Exploring Electric Car Charger Costs for Public Charging

Want to start each day with a fully-charged electric car? Charging each night at home will provide all the daily driving range the average driver will need but sometimes it isn’t a straightforward process and you will have to opt for public charging.

But how much does public charging cost? We’ve got a full guide dedicated to charging an electric car using public charging stations, so keep reading.

How Electric Vehicle Charging Works

While you can charge with a standard domestic 3-pin socket, a dedicated EV charger is a far better option. A dedicated home EV charger generally delivers at least 7kW of power while the majority of vehicle manufacturers limit a standard 3-pin socket to 10A (2.3 kW) or less.

A 7 kW charger, then provides at least three times more power and is at least three times faster than the domestic socket.

How Much Does A Home EV Charger Installation Cost?

The typical cost of a home charge point is around £800. Under its Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, OLEV currently offers a grant of up to 75% of this cost, capped at a maximum grant of £350.

If you own or have primary access to an EV and off-street parking you may be eligible for an OLEV-funded grant towards the cost of a home charge point. Charging points at work help make electric cars viable for commuters who live further away from their homes. 

If the place where you work in does not have an EV charge point, it can benefit from the Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme or WCS. This voucher-based scheme provides a grant that contributes to the up-front cots of purchasing and installing an EV charge poing. The grant’s value is £300 per socket – for a maximum of 20 sockets.

Employers can opt for a voucher with the WCS application.

Public Charging

Public EV chargers can be found at service stations, car parks, supermarkets, cinemas, and even just on the side of the road.

Public chargers at service stations fulfil the role of our current forecourts and are best suited for longer journeys, with a rapid charging unit providing up to 80% of charge in as little as 20-30 minutes. The public charging network is expanding at a magnificent rate and will continue to do in the future.

Electric Vehible Charging Networks

There are several public EV charging networks within the UK and each one is a little different in terms of charger access.

Some of the biggest pulic charging networks include Polar and Ecotricity. You can access the charging stations via membership card or cap and works in a subscription or pay-as-you-go service.

Tesla owners enjoy the convenience of just going to the nearest Supercharger station and wait while their EV recharges. There are also charging networks but a lot of them provide access to customers of bigger EV networks.

If you’re planning to depend on EV charging networks, be sure to sign up with the right network for the chargers you’re using. For this you need to consider your charging needs and the station’s location.

A car charging at an EV charging station.

Can I Charge My Car Without A Private Parking?

If you do not possess private parking, an electric vehicle can still be a good option if there’s a charge point in your workplace and if there’s a public charging station near your place.

The breakdown assistance company within the United Kingdom to establish mobile charging for EV owners who’re out of charge and are the number one breakdown cover provider for electric vehicles.

How Much Does Electric Car Charging Cost?

According to RAC’s latest Report on Monitoring, eight out of 10 motorists said that electric cars are too costly.

But even though it is true that EVs are a bit costly, the lower running costs will offset the purchase price. Fully charging an electric car at home costs £15. Charging an electric vehicle at 80% using a public rapid charger only costs around £35.

The prices generally varies depending on the tariff, location, battery capacity, energy cost, charging level and charging speed, but you can be certain that EV charging is much cheaper than fuelling with diesel or petrol.

How Long Does Electric Car Charging Take?

How long electric car charging takes will depend on the car’s battery size and the charger type being used as defined in kW power.

EV Chargers, Connectors and Adaptors

Things can get a bit complicated here since there is still no universal connector for the different electric vehicles and chargers.

Every charger type (fast, rapid and slow) has its own connectors for high or low power, AC or DC charging.

Electric car charger cost.

Here’s a list of the different connector types in each category.

Slow-charging connectors:

  • 3-pin connector (3kW, AC)
  • Type 1 connector (3-6kW, AC)
  • Type 2 connector (3-6kW, AC)
  • Commando (3-6kW, AC)

Fast-charging connectors:

  • Type 2 connector (7-22kW, AC)
  • Type 1 connector (7kW, AC)
  • Commando (7-22kW, AC)

Rapid-charging connectors:

  • CHAdeMo (50kW, DC)
  • Type 2 connector (43kW, AC)
  • CCS (50-350kW, DC)
  • Tesla Type 2 connector (120kW, DC)

You don’t want to go into a charging station with a very low battery only to discover that it isn’t compatible with your vehicle’s charging input. Check your car’s handbook along with the charging network’s website for specific details.

