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Charging an Electric Car

Wondering what your options are when it comes to charging an electric car? You’re in the right place, read on for information on the multiple ways in which you can recharge those batteries.

There are four main ways to charge an EV; at home, at work, destination or en-route charging. Here we will take you through each option, highlighting key points and need-to-knows about how to charge.


Home Charging

The majority of EV drivers choose to install a car charger at their home; as a result, home charging accounts for over 60% of all EV top-ups. If you have off-road parking, you should be able to have a dedicated charger installed at home (for info on how you can claim the OLEV grant to cover some of the costs click here). This method of charging is by far the most convenient, allowing you to charge while you binge-watch the latest Netflix series and plug in overnight, taking advantage of night-time tariffs.

Key points on home charging:

• A dedicated EV charge point provides some of the fastest charging speeds, averaging around 10 to 30 miles of range for every hour of charge.
• Tethered models feature a permanently attached cable, allowing you to simply plug in and charge.
• Untethered models often come with a universal ‘Type 2’ socket. For this model type, you’ll need to have a separate cable, which plugs into your car in the same way.
• Charging cables are often provided by the car manufacturer. However, if you find yourself without a cable, you can usually purchase them when ordering your new EV home charger or separately from most charger suppliers.
• Dedicated EV chargers are the safest way to charge. Home chargers have built-in safety features, load balancing capabilities and over-the-air software updates; some may boast additional smart features such as energy monitoring. To learn more about the Wallstation’s smart features, click here.

Can I use a 3-pin plug to charge my EV?

The simple answer to this question is, yes you can. Electric vehicles can be charged using a 3-pin plug at home. However, there are some concerns with this charging process. Notably, these sockets do not have the same level of safety features offered by a dedicated charge point. If you don’t have an outdoor plug socket, loose cables can become hazardous, and if you do, ensure it is protected from the elements. Lastly, charging with a 3-pin takes a lot longer to achieve the level of charge you’d get in 30 minutes using an EV charger.


Workplace Charging

When considering where your EV’s parked for long periods during the day, your place of work is likely to rank second to home. Charging while at work is often just as convenient as home charging, however, you’ll need to be conscious of the needs of other fellow EV driver colleagues.

Given the growing popularity of EV’s and intensifying pressure on businesses to operate sustainably, companies are installing charging stations for staff and visitors. The implementation of charge points is considered a perk for employees, facilitates the transition to electric fleets and enables organisations to advance their environmentally friendly policies.

Key points on workplace charging:

• Charge points installed in parking spaces at work typically offer similar charging speeds to that of a home charger. Universal ‘Type 2’ sockets enable all EV drivers to take advantage of the units. However, you’ll probably need to bring your own charging cable.
• How to use workplace EV chargers will vary based on the charge point and your company’s preference. Simply plugging in may start your charge, while others may choose to use an RFID swipe card system or smartphone app to initiate charging sessions.
• If your company has yet to install an EV charge point, forming a petition or collectively speaking to your HR department is often an effective way to facilitate advancements in this area. Organisations are unlikely to invest in this area unless they can be sure the charge points will be a benefit to their employees.

Should I opt for an electric company car?

BIK rates go to 1% for zero-emission vehicles in 2021; this will lead to significant savings when choosing an electric company car. If this option is available to you and your workplace offers EV charging, it seems like a no-brainer.


Destination Charging

Catching the latest Marvel release at the cinema, heading to the gym or doing the weekly shop? You can utilise these times when your EV is parked up by regularly topping up.

When charging your EV battery, you’re unlikely to reach a full charge every time you plug in outside the home. Instead, frequent charging sessions prevent the battery from running low and means you never have to wait while recharging from empty.

Key points on destination charging:

• Big retail chains and large organisations are investing heavily in EV charge points as a means to better serve their customers and encourage them to stay longer. As a result, many of these businesses offer free charging.
• You will need your own cable. In many cases, simply plug in to start charging, while in others you may need to download an app. (This is always helpful to check beforehand).
• On-going developments in commercial charge points have resulted in user-friendly charging units that provide a seamless service. However, some older charge points may require an RFID card.
• To locate charging stations, close to you, en-route or at your destination, you can use apps, such as Zap-Map, providing detailed information on the UK’s growing network of public EV chargers.


Charging En-route

This type of charging is the least used, particularly if you have access to home and workplace charge points. Nevertheless, you may live in Plymouth and need to take a trip up to Scotland to visit your beloved mother-in-law. Additionally, you may find yourself running critically low having forgotten to plug in the night before and require a top-up. In these instances, you can take advantage of the growing network of high powered, rapid chargers across the UK. Motorway service stations and other stop-off points, such as supermarket car parks, offer these fast charge points.

Key points on en-route charging:

• Unlike destination charging, these rapid charge points typically require payment for use. These units dispense a lot of electricity in a short timeframe and are also expensive to implement and maintain.
• Superchargers will always be tethered, meaning you will not need to provide your own calve to use them.
• Connector types vary and which one you can use will depend on your car. The latest, up-to-date rapid chargers often offer all three types of connectors, or at the very least, both DC standards.
• If you’re unsure about how to locate these charge points, there are several platforms to aid you in your search. Using apps, such as Zap-Map mentioned above, will help you on your way.


Summing Up

EV drivers have options. The industry has grown exponentially over the last few years and is showing no signs of slowing down. Infrastructure advancements, smarter home chargers and an expanding public network mean it’s never been easier to charge an electric vehicle.

Investing in a dedicated home EV charger, one that best suits the needs of you and your household, remains the most convenient form of charging while plugging in when out and about will keep you topped up and on the road. Just remember your cable.

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with the team at macXcharging, we’re here to help.

Happy Charging!

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