Electric vehicles FAQ

What are the different types of charging?

There are three main types of EV charging – rapidfast, and slow. These represent the power outputs, and therefore charging speeds, available to charge an EV. Note that power is measured in kilowatts (kW).

Rapid chargers are one of two types – AC or DC [Alternating or Direct Current]. Current Rapid AC chargers are rated at 43 kW, while most Rapid DC units are at least 50 kW. Both will charge the majority of EVs to 80% in around 30-60 minutes (depending a battery capacity). Tesla Superchargers are also Rapid DC and charge at around 120 kW. Rapid AC devices use a tethered Type 2 connector, and Rapid DC chargers are fitted with a CCS, CHAdeMO or Tesla Type 2.

Fast chargers include those which provide power from 7 kW to 22 kW, which typically fully charge an EV in 3-4 hours. Common fast connectors are a tethered Type 1 or a Type 2 socket (via a connector cable supplied with the vehicle).

Slow units (up to 3 kW) are best used for overnight charging and usually take between 6 and 12 hours for a pure-EV, or 2-4 hours for a PHEV. EVs charge on slow devices using a cable which connects the vehicle to a 3-pin or Type 2 socket.

Where can I charge an electric car?

You can charge a car at home using a dedicated home charging point (a standard 3 pin plug with an EVSE cable should only be used as a last resort).

An electric car will have either a Type 1 or a Type 2 connector and you’ll need to choose a home charger that’s compatible with it. Make sure you get the right chargepoint for your vehicle when you purchase!

There is also a large network of public charge points, either on street (currently, Swindon doesn’t have any on street) or more commonly in car parks at public places. You can view the network on Zap Map

Payment and access methods across networks vary widely, with some networks providing an RFID card and others a smartphone app to use their services. While most require an account to be set up before use, some rapid units with contactless PAYG card readers are starting to be installed.

Although many EV charge points are free to use, the majority of fast and rapid chargers require payment. Charging tariffs tend to comprise a flat connection fee, a cost per charging time (pence per hour) and/or a cost per energy consumed (pence per kWh).

Can I just plug into a 3-pin socket?

It’s useful to have a 3 pin charging cable as a backup charging option, but they are not designed to withstand these loads and should not be used long term.

How much does it cost to charge a car?

The cost of driving an electric car is about 2-5p per mile, which means EV drivers can save up to up £1,000 a year when compared to driving a petrol or diesel car.

Charging an electric car at home costs about £8.40 for a full charge and is the most convenient and cost-effective way to keep your car fully charged. Most drivers will charge their electric car overnight, waking up to a full battery every morning.

  • With the average UK electricity price sitting at around 14p per kWh , fully charging a 60kWh electric car will cost about £8.40 and give you about 200 miles of range. This equates to 4p per mile.

How long does it take to charge a car?

A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point. Most drivers top up charge rather than waiting for their battery to recharge from empty-to-full.

Can you over charge a car?

The short answer is that you can’t overcharge an electric car’s battery. Electric vehicles (like Teslas, Chevy Bolts, Nissan Leafs) all have a built-in battery management and monitoring system which makes sure that the main battery pack doesn’t overcharge.