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Ultimate Guide To Electric Car Charging

Wave goodbye to the petrol station. Going electric takes a bit of adjustment but once you work things out, you won’t go back to filling up on a forecourt. So, what do you need to know about electric car charging before you switch? Let us be your guide.

image of a Tesla Model Y

If you’ve never driven electric before, the concept of electric car charging may seem confusing. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. With the dramatic increase in public charging networks and options for home charging points, electric car charging has never been easier.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what EV charging is, the types of EV chargers available and cover useful information on how to charge an electric car efficiently.

What is an EV charger?

An EV charger, also known as a charge point or charging station, is a device which supplies electric power to an electric vehicle. Just like any chargeable device or electronic, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles require an EV charger to keep the battery charged.

What are the different types of electric car chargers?

Slow chargers

A slow EV charger typically provides between 2.3kW and 3.6kW of power using AC (Alternating Current) through a three-pin plug. These were the most common types of chargers when electric cars entered the mass market. Slow charges, although more uncommon, can usually be found in homes or workplace locations where cars can be left to charge for longer periods.

Fast chargers

Standard chargers are the most common. They include home chargers and the ‘destination chargers’ you find in car parks and at supermarkets. You just plug your car in when you park up and then go about your business. People sometimes call these ‘fast chargers’ and they use AC (alternating current) at up to 22kW. As a guide, a smart home charger is 7kW and will give you about 14 miles of charge in half an hour – but that will depend on your car.

Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers

Rapid chargers and newer ultra-rapid chargers are for when you need a very fast top-up. The energy tends to be more expensive but you won’t be waiting long: you can get up to 80% charge in half an hour (which is where most drivers stop topping up as the last 20% takes longer). These use DC (direct current) and can charge at over 100kW – which could give you over 100 miles in half an hour. It’s worth checking what rate of charge your electric car can take – the Kia e-Niro is capped at 77kW, for example, so it will only be able to charge that fast, no matter the speed of the public charger.

Electric car charger connection types

When it comes to electric car charges, there are numerous different types of charger connections. The connection typ]e you need will depend on the type of EV you have.

Type 1 (3kW to 7kW)

Type 1 EV chargers have a five-pin design and they are typically used to charge older electric cars such as the first-generation Nissan Leaf. Type 1 chargers are slow chargers and typically provide up to 6kW AC. Unlike other types of electric car chargers, these chargers do not feature a locking mechanism which locks the car during the charging period.

Type 1 electric car chargers, which have a five-pin design.

Type 2 (3kW to 43kW)

Type 2 electric chargers feature seven pins instead of five and they are the most common type of charger used today. Type 2 chargers typically provide up to 22kW of charge and unlike Type 1 chargers, they have a locking mechanism which secures it to the car whilst it’s charging.

Type 2 electric car chargers with seven pins.

CHAdeMO (25kW to 100kW)

CHAdeMO car chargers are a type of rapid charger and they feature seven pins. These types of charger can offer a charging rate of up to 100kW. These chargers are rapidly being replaced by CCS which can charge more quickly. 

CHAdeMO type EV chargers a rapid charging connector

CCS (50kW to 350kW)

Combined charging system connectors (CCS) are what is known as a rapid charger and almost all vehicles now use this connection type. They can typically provide between 50kW to 350kW of DC power.

CCS electric car charger with 9 pins

Electric car charging cable types


Tethered charges have a fixed cable which cannot be removed from the charging device. Tethered charging cables are the most common type of charger used in homes. To use them, you simply unravel the cable from within the unit and plug it into your vehicle, similarly to how you would fill up at a fuel station.

The only downside to this type of charging cable is that you are limited by the length of the cable. If you require more length, this usually comes at an additional cost.


Unlike tethered chargers, untethered charges have a detachable cable which can be removed and stored when not in use. When you purchase an untethered charging unit, you will need to purchase the charging cable separately. This can offer more flexibility when it comes to choosing the length of your cable and you will be able to take it with you as you travel.

Untethered charging cables can sometimes be more inconvenient than tethered as you have to connect the charging cable before then connecting it to your car.

How much do chargers cost?

It depends on which charger you choose and who installs it. As a guide, you can buy an Indra Smart PRO charger for around £1,000 (including site survey, standard installation and VAT).

Whenever a new charger is installed, the installer will check on important detail first with the electricity company that operates the network in your area (sometimes called a Distribution Network Operator or DNO). They sometimes requires an upgrade or for you to install new equipment – things like an isolator switch or your distribution board – which can add to the installation fee.

Are there grants for home chargers?

While you can’t get a grant any more to install a home charger if you live in a house you own, there are government grants available if you rent or if you live in a flat. For example, the plug-in vehicle grant and electric vehicle charge point grant could help to cover some of the cost of installation.

How to charge an electric car

To charge an electric vehicle, you simply need to plug it into a charging point. The length of time it takes to charge will depend on the type of charger you use. When it comes to charging locations, you now have lots of options to choose from.

Home charging

Home charging is usually the cheapest and most convenient place to charge your electric car, particularly if you have off-street parking, and allows you to leave your car on charge for longer periods.

Many people are now choosing to use smart chargers working on timers in their homes. You enter your tariff details when you set it up and it does the rest. That means it checks when your off-peak times are (normally in the middle of the night) and charges then.

