How To Charge An Electric Car: A Beginner’s Guide

EV charging point

Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

Sign up to the e-zoomed Electric Living newsletter

It Is Really Quite As Simple As Switching On A Kettle!

When looking to buy an electric car there are several things that can seem daunting, with some of the top concerns being: how and when it can be charged, what it will cost you and what to do if you run out of charge out and about.

In this electric vehicle charging Beginner’s Guide we’ll be talking you through all of these points and more, including:

  • How Do I Charge My Electric Car? Types of Charging Points/Stations.
  • Home Charging Points: Installation and Costs.
  • Public Charging Points/Stations & related FAQs.
  • What if My Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?

How Do I Charge My Electric Car?

Charging an electric car, whether a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or a pure electric car, also referred to as battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is exactly the same, conceptually, as filling up an internal combustion engine (ICE) car tank with petrol – it is just another fuel type.

The bonus of zero emission electric driving, however, is that you can use public electric car charging points out and about, as well as charging your allelectric Renault Zoe car at the convenience of your home.

public electric car charging points
Electric Car Public Rapid Charging Stations UK (credit:Osprey)

Charging My Electric Car At Home

There are two ways of charging your green car at home:

1. Using A Domestic Plug (3 PIN):

Most electric vehicles come with a charging unit that you can plug into domestic power outlets.

3 pin plug for charging an electric car
3 PIN Domestic Plug Charging An EV

Charging your electric car from a domestic plug, however, doesn’t tend to be recommended as a permanent solution as it takes a long time (between 4 and 12 hours depending on your car type) and it isn’t considered to be as safe as using a professionally installed home charging point. We at e-zoomed do not recommend the use of a domestic plug for charging your EV!

2. Electric Car Home Charging Points:

A home electric car charging station will charge your car more quickly than a domestic outlet and, because it will have been installed to directly communicate with your particular electric car, it is a safer option. We at e-zoomed have a fantastic range of high quality and competitively priced electric car home charging points, to include EVBox, Wallbox, PodPoint and Zappi home charging equipment.

EV home charger zappi
Zappi Electric Car Home Chargers

While initial installation is costly (with charges of up to £1,000), the government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) offers grants of up to £350 towards the costs of the installation of a home charging point.

Electric Car Charging Point Installation

You should always get a home charging point installed by a qualified installer. There are several different types of EV charging points for you to choose from depending on the speed that you want to charge your car at and the type of car you will be charging.

Do not be tempted to seek the cheapest price option for EV charger installation, it will simply cost you more in the long-term. We at e-zoomed have a fantastic installation team that can delivery both high quality and competitive pricing. Simply email us at to enquire.

EV charging installation
Request An EV Charger Installation Quote At e-zoomed

Using the Government’s electric vehicle homecharge scheme authorised installers guide, you can find a reliable and trustworthy installer for your home charging point. These qualified installers can also help you to decide on the right charging point for your electric car.

e-zoomed can help you find the right car charging point and installation service for you with its partners, get in touch to find out more.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car At Home?

Once you have your electric car charging point installed, charging your car at home is generally cheaper than using a public charging point. However, the costs involved are very much dependent on the speed that you choose to charge at, your electricity provider and the car that you are charging. By using a Home Charging Calculator you can work out the costs specific to you.

As an example, at the time of writing, to charge a Nissan LEAF Tekna 40 kWh Auto up to 80% using a 3kW Charger at home it would cost around £5.30 (using an electricity cost of 16.5p/kWh). Charging the same electric vehicle at a public charging point, at the same charging speed would cost around £9.60 (depending on the network).

ashvin suri e-zoomed founder
Ashvin Suri, Founder e-zoomed

Either way, charging a green car is much cheaper than filling a full tank of fuel. The average cost of charging an electric car is £5, while filling a tank of petrol is £80. A substantial saving for an electric vehicle owner.                                                                                                       

Public Charging Points

Public electric vehicle charging points offer back-up power sources for when you are out and about and can be found all over the UK.  As the demand for electric cars grows, we anticipate the number of public charging points to increase on a national and international level.

We have already witnessed a significant increase in UK public electric car charging stations. According to ZapMap, we have more than 12,500 locations of public charing in the UK!    

There is an array of apps that you can download to keep you up to date with the latest locations of public charging points.

How Do Public Charging Points Work?

Public charging points are a bit like petrol pumps, in that they are owned by a network of providers – a bit like the equivalent of a BP, Shell or Texaco garage – and as such vary in how much and how they charge.

There are currently 15 main public charge point networks that cover a variety of areas within the UK. These are supported by some additional, smaller companies. There are also two “taxi networks”, which provide charging points solely for taxi drivers.

All public charging points offer three settings for the rate/time it takes to charge your car. The below table gives an average for the slow, fast and rapid options – though of course times will vary according to your car type:

Car Charging Points Power Generated(kW) Duration For Full Charging (hours)
Slow chargingup to 36-8
Fast charging7-223-4
Rapid charging43-50Up to 80% in 30 minutes
EV cables
Electric Car Charging Cable: Available At e-zoomed

The costs involved will increase significantly from a slow charge to rapid charge. Do not forget to carry an electric car charging cable with you, as for some public charging points it will be required. We at e-zoomed have a fantastic range of EV cables!

