The Ultimate Guide to electric vehicle charging points

 

By 2030, sales of all new petrol and diesel cars will end in a bid to help the UK reduce its impact on climate change. As part of these plans, there will need to be a wider range of EV charging points in the UK. While many people are concerned that there aren’t enough charging points in convenient locations, the UK government is providing grants to homeowners, businesses, and local authorities to install more charging points. This means that a driver is never more than 25 miles from a rapid charge point in England, while Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also launching EV charging strategies.

With EV charging set to be a big part of the future – do you know enough about electric vehicle charging points? Fortunately, phs Compliance has all the info you need. Take a look at our ultimate guide to EV charging points.

Benefits of electric cars

There’s no denying the benefits of electric cars. Some of their main benefits versus diesel or petrol cars include:

  • They help reduce carbon emissions.
  • They are more affordable to power than petrol or diesel vehicles.
  • They are quieter to drive.
  • They provide an excellent driving experience.
  • There are government incentives available to reduce their operating costs (including Road Tax exemption until 2025).

What is an electric vehicle charging point?

An electric vehicle (EV) charging point, also known as an EV charging station, uses electricity from an electric grid to charge pure and hybrid electric cars and vans, including popular models such as the Hyundai Kona, the Nissan Leaf, the Kia Niro, the Renault Zoe and Tesla electric cars, amongst many others.

Hybrid electric cars, which derive some of their power from a conventional engine, are sometimes referred to as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

W​here to find electric car vehicle charging points

There are EV charging points locatedacross the UK, including over 44,020 public electric vehicle charging devices as of July 2023. Some of the places you can find an EV charging point include:  

Electric car charging at work

Charging at work is convenient for employees with access to workplace charging stations. It can help extend an EV's daily range and shows that employers care about creating a greener workplace. Providing electric charging points is a great way to provide facilities for your employees to use EVs, and could also be beneficial for your own fleet, should you decide to make the move to EVs.

Retail locations or hotels with electric car charging points

Many retail locations, including supermarkets, retail parks and leisure facilities like gyms and hotels have EV charging points. This makes it easy for people to charge their vehicles when carrying out common errands. Many of these locations offer free charging, providing an even bigger incentive to own an EV.

Electric car charging at home

Installing an EV charging point at home is one of the simplest ways to charge an electric vehicle. They are generally slower to provide a full charge, designed to charge a vehicle overnight to keep the battery levels topped up.

EV charging at motorway services and petrol stations

Motorway services and petrol stations provide EV charging points in the same way they provide fuel for petrol and diesel cars. They generally provide a range of charger types, including rapid charging to help drivers charge their vehicles and get back on the road quickly.

How do I install an electric vehicle charging point?

You should always use an installer who has been fully approved and accredited by the UK’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, also known as the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), to install an EV charging point, either at the workplace or at home.

As well as being accredited by OLEV, phs Compliance’s electrical engineers are trained to C&G 2919-01, approved to IET Code of Practice (incorporating BS 7671:2018) and trained fully to IET Wiring Regulations, meaning they will install, inspect and test charging equipment for pure and hybrid electric vehicles to the highest standards in the UK.

phs Compliance is also approved by a number of manufacturers. We are also able to gain accreditation from any leading manufacturer or supplier if required by our customer.

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Are grants available to cover the costs of installing electric vehicle charging points?

Yes, the government’s Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) provides businesses with vouchers that contribute up to 75% of the up-front costs of purchasing and installing electric vehicle charging points, up to the value of £350 per socket for a maximum of 40 sockets, using an OLEV approved installer. You can apply for vouchers here.

Domestic grants for electric vehicle charging point installations are also available and are provided by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (also known as the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in England and Wales, and the Energy Saving Trust (EST) in Scotland.

I​s the OZEV grant ending?

The Office of Zero Emission Vehicles providesgrants to help encourage the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The scheme supports businesses, landlords and others to install vehicle charging points for both domestic properties, workplaces, public places and more. The new scheme replaced the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) on 1 April 2022.

Do I need to provide electric vehicle charging points at the workplace?

There is currently no legal requirement for employers to provide EV charging points. However, the government has announced a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, so the number of electric cars on the road will increase rapidly, and employees and customers will expect regular and convenient access to charging points for their vehicles. Many forward-thinking businesses have already changed their fleets to electric vehicles in order to reduce costs and lower their carbon footprint.

There are lots of back office software programs available so that fleet drivers can be re-imbursed immediately and directly, or staff can pay for their charging sessions via an app. Unit tariffs can be set by the approved person at your company and can also help to generate income if desired

Installing EV charging points using the grants currently available ensures your business is ready for the changes in the most cost-effective way. They can also present a good marketing or communication opportunity – phs Compliance can add any kind of branding or messaging to selected EV charging units.