More sophisticated chargers have additional features. For example, you can set rules that choose when to charge based on the type of energy you use. So if you want energy that costs below a certain price or which generates less carbon, you can do that. The charger will get data from your energy supplier – you just tell it how you want it to behave. We recommend Indra high-tech chargers if you are looking for a new installation.

Public charging

As the ownership of electric vehicles has increased, EV charging networks are far more readily available. For example, Osprey (whom ElectriX is partnering with), has a network of over 750 live rapid charging stations.

If you’re running low on energy you just need to find a public charger which is right for your car. So that means it has the right plug and can give you enough charge in the time you have available. So if you’re parking up for a few hours you can use a standard charger. If you’re taking a 20-minute break on a long journey it’s best to use a rapid charger.

Osprey public electric car charger

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

We measure charger speeds in kilowatts (kW) – the more kilowatts, the faster you can charge your car.

Each car also has its onboard charger with its kilowatt rating. This is the fastest it’ll be able to charge. So if you plug in a car with a 100kW onboard charger to a 150kW rapid charger, it’ll still only charge at 100kW.

On rapid chargers, most drivers and some cars will stop their charge at about 80%. That’s because the charging rate slows down from this point and it’s polite to let anyone who’s waiting for the charger take over.

Let’s look at how long it takes to charge up a Hyundai KONA Electric 64 kWh:

Charge powerCharger typeRange per 30 minutes of charging
3.7kWStandard charger7.5 miles
7kWStandard charger14 miles
50kWRapid charger99 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)
150kWRapid charger153 miles (based on 30 mins charging in the 20-80% battery band)

Calculate the approximate charging time for your EV

To work this out you need to know two numbers, the power of your charger and the battery capacity of the car. Your battery capacity is like a fuel tank and your charger power tells you how quickly you can fill it up. Then you divide these two numbers:

Charger power (kW) / Car battery capacity (kWh) = Approximate time to charge in hours

So for a 64kWh Hyundai Kona on an 11kW fast charger, you could theoretically charge it to full in about six hours:

64 / 11 = 5.8

It’s only a rough estimate though. In practice, it’ll take a bit longer because of how batteries and chargers work. But it’s a good way of estimating time.

How far can an electric car travel on a full charge?

Most modern fully electric vehicles can typically travel between 110 and 300 miles on a single charge. However, your driving style and the conditions of the road will have an effect  on the true range of the car. For example, electric car range tends to decrease in colder or very wet weather. Similarly, if you use more acceleration and brake harder, this will result in less mileage.

What happens if your electric car runs out of charge?

If you run out of charge whilst you are driving, the car will stop running much like if you run out of fuel with a petrol or diesel car. In this situation, you will need to arrange for your car to be towed to the nearest charging station. If you have breakdown cover, this will usually be covered by your policy.

like a traditional combustion engine vehicle, you will be able to keep an eye on charge levels using data supplied by the car on the dashboard.

We’re also starting to see portable battery packs which offer on-the-go charging if you find yourself a fair distance away from a charging point. However, they are still rare and can be costly. For example, LV= Britannia Rescue is equipped with electric car recharge units for customers who run out of charge whilst out on the road. These chargers will provide electric vehicles with enough power to make them a charging point to continue their journey.

How to choose the right electric car charger for you

First of all, think about how smart you want it to be. A charger like the Indra Smart PRO is easy to use and still lets you take advantage of cheaper off-peak tariffs. And it also has more advanced features like smart scheduling and continuous updates.

Then think about whether you want a tethered cable or not. This means the cable is permanently fixed to the charger, making it much simpler to pull up and plug in. Removable cables let you swap the cable out later if you need to.

Then think about your house and your energy supply. If you have solar, for example, you should choose a charger that works well with your solar panels, like the Indra Smart PRO.

And last of all, there are lots of different designs so pick one you like the look of. Some are unobtrusive while others look a. little more high-tech.

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As electric car leasing experts, we make switching to electric easy. We offer everything you need in one place. From lease deals, smart home charging and electric car insurance, we have it all.

Want to find out more about leasing an electric car from us? Start by clicking here to see our range.

Not sure if an electric car is right for you? Take our simple online quiz or explore our electric car guide for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Who can install a home charger?

Installing a home electric car charger needs to be done by a professional they will carry out all the necessary safety checks to make sure the charger is working as it should.

Do you need to bring your own cable when charging an electric car?

It is always a good idea to carry your own charging cable as some charging points may be ‘untethered’ meaning they won’t have a cable attached. Many chargers do now have a ‘tethered cable’ which is permanently attached, however, this isn’t always the case so it is worthwhile having a backup.

Can you charge on a three-pin plug?

You can as an emergency option – but it’s not recommended. This is because a three-pin circuit can charge your car at 2.3kW, which is close to the maximum 3kW of power that the wiring is safe for. This increases the risk of overheating and even electrical fire. You should never charge through an extension cord that’s coiled or wound up.

It also takes a really long time (18-20 hours or more) to fully charge cars this way.

What if the charger’s broken?

Sometimes there’s a problem with a charger that means you can’t charge your car. It can be really frustrating.

The best way to avoid it is to check a charge point in a charger-finding app before you travel there. Users will often add a note saying if they’ve had problems, which means you can find a different charger instead.

Related articles

The Ultimate Home Charging Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Range

The Ultimate Electric Car Guide