Electric Vehicle FAQ’s

Got a question about electric vehicles? We’ve got the answer.

EV Charging

How long does it take to charge an EV?

The number of kWh signifies how much power can be supplied in an hour.

The charging time can be estimated by dividing the vehicle battery capacity by the power output of the charging point.

EV battery size / charger power = result in hours

Electricity is measured in kW hours and that is how many kWs are measured in an hour. Therefore, a 50kW charger delivers 50kWh, i.e. 50kW in an hour.

Please take into consideration that this is only an estimate and guide. AC charging speed may be limited by vehicle acceptance rates.

Home chargers operate on AC, but there is a possibility they will become DC in the near future. However, there are restrictions as most houses only have a single phase supply rather than three phases.

Home chargers accept a maximum of 7.2kW if utilising a single phase supply but this depends somewhat on the charger.

Fast chargers have an output of 22kW and take up to 4 hours to fully charge.

Most EVs can be charged to 80% in approximately 30 minutes or less with a 60kW rapid charger using CCS or CHAdeMO.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

The cost of charging depends on many different factors, such as whether you charge your vehicle at home or at a public charger, the network providing the service – if it is a public charger, how big the battery is and how much charge is needed.

Home charging: At home, you have the option of using a three-pin-plug or a wallbox.

Using a three-pin-plug does not involve any installation costs, but it is slower than using a wallbox. It takes several hours for the vehicle to charge, so it is best done overnight. Electricity costs 14.37p per kWh on average; therefore, you would pay £5.76 for a 13.3-hour full charge on a 40kW Nissan Leaf at a 3kW charger.

Electricity costs less off-peak (at night for example), so the charge is more likely to be £4.

A typical home charger can supply power between 3kW – 22kW. There is an installation cost for a home charging wallbox, but the government grant will fund up to 75% of the cost of the purchase.

A 7kW charger can significantly cut the charge time with little change in the cost of electricity.

Public EV chargers: the cost of charging at public charging stations varies. Some networks require a subscription, and for the user to have an account. But all networks offer a pay-as-you-go option where EV drivers pay for the cost per kWh.

How do I charge an electric car?

There are different ways to charge an electric car; for instance, EV drivers could use one of the thousands of public charge points in the UK, install a charging box at their home or use a cable that can be plugged into a domestic three-pin socket at home.

What is the difference between AC and DC?

AC power comes from the grid – an example of AC usage would be homes.

DC power needs to be converted from AC through a converter/inverter. Batteries only accept DC; therefore cars can accept DC much more quickly than AC.

Car batteries operate exclusively on DC so if an EV (Electric Vehicle) driver wishes to charge their car quickly, they have to convert the power from AC to DC – which is neither easy nor cheap, and a converter is needed.

Why choose AC charging?

AC power is cheap, quick and more accessible as it comes directly from the grid, so it works as a cost-effective installation solution.

Why choose DC charging?

Due to the conversion process, DC power is financially costlier; however, it facilitates a much faster charge to the vehicle. The vehicle battery is directly charged with a corresponding speed directly proportional to the power supplied by the DC charger.

How long does it take to charge a car via AC?

It depends on the battery size vs the power supply, and the vehicle’s converter input/output capability.

For example:

A Nissan Leaf with a 40kW battery and a built-in power converter of 6.6 kW, using a 7kW AC charger will take just over 6 hours to charge.

The calculation is 40kW / 6.6kW = 6.1hours

EV battery size / charger power = result in hours

To convert this calculation to hours and minutes, it becomes 6 hours and 6 minutes by calculating 0.1 x 60 = 6 minutes. Therefore, the total time is theoretically for 6 hours and 6 minutes. In reality, charge times will vary as there is a taper off on most batteries from around 80% State of Charge (SOC).

Most EV (Electric vehicle) drivers would therefore normally only recharge their vehicle on a public network charger while the battery power is between 20% – 80% for convenience.

