you know it’s always yours to use.

How to use a home charger

Operating a home charger is simple: 

  1. Activate charging mode
  2. Unspool the charging cable from your vehicle
  3. Attach it to your wall box charger
  4. Sit back and wait. As with mobile phones, the charging process should begin automatically. If it doesn’t, there may be a loose connection.

If you’re not able to install a charge point at home, this doesn’t mean you can’t charge your EV from the comfort of your home – you can use a standard three-pin plug.

It’s important to note that charging your EV this way will take longer – sometimes upwards of 24 hours from empty. For more information, check out our post on charging an EV if you don’t have a driveway.

How much does an electric car charging point cost to install at home?

Home charging devices aren’t cheap (though they are gradually coming down in price!) with average prices ranging between £600 and £1500, depending on the charging speed and features. Don’t forget installation, too.

We’ve teamed up with market leaders in charge units Easee, and expert installer AES to provide our own home charge solution for customers. From £949 you could get a stylish home charger, plus standard installation.

Are all chargers the same?

Not quite, so it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting into. 

As we’ve already covered, there are several types of chargers, so you should check that you’ve ordered the right charger with the correct connector.

The Easee One unit you can get through elmo and our partners is a smart charger, meaning it’ll work with all electric vehicles and power supplies. Most home charger cables are tethered to the station, too, so all you need to worry about is connecting it to your car.

Blue Fiat 500e being charged by a young man

Electric car charging at work

Workplace EV charging can be a great way to stay topped up and keep busy. While you’re at work, your car just sits around, right? Utilising that time to keep your car charged is a great way of integrating an electric car into your lifestyle.

There are various schemes and discounts your business/company could get too, to get even cheaper charging (or cheaper charger installations).

Electric car charging in public

MG5 charging port

There are several variations when it comes to using a public charger. The charging point you select will provide either AC slow or fast charging, or DC rapid or ultra-rapid charging (and you may be given the choice at the charging station).

What does it mean?

    • AC Slow: charging speeds of around 3 kilowatts (kW) per hour – only a little higher than the 2kW per hour provided by standard domestic plugs.
    • AC Fast: these provide up to 50kW of charging power and are usually found at smaller service stations or public points of interest.
    • DC Rapid: charging speeds of between 50kW and 100kW. One of the more expensive options, but you get what you pay for with much faster charging. These points will always be tethered and have a CCS port on them – your car will need this to access the faster chargers (but don’t worry, nearly all new EVs have them).
    • DC Ultra-rapid: charging speeds upwards of 100kW. These are the really fast chargers you’ll get at motorway service stations or at a Tesla Supercharger site.
Something to note with these chargers is that your car may not be able to utilise them; if you take a car with a 50kW max charging speed to a 150kW ultra-rapid charger, you’ll still only get 50kW max charging speed, so it’s not worth the extra money.

Typically, the slow and fast chargers are ‘untethered’, meaning you have to use your own cable (so make sure to have it with you at all times!).

How to pay at public electric car charging points

Public charging points are installed and operated by different network providers, so using each one can be different. Handily, there are a few ways for you to get charging:

Using an app

Most charge point providers have an app that you can download onto your phone and start charging with. They’ll likely ask you to sign up and create an account with them, though how you pay may differ:

  • Some will require you to ‘top up’ your account with money before you plug in
  • Some will debit your bank account monthly
  • And some will simply charge you after each individual session.

The vast majority of these apps will also tell you which of their chargers are free/in-use and how much they cost, so you can plan your journey.

Something to note: you’ll need to have a reasonable mobile or wi-fi signal at the time you use the charger or you may not be able to connect to it.

Using a card

Network RFID tag

Some providers may opt to send you a physical card that you top up with money and tap on the charge point to activate it. You won’t need phone signal, so long as you’ve got money on your account.

Contactless bank cards

Some providers will let you pay using your normal contactless bank card, though they may charge you more for the pleasure. Lots of chargers don’t have this functionality yet either, so be sure to check whether the point you’re going to will let you pay with contactless.

And plug & play chargers

These are the easiest of all models to use. As the name suggests, simply plug in and start charging – though, these free points are few and far between now.

How easy is it to find an EV public charging point?

There are currently over 44,000 electric vehicle charging points across the UK (as of July 2023) and this figure is constantly climbing.

Charging points have been strategically placed around the country at points of interest or on well-used routes to make commuting in an EV a breeze.

You’ll find them at most major motorway service stations now, as well as dotted around the country at supermarkets, on high-streets and at hotels or leisure parks. Basically, you’ll never be too far from a charge point.

We estimate our subscribers will never be more than 15 miles away from an elmoCharge enabled charge point.

