Electric vehicles FAQ


What are the different types of charging?

There are currently different “speeds” of charging, defined by ranges of kW.

Low speed – Under 3.7kW. Very few charge point units will dispense at low speed.

Standard charge point units (3.7 kW to less than 8 kW) are best used for overnight charging and can take between 6 – 12 hours to charge from empty to full charge.  Some home chargers will be around 7kW.

Fast charge point units (8kW to 49kW) can be found in car parks, on street and workplace charging as they take 2–7 hours for a pure-EV to charge fully depending on the battery size of the car.  Some home chargers will be around 11kW.

Rapid charge point units (50kW – 149kW) and Ultra rapid units (150 kW and over) are the quickest way to recharge a vehicle, typically recharging a vehicle to 80% in around 30 minutes. However, rapid charge points are expensive to install and use, but they’re a great way to top up during long journeys. Typically found in motorway service car parks, petrol stations, larger shopping centres and supermarkets.

It is important for Swindon’s charge point network to have a mix of charging speeds, available to meet the needs of different user groups.

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 has 22 bays in SN1 – read more here) or more commonly in car parks at public places, such as retail parks, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants. You can view the whole 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 some require an account to be set up before use, the government is trying to regulate against this and so you’ll find some units with contactless PAYG card readers are starting to be installed.

Although some public 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).

Peer to peer charging (Sharing other people’s home chargers).  This emerging market allows home owners with driveways to hire out their chargepoints to allow other people to charge their cars.  There are apps to help this process of matching up – such as co-charger and zap-home.  There is also a feature on Just Park to share chargers, called Just Charge.


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?

With the instability of global electricity prices, it is difficult to give an accurate indication of the cost of charging an electric car.  There is also a difference in cost depending whether you charge at home or at a public chargers, as well as the speed of the charger, and the size of your car’s battery

Podpoint calculate that for a typical electric car with a 60kWh battery and ~200 mile range:

  • Charging at home: Costs about £17 for a full charge. *
  • Rapid charging: Rapid charging points are normally found at motorway service stations and typically cost £22 for a 30 min, ~90 mile charge. **

* Costs calculated at 32p/kWh based on usable battery is ~54kWh (90%).
** Charging at 50kW, receiving 3.5 miles per kWh. Assumes tariff of 73p/kWh applicable to most network rapid chargers as of March 2023.

Many energy suppliers offer discounted tariffs for overnight charging, so it’s worth finding out what yours offers, and consider switching. This website compares some of the EV tariffs that are available.

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 (slow) charging point. Most drivers will “top up” charge little and often rather than waiting for their battery to recharge from empty-to-full.

Can I park on the road and trail the cable from my house to my car?

Currently, Swindon Borough Council cannot give you permission to do this, as placing a cable across the highway (which includes pavements) could contravene the Highways Act, and is a trip hazard to users of the pavement – even with the use of a cable protector.

However, we are looking at emerging solutions from other trials around the country.

In the meantime we recommend you use public charge points or peer to peer solutions See earlier question “Where can I charge an electric car?”.

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.

What is Swindon Borough Council doing to promote the take up of electric vehicles?

The answer is lots!

On-street Charging
Swindon Borough Council has received a Government grant to start rolling out on-street charging points in places where there are few opportunities to park off street. It’s a small project to start with, but we will monitor the take up, and will continue to consider future demand. Read more here.

EV Strategy
We have drafted a strategy to consider how we will meet demand over the next ten years. This includes on-street as well as off-street infrastructure provision, promotional activity, using planning and licencing policies to encourage EV and a rolling action plan. Read more here.

Trailing Cables solutions
We are currently looking at the issue of trailing cables.  For residents who have no off street parking but need to connect a cable to their car on-street, we are looking into trials from other parts of the UK into how they provide solutions to this problem.

Fleet conversion
Swindon Borough Council has started to convert its own fleet to electric.  You will start to see our electric vans and cars on the roads.  The switch to EV is being done in line with the natural vehicle replacement programme.

Taxi support
The council is also working with taxi drivers to understand how they can be supported in switching to electric.  The”Taxi task force” will understand their needs in terms of having chargers around the town.

Planning policy
Our planning requirements changed in 2020 to ensure that new housing, workplaces and leisure developments will play their part in rolling out infrastructure to support the switch to EV.  All planning applications for new housing and buildings will have to provide a certain level of EV charge points.

Why are you putting the on-street charging points in areas where parking is in demand?

It is a requirement of Government funding that we install the points where there is proven demand, and we undertook a survey in March 2020 which highlighted the biggest need is in Eastcott and Central wards where the terraced streets mean drivers haven’t got garages or driveways to charge electric cars from. 55% of respondents indicated that the would purchase an electric car if the infrastructure was installed.

We appreciate that it may take a while for residents to convert to electric vehicles, so the bays may be under-utilised to begin with, but without them, how can residents ever have the confidence to make that switch?

How will you stop petrol or diesel vehicles from parking in the EV bays?

The bays will be subject to a traffic regulation order, that will restrict the parking to electric vehicles only, and during the Resident Parking Zone operation times (8am – 10pm) also restrict the use to permit holders for the zone, and a 3-hour limit. Three hours is considered sufficient to top up, whilst the unrestricted overnight period from 10pm to 8am can provide a fuller charge.

How much will it cost to charge on-street?

It is important to Swindon Borough Council that the charge points are affordable, so when we tendered for an operator we scored bidders more favourably if they promise to keep their rates low for customers.  EB Charging are the operator for our on-street charge points and whilst they were able to keep the cost below 25p per kWh since 2021, the surge in global energy prices has meant they have had to increase the price to 69p/kWh from April 2023.  This is the current market price for fast chargers – the on street points are 22kW fast chargers.

Can you install a charge point on my street?

We are collecting resident suggestions of where they would find EV charge points useful.  Suggestions will then be evaluated against other criteria and a shortlist will go forward for the next round of Government funding.

If you have a suggestion of where a charge point should be installed, please fill in the survey at

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