We’ve all had that experience where we arrive at our holiday destination and go to plug in the phone charger only to realise that the adapter has been left on the dining room table.
Buying a replacement is perhaps one of the most begrudging purchases a person can make, not the best way to begin a holiday!
Having to think about adapters and whether or not your plug will fit in the socket isn’t an every day occurrence, but how does it work with electric cars?
With so many more makes and models on the roads are the charging points universally compatible or do you need to carry around a trailer full of adapters so you’re prepared for all eventualities?
Let’s dive into this and other electric vehicle charging related questions.
How can I find my nearest charge point?
Let’s be clear, the charge point you’re likely to use most often is when you’re parked at home overnight but we’ll get to that later.
If you’re planning a journey that is likely to require a top up along the way (and this happens surprisingly infrequently for many electric car drivers), you need to know where the available charge points are.
The best resource we’ve found with up to date listings of all the charge points in the UK is Zap-Map. You can plug in your postcode and it will show you where you can plug in your car.
If you create an account on their website you can plot a route and it will show you the various charge points along the way.
Are there different types of charge points?
Yes there are! There are lots of different networks, with charge points installed across the country. Charge points can be rapid, fast or slow, with most on the public network being rapid or fast.
Fast and slow charge points use AC current and rapid charge points use DC. Most electric car drivers will purchase a Type 1 or Type 2 portable charge cable to enable fast charging from the public network, and rapid charge points always have a cable already attached and ready to plug in.
Charge points near motorways or major roads will often be ‘rapid’ charging, with others being ‘fast’. with the ’slow’ chargers more likely to be your ‘at home’ option.
The exception is Tesla, which have their own network of charge points which only work with Teslas.
Do I need an app?
Yes you will most likely need an app to use each different network’s charge point.
Don’t panic though, these apps are all super simple and quick to download and set up with your details so you can begin charging right away.
Even better is if the charge point is a part of the Zap Pay network as a growing number are, which means you can use one app (the Zap Pay app) to use and pay for a wide range of different charge points.
How long does it take?
The speed of the recharge depends on whether you are on fast or rapid charge point, and what the power rating is.
Fast charging cables will typically give you 12.5 miles per hour of charging for a 3.7kW charger, or 75 miles for a 22kW charger.
Rapid chargers will give you approximately 75 miles for a half hour charge on a 50kW charger (the most common in the UK), up to a whopping 525 miles per half hour on a 350kW charger (though these are rare!)
At home a 3-pin connector can be used to charge on ‘slow’ which is likely to take you an hour for just 8 hours at 2.3kW, though this is the most expensive way to charge (a better at-home option is to use an in-built 7kW charge point which will fill up to 25miles in an hour of charging).
How much does a ‘full tank’ cost?
This varies from car to car and charge point to charge point, as it depends on the size of the battery (tank) and how much the charge (fuel) costs per kWh (gallon).
At-home charging costs are around 10-14p per kWh, and the battery in a Nissan Leaf is 30kWh which means it will take approximately £3 to fully recharge (expect to get around 120 miles out of a fully charged Leaf, and you can see that the price per mile is about 2.5p!)
With fuel prices continuing to increase it’s likely that in the future electric vehicles are going to become even more economical to run. One of the big challenges for early adopters of electric vehicles has been the limited infrastructure of charge points but this is now much less of an issue.
With more charge points being installed all the time it’s becoming easier and easier to plan longer journeys confident that you will be able to charge up with enough miles to complete the trip.
If you’re considering purchasing an electric vehicle or hybrid for your next purchase but aren’t sure what your options are, come in and speak to us and we’ll be happy to share with you the latest information.