How to Charge an Electric Car

Young girl wearing summer clothes loading paper shopping bags into the boot of her small grey car

If you currently drive a petrol or diesel car, you know how to fill it up at the petrol station and keep it running. You drive up to the pump, open the cap, place the correct nozzle in the hole and fill it until it lets you know it’s full. Then you can drive off and not think about it again until your car warns you it's getting low.


But when you get an electric car that’s a whole new situation to get used to. Do you even know how to charge an electric car, or how electric charging stations work? What do you need to charge an electric car? We’re going to answer all of these questions and more in this blog post.



How do you pay for charging an electric car?


If you’re thinking about going electric soon, one of your biggest questions is likely to be ‘Where can I charge my electric car?’ It’s understandable as we’re all so used to doing things the old way, but the good news is that there’s more and more places to charge an electric car arriving every day.


There’s three main ways to charge your car - at home, at work or at a public charging point. At home, you can have a charger installed to give you convenient access for overnight charging, while many workplaces are now offering chargers at their car parks for staff to use.


Public charging stations can be found at petrol stations, supermarkets, motorway services, car parks and many other locations. You can find places where you can charge your electric car using apps like Zap Map and Pod Point.


If you’re wondering how to use a public electric charger, it’s worth doing your research as different networks can work differently. For most public charging points, you can get an RFID (Radio-Friendly Identification) card that you can swipe over a sensor to unlock it, after which you’ll be charged for whatever electricity you use.


More frequently networks are switching to encouraging you to use their phone apps while it’s also possible to pay via contactless card payments.



Is charging free for electric cars?


It is possible to charge your car for free. In September 2021 it was estimated that around 20% of all charging points were free to use, with most of them offered by ChargePlace Scotland. Most free charging points are fast charging, with only a few rapid chargers available for free. Generally, supermarkets and public car parks are the best places to look for free chargers.



How much does it cost to charge an electric car at a public charging station?


As we’ve seen, you can often charge for free at public chargers, but generally you will need to pay, especially for rapid charging points at motorway service stations. Here you can expect to pay around £6 for a 30-minute charge, which is normally enough to give you around 100 miles of range.



How much does it cost to charge an electric car per charge?


If you’re charging at home it can cost around £9.20 for a full charge from your charging point, depending upon the time of day and whether you have better off-peak rates for charging overnight - and also depending on the type of car.


The cost of a full charge at a fast charging point varies depending on the provider and if you have a subscription you can pay around £7 a month with rates of around 9p per kWh for the charge.


So now you know everything there is to know about charging an EV, you’re probably wondering how to insure it. Check out our various car insurance policies for more information.

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