How long does it take to charge a car via DC?

There are fewer restrictions with any car on the amount of DC power they can take. The majority of fully electric vehicles can take up to 50kW, but only a certain number of vehicles can currently accept more than 50kW. Examples of these include Tesla S3XY, Jaguar I-Pace and an Audi E-Tron.

For example, an Audi E-Tron requires a CSS connector with DC power. It has a battery capacity of 95kW, and the DC power it can take is 150kW.

95kW / 50kW (if it’s a 50kW charger) = 1.9 (1 hour 54 minutes)

95kW / 150kW (if it’s a 150kW charger or above) = 0.63 (38 minutes)

These calculations are made on the assumption that the charging rate is continuous. In reality, many factors can affect the speed of charge. State of Charge (SOC) and outside temperature are both good examples. Tapering off will occur at different points throughout the charge but are impossible to predict so we can only put forward the suggestion above assuming perfect charging conditions and optimal results.

What are the different types of connectors?

EVs use a variety of plugs and connectors so it is important that EV drivers know which one is compatible with their vehicle.

Type 2: New EVs and plug-in vehicles that are sold in the UK feature type 2 sockets and sometimes include a Type 2 cable. Some home chargers feature a Type 2 connector too.

CCS: This is a European rapid charging connector and stands for Combined Charging System. This connector is widely available at public charging stations.

CHAdeMO: This is a Japanese connector which is also widely supplied at public charging stations. Most stations with CCS also provide CHAdeMO and vice versa.

How do I use a public EV charger?

Many public chargers require an app, but they are all obliged to offer a pay-as-you-go service.

To find the nearest charge point, EV drivers can use charging point platforms such as zap-map.com or plugsurfing.com where they can specify the connector they need. More information about the charge point can be found by clicking on the icon on the map. Charging rates are usually expressed in £ per kW.

Some networks require a subscription account and offer the option of using an RFID or QR code as a method of payment.

How do I find EV charging points?

Each of our charging connectors is listed on Zap-Map.com. EV drivers can search for nearby chargers by entering their postcode. More information about each charger can be found by clicking on the icon.

There are other charge point platforms such as openchargemap.io and plugsurfing.com. These websites can be used to plan journeys in Europe too. Google maps have now added a feature where EV drivers can search can locate charging points.

What is fast charging?

All fast chargers, rated between 7kW – 22kW, draw AC power, so the inbuilt converter in EVs and PHEVs turn AC to DC. Fast chargers can fully recharge a small EV in three to four hours.

What is rapid charging?

There are two kinds of rapid chargers. Rapid AC power uses 43kW, whereas rapid DC chargers provide DC current straight to the car, allowing the car to charge at 50kW.

Can all electric vehicles use your chargers?

Type 2 connectors are the most common for fast chargers, while all rapid AC chargers use a Type 2.

DC rapid charging can be used with certain vehicles and this depends on the vehicles maximum charging capacity, and which connectors it accepts. This information can be found in the vehicles car manual or brochure.

What if I can't find somewhere to charge my EV?

There are EV chargers located across the UK. There are journey planning websites that can be helpful when planning a long journey, for example, zap-map.com and wattsup.app are commonly used websites.

Can EV chargers be used to charge any other devices?

EV chargers should not be used to charge anything other than EVs. High power is used by EV chargers; therefore, it is not safe to use any other equipment to charge.

What should I do if an EV charger is not working?

An EV driver should notify the operator as soon as possible. The contact details are usually on the charger, on signage or online. In most cases, network operators can resolve the issue remotely.

What should I do if an EV is plugged in to a charge point, they’ve finished charging but won’t leave the charger?

If an EV driver feels that a driver has been using the charger for an excessive period of time than you should contact the network operator. The contact details can usually be found on the charger, signage or online.

Electric Cars

What is an electric car?

The main difference between an EV and an ICE vehicle is that an electric motor has replaced the engine.

