Electric car home charging guide

Making the transition to an electric car is an eco-friendly decision that will help reduce your carbon footprint and benefit the environment.

Before getting one, you’re probably wondering how electric vehicles are charged. In this guide, we’ve got everything you need to know.

Charging an electric car at home

One of the major benefits of electric vehicles is that they’re cheaper to run, with electricity a more cost-efficient option than petrol or diesel. But how do you charge an electric car?

Most electric car owners use a home charging point. These dedicated charging points are placed in the location where you park your car, so your car can be charged whenever you’re not using it.

They are usually weatherproof and are specially designed to handle the high wattage required to charge an electric car.

Some electric cars also come with a standard three pin charging cable, but we’d advise against using these as they charge slowly and are not specially designed to handle high charging loads.

Cost of EV charger home installation

Of course, most of us don’t have a specialised charging point. Instead, these need to be installed by a technician.

Electric car charger home installation costs in the UK can vary. However, to encourage more people to use electric cars, the government started the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. In this, those with qualifying vehicles get a grant to help pay for the installation. This grant helps cover 75% of the cost but is capped at £350.

With this grant, you can expect to pay around £750 to get a charge point installed at your home.

Charging electric cars in public

Charging an electric car is no longer limited to home charging. There are now public charging points all over towns and cities, and these provide a convenient way to top up the battery.

Finding these public points is easy with lots of apps displaying their locations. Many of these apps also have features that allow you to pay digitally. For those moments when you need a bigger charge, there are also rapid chargers. These are commonly found at motorway stations and can boost your range by 100 miles in as little as 30 minutes.

Not all electric vehicles have the same charging ports, but most public charging points have multiple adapters that should fit most vehicles.

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

A common electric vehicle myth is that charging takes forever. You’ll plug it in and then be waiting days before it’s charged.

This simply isn’t true. Depending on the home car charging point you have installed, charging an electric car can take as little as one hour!

Charging speeds for electric cars are measured in kilowatts (kW). Each charging point has a maximum charging speed per hour, with the most common charging speeds being 3.6kWh, 7kWh and 22kWh. There are also rapid chargers that will charge at up to 43-50kWh.

Therefore, a 40kW battery would take only one hour to charge using a 43-50kWh charging point, whereas it would be 11 hours with a 3.7kWh charger.

Some cars have limits on which charging speeds they can accept, so be sure to check this before choosing your charging point.

How often do you need to charge an electric vehicle?

You can charge your car as much as you like!

Some people choose to let their battery run down before charging it, while others plug it in every night so that they have a fully charged battery at the beginning of each day. When it comes to charging an electric vehicle, it’s best to do so whenever is convenient for you.

However, the life of high-voltage batteries can be shortened by charging the battery before it’s fully discharged. It’s therefore recommended that you allow the battery to fully discharge before recharging. It’s also advised that you only charge the battery to 80%, as this can also extend a battery’s life.

Did you know - Electricity rates are usually cheaper at night meaning you could save money by charging at night instead of in the daytime. Many energy providers also have off-peak tariffs and it’s worth researching to find the best tariff available.

Home Charging Tips

Check your car’s charging limit- If your car can only charge at 7kW per hour, you may not need a more powerful charging point. However, using a more powerful charger won’t damage your car and may be a good option if you plan to upgrade your electric car in the future.

Don’t overload your house’s electricity circuit- For the most powerful charging points, there’s the risk that the energy taken to charge your car combined with other usage within your house could be too much for your house’s consumer unit to handle. Be mindful of this and check what your electricity circuit can handle beforehand. Your charge point technician will also do this for you. Some charging points will also automatically balance the power according to your house’s electrical usage to prevent these issues from occurring.

Don’t overcharge- Only charging a battery to 80% is believed to extend the battery’s life. For this reason, most high-voltage batteries will only charge to 80% but will display 100% charge on the vehicle’s dashboard. Battery life for high-voltage batteries can also be extended by allowing the battery to fully discharge before recharging.

Home Charging Kits

As well as a home charging point, you’ll also need an EV charging cable. This is what connects between your car and the charging point. To help, we’ve put together a handy guide to EV charging connectors.

You can find our full range of charging cables and connectors here.

Hopefully you now have all the information you need about charging an electric car at home. For lots more information about electric cars, head over to our motoring advice articles and guides.