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Charging your car

All you need to know about charging, whether at home, at work or on the go

Home Charging

Charging your car at home is convenient and simple, we can even help you install the right charger and pair it with the right green tariff to provide the best experience.

Work Charging

Charging at your workplace is useful, we can work with you to ensure you or your business can get the right  charging solution set up smoothly.

Public Charging

Are you confused about how it works, or have no access to a home charger? Don’t worry, we'll help you navigate public charging to make it as easy as possible. 

 

How long will it take to charge my car? 

The time taken to charge an electric vehicle depends on the size of the battery, what speed the battery can charge at and the speed of the charger. In simple terms, the smaller your battery and the faster the charger, the less time you will wait to charge your car!

"Roughly how long does it take to charge from empty to full?" 

Time to charge = Size of car battery / speed of charger
 

Example: A 40kWh Nissan LEAF / 7kW home charger = 6 hours

Car battery sizes vary and they also have a maximum charging rate. All pure battery electric vehicles can charge at around 7kW (and much more on public chargers). However, some plug in hybrids are capped at 3.6kW.

To learn more about the cars we offer, check out our Cars page.

 

What are the different types of chargers?

Chargers have different power ratings. The speed depends on the kW rating of that charger, and the maximum speed the car battery can charge at. These can be broken down into three categories: slow, fast & rapid (though different names are used across the industry!). 
Type of Charger
3.6kW = slow
7kW = fast*
50kW = rapid
150kW = rapid
Typical location
Home
Home/Work/Public (Long stay)
Public (Short stays)
Public (Short stays)
Avg miles added per hour
15 miles
25 miles
100+ miles (30 mins)
200+ miles (30 mins)
*If you have a driveway, you can typically install a 7kW home charger. Click here to learn more.

Charging at home

Charging at home is the most convenient and economical way to keep your car fully charged, especially if you have a dedicated home charging point. Drivers are able to plug-in their vehicle overnight and wake up to a full battery each morning! Pair that with our Octopus Go tariff (overnight charging at 5p/kWh) and save up to 90% vs. petrol or diesel costs. 
  • The cost of the charge all depends on what electricity tariff you are using, specifically the unit rate
  • The average domestic unit rate for a standard tariff in the UK is around 17p per kWh, but Octopus provides dedicated EV tariffs which ensure you can charge cheaply - check out our Octopus Go tariff!

"How much will it cost to charge my electric car?"

Cost to charge up = Price per kWh * Battery size

Example for a 40kWh Nissan LEAF 

on a typical standard tariff: £0.17 * 40kWh = £6.80

on Octopus Go off-peak rate: £0.05 * 40kWh = £2 (!)

 

Charging at work

Charging costs and types of chargers at work vary between different organisations and their needs. Some offer free charging to their employees, whilst some charge a tariff. Some provide open access to all employees and visitors, and some limit this to certain user groups. 

To find out how they can help you with workplace charging solutions please submit an enquiry here.

To find out how Octopus Energy can provide your business with 100% renewable energy click here

To understand how Octopus Electric Vehicles can help your business access electric vehicles

please visit our Salary Sacrifice page.

 

Charging on the public network

There are thousands of chargers dotted across the UK - in fact, we have one of the most comprehensive networks in Europe! These are operated by various network providers, meaning that accessing these chargers and paying for their use depends on which provider you use (an App, membership card or contactless bank card usually). 

Click here to learn more about the different network providers and how we help make that easy through The Electric Juice Network!

 

Paying on the public network:

 

The cost to charge a vehicle is also dependent on the network provider and the charging speed. 

 

  • Public chargers will have an associated tariff linked to the operator - you should check the cost before charging - Zap Map is always a good place to start! This is usually in pence per kWh, but could also be for time plugged in

  • All rapid charger locations will provide contactless card payments for you to carry out a charge even if you have not signed up to the network

Quick reminder: Tesla owners can make use of the dedicated Tesla supercharger network

 

Frequently asked questions

Electric vehicles don’t go far enough


Our team have taken cars as far as the Middle East and the Arctic Circle, and have driven EVs in America, Canada, the Alps, the Scottish Highlands, across Scandinavia and through the desert - so we think electric vehicles do go far enough! There are now over 30 different electric vehicles which offer a range of 200+ miles (with some reaching 300+ miles!). Coupling this with the ever increasing charging infrastructure and the fact that the average UK citizen drives less than 25 miles per day, and ⅔ of the UK population have off-street parking and so can charge at home, range should not be a concern!




It can be expensive to charge your electric vehicle


This is dependent on where you charge your vehicle. Charging from home can cost as little as 5p/kWh, depending on your energy provider. This means that a 40kWh Nissan LEAF can be charged to full for as little as £2, which is 90% cheaper than petrol or diesel. Public charging can be free if you are signed up to the specific network or it can range from 23-69p/kWh depending on the charger provider. In any case, it is nearly always cheaper than smelly and polluting petrol or diesel!