E​lectric car charger modes, connectors and adaptors

Different electric car models use different charging connectors. Some chargers come with adapters to accommodate various connector types. Most EV charging points provide a range of different charging types, providing flexibility to EV users.  

All of the AC fast chargers (up to 22kw) phs Compliance install come with a Type 2 socket outlet which is compatible with the vast majority of modern EVs and is the European standard. Rapid DC chargers are usually supplied with two leads

What type of electric vehicle charging point do I need?

Choose a charging point that is the most compatible with the widest range of electric vehicles. The most popular workplace charging points are wall-mounted with a Type 2 7kW charger. These charge most of the best-selling electric vehicles in 3-7 hours, but there are faster chargers and different designs available. Talk to your phs Compliance specialist about the best option for your business.

How many EV charging points do I need?

How many electric vehicle charging points you will need will depend on several factors, including the number of employees or customers that drive, or intend to drive, electric cars, how often your employees need to use their car during the day, the number of off-road parking spaces that are available and, of course, your budget.

Your phs Compliance specialist can advise you on the best approach for your business. Contact us today.

Do electric vehicle charging points require safety checks?

Yes, as it is a fixed electrical installation the ‘duty holder’ is required by law under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 to ensure that all EV charging points are safe to use and do not pose any danger to users.It is recommended that EV charging stations are tested every year, although more regular testing and inspections may be required if they are heavily used.

phs Compliance is fully approved by OLEV to inspect and test EV charging stations. We can advise you on your inspection and testing obligations, as well as providing a full inspection and testing service across the UK to ensure you remain compliant.

Find out more about fixed wire testing in our free Ultimate Guide

Do all electric cars use the same plug?

No, not all electric cars use the same plug. In the UK, there several different types of plug, including:

Type 1

Provides a 3kW to 7kW AC charge. It’s an early version of EV chargers that’s typically found on older cars and those built in Asia.

Type 2 (also known as the Mennekes)

Provides a 3kW to 43kW AC charge. It’s the most common type of EV connector in the UK.

CHAdeMO

Provides a 25kW to 100kW DC charge. It’s a connector that’s used for rapid charging.

CCS

Provides a 50kW to 350kW DC charge. Another connector type that provides rapid charging.

Many cars are fitted with universal types of charger so they can be charged at different charging points. Tesla cars have their own type of EV charger, but most are also compatible with Type 2 chargers.

Can electric cars charge themselves?

No, electric cars cannot charge themselves. They need to be connected to a power source, such as a charging point, to recharge their batteries. Standard hybrid cars, however, come with a self-charging battery that charges through the cars’ built-in regenerative braking systems.

How much does it cost to install an electric car charger at home?

Charging your EV at home couldn’t be easier thanks to convenient home charging points. There are different types of charging points available, and you can expect to pay up to £1,100 for the cost of the unit and the installation (based on a standard installation).

EV charging locations

EV use is growing in the UK, with more than 712,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the road today. There are also more than 400,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles in the UK, with the numbers expected to jump significantly in the next few years. Because of this, the number of EV charging vehicles in the UK is also growing.

You can find EV charging stations at public charging stations, workplaces, retail locations, and motorway services. These locations offer varying charging speeds and connector types.

Cost of charging an electric car at a public station

The cost of charging at a public station varies based on the charging network and location. It can range from free to a per-kilowatt-hour fee. This information will be displayed on the charging point, helping you to work out how much a charge will cost. You can also check this information via charging point apps.

Rapid charging typically costs 73p/kwh, while a typical Type 2 charge will cost around 59p/kwh. Some charging providers also provide subscriptions to help reduce the overall cost of charging a vehicle.

EV charging networks

Various charging networks operate in the UK, providing access to charging stations across the country. Some networks require membership, while others allow pay-as-you-go usage. Charging maps can provide you with details to help ensure you choose the right provider for your needs.

Charging capacity of the vehicle

The charging capacity of an electric vehicle refers to how fast it can charge. It's measured in kilowatts (kW) and determines how quickly the battery can be replenished. Different cars have different capacities, and this is also impactedby the types of charger point available.

AC vs DC power

Charging stations provide either AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) power. AC charging is slower and is often used for home and commercial charging, while DC charging is faster and used for rapid charging and is more common for fleet vehicles and service stations and forecourts. You may need to use AC charging if there are no DC points available.

Charging an electric car on long-distance journeys or in emergencies

If you’re travelling long-distance, or need to charge in a hurry, then a rapid charging point is the most suitable solution for you. These can help charge up to 80% of batteries in 30 minutes or less, ensuring you can get back on the road quickly. If you find yourself in a situation where there is no dedicated EV charging, you can use a standard 3 pin plug to charge your car enough to get to a faster charging point, although it will take longer to charge.

