How do you charge an electric car?
With fuel cost rises showing no signs of slowing down, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in the UK – they were up 29% in 2016 – and are forecast to reach 1 million by the end of 2020.
Whereas in the past drivers were concerned about the ease of charging vehicles outside their homes, charging points have become far more widespread (with more than 11,000 publicly-accessible across the country now). Electric vehicles also now do an average of 100 miles on a full battery – and UK drivers drive just 25 miles each day on average, so are well within range of charging points.
If you’re thinking of buying an EV, essentially, you’ve got three options:
• electric car charging at home
• on-street car charging
• workplace and commercial EV charging
The vast majority of EV drivers – 90% of them – still charge their cars at home overnight, according to Go Ultra Low – a government/industry campaign designed to encourage motorists into zero-emissions vehicles. A standard domestic 13amp plug is all you need – you’ll need an outside plug that’s close to where you park your car – NEVER use an extension lead. And make sure that your wiring is up to the task: EVs do take a high electrical draw, so we’d always recommend getting a qualified electrician to check – you might need a separate circuit for the charger, to avoid overloading your domestic power supply.
With a standard connection (up to 3kW), for an EV with a range of 100 miles, you’re looking at around six to eight hours; install a home charging unit (it’s likely to cost in the region of £800-£1,000), and you’ll be able to charge your EV around two and a half times faster.
However, 40% of use don’t have off-street parking at home, so January 2017 saw the introduction of a £2.5 million On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, designed specifically for areas lacking off-street parking. It’s been created so that electric vehicle owners can apply (to their local council) to have a plug-in point installed on their street, addressing long-standing concerns about the public infrastructure for EVs.
If residential access hasn’t reach you yet, the best option is to top up at work, on-street, or in a public car park. Franklin has a programme in place with Q Park, to provide charging points in their car parks nationwide; we also work with the public sector – like the City of Salford, and Transport for London – to provide on-street charging points. On-street charging bays are marked by a dashed line, with ‘ELECTRIC’ clearly written on the street side of the bay – ZapMap will help you find your closest one.
The government’s Workplace Charging Scheme also provides quick charge stations that are compatible with a variety of EVs. The wall-mounted type two 7kW charger is the most common installation for businesses, which fully charges a vehicle in three to four hours. Rapid AC and DC connections are also available, but largely found in commercial organisations – these will get your battery charged about 80% in just half an hour.
Wherever works best for you, the good news for EV drivers is that consumer demand is forcing rapid change, and local authorities, commercial organisations and employers are taking note.