EV charging – locate charging points across the UK
EV charging points are primarily defined by the power (in kW) they can produce and therefore what speed they are capable of charging an EV. While connector types are also a key issue, most EVs are equipped with two or more cables to allow the use of chargers with different connector outlets.
There are three main EV charging speeds: Slow charging (up to 3kW) which is best suited for 6-8 hours overnight; Fast charging (7-22kW) which can fully recharge some models in 3-4 hours; and Rapid charging units (43-50kW) which are able to provide an 80% charge in around 30 minutes.
Explore Zap-Map live to locate all public access charge points across the UK. Alternatively, visit Zap-Map.com to search by connector and EV model, and access the latest news on EV charging.
Charge point types
Slow charging an EV uses a standard single-phase 13 Amp three-pin plug (BS 1363) and draws 3 kW of power – with a full charge typically taking 6 to 8 hours. Although a standard 13A domestic socket can be used, our advice is that a qualified electrician conducts a house survey to ensure that the wiring will safety support the long periods of charging.
Nearly all electric models can be slow charged with each vehicle being supplied with a charging cable with the appropriate connectors – in mosts cases a standard three-pin plug at the charging point end, and either a gun shaped Type 1 (J1772) or 7-pin Type 2 (Mennekes) connector for connection to the vehicle.
Fast charging reduces charge times to around half that of a slow charge by at least doubling the current to around 32 amps (7 kW) – so that the time for a full charge is typically 3 to 4 hours. Most commercial and many public on-street chargers use this technology.
While not all electric vehicles are able to accept a fast charge at 32 amps, most can be connected to them (with the right connector) and will draw either 13 or 32 amps depending on their capability. While Type 1 (J1772) connectors were the most common, these are steadily being replaced by the more versatile 7-pin Type 2 (Mennekes) socket.
Rapid chargers supply an electric vehicle directly with either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) from a dedicated charging unit using a tethered cable equipped with a non-removable connector, usually a JEVS (CHAdeMO), 9-pin CCS (Combo) connector or a Type 2 (Mennekes). Often rated at around 50 kW, charging an electric vehicle to 80% typically takes less than half an hour.
As with fast charging, not all electric vehicles can use a rapid charger. While the short charge times make this option very convenient, regular use of rapid charging can reduce battery life. At least 300 rapid charge locations are installed in the UK with many more planned for installation later this year.
EV connector types
Connecting an electric vehicle to an EV charger requires a cable fitted with connectors to match the charger outlet socket and the vehicle inlet socket. Most cables have a connector at each end (to couple with the charger outlet and vehicle inlet) or are tethered, which means that the cable is permanently attached to the charging unit.
The choice of connector is determined by whether an EV is charged using AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current), the charging speed (kW power) and the safety protocol employed. Having different countries of origin, the make and model will also determine which connector are used. The following table shows images of the main connector types, together with their likely power ratings and associated charger types.
|3-Pin||Commando||Type 1||Type 2||CHAdeMO||CCS||Tesla Type 2|
|3kW 1-phase||3-22kW 1/3-phase||3-7kW 1-phase||3-43kW 1/3-phase||50kW||50kW||50-120kW|
|Slow (AC)||Slow or Fast (AC)||Slow (AC)||Slow, Fast, Rapid (AC)||Rapid (DC)||Rapid (DC)||Rapid (DC)|
Charge point networks
The majority of electric vehicle charging is conducted at home or at work. Public charging networks offer a mix of slow, fast and rapid charging points operated by either a national or regional network. The largest regional networks include: Source London, ChargePoint Scotland, Plugged-in Midlands and Northern Ireland. Once a member, EV users have access to all charge points in networks with which they are registered.
National networks have also been developed using private or public funding. The main operators which offer charging facilities across the country include: Charge Your Car, Ecotricity, POD Point and ChargeMaster/POLAR. Given that these charging networks are still at an early stage of development, current networks vary widely in coverage, services offered, support, costs and membership options.
For further information on all the network operators across the UK, including area of operation, costs and access arrangements visit the Zap-Map public charging guide.
Charging at home or work
Charging at home is the simplest, cheapest and most popular way to charge an electric vehicle. While only offering a slow charge rate (under 3 kW), using a cable fitted with 3-pin plug supplied with most electric cars, a completely depleted battery will typically require 6-8 hours to fully charge (longer for models with larger batteries). Given that EVs are usually parked at home overnight, this option is relatively cheap to install, and uses low-cost night-tariff electricity.
Charging at work is also an efficient location for EV charging – particularly where EVs are used and promoted for commuting. Business also gain as they can also offer recharging facilities for company and customer vehicles, which is good for public relations and also cuts company CO2 emissions as well as transport costs.
For more information about installing home-based or workplace dedicated charge points, visit the Zap-Map charging at home and charging at work guides for further information on charge point installers and costs.