Everything you need to know about electric car charging points
One of the major questions people have before ditching their petrol or diesel cars for a far more environmentally-friendly EV is where and how you can charge it.
The last thing you want on a long journey is to find you’re approaching 10% charge and there are no nearby charging stations. However, thankfully, you don’t need to travel too far to find electric car charging stations in the UK – one of the many benefits of driving an EV.
How many charging points are there in the UK?
At the time of writing (early 2022) there are currently over 42,000 electric car charging points across the UK. These are found at over 15,000 locations all across the country. And this number doesn’t include the countless EV charge points installed for use in private homes.
But this number is growing – and fast. The government has announced that by 2030 there’ll be no sales of new petrol or diesel cars, which means the EV boom will very soon become an EV atom bomb.
Because of this, EV charging points will follow suit. With EVs growing in popularity, by the end of the decade there will be hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of new charge points installed all throughout the country.
Who owns and operates EV charge points?
There are over 30 providers who run EV charge points in the UK. The largest EV charging company is BP Pulse, formally known as Chargemaster, which was acquired by BP in 2018 and rebranded in 2020. As of 2022 BP Pulse has over 9,000 electric car charging points in the UK.
There are other major charge point providers you may commonly see during your travels around the country:
- Pod Point
- Shell Recharge
Can you use any charge point to charge your EV?
Yes, you can charge your EV at any public charging station provided you have the right charge card and/or mobile app to use that specific point. You need to ensure that your charge card has roaming enabled, which allows you to use charging stations from any provider.
You also need to check that your plug is compatible or you have the relevant adapter. While there are hundreds of Tesla charging stations in the UK, only Teslas are able to use these unless you have the specific adapter.
How much does it cost to use a charge point?
The cost of using a public charge point can vary depending on the provider, location, speed, length of use, and other factors.
Typically, using a rapid charger – commonly found at motorway services and other public charging stations – will cost around £6-7 for 30 minutes. This is often enough to charge your EV from 10% up to 70-80%. But remember, this can vary depending on your EV.
It’s also worth noting that some premium brand EV charging stations – such as Tesla – may charge more.
Head over to our charging cost page to use our handy calculator which lets you work out the average cost to charge, based on your electric car model and the type of charger you are using.
How much does it cost to charge an EV at home?
As you might expect, charging an EV at home is cheaper than using a public charging station. You might expect to charge your EV to 100% for around £9. Use our calculator on our charging costs page to work out your estimated cost based on the electric car make.
How much does it cost to have an EV charge point installed at home?
The cost of having an EV charge point installed at home is approximately £800-1,000. While this may seem like a large expense, there are government grants available that can cover 75% of the cost of installation.
The cost of installing a charge point will be recouped as you use your EV, as the cost of charging your car is considerably less than it costs to fill up with petrol or diesel.
For more information on grants and schemes to help EV drivers install charge points at home, check out the government website.
Fancy a home charge point installed in just a few weeks?
We’ve partnered with Easee & AES to provide elmo Home Charge. In just a few weeks, you could have a stylish Easee One unit installed at your home, giving you convenient access to cost-efficient charging whenever you need it. Find out more.
Everything you need to know before using a charge point
Very few electric car charging stations allow you to pay using a credit or debit card, with most requiring either an app or a charge card. Unfortunately, no stations allow you to pay using cash, so this is something to bear in mind when looking to charge your EV for the first time using a public charge point.
As mentioned above, ensure your charge card has roaming enabled, which will allow you to use charge points from all providers.
You will also need to clarify that your EV is compatible with charge points you intend to frequent, or you have the appropriate adapters.
Charge point speeds
Public charge stations charge at various rates, which can fall under several categories:
Slow and fast charge
A slow charge rate starts at 3kW, while fast would be considered 50kW. These speeds will charge your EV in around 6-12 hours, which is why this is perfectly suitable for home charging.
A rapid charger will charge a battery to 80% in around 20-60 minutes. This can vary depending on the range of your EV.
An ultra-rapid charge powers over 100kW, and can go as high as 350kW. This will charge your EV to 80% in around 20 minutes.
Are there any limits to using charge points?
No, there are no limits imposed when it comes to using EV points. However, you will be charged for the amount of time you use a charge point, so you won’t want to use it for longer than necessary.
Why not hire an electric car?
Looking to drive an EV yourself but don’t want to spend tens of thousands buying one? Check out elmo – we provide an affordable EV subscription service so you drive an EV of your own, with no hefty deposits or long-term contracts.