Types of charging stations

Charging points across the UK providedifferent types of charging stations, providing various levels of charge that can give people flexibility over charging their car. These include:

Level 1 charging station

Level 1 charging is a standard household outlet for charging, but it's slower compared to dedicated EV charging stations.

Level 2 charging station

Level 2 charging provides faster charging using dedicated home or public charging stations with higher power outputs

Level 3 charging station (DC fast charger)

Level 3 charging, also known as DC fast charging, offers rapid charging for electric vehicles. It's commonly found at public charging stations and motorway services.

Electric car charging times

Charging times depend on the battery capacity, the charging power of the station, and the level of charge in the battery before charging.

For cars with a 60kwh battery using a 7kw charger, it can take up to 8 hours to fully charge an empty battery.

A car with a 75kw battery could take less than 2 hours to fully charge using a rapid charger.

As each car varies, it’s important to check the specifications with the car’s manufacturer to give you a clearer indication of charging speeds for your vehicle.

How to charge your electric car

Charging your electric car is a straightforward process, but there are a few key steps to ensure a safe and efficient charging experience:

1. Locate a Charging Station

Find a suitable charging station near your location. You can use various apps, websites, or navigation systems to locate charging stations. Consider factors like the charging speed, connector type, and availability.

2. Prepare Your Car

Make sure your electric car is parked properly within reach of the charging station. Turn off the car and engage the parking brake. If the charging port is locked, unlock it using the car's controls or the charging card/app.

3. Check Connector Compatibility

Ensure that the charging station's connector is compatible with your car's charging port. Different cars may have different types of connectors, including Type 2, CCS or CHAdeMO.

4. Open the Charging Port

If your car's charging port is manually operated, open it using the designated release button or lever. Some cars also allow you to open the charging port from the car's touchscreen interface.

5. Connect the Charging Cable

Take the charging cable from the charging station and securely plug it into your car's charging port. You'll hear a click when the connection is properly made.

6. Start the Charging Session

Depending on the charging station, you might need to initiate the charging session using the station's app, an RFID card, or a button on the station itself. Follow the instructions provided on the station's interface.

7. Monitor the Charging

Many charging stations provide real-time information on the charging progress, including the charging power and estimated time to complete the session. Some stations might also offer a smartphone app to monitor the progress remotely.

8. Charging Etiquette

If the charging station has multiple connectors, be mindful of other EV owners who might be waiting to charge. Once your car is charged sufficiently, consider unplugging to free up the station for others.

9. End the Charging Session

When your car's battery is adequately charged, you can end the charging session. Some stations may automatically stop charging when the battery is full, while others might require you to manually stop the session.

10. Disconnect the Cable

Safely unplug the charging cable from your car's charging port. Handle the cable by the plug and not the cord itself to avoid damage.

11. Secure the Cable

Most charging stations have cable management systems to keep the cable tidy and prevent tripping hazards. Follow the instructions to properly secure the cable.

12. Return the Cable

If the station has a designated holder for the cable, return it to its place so that it's readily available for the next user.

Electric car electric bill

Charging an EV is significantly cheaper than filling up a petrol car. While higher energy prices has meant the cost of charging an EV have increased over the last year, costs are beginning to fall.

Charging an EV at home costs around 30.11p/KWh, while it would cost around £1.44/litre to fill a petrol car. While it may come as a surprise to see the impact charging an EV has on your energy bills, it will cost you less overall to run your car than if you were paying to fill it up with petrol.

How long do electric car batteries last?

Electric car battery lifespan varies but is typically around 8 to 15 years, depending on factors like usage, charging habits, and environmental conditions.

Looking for a smart EV home charger?

Smart EV chargers are a fantastic option for your home charging point. Smart EV chargers can be controlled remotely via smartphone apps, and can provide scheduling options to help charge vehicles during off-peak hours.

If you’re looking for a smart EV home charger, phs Compliance can help. We provide installation services for a range of EV charger types. Find out more about the chargers we have available for fast and affordable installation here.

Meet your electric vehicle needs with phs Compliance

The electric car market is growing rapidly with a 184% increase in the sales of pure electric cars and 139% increase in PHEV sales from the previous year in September 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

phs Compliance will support all of your electrical infrastructure requirements, ensuring you meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. As well as assessing your requirements, providing designs and completing installations for you, we will carry out regular maintenance to protect your equipment and ensure compliance at every stage, with all inspections and testing services carried out by our experienced and fully qualified engineers.

To learn more about electrical vehicle charging points, to get a quote, or simply to ask a query, please feel free to contact us now!

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