How to charge an electric car

The ultimate guide to charging your electric car.

Just bought your first electric car? Thinking about switching to electric? One of the biggest questions you’re likely to have is… “How and where do I charge my vehicle’s battery?”

We wrote this guide to make sure you know all of the places you can top up your battery in the UK and how to start charging once you’re there.

Charging-an-electric-car-at-home-Pod Point

How to charge an electric car at home

Install a home chargepoint near your parking space:

Electric cars can be plugged into your standard 3 pin-plug at home. However, many electric car drivers opt for a wif-fi enabled home chargepoint (also known as a wall box).

Both options allow you to charge your car, but, a home chargepoint can mean faster charging, additional safety features and over the air software updates.

Depending on the type of electric car, you would require either a 3kW or 7kW chargepoint at home.

Charging times:
3kW 7kW
takes between 6-8 hours takes between 3-4 hours

Purchase a charging cable:

When choosing a homecharge point, you’ll have the option of a unit that has a charging cable fixed to it, or one that has a universal socket. If you choose the universal socket, you’ll need to purchase a separate charging cable with the connection type that’s compatible with your vehicle.

We think it’s a good idea to purchase one of these even if you do get a fixed cable unit because you can use it to top up your vehicle battery on the go at public charging points.

We’ve listed the different connector types below for reference.

Connector Types:

UK Three-pin

Nissan Leaf Charging 3 Pin

A standard UK plug, this connector can be used to charge some EVs but typically lacks the safety and speed.

Type 1

Nissan Leaf Charging Type 1 Connector

A five-pin plug that also features a clip. This connector is typically found on Asian brand manufacturers such as Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi etc.

Type 2

Tesla Charging - Type 2 Connector

A seven-pin plug with one flat edge. This connector is typically found on electric cars manufactured by European brands such as BMW, Tesla, Volvo etc.

CHAdeMO

Mitsubishi Outlander Charging - Chademo

A round four-pin plug. This connector is only used for rapid charging points and is typically compatible with EVs manufactured by Asian brands e.g. Mitsubishi.

Combined Charging System (CCS)

Ccs

Standardised by the EU. This connector is only used for rapid charging points and is typically compatible with EVs manufactured by European brands e.g. Volkswagen.

Charging Speeds

Trickle Charging

Trickle

The slowest type of charging, this is best reserved for long overnight charges at home and is typically provided by a standard 3 pin plug, which lacks the safety features of a dedicated charging point.

Slow Charging

Slow

A better option for home charging, this allows for both top up and overnight charging through a dedicated chargingpoint.

Fast Charging

Fast

Ideal for top up charging, this can provide up to 30 miles of range per hour of charging, or a full charge in a few hours. Fast chargers are ideal for keeping you going while out and about.

Is it safe to charge an electric car in the rain?

Yes, it's safe to charge your electric car in the rain. The power will only start flowing once the onboard charger and EVSE communicate with each other. Pod Point’s smart home chargepoints are weatherproof and suitable for the outdoors.

Tip: Try not to point the connector upwards in the rain before plugging the charger in.

Charging at Home
3-Pin 3kW (Trickle) 7kW (Slow) 22kW (Fast) 53kW (Rapid)
X X

Now that you are more familiar with charging at home let's move on to charging at work.

Charging-an-electric-vehicle-at-work-Pod Point

Charging an electric car at work

Talk to your HR manager about a workplace charging station:

It will be convenient for you to charge at work because you can charge while your car is parked during the day.

Charging at work is much like charging at home but you’ll need to get your organisation to install charging points first.

We suggest finding out whether there are other electric car drivers in your company that would benefit from workplace charging then get everyone together to speak to you HR manager about offering charge stations as an employee perk.

You can also ask Pod Point to contact your employer and speak to them anonymously on your behalf about the benefits of electric vehicle charging).

Charging at Work
3-Pin 3kW (Trickle) 7kW (Slow) 22kW (Fast) 53kW (Rapid)
X X

Charging-an-electric-vehicle-on-the-go-Pod Point

Charging an electric car on the go

There’ll be times when you’ll need to charge your car on the go like at the supermarket, gym, cinema or on long distance journeys. For these occasions, you can use a public chargepoint

Use an electric car charging map to locate a chargepoint

To find the location and number of chargepoints you can use a variety of apps or websites. These include ZapMap or Pod Point’s Open Charge solution which is the next generation chargepoint that doesn’t require a RFID card.

Charging On the Go
3-Pin 3kW (Trickle) 7kW (Slow) 22kW (Fast) 53kW (Rapid)
X

In your search for chargepoints you will come across Rapid Chargers.

Rapid-charging-Pod Point

Charging with Rapid Chargers

Rapid chargers bypass the EV’s onboard charging system to charge the battery directly.

Benefits of Rapid Chargers:

Rapid charges can charge at up to 50kW. A Rapid Charger can give you 80% charge in 30 min.

Public EV charging station locations:

Charging Speed Locations
7kW Supermarkets, Retail Parks, and Airports - on most public networks
50kW (Rapids) Supermarkets, Motorways, Car Dealerships and Service Stations

Different types of Rapid Chargers:

AC Current

Slow

Alternating Current option is a relatively new development and only available on one or two EV models in the UK. Due to their high power, Rapid AC units are equipped with a non-removable tethered cable.

DC Current

Fast

DC charging is the fastest and most powerful. It uses direct current instead of AC.

Now you can confidently charge at home, at work or on the go.

Happy charging!