| Guide | Drivers

EV Drivers: New Owners Guide to EV Charging

Whether you are new to EVs or a seasoned driver of electric models, this guide contains everything you need to drive and charge your EV with confidence.
Man with coffee charging an electric car

More drivers are leaving fossil fuelled engines behind and switching to an electric vehicle (EV). With this change comes the need to understand a new way of fuelling your vehicles; goodbye to petrol pumps, hello to charging plugs.   

Luckily, charging an EV has never been more straightforward. In this blog, we dive into the key things drivers should know about charging their EVs, including: 

  • How and where to charge your EV 
  • How to find an EV charge point 
  • Understanding maximum power when charging your car 
  • How far you can travel with a fully charged battery 
  • Price of charging an electric car

How and Where Can I Charge an EV?

Whilst many drivers charge at home, there are many different locations you will find a charge point to plug in your EV whilst you are out driving.  

 From garden centres to hospitality sites, retail environments to motorway forecourts, Mer is building out a comprehensive network of EV charge points, installing the right type of charge point at any given location to make charging easy and convenient for you.  

How To Charge with Mer

Our network is comprised of a range of charge point speeds from slow chargers to ultra-rapid charging. We have plenty of step-by-step tutorials to show you exactly how to operate our chargers, available in the Mer Connect UK app and on our YouTube channel. 

How to find an EV charge point

 Charging maps are your new friend when it comes to finding a charge point to top up your EV when you are out and about. You can see where your nearest Mer charge point is by looking at our charger map, available on our website or via the Mer Connect UK app. Additionally, Zapmap – the leading UK emobility service provider – shares where all our charge points are. 

Young woman charging white electric car

How Fast Can I Charge My EV?

The answer to this question will depend on what type of charger you are using. 

EV charging speeds breakdown

As previously mentioned, there are different types of EV charger: slow, fast, rapid and ultra-rapid. Charging times will vary, as each will charge your vehicle at a different speed; for example, in 15 minutes, you may only receive 3 miles when charging on a 3kW charger, whereas you will receive 45 minutes on a rapid charger. 

Check out our full breakdown of how much charge you will receive depending on the speed of the charger and the time you are plugged in. 

Why do I not always receive the maximum power when charging my car?

You may not always receive the speed stated on the charge point when charging your electric car. This is because the actual charging speed will depend on a range of factors, including battery size and architecture, the state of charge, climatic conditions (both cold and warm weather affects the EV charging experience in different ways), and whether another driver is plugged into the charger at the same time. 

How Far Can I Travel with a Fully Charged Battery?

As we note in this blog, most EVs can travel between 150-300 miles on fully charged batteries, which works well for casual drivers and long-commuters. The distance an EV can travel is known as the vehicle’s ‘range.’  

 However, an EV’s range depends on its battery size, so it will vary from model to model. Whilst an EV with a 40kWh battery might only be able to travel 150 miles, an EV with a larger 100kWh battery could get to the 375-mile mark.  

Electric car charging and range anxiety

Many EV drivers will likely have experienced ‘range anxiety’ since switching from a fossil fuel vehicle to their EV, which denotes the fear of being stranded without the ability to charge your car. As the public EV charging network expands and EV models get better and better, drivers should not be concerned about breaking down. As National Grid point out, almost 99% of all journeys are under 100 miles, and every EV on the market can manage this distance on a limited charge. 

Whilst range is dependent on the vehicle itself, drivers can optimise their range too – experts suggest charging within a range of 20-80%. Research has found that we should be charging up to 80%, rather than 100% and not dropping below 20%, to protect battery health and longevity. Another helpful trick is to make use of regenerative braking, which all EVs come equipped with. This function enables an EV to generate and store electricity from braking. Coupled with a reduction in aggressive braking, this can really extend your EV’s miles. 

Person leaning on an electric car while it charges

How Much Does EV Charging Cost?

There is no universal answer to this question. Firstly, it depends on whether you are charging at home or on a public charger.  

Charging at home

At home, the cost to charge your EV will depend on the battery size and how many miles you are adding to the state of charge. 

Money Saving Expert takes the example of a Nissan Leaf, which uses about 38 kilowatt hours of electricity to fully charge. To charge in this way once a week would add 1,976kWh a year to your bill, which would roughly cost you an extra:  

  • Less than £3 per week, or £138/year, on the cheapest EV tariff (if you only charge your car when the rate is cheap) 
  • Approx. £9 per week, or £484/year, on a standard variable tariff (based on average rates under the current Price Cap).

Charging your EV when you are out and about

But what about when you are staying away from home for a while, or on a long-haul journey? 

There are thousands of public EV charge points if you need to top-up your battery, so you can be confident that you will always be able to get a charge whether you are at home or not.   

Prices for public EV charging

Secondly, the price you pay on a public charge point will vary depending on which network you are charging with. A full breakdown of how much you will pay when charging with Mer can be viewed here. 

How do I pay for public EV charging?

When charging with Mer, this depends on the type of charger you are using, and how you choose to charge: as a registered user or a guest user. 

You can charge with Mer as a guest or a registered user, and you have the choice to charge via the Mer app, the Mer driver portal, contactless payment, or your Mer charge card. We also have roaming agreements with partners including Octopus, Paua and Zap-pay. 

Are You Considering Buying an EV for Your Next Car?

Check out our ‘Which EV is right for you?’ guide to buying an EV to help make the right choice for you.  

Sources

Source 1: https://www.zap-map.com/live/
Source 2: https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/ev-charging-anxiety-and-range-anxiety/
Source 3: https://www.geotab.com/blog/ev-battery-health/
Source 4: https://www.zap-map.com/tools/home-charging-calculator/
Source 5: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/ev-energy-tariffs/

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