An app we could recommend to every EV driver though is Zap-Map – it’ll show you in real time which chargers are near you and available as you drive. Easy peasy.

elmo’s Charging Offering

Whether you’ll be charging your EV at home, or relying on the UK’s public charging network, it can be daunting to get your head around. But don’t worry, we’re here to help and simplify it for you. After all, it wouldn’t be ‘all-inclusive’ unless we can help with charging.

elmo Home Charging

If you have the luxury of a driveway at home, why not take advantage of cheaper electricity tariffs and ultimate convenience with a home charge point?

We’ve teamed up with Easee and AES to provide subscribers with a stylish home charge point, plus installation from £949.

elmo Public Charging

More likely to rely on public charging? It can be a bit confusing (with all the different charging providers, apps and cards). So, we’ve simplified this experience with elmoCharge.

All our subscribers will receive an elmoCharge card in their car when it’s delivered. One card gives drivers access to over 25,000 chargers from 20+ providers through our partnership with Paua, the UK’s largest charge point roaming provider.

You’ll be able to keep track of your spending and there’s no need to set up endless direct debits with lots of different companies. If you’ll be using your EV for long journeys and will be reliant on public charging, elmoCharge will save you lots of time and hassle.


How long does it take to charge an electric car?

This depends on a few things: the size of your car battery, the speed at which your car can charge at and how powerful the charge point is.

Here are some examples of cars charging from 10-80%*:

Battery capacity
Max charging speed
Time at a slow charger (2.3kW)
Time at a fast charger (7.4kW)
Time at a rapid charger (50kW)
Time at an ultra-rapid (150kW)
Renault ZOE
26hr 45m
8hr 30m
Vauxhall Mokka-e
23hr 45m
7hr 30m
Polestar 2 Standard Range
31hr 15m
9hr 45m
Tesla Model Y Long Range
38hr 30m
*figures taken from EV Database.
**Tesla Model Y can also charge 10-80% at a 250kW Tesla Supercharger in 27 minutes.
Something to note: these times could be affected by the temperature or battery health of your car, as EVs will slow down how fast they charge in some situations to preserve the battery.

Man charging a black Tesla Model 3

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

The cost to charge an electric car depends on a number of factors, such as which electric car charging station you’re at, what charging provider you’re using and how long you charge for/how much energy you add into the battery.

Charging is generally calculated per kWh of energy added into the battery. The average cost for rapid public chargers, for example, is around 0.70p per kWh, though slower chargers are usually much cheaper around 34p per kWh*. That would mean a FIAT 500e driving around 145 miles (more in the summer!) would cost just £14.

Charging at home is almost always the most economical option. The amount you pay depends – very simply – on your electricity tariff and the capacity of your vehicle’s battery. Naturally, a larger battery will take longer to charge and cost that little bit more.

The good news is some electricity providers offer EV specific tariffs that’ll offer you cheaper rates if you drive an EV and use a home charge point. Handy!

Does charging affect electric car battery life?

Electric cars have really sophisticated battery management systems meaning they can withstand thousands of charge cycles throughout their lifetime without degrading too much.

You shouldn’t worry too much about battery degradation from charging so long as you follow a few good charging practices:

Tips for maintaining battery health in an EV

There’s more information on maintaining a healthy EV battery on our Servicing & Maintenance Guide.

*As of June 2023.

Types of charger connectors and charging cables

Don’t worry, it’s not complicated! 

There are a few types of chargers on modern electric cars:

Type 1 electric car charging connectors
Type 2 electric car charging connectors
CHAdeMO electric car charging connectors

Each EV will come with a charging cable – you should always keep this with you, just in case you need it for an untethered charging station.

Essentially, you just need to know what connector type your car comes with so you can go to the right charger – otherwise it’ll be like going on holiday without the correct adapter, your cable just won’t fit.


How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Depending on the capacity of the battery and the speed of the charging station, charging can vary. Slower charging stations can take 12-16 hours, whereas rapid charge points can charge from 10-80% in as little as 20 minutes.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

When charging an EV from home, it will cost approximately £12-14 to charge to 100%. Public charge points can vary, with rapid charge points costing around £15-25 for half an hours use. Try our charging cost calculator to find out more.

How easy is it to find an EV public charging point?

The short answer: very. A common worry amongst first-time EV drivers is finding a charger, but this is becoming less of a concern everyday. Most apps have a mapping function to help you, but services like Zap-Map are great for helping you find charge points.

Want to drive an electric car?

Many people are interested in the benefits of electric vehicles but are wary of making the leap straight into purchasing one.

The technology is becoming ever more advanced but it is still new enough to leave doubts in the minds of some drivers. A great way to test the waters is via subscription.

Pay a simple, monthly rate, complete with tax and insurance, and see for yourself just what all the fuss is about.

Any Questions?

Call us on 0330 165 4945

Email us at hello@elmodrive.com

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