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How To Charge An Electric Car – At Home, Work & In Public

Learn how to charge an electric car, how long it takes, the cost, locations and using the UK public charging network. Read Mer's guide to 2021 EV ownership.

To charge an electric car, you will need to plug it into a charging point – either at home, at work, at the roadside, or at a public service station. It can take anything from 20 minutes to 24+ hours to fully charge depending on the charging point you use, and the type of car battery you have.

You’d be easily forgiven for finding the world of electric charging complex. There’s a lot to get your head around.

In fact, the RAC have specifically criticised the ‘lack of standardisation of connectors’ and ‘bewildering array of types of charge points, connectors and tariffs’.

However, understanding the charging options available to you is a vital step to take, prior to purchasing or leasing your first electric vehicle – and even more so if you are electrifying your entire business fleet, or wanting to offer employees EV charging options. We’ve broken down the essential facts below, to help you get to grips with the basics of electric charging.

EV charging station installation costs – domestic & business

Domestic wallbox chargers

One last cost-consideration is the initial outlay for an EV charge point installation.

Chargers don’t come cheap, but the government’s EV Homecharge Scheme currently provides funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing (smart) charge points at domestic properties.

It’s important to note that the government’s grant is only available for smart wallbox chargers. Smart functionality allows you to control your charger remotely via an app – you can view your spend, and choose when your car charges to take advantage of cheaper tariffs.

And EV drivers may soon be seeing much larger gains from their wallbox charger thanks to the introduction of Vehicle-To-Grid technology (V2G).

Although still in trial mode, V2G has the potential to be game-changing – enabling consumers to control when their vehicle charges and take advantage of the lowest energy rates, power their house with unused energy from their vehicle, and even sell excess energy back to the grid. According to Which?’s calculations, it could cover the majority of the running costs for an electric car.

Business charge point installation

And if you’re looking to electrify your fleet, or offer workplace charging, you will most definitely need to consider the costs of charging units. The cost of EV chargers will vary depending on the charge speed you want, ranging from hundreds to thousands. But government discounts are available to businesses, enabling you to get a £350 discount on each socket, for up to a total of 40 sockets.

To qualify for the grant, businesses need to use a supplier (such as Mer) approved by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) – formerly OLEZ.

Installing EV chargers at your business location can bring a lot of advantages with it, enabling you to quickly see the return on your investment. Read more about the benefits of EV charging stations for businesses in our recent blog.

How long does it take to charge?6-12 hrs for a pure EV
Or just 2-4 hrs for a hybrid
Suitable for commercial or personal use?Personal
How many miles of range per hour of charging?Up to 15 miles per hour of charge
How many Kilowatts of power can it give you?Up to 3.6 kW
What’s the installation process?The charging unit can be plugged into a standard outlet, no extra equipment necessary.
AC or DC Charging?AC
What connectors are required?3-pin 3kW AC
Type 1 3kW AC
Type 2 3kW AC
Commando 3kW AC

Fast EV chargers:

As the name suggests, you’ll get an accelerated power-up with a fast-charger – but expect a higher initial financial outlay if you want this type of charge unit at home. You can also find these types of charge points at both public and workplace charging stations.

What you need to know:

How long does it take to charge?3-5 hrs
Suitable for commercial or personal use?Both
How many miles of range per hour of charging?10-90 miles per hour of charge
How many Kilowatts of power can it give you?7kW to 11kW (occasionally up to 22kW)
What’s the installation process?Professional installation required.
AC or DC Charging?AC
What connectors are required?Type 2 7-22kW AC
Type 1 7kW AC
Commando 7-22kW AC

Rapid/ Ultra-Rapid EV chargers

Rapid and Ultra-Rapid chargers are typically found at service stations or EV charging hubs, due to the level of installation and maintenance required although they are starting to appear in cities too. They offer the fastest charge – but this comes at a higher cost.

What you need to know:

How long does it take to charge?Get an 80% charge in 20-40 minutes (most rapid charging units will stop at 80% to protect the battery life)
Suitable for commercial or personal use?Commercial
How many miles of range per hour of charging?60-100 miles
How many Kilowatts of power can it give you?Rapid AC chargers can give you 43kW
Rapid DC chargers can give you 50kW
Ultra-Rapid DC chargers can give you up to 350kW
What’s the installation process?Professional installation required.
AC or DC Charging?Both options possible. Direct or alternating current.
What connectors are required?CHAdeMo from 50kW DC
CCS from 50kW DC
Type 2 43kW AC
Tesla Type 2 120kW DC

Workplace EV charging

Many businesses have started to install EV charge points for their employees – as part of CSR initiatives, to attract new employees and service their growing EV fleets. So you may already be able to leave your car on charge while at the office (once you’re back in of course!).

If you’re a business weighing up the pros & cons of workplace/fleet EV charger installation, take a look at our recent blog on workplace EV charging.


Get started today.

Hopefully this guide has broken down the key facts around EV charging, so you know what to expect before you decide to buy or lease your first EV, convert your fleet, or maybe provide workplace charging stations for your employees.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you get set-up for EV charging!

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