Skip to main content

How to charge an electric car

There are plenty of ways to charge your electric car, making owning an electric vehicle (EV) more accessible than ever. You can charge at home, at work, at dedicated charging stations and even as you park in towns and cities. In this article we cover all the options available to you for charging an electric vehicle.

What are the options for charging my car?

First of all, from charging inside to charging by the roadside, what are your options when it comes to charging your car?

1. Charging your car at home

If you have the right setup, you can charge your car at home. It often works out to be the most cost effective and accessible form of charging your car. This involves a simple adapter connected to your home's mains electricity supply. This is then plugged into your electric vehicle’s charging port. There are two options when it comes to home charging: a standard charging port which operates at 3 KW, or a faster 7-22 KW charging point. However, the latter of these can cost upwards of £1,000.

A standard charging point is dependent on the cost of electricity from your provider and can be fitted outside your home or inside your garage. In addition, there may be an installation charge to get you up and running. To put it in perspective, instead of having to drive to a petrol station first thing in the morning, imagine having the petrol station at home. Being able to guarantee your vehicle is ready to go from when you need it makes home charging an incredibly accessible option.

2. Charging your car on the road

Like running an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, there will be times when you need to charge up on the road. In the past this may have seemed a little daunting as dedicated charging stations were few and far between. This brought rise to the phrase “range anxiety”, where EV drivers would worry about not being able to make it to an electric vehicle charging station in time.

This is not the case anymore. There are currently 19,613 devices on the UK public charging network of which 3,513 are rapid chargers.

Charging stations across the country can easily be found with apps such as Pod POINT. In addition, many are now located at motorway service or petrol stations.

Like you would for any long journey, planning where best to stop, rest and refill your car is the best way to make the most of your electric vehicle's range.

Electric Highway offers two options to charge your car

  • The slow charging is free to use and can be used to top up before setting out on the road again.

  • The fast charging is paid for, but can charge up to 80% of your car's battery in 30 minutes.

3. Charging your car at work

You may be required to use an electric vehicle as part of your job, or where your employer owns and operates a fleet of EV and hybrid vehicles. In these situations, your employer will provide EV and plug-in hybrid charging stations at the workplace. Some destinations, such as shopping centres, retail parks, or even independent shops may also offer charging capability while parking. These operate no differently than at home charging stations. Even so, particular destinations may make you pay to use their electricity. Still, these options can both be used to supplement your charge and keep your electric vehicle operating without any trouble.

How to charge an electric car

To charge your electric car at home or in public couldn't be easier. Simply make sure you have the correct charging point for your car, then plug it in and charge. The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense connector allows for both standard charging at home and slow public charging. The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense also charges with both alternating current and direct current outlets.

How to charge electric cars on AC or DC outlets

Charging on alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) at home or work requires the EV driver to plug the connectors into the correct power inlet. Once connected, the car ‘talks’ to the charging unit to make sure there is a power supply, that there are no faults, and that it is safe to start charging. If charging at a private home or workplace charge point, the vehicle then automatically starts charging.

How to use EV charging stations 

For a public electric vehicle charging station, an activation process is needed to start charging your electric vehicle. The network provider of the charging station may require the use of a smartphone app. These are linked to an account which has been set up beforehand. On newer units, contactless payment is now becoming more common. Once set up, the charging station will conduct a similar check to those of the home connections before starting to charge the vehicle.  

Charging at home vs charging using a rapid charge point

Type Cost Cost to charge Cost per mile
Home 28 p/kWh £12.60 7.45p/mile
Public Rapid 44 p/kWh to 80% charge £11.88 11.71 p/mile

*The charging costs mentioned in the table above are estimated based on  charging a DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s 50 kWh battery at home (on a domestic tariff) or using a public rapid charge point.

How long will it take to charge my electric car?

The time it takes to charge your electric vehicle will depend on the car's battery capacity. However, an average estimate can be made.

Slow chargers (3kW)

These typically charge at up to 3.6kW. They are most commonly installed as home chargers and can deliver a full charge in about 8-12 hours.

Fast chargers (7-22kW)

These operate at twice the speed of slow chargers. A full charge can take 4-8 hours. They can be bought for home use but are typically found in public places.

Rapid chargers (43-50kw and 120kW)

These chargers can top up an electric car to around 80% battery from empty within 30 minutes. You'll find them at large motorway service stations, but not all electric cars accept rapid charging. Due to the amount of power required, these chargers can't be installed at home.

Flex & Free now available

Flex & Free gives customers the flexibility to change their car more frequently. Based on a standard Contract Hire agreement but with the flexibility to change vehicle from the 6th month, without penalty (subject to condition and mileage).

Is an electric vehicle right for you?

The ease with which you can charge your electric car at home or out and about has done wonders for the popularity of electric cars.

Interested in taking one for a drive? Learn more about our electric vehicle finance and leasing options, or take a look at our manufacturers to choose the car for you.