Exploring Public EV Charging Stations
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and with this growth comes the need for an extensive public charging infrastructure. If you’re new to the world of EVs or just curious about the current state of public EV charging stations in the UK, this blog post is for you. We will discuss everything you need to know, including the types of charging points, the public charging network, and how to charge an electric car.
Types of EV Charging Points
There are three main types of EV charging points available in the UK: slow, fast, and rapid charging. Each type offers a different charging speed, catering to various needs and circumstances.
Slow Charging/AC Charging
Slow charging points or AC chargers provide a charging rate of between 3 KW to 7KW, are commonly found in residential settings, such as homes, or at workplaces. These chargers are particularly suitable for EV drivers who have access to off-street parking facilities and can leave their vehicles plugged in for extended periods.
Home chargers offer several advantages for electric vehicle owners, such as convenience, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. By charging their vehicles overnight, EV drivers can take advantage of lower electricity rates and ensure that their cars are fully charged and ready for use the following day. This charging method also reduces the need to rely on public charging infrastructure, which can be subject to varying levels of availability and pricing.
Additionally, workplace charging points are an attractive option for employees who commute using their electric vehicles. These chargers allow EV drivers to top up their vehicles’ batteries while they work, further reducing the need to use public charging stations. Employers offering workplace charging facilities not only contribute to their employees’ convenience but also encourage the adoption of eco-friendly transportation methods.
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Fast Charging/ DC Charging
Fast charging points provide an intermediate charging solution for electric vehicles, with charging rates that range from 7 kW to 50 kW. These chargers strike a balance between the slower home chargers and more powerful rapid chargers, making them an ideal choice for various public locations such as car parks, shopping centres, and leisure facilities.
Due to their faster charging capabilities compared to slow chargers, fast charging points are well-suited for situations where drivers need a relatively quick battery top-up while they shop, dine, or attend events. Although the charging time varies depending on the power output and the vehicle’s battery capacity, fast chargers can generally recharge an electric car within a 1-4 hour window. This timeframe aligns well with the typical duration of activities such as shopping, dining out, or watching a movie, making fast chargers a practical option for many EV drivers.
Rapid chargers like the Kempower Satellite charger represent the most time-efficient charging option for electric vehicles, offering significantly faster charging rates compared to their slow and fast counterparts. These high-powered charging stations range from 50kW to 150kW.
Rapid charging points can typically replenish an electric car’s battery to around 80% capacity in as little as 20-30 minutes. This quick turnaround allows drivers to make brief stops during their journeys to recharge their vehicles, without significantly impacting their travel time. By using rapid chargers, EV drivers can enjoy extended travel distances with reduced range anxiety, making electric vehicles a more viable and attractive option for long-distance travel.
Ultra Rapid Charging
Offers even faster charging times, this option charger an EV with 150- 1000kW and are a great choice for businesses who have the need for speed and a quick turnaround.
This is the fastest EV charging option. Also known as ultra rapid charging it provides up to 1.2MW of charging power, the Megawatt Charging system is ideally-suited to electrifying the eHGV sector and can add up to 372 miles of range during a 30-minute charging session.
Public EV Charge Point Locations
Public EV charging points have been strategically placed in numerous locations to ensure ease of access for electric vehicle drivers. These charging stations can be found in a variety of settings, such as car parks, service stations, shopping centres, and on-street parking areas, to cater to the charging needs of EV users while they shop, work, or travel.
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Several prominent public charging networks operate across the UK, providing reliable and efficient charging services to electric vehicle owners. Networks such as Be.EV continue to expand their coverage, ensuring that electric vehicle drivers can easily find and use charging stations, ultimately making the transition to electric mobility more seamless and enjoyable.
Using the Electric Car Charging Point
To charge an electric car at a public charging point, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Locate a suitable charging point using an app or website like Zap-Map or PlugShare.
- Connect your EV to the charging point using the appropriate connector, such as a Type 2 connector, which is the most common for fast charging stations in the UK.
- Activate the charging session using the provider’s app, a contactless payment card, or an RFID card. Some public charging points may require you to register with the network beforehand.
Paying for Electric Vehicle Charging
The expenses associated with using a public EV charge point can vary significantly based on the charging network and the specific type of charger being used. Some networks offer convenient pay-as-you-go systems that allow users to make contactless payments for each charging session, eliminating the need for a long-term commitment. These pay-per-use options can be particularly appealing to occasional EV users or visitors who may not need frequent access to charging stations.
On the other hand, certain networks might require users to subscribe to a monthly or annual plan, which may include a fixed number of charging sessions or unlimited access to their charging points. Additionally, some networks may offer a preloaded account option, where users deposit a set amount of money into their account and the cost of each charging session is deducted from the balance as they use the charging stations.
It is highly recommended that EV drivers research and compare the costs, payment methods, and charging options offered by different networks in their area to identify the most suitable and cost-effective solution for their specific needs. By considering factors such as charging frequency, location, and preferred payment method, EV owners can make informed decisions and optimise their charging experience.
Maximizing Your EV Ownership Experience
As the number of EV drivers in the UK continues to grow, the public charging infrastructure will become even more essential. Familiarising yourself with the different types of EV charging stations and how to use them can make your electric vehicle ownership experience more enjoyable and seamless. Whether you need a quick top-up at a fast charging point in a car park or a more extended stop at an ultra rapid charger on a long journey, there’s a public charging solution to meet your needs. Happy charging!