More and more of us are looking for ways to support a sustainable future and in the motoring world that normally means one thing: making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Greener, quieter, and lower maintenance, it’s easy to see why EVs are growing in popularity and why an electric car might be appearing on your drive in the near future.

In this guide to EV charging, we take you through the main aspects of electric vehicle chargers, EV charging at home, charger installation and more, so that you’ll be fully informed when you decide to make that switch. 


How to charge an EV 

There are three main ways to charge an electric car or plug-in hybrid: 

  1. A charging point that you’ve had installed at home 
  2. A mains three-pin socket 
  3. A public charging station 

Home charging point 

For most EV owners, a home EV charging point is the best option when it comes to keeping their vehicle charged and ready. These charging points can be installed in a convenient location, are weatherproof and are specifically designed to handle the high wattage that electric car charging requires. 

Here at Halfords, we offer home EV chargers from Cord (see ‘Getting a charger installed’ below for more information) and their online system will walk you through the purchasing process. 

Shop EV chargers 

Mains three-pin socket 

Most electric cars will come with a charging cable for a three-pin domestic plug and, while you can use this to charge your EV, we’d advise against it. Three-pin domestic plugs are slow to charge, aren’t designed to handle high charging loads, and aren’t designed to be a long-term charging solution (it wouldn’t be safe to use them all the time). 

Public charging station 

There are thousands of public electric car charging points available at workplaces, supermarkets, motorway service stations and petrol stations across the UK. With it now being a legal requirement for all large petrol stations and motorway services to provide charging points, and with EVs continuing to grow in popularity, this number is only expected to increase over the coming years.

While these stations can offer a range of fast charging speeds, the downside is that it’ll cost you more to charge your car using a public station than it would at home.

Types of EV chargers 

There are two main types of EV charger: untethered and tethered. 


Untethered chargers can connect to all EVs, but require you to provide your own compatible charging cable because they don’t come with one themselves. The main benefit of this type of socket is its flexibility, while the main drawback is the fact that you need to provide the cable yourself and transport it around. 

Shop EV charging cables 


Tethered chargers come with a charging cable attached – you simply park up and plug in. This is the most convenient type of charger.

Charging speeds 

Charging speeds are calculated in kWh, which is how many kilowatts of energy a charger will supply per hour. The capacity of EV batteries is also measured in kilowatts. You can easily calculate how quickly a charger will top up your EV’s battery by dividing a battery’s capacity by a charger’s speed.

However, you should note that most cars will limit the speed at which they can accept charge. So, whilst a faster public charging device might sound attractive it doesn’t always mean the car can charge at the advertised speed! Cord’s handy lookup tool will give you specifics for your vehicle.

There are two common charging speeds found for EV chargers. 

Standard chargers 

Standard chargers use alternating current (AC) and normally charge at speeds 7.4kWh (while some go up to 22kWh, the vast majority of UK homes are unable to charge at these speeds). You’ll usually find these chargers at home, in workplaces and at some public charging points.

Type 1 and type 2 connectors support slow charging. 

Fast chargers 

Fast chargers use direct current (DC), and the most common charging speed is 50-320kWh. You’ll usually find these chargers in workplaces and public locations like motorway service stations. 

For more information about EV charging speeds and connector types, we’d recommend reading our Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging Connectors. 

Getting a charger installed 

It’s easier and cheaper than you may think to get an EV charger installed in your home. Here at Halfords, installation is included in the price when you purchase an EV charger. The installation service is provided by our expert partner Cord, and you can book a home survey online as part of the EV charger purchasing process on the Cord website

The installation process itself should take no longer than half a day and will involve a fully qualified engineer fitting your charger, demonstrating its functions, and answering any questions you might have. In addition, you’ll get access to priority aftercare as a Halfords customer and a customer support helpline in case you might have any questions further down the line. 

You can find out more about EV home charging, the installation process and our partnership with Cord on our Electric Vehicle Home Charging page.

Shop EV chargers 

The cost of EV charging 

There are lots of factors that influence how much running an EV may cost you and we’ve listed some of the main ones below: 

  • Model of car 
  • Size of battery 
  • Average mileage 
  • Charging speed of the car and your charger
  • Electricity tariffs 
  • Cost of home charging points 

However, as an electric car is cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel one, you can rest assured that you’ll be making a saving in the long-run and helping the environment if you make the switch. 

For a more detailed exploration of the costs associated with running and charging an electric car, check out Cord's vehicle lookup tool for figures specific to your make and model.


