Electric Car FAQs – Where to Charge? If you’re thinking about switching to an electric car, “where to charge” is one of the most common concerns. After all, you can’t drive an electric vehicle that’s not powered up.

Thankfully, infrastructure has improved vastly over the past decade. Nowadays, there’s a long list of options for choosing where to charge your electric car. Read on as we discuss each of them with their pros and cons.

Where to charge your electric car

At a fuel or service station

We’ll start with the most obvious – the place all drivers go for their petrol and diesel. Service stations and fuel stations offer the fastest way to charge an electric car. That’s because most of them are equipped with rapid or even ultra-rapid chargers providing 43+kW of power.

These chargers have DC connectors, meaning they convert power before feeding it into your car’s battery for faster charging. As a result, they can typically charge up to 80% within 30 minutes. That means you don’t have to wait around or hold up the queue when you’re “filling up”, so to speak.

One downside, compared to the options we’ll go on to discuss, is that this rapid-charging service comes at a premium. As well as the cost of electricity, you’ll be paying a little more for every kW of energy you use at a fuel or service station.

At home

Even with rapid or ultra-rapid charging, it’s not ideal having to go out and wait for 30 minutes every time you need to power up your car. Where better to charge an electric car than at your own home?

It’s no surprise that at-home charging is becoming more and more popular as people switch to electric. To be clear, we’re not talking about a standard 3-pin plug socket. While they can be used for emergencies, they only provide around 3kW of power. That means they can take anywhere between 15-40 hours to fully charge a car. Not to mention the issues with weather and trip hazards if you don’t have a suitably located and protected outdoor socket.

Instead, the majority of people who purchase an electric car will also look into getting their own home charger. These typically come with 3.6kW or 7kW ratings, which are referred to as slow and fast, respectively. With a 3.6kW charger, it can take between 10-20 hours to fully charge a car. That’s cut to 5-10 for its 7kW counterpart.

Charging at home with a dedicated charging unit is undoubtedly the most convenient option. Many people choose to charge overnight so their car is powered up and ready to go in the morning. That may also allow you to take advantage of cheaper off-peak energy prices, depending on your tariff. Either way, your home is the cheapest place to charge an electric car – excluding the odd free charging opportunity we’ll cover below.

In car parks

As electric cars become more and more popular, car parks are having to adapt to meet demand. From supermarkets, retail parks and shopping centres to gyms, cinemas and town centres, electric charging facilities are being installed as a way to modernise car parks and attract customers with electric cars.

Needless to say, this is just as convenient as home charging because you can charge while you shop, exercise, eat or even watch a film. In some cases, businesses or councils will even provide charging for free as a way to incentivise using the nearby facilities or attractions.

As an example, Tesco has rolled out free 7kW charging at some of its stores, with the option to pay for a faster service. That can give you up to 50 miles per hour while you shop. It’s worth noting that these car parks will have a maximum stay – usually 2-3 hours for Tesco – so you can’t rely on them for anything more than a top up.

At work

Private business car parks are another place where electric charging units are popping up. There are a variety of reasons behind this, including:

  • Convenient charging for their own electric fleet
  • Making chargers available to visitors and clients
  • Providing an additional perk for employees
  • Boosting a company’s green image

Since 2016, businesses have also been able to claim back some of the installation cost. With the Workplace Charging Scheme, they can claim up to £350 per unit for as many as 40 chargers. This has no doubt made them more appealing to businesses throughout the UK.

So, if you’re wondering where to charge an electric car, your own workplace could be the answer. Some companies will provide charging to employees for free as a perk, others will require payment.

Which is best for you?

With the four options above, there’s plenty of choice when you’re wondering about where to charge your electric car. In terms of which is best, it depends on your requirements, nearby facilities and how you use your vehicle.

In most cases, a home charger is a smart investment as it will always be available when you need it. If you have electric vehicle charging at work and mainly use your car for commuting, however, you may be able to get by without a home charger.

Thankfully, you don’t have to decide between the different options. It’s perfectly normal to have a home charger but use supermarkets, work chargers and even service stations for a top up whenever it’s needed while you’re out and about.

Upgrading to an electric car

“Where to charge” isn’t the only query from people who are looking to make the switch from petrol or diesel to electric. With electric cars relatively new on the scene, tackling the up-front cost is another area of interest. Thankfully, car finance can help you surmount that hurdle by spreading the cost over several manageable monthly payments.

At My Car Credit, we’re dedicated to helping drivers across the UK upgrade their ride – including those keen on green electric cars. Use our car finance checker to get a better idea of how much it will cost, then let us compare deals from a large network of trusted lenders to find you the best rate. You’ll have an estimated monthly cost quicker than you can say “ultra-rapid charging”!

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