I could be stranded with the wrong charging connector


You will never be stranded with the wrong charging connector. This is because all slow/fast chargers, whether you are at home or using the public chargers, use the same standardised Type 2 sockets - you just need a Type 2 cable to plug into them. These cables come free with most vehicles or are a paid add on. All you need to do is plug the cable into your car and the empty socket! All rapid chargers have tethered CCS or CHAdeMO cables attached to the units, so you don’t need to worry about those. You simply choose the correct cable and plug it into your car!




It takes forever to charge an electric vehicle


The time taken to charge your vehicle is constantly improving as new technology is developed, plus it all depends on the location and speed of the charger. Some vehicles and charging combinations will allow you to charge up to 140 miles in 20 minutes. We recommend not to run a battery until it is empty to then fully recharge it again if possible, but instead keep it ‘topped up’ wherever you go. This means you utilise the time the car is stationary, making charging both convenient and time effective! It’s not about how fast you charge, but about how long your car is parked and matching the charging speed to that. You should always aim to keep your car charged between 20-80% capacity, and not over use rapid chargers, as that’s the most healthy approach for your battery.




Type 1 or Type 2: what’s the difference and which fits into my car?


The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 is simply the difference in socket connector types on your car, similar to having different connectors for charging Android and Apple mobile phones! As of 2018 a European standard came into play ensuring that all new vehicles sold in Europe had a Type 2 connector, therefore removing any confusion. Your car will come with a Type 2 connector for fast charging.




I can't charge my vehicle if I do not have off street parking/a home charger


Having off-street parking does make it easier when it comes to owning an electric vehicle. Cars spend 90% of their life parked so the most efficient way to charge your vehicle is to charge wherever you park! However, this doesn’t need to be at a dedicated home charger. This could be overnight using a public street charger or lamp post charger, or while at the supermarket or your workplace. 100s of new public chargers are installed every month! We call this “top up charging”. There are many public charging stations to use and you can always write to your council/apartment managers to see if a charger can be installed on your street or in your communal parking area.




There are not enough public charge points in the UK


The UK has one of the most comprehensive public charging networks in Europe, with over 15,000 charging locations (as of June 2021) there are already twice the number of electric vehicle charger locations than petrol service stations. Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment are going into our charging network, ensuring it continues to meet your requirements! Head over to Zap Map to understand more about these statistics and locations of charging stations.




I cannot get a smart meter to access smart EV tariffs


Most people are able to get a smart meter installed (you just need WAN coverage in your area, a little similar to having phone coverage). Please get in contact with your energy supplier to arrange an install. If you are an Octopus Energy customer please check out our blog to learn more about smart meters and find out how Octopus customers can get theirs installed.




What’s the difference between tethered and socketed (universal) chargers?


A tethered charger has its own cable hardwired into the unit that you then plug in to your car. Socketed (otherwise known as universal) chargers don't, they just have a Type 2 socket fitted to them, so you'll need your own cable to plug into them. Most cars come with one, or you end up buying one in order to also charge on the public charge point network on fast chargers. Neither is the 'best' type, it just depends on your personal preferences around aesthetics and convenience. Get in touch and we'll help you make the right choice.




Not all chargers work for all cars


All chargers work with your electric vehicle. Simple! All electric vehicles and slow/fast charger locations in the UK will be fitted with a Type 2 socket, this is a European standard for charging, meaning you can plug into universal charger locations using your Type 2 cable. The only difference might be the type of connector for rapid charging - CCS or CHAdeMO - but all rapid chargers have tethered cables for both connectors so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own. Plus, CCS is quickly becoming the norm, so we expect that to become standard soon. Please note that only Tesla’s can also charge on the Tesla Supercharging Network.
If you need assistance choosing your home charger please click here.




There is a limited choice of electric vehicles


The number of electric vehicles on our roads is growing rapidly, with most car manufacturers boasting at least one fully electric model and committments from many to go fully electric this decade. The market now offers a range of city cars, family vehicles and luxury models, so you will likely be able to find the perfect option. Head to our cars page to find out more, or speak to one of our EV experts for some advice.




Electric vehicles are too expensive


With the wide range of different models now available there are a variety of affordable electric vehicles on the market. Plus, whilst the upfront cost may be higher, don’t forget that the total cost of ownership is much more favourable for electric cars; with up to 90% savings over fuel costs, next to no maintenance requirements and many less moving parts to go wrong. If you are interested in leasing an electric vehicle please call our EV experts to discuss the cars in your budget.




Electric vehicles are never going to take off


With the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles in place in 2030, electric vehicles are quickly becoming the mainstream. Most car manufacturers have provided dates for when they will turn fully electric (as soon as this half of 2020) and the market share for electric cars is increasing exponentially (as of June 2021 17% of new car sales had a plug on them!). There is no doubt that the electric vehicle revolution is here to stay.





 
 

Vehicle-to-Grid Charging - Powerloop

We are running an innovation project around Vehicle-to-Grid technology called Powerloop, which allows you to harness the power of bi-directional charging and power your home and the grid from your car! We have currently closed the project to new participants, but if you want to learn more about it please check out our Powerloop page.