An EV is any vehicle that is partially or fully powered by electric. There are two main types of EV: 

  • Battery electric vehicles are purely powered by electricity and run on batteries alone. 
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have a small battery with a limited range and their main source of power is fuel via an internal combustion engine. 

EV charging stands for ‘electric vehicle charging’ and is the way that the batteries inside electric vehicles are recharged. The main methods of EV charging are via home charging points and public charging points. 

This depends on the make and model of your car, the size of your battery, and the charger that you choose (for example, a 7.2kW charger will charge your EV twice as quickly as a 3.6kW charger). 

As a rough benchmark, here’s how long it would take a 7.2kW charger to fully charge the following car models: 

  • Toyota Prius: approx. 1.5 hours 
  • Nissan Leaf: approx. 9 hours 
  • Tesla Model S: approx. 10 hours 

Have a look at our Electric Car Home Charging Guide  for more information about charging times. 

While charging speeds and associated travelling distances depend on your make and model of car, here’s a general guide to the different levels of EV charging*:

At home: 

  • Standard (7kW charger): Up to 30 miles on a 1-hour charge – this is the most common type of charger 

Away from home: 

  • Rapid (50kW charger): Up to 90 miles on a 30-minute charge 
  • Ultra (150kW charger): Up to 200 miles on a 30-minute charge 

*Please note that not all EVs are compatible with charging at every level. Check your vehicle handbook to find out what rate your EV can charge at. 

No, although it might be more cost-effective for you to do so. Some energy suppliers offer reduced rates for overnight EV charging, which means you can charge your car while you sleep while paying less for your kWh than you would during the day. 

  • Charging your vehicle with a specific home charging point is convenient, safe and eco-friendly. 
  • A home charging point provides a faster charging time than a domestic three-pin plug (7kWh rather than 2kWh) and is a safer long-term charging method. 
  • Home charging via a specific charging point is the most cost-effective way to charge your vehicle, since you can take advantage of off-peak tariffs.
  • All the charging units that we sell have been tested to the highest standard, gaining third party certification.
  • We offer at least a 3-year warranty on our range
  • You can book a home survery online, on a date and at a time that suits you. 
  • All our home charger installations are carried out by qualified electricians from our trusted partner Cord, a company who specialises in the EV charging field. This provides peace of mind that the chargers are fitted correctly and weatherproofed to a regulated standard. 

In the unlikely event that you experience a problem with your EV charger after installation, you can contact the Cord customer support helpline on 0330 102 5656 or email them at for further assistance. 

You can take your home charger with you if you move house, but you’ll need to arrange for it to be un-installed and then installed at your new property – so, it may be more cost-efficient to choose a new charger instead.

If you change your car, you can continue to use the same at-home charger.

The home chargers that we offer have the highest quality build rating (IK08), are completely weatherproof, and can be turned on and off from your phone. As the charger is linked to your vehicle and your phone, nobody else can use it unless you give them permission.

All of the charging points that we sell benefit from a minimum three-year warranty.

Manufacturers recommend only charging EVs to 80%, as this helps to prolong the life of your battery and will still provide you with plenty of driving miles. 

The one exception to this is wintertime charging. As it takes battery power to heat up a battery to the optimal operating temperature, staying plugged in will extend your driving range during cold weather. 

A little bit, but it’s nothing to worry about. Electric cars can handle extended periods of inactivity very well, even better than combustion-powered engines, and will only lose a minimal amount of charge.

Prior to installation, a Cord surveyor will need to complete a home survey to give them opportunity to assess any technical aspects of the installation and helps make the installation process as smooth as possible. 

Installation will then usually be completed within 2-3 weeks of this survey.

O-PEN protection is technology built into home charge points that ensures the unit is connected to the electrical power supply safely and, in the event of a fault, automatically disconnects the unit from all live conductors. Not only does this give you piece of mind that the unit won’t affect the other electrics in your house, but it also means there’s no need for an earth rod when installing the unit.

Our range at Halfords includes units with O-PEN protection technology.

Shop EV chargers

No, the expert electricians from Cord will ensure the unit is fitted securely and safely. They’ll take a new feed from your incoming power supply so there will be no interaction with your consumer unit or other electrics in your house. All Cord chargers come with “dynamic load balancing” – this means they continually monitor the energy demand in the home and reduce / increase charging speed accordingly to ensure there are no interruptions to your power supply.

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