How Much Does It Cost To Use A Public Car Charging Point?

Just like different petrol pump stations, the variety of network providers for charging electric cars differ in their charging methods and costs. Some are free, a few charge per hour, and others charge a fixed per session fee.

Memberships and Discounts Are Available For Public Charging Points

As you would with your preferred supermarket, you can also become a member of specific networks. Ecotricity for example, offers half price charging at their EV Electric Highway stations if you sign up to their Fully Charged Bundle, which includes a saving of over £400 on the cost of charging your vehicle at home with 100% green electricity.

green electricity
You Can Switch To Green Energy Via e-zoomed

Ecotricity is an e-zoomed partner and you can sign up via e-zoomed for the Ecotricity fully charged bundle. We always recommend using green electricity for charging an electric car, so that true zero-emission driving can be achieved.

Tescos Claims To Be Offering Free Charging At Their Stores

In November 2018 Tesco announced that it is partnering with Volkswagen to provide “the largest retail Electric Vehicle charging network in the UK”. Excitingly, using Pod Point, they aim to install these across Tesco Extra and Superstore car parks, with those using a normal 7kW charger being given free fuel, and those after a quicker charge incurring a small cost in line with the market rate.

Where Can I Find Public Electric Car Charge Points?

Public charging points are located all over the UK. They can be found at motorway service stations, shopping centres, supermarkets, at places of work and in on-street car parking bays.

charge map EV charging
Charge Map EV Public Charging Map

Ecotricity, for example, offers a multitude of charging points on UK motorways. You can also choose from several apps to download to locate your nearest and most compatible public charging points – or pin point where you might want to stop if you are going on a longer journey. We at e-zoomed have Charge Map to assist you in finding EV public charge points.

Charging At The Workplace

Many workplaces such as the NHS have already initiated the installation process for public charging points. As with the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, the government offers a Workplace Charging Scheme grant to businesses, charities and local authorities. They can claim up to £500 for 75% of the total installation costs per socket, with a maximum of 20 sockets per company.

If you are keen to get your company involved it is worth reading the application details prior to suggesting it to your employer as there are limits to the eligibility of firms to the scheme.

What If My Electric Car Runs Out Of Charge?

If your electric car runs out of charge you will simply need to be towed to the nearest charging point, as you would be taken to a petrol station if you ran out of petrol. As with a conventional vehicle, it is always recommended that you take out breakdown cover which will prevent unnecessary expenses in the unlikely event that you do need to be towed.

Electric cars, like all powered vehicles, have a limit to how far they can travel without refuelling. But with public charging points and the ability to charge from home, you are unlikely to suddenly run out of charge, assuming you plan accordingly.

Understandably, with the relative newness of electric cars, and less overtly obvious public charging stations as compared with petrol stations,  running out of charge can be a concern. As technology advances, however, electric cars will have ever-increasing range, and as such “range anxiety” should become less of an issue.

How To Avoid Running Out Of Charge

Running out of charge for your electric car is unlikely if you follow these few, simple instructions.

Understand Your Electric Car’s Range Capabilities

You need to understand your fuel gauge, the capacity of your “petrol tank” (i.e. the EV battery) and the relative distance that your particular vehicle can go based on the way that you drive it and the type of car that it is.  

Always Set Out With A Full Charge

With the ability to charge your car at home, there really should be no need to set out on a journey without your car being fully charged. You wouldn’t set out with your phone with low battery, so why would you do this in a car?

Look Up Public Charging Points On Your Route, Before You Travel

As you would with a conventional car, you should look up public charging points along your way before you set out on a long journey.

Carry A Portable Electric Car Charger Cable

Carrying a portable electric car charging cable won’t help you if you run out of fuel, but it will mean that you can charge your car when you arrive at, for example, a friend’s house who doesn’t yet have an EV (why not?!).

In Conclusion

Going electric really isn’t as difficult as it might seem, and charging your electric vehicle is just one example of that. In fact, you could see it as easier than filling up a conventional car since you have so many more choices available to you, namely that you can always set off from home on a full charge.

Add to the mix that pledges, such as Tesco’s, will soon mean that going electric will allow you to charge your car for free and it soon starts becoming a no brainer to make your next car an electric one.

While e-zoomed uses reasonable efforts to provide accurate and up-to-date information, some of the information provided is gathered from third parties and has not been independently verified by e-zoomed. While the information from the third party sources is believed to be reliable, no warranty, express or implied, is made by e-zoomed regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregate uses of this information.

Featured Articles

Featured Products


Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

Buy Electric Driving Products

Sign up for e-zoomed news and offers

This site uses technical cookies to guarantee an optimal and fast navigation, and analysis cookies to elaborate statistics.
You can visit the Cookie Policy to get more insights or to block the use of all or some cookies, by selecting the Cookie Settings.
By choosing Accept, you give your permission to use the abovementioned cookies.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services