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 3 kW) which is best suited for 6-12 hours overnight; Fast charging (7-22 kW) which can fully recharge some models in 3-4 hours; and Rapid charging units (50+ kW DC or 43 kW AC) which are able to provide an 80% charge in around 30 minutes.
The majority of rapid chargers in the UK can deliver up to 50 kW, though a new generation of charge points means there is now a sub-set of rapid charging - ultra-rapid. These units are capable of providing 100+ kW, and up to 350 kW.
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 8 to 12 hours, though possibly longer, depending on model. 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 Type 1 (J1772) or 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 5 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.
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 CHAdeMO or CCS (Type 2 Combo) connector for DC charging, or a Type 2 (Mennekes) for AC. Often rated at around 50 kW, charging an electric vehicle to 80% typically takes 20 - 40 minutes, depending on model.
Not all electric vehicles can use a rapid charger, with capabilities usually limited to pure-electric models - those that depend on rapid charging for long-istance work. Rapid chargers are sited across the UK, often on or close to key routes. Adding to these are ultra-rapid chargers, which are designed to charge an EV as quickly as possible, reducing times down to 10 - 15 minutes for those models capable of taking the highest power ratings.
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. 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|
|3 kW||3 - 22 kW||3 - 7 kW||3 - 43 kW||50 kW||50 - 350 kW||50 - 150 kW|
|Slow (AC)||Slow or Fast (AC)||Slow or Fast (AC)||Slow, Fast, Rapid (AC)||Rapid (DC)||Rapid (DC)||Rapid (DC)|
Charge point networks
The majority of electric vehicle charging is conducted at home, with a significant proportion also carried out at work. However, public charging is regularly either required or beneficial, and public charging networks offer a mix of slow, fast and rapid charging points, either a nationally or at a regional level, depending on provider.
The largest national networks with widespread coverage include: Polar, Pod Point, Charge Your Car, Ecotricity, InstaVolt, and GeniePoint. Key regional neteorks include: ChargePlace Scotland, Source london, Revive (South West), and D2N2 (East Midlands).
Access to the above networks is typically by RFID card or smartphone app, though other access types are possible. Increasing numbers of units - particularly rapid devices - can be used with a contactless bank card, and there is legislation in place to make sure public points are accessible on an ad hoc basis.
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. Typically offering a charge rate of either 3 kW or 7 kW - depending on charge point installed - a complete charge is often possible overnight, when the car would usually be parked up anyway.
Charging at work is also an efficient location for EV charging – particularly where EVs are used and promoted for commuting. Businesses also gain as they can offer recharging facilities for company and customer vehicles, which is good for public relations, and also cuts company CO2 emissions and transport costs.