Are All Electric Vehicles Compatible With All Chargers?

The majority of electric vehicles and chargers in the United Kingdom are compatible. But when it comes to non-rapid charging, you will generally need to have your own cable that comes with the vehicle.

With non-rapid chargers, electric vehicles within the UK will use either the Type 1 or Type 2 inlet socket. Luckily, your electric vehicle will have a cable with a compatible plug at the charging infrastructure’s end.

Rapid chargers utilize tethered cables wherein that are connected to and can’t be detached from the charging infrastructure.

Most rapid chargers within the UK contain two cables that provide the two very popular rapid charger connectors (CCS and CHAdeMO) so just choose the one that fits your electric vehicle.

Tesla has its own rapid charger called Tesla Super Chargers and these can’t be used by other electric vehicles. Some destination chargers installed in hotel parking areas and others can be utilized by other electric vehicles.

A parking area with public EV chargers.

How Can I Determine Which Chargers My EV Can Use?

You can determine what type of charging port your electric vehicle has through your dealer, handbook, lease company, etc.

The fastest way to locate a suitable public chargepoint is to utilize apps like Zap-Map that locates the different chargepoints on the map. You can narrow down your search to the EV type, connector type, charging speed and it shows any related problems with the charger.

Cost of Public Charging

Charging far from home can be a bit complicated and expensive but it’s still cheaper than refueling with diesel or petrol car.

There are thousands of charging stations within the UK – a mix of fast, slow, rapid, ultra-rapid charging choices.

How much you’d pay will depend on your vehicle, its chargping speed, electricity provider, and how frequently you use the vehicle. If you don’t use the vehicle very often, the pay-as-go method is a good option, although ordinary commuters may prefer a subscription service.

BP Pulse has 8,000 charging points and is one of UK’s biggest public charging networks. With a subscription cost of £7.85 per month, customers are paying per kWh of used electricity. BP Pulse charging points also provide pay-as-you-go option for noncustomers. You’d be paying more for every unit of electricity along with a minimum £1.20 to £1.50 transaction charge.

Public charging doesn’t necessarily have to be costly – it is possible to find fast and slow chargers free of charge. Pod Point, in cooperation with Tesco and Volkwagen created a network of charging stations at superstores throughout the UK that are free to use while people are shopping.

How long it takes to charge an electric vehicle will depend on its battery size and charging speed. For instance, a Nissan Leaf with 40kWh battery can recharge in just six hours while it takes a Tesla 2ith 75kWh battery twice more time to recharge – these are based on a 7kW charger.

Take note of chargepoints with maximum stay (example: 2 hours). These are usually found in busy areas. Don’t expect more time or enough to fully charge.

As a general guide, a 3kW charger should give you at least 10 miles of range per hour, 30 miles with a 7kW charger, and 175 miles with a 59kW unit.

A man paying for charging his car.

Motorway Charging Expenses

Motorway service charging is probably the most costly way to recharge an electric vehicle. Still, it is cheaper that refuelling with diesel or petrol on the motorway. Ecotricity chargepoints can be found in almost every motorway service locations within the UK.

There is no membership cost but you will be required to pay 30p for each unit of electricity used. Alternatively, Ecotricity customers are paying 15p per kWh.

There are older chargers that may be slow or prone to errors so you must plan ahead and look for reliable charging points.

Zap-Map enables you to locate cheaper and faster charging points along the motorway. It also shows you which areas are out of service.

Electric Vehicle Charging Hubs

Electric vehicle charging hubs serve as filling stations for EVs. For instance, Gridserve Electric Forecut in Essex can charge up to 36 cars at a cost of 24p per kWh. Aside from charging points, there are also restaurants and shops to drop by into while your car is recharging.

The cost of electric vehicle charging hubs could be like those of motorway charging but you will benefit from faster charging times and a convenient space for electric vehicle drivers.


Some aspects of owning an electric are costly, but even after purchasing one with insurance, an electric vehicle is always a more viable option than diesel or petrol cars.

Your home charging, electricity tariffs and other cheaper options add up to that the costs pays for itself and save you more money in the long run.

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