Electric Car Chargers
Top Up Charging
Top up charging is whenever your electric vehicle is parked, such as at home overnight or during the day at the gym, supermarket or workplace, you plug in your car into a charging point. Instead of letting the battery run empty and waiting a while until it fully recharges, you can make use of the time your vehicle is parked to keep the battery topped up and ready to go.
Find out more in our electric car charging times and electric car charging points guides.
Home charging is probably the most convenient way to charge your vehicle as you can leave your car to charge overnight, and it will be ready in the morning. To charge an electric vehicle at home, you need to have a home charging point installed where you park your vehicle. Most electric car drivers usually choose a dedicated home charging point as it's faster and has built-in safety features. You can also use an EVSE supply cable for a three-pin plug socket as an occasional backup.
Find out more in our electric car charging points guide.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) cards register and pay for various EV charging station networks across the UK on a pay-per-use basis. RFID Cards are not a requirement when owning an electric car as there are alternative methods to pay, such as a smartphone app or contactless. However, RFID cards can make using public chargers quicker and easier.
Range Anxiety is a term used when a driver fears that a vehicle has insufficient fuel/electricity to cover the road distance needed to reach its planned destination, worrying you might get stranded.
Range per hour (RPH)
The (RPH) is the miles of range per hour of charge.
The kWh is the amount of energy a 1,000-watt appliance uses in an hour.
Smart charging is when an electric vehicle and a charging device share data, which gets shared with the charging operator. Unlike traditional charging devices that aren't connected to the cloud, smart charging allows the charging station owner to manage, monitor and restrict the use of their devices remotely to optimize energy consumption.
In the UK, there are two types of rapid chargers available, AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current). Rapid AC chargers function at 43kW, and most Rapid DC units offer 50kW of power. Both chargers will charge your vehicle in as little as 30 to 60 minutes, depending on battery capacity. Luxury car leasing manufacturers, like Tesla has there own range of Rapid DC Superchargers, which charge at around 120kW. However, these chargers use a modified Type 2 connection, although adaptors are available.
It's important to keep in mind while rapid chargers offer the quickest charging time, not all electric cars are compatible with rapid charging. Public rapid charging points also aren't as common as fast chargers, with Zap-Map putting their numbers at just under 1,000.
A slow charger offers power up to 3kW and typically takes around 6-12 hours for a pure EV and 2-4 hours for a PHEV. Slow chargers are usually a three-pin domestic plug or lamp post chargers on public streets, with most drivers choosing to use slow chargers for overnight charging. This is the most convenient way to charge your vehicle.
You'll find fast-charging stations at numerous urban locations, from supermarket car parks to shopping centres, cinemas and retail parks. A 7kW fast charger will charge your EV battery in around 4-6 hours, while a 22kW unit will do it in a couple of hours. Most fast chargers are untethered, but you can get some home and workplace units that come with cables attached.
Rapid charging is the quickest way to charge an electric vehicle, often found at motorway services or locations close to main routes. They supply high power direct or alternating current DC or AC to recharge a car as fast as possible. All rapid charge devices are tethered to the unit, so you make sure your EV is compatible with the charger, and your vehicle has the rapid-charging capability. Although they can charge an electric car battery to 80% full in as little as 30 to 60 minutes to help protect the battery, the charging speed is reduced as the battery gets closer to full charge. This means that the battery's lifespan is protected as much as possible, even with regular use.