A Guide to Charging Your EV in Public

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Guide

As electric vehicles (EVs) gain popularity, the need for a reliable charging infrastructure becomes more and more crucial. While home charging is convenient and reliable, there are times when EV owners need to charge their vehicles in public, whether for work or leisure use. This blog will serve as a comprehensive guide to charging your EV in public, focusing on the UK market. Additionally, we will explore the cost-effectiveness of public charging and discuss the advantages of installing EV charging stations at home or workplace.

 

Public Charging Options in the UK

 

The UK has witnessed a rapid expansion of public EV charging infrastructure in recent years. Due to this rapid expansion various different charging options have become available in the public, these include:

 

Rapid Charging:

Rapid charging stations are the quickest of the chargers that are available usually being 40kW +. These chargers are typically located along major highways and busy city centres, they offer high-power charging solutions. Being able to replenish an EV’s battery from 20% to 80% capacity in around 30 minutes (Dependant on vehicle battery size), making them ideal for longer journeys and quick stops.

 

Fast Charging:

Fast charging points (22kW – 40kW) are the most commonly found public chargers. Being most commonly found in places like: shopping centers, car parks, and other public areas. These chargers provide moderate charging speeds, usually taking a few hours to fully charge an EV. Being convenient for shorter stops, like running errands or shopping.

 

Slow Charging:

Slow charging stations (7kW), often referred to as “destination chargers,” These chargers are found in places like: hotels, restaurants, and other places where EV owners spend a significant amount of time. Although slow chargers take longer to fully charge a vehicle, they are useful when overnight stays or extended breaks are planned. This slow speed also makes them ineffective for busier public areas due to the sheer quantity that would be needed to support the needs as well as the lower vehicle percentage when the patron leaves.

 

 

Cost-Effectiveness of Public Charging

 

Pay-as-You-Go Charging

The majority of public charging networks typically operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing users to pay for the electricity they consume. While the cost may vary depending on the network provider, it is generally higher compared to home charging, this is due to the tariffs that are set to help the installer pay for the cost of the installation. However, public charging can be cost-effective for occasional or emergency use.

Subscription-Based Models:

Some charging networks offer subscription plans that provide discounted rates per kWh, making public charging more cost-effective for frequent users. These plans often come with additional benefits like priority access, dedicated customer support, and exclusive offers. These offers are not common within the EV charging infrastructure in the UK but there are still quite a few available in cities and busier places in the UK. If you frequent a location often and pay for charging each time, it could also be worth discussing with the business owner the possibility of a discount with some backoffices allowing for this type of customisation.

 

Cost Comparison with Petrol/Diesel:

Despite higher costs compared to home charging, EVs still have a significant advantage over traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. The cost of electricity per mile driven is considerably lower than the cost of petrol or diesel per mile, resulting in long-term savings on fuel expenses, on top of this you can expect generally cheaper maintenance on EVs compared to traditional vehicles because of the fewer parts and easier maintenance within the vehicles.

 

Installing EV Charging at Home/Workplace

 

Convenience:

Installing an EV charging station at your home or workplace can provide you with the convenience of charging whenever needed. With a home charger, you can take advantage of off-peak electricity rates, further reducing charging costs. With even more savings to be had when compared the tariffs set on public charging stations. At workplaces you can expect these same saving while also encourage EV adoption among employees and provide a convenient charging option during working hours at a more affordable rate.

 

Cost Savings:

Home charging offers the most cost-effective solution to a sometimes expensive service. By installing an EV charger at your home instead of using a 3 pin plug it not only makes the charging quicker but it allows you to utilize off-peak electricity rates or renewable energy sources. Meaning you can significantly reduce your charging costs compared to public charging. Moreover, in the UK, government grants and incentives are available for installing workplace charging stations, making it more affordable. If you’d like to see more about the grants that are available, click here.

 

Environmental Benefits:

Charging your EV at home or workplace allows you to take advantage of renewable energy sources, minimizing your carbon footprint. By installing solar panels or connecting to a green energy supplier like E.ON, you can charge your vehicle with clean energy, contributing to a greener future.

 

Conclusion

Charging your EV in public is essential for long journeys or when you don’t have access to a home charger but by installing chargers at your workplace or home you can reduce this need. The UK market offers a wide range of public charging options to cater to different needs. While public charging may incur higher costs, it still can be more cost-effective than traditional petrol or diesel vehicles.

 

However, for maximum convenience, cost savings, and environmental benefits, installing an EV charging station at your home or workplace is highly recommended. With government grants and incentives available in the UK, the installation cost becomes more affordable. Embracing home charging not only provides the convenience of charging at your convenience but also allows you to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates and renewable energy sources. If youd like to see what grants you’d be eligible for you can enquire here.

 

As the UK continues to expand its EV charging infrastructure, the future looks promising for EV owners, with more charging options and cost-effective solutions available. So, whether you choose public charging or opt for installing EV charging at home or workplace, the electric vehicle revolution is within your reach.

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