The energy is stored on an onboard battery which is capable of driving for a specific range of miles.

Most EVs have regenerative braking; the car brakes when drivers come off the throttle, and the energy created is converted into electricity which is stored in the battery.

What is a plug-in hybrid?

A plug-in hybrid is a cross between a fully electric vehicle and a regular hybrid, as PHEVs have both an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and an electric drivetrain.

The battery needs charging through a connector, and the ICE can take over the vehicle when the battery runs out.

How far can I travel in an electric car?

This depends on if your vehicle is fully electric or a plug-in hybrid. Driving range for fully electric vehicles varies depending on the manufacturer and model.

How much does it cost to run and service an electric car?

EVs tend to be more expensive to buy than the equivalent petrol and diesel cars, however, they are cheaper in the long run, and they have several cash saving benefits.

EVs have less moving parts and fewer items that are likely to wear out over time. When the warranty runs out there will still be parts that need replacing and this is much cheaper than the conventional counterpart vehicles. EVs have no cambelts or oil filters which can be costly to replace.

What are the advantages of electric cars?

The main advantage is that electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel so the running costs will be far less.

Air quality is improved in city centres as EVs do not have high emissions, and EV drivers do not have to pay VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) tax.

EVs are currently exempt from other taxes such as the London Congestion Charge, T-Charge and the forthcoming Ultra Low Emissions Zone.

In addition, EVs do not produce a lot of noise, which for some motorists makes them more enjoyable to drive.

Are electric cars more expensive to insure?

Fuel, tax and servicing costs are usually cheaper than petrol and diesel cars, however, insurance for EVs is generally more expensive. One of the reasons for this is because their repair costs are higher and because there are not enough technicians trained in the UK to do the work.

Increasingly there are more specialised EV insurance companies starting to operate. The EV specialists recognise the increased number of safety features built into the technologies and often this can result in significantly cheaper policies than their traditional counterparts.

Can I drive an electric vehicle in the rain?

Yes, an electric vehicle can be driven safely in the rain.

Does my car fall into Category 1?

Vehicles in Category 1 emit less than 50g/km of CO2 and can travel at least 70 miles without producing any CO2. No current PHEVs can travel 70 miles under electric power, therefore they are all EVs.

Home Charging

What is a home wallbox charger?

A home wallbox charger is usually fitted in a garage or on the outside of a house. Wallboxes are weather and rainproof and are connected to the mains electricity.

What is the charging speed for EV wallboxes?

Wallboxes normally start at 3kW to 3.7kW, and go up to 22kW. The higher the power the quicker the charge (subject to acceptance restrictions).

Can I apply for an OLEV grant if I have a home wallbox?

The Office of Low Emissions Vehicles Electric Vehicle Home Charging scheme can cover 75% of the cost of a wallbox, up to £500, as long as they meet the conditions.

How long does it take to fit an EV wallbox?

For most providers, it normally takes one week. In most instances, the cost is included in the purchase price.

How does the government electric car grant work?

There are seven different categories that the government has set, and the category the EV falls into depends on how much carbon dioxide (CO2) it produces, and how far it travels without any emissions.

The grant is administered by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). There are many factors other than emissions that OLEV take into consideration when deciding which vehicles are eligible, such as safety features, warranty and top speed.

The Plug-In car grant now covers 35% of the purchase price of a brand new category 1 car (up to £3,500).

How do I apply for the EV grant?

It is not the owner of the vehicle that has to deal with the process of applying. The dealership that sells the car handles the process. The dealership should make it clear to the customer how much they have saved, by informing the customer what the price was before, and how much it is after.

Are there any other grants for EV's?

The governments also give up to £500 towards the cost of installing a home charging wallbox. It has to be an officially proved unit, and the customer must have off-street parking. In addition, the customer must be a registered keeper of an eligible car or have one on order.

Furthermore, with sub/km CO2 emissions, any vehicle that is eligible for the Plug-In-Car grant will also be exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

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