Did you know that there are three different ways to charge your electric vehicle? Slow, fast and rapid EV charging.
New to the world of electric vehicle charging? We’ll explain the different types of charging speeds, where you would usually find them, how long it would typically take to charge an EV with each method, as well as give you our recommendation on which is best.
So, let’s dive in.
A slow charger typically operates between 2.3kW and 2.5kW and uses AC (alternating current from the national grid) to provide power to your EV. The slow chargers use household sockets to charge and, more often than not, come in the form of 3-pin plug EV chargers.
This is the slowest way to charge your EV as it can take up to, or sometimes over, 18 hours for a full charge using a 3-pin plug charger (depending on the type of battery you have). Let’s use the Renault Zoe as our example; with a 3-pin plug charger, powering at just under 3kW, you are looking at roughly 17 hours to fully charge your EV.
You are most likely to find slow chargers in homes, or in some rare cases, in the workplace, where companies have not yet invested in a dedicated EV charging point.
Whilst it is a cheap way to charge since you do not need to invest in a dedicated home EV charging unit or pay to use a rapid charger, we feel the disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages. One of the biggest negatives being that 3-pin plug chargers can actually be a fire hazard as running a domestic socket close to its maximum 3kW capacity puts a strain on your circuit, the cables, and the socket, with the potential to cause serious problems, such as overheating and in worst case scenarios, fires.
However, if you are staying with a family member, and they don’t own a dedicated EV charger, and there are limited public chargers around, then a slow charging will do the job just fine. We, therefore, recommend keeping a 3-pin plug charger as a backup in case of these emergencies.
Typically rated 7kW or, more specifically, 7.4kW, fast chargers are the most common type of EV charger in the UK. These EV chargers usually come in the form of dedicated home chargers or public charging points in places like supermarkets or car parks.
All electric vehicles need to be charged by DC current (direct current), and like slow chargers, fast chargers use AC (alternating current from the national grid) to power your EV (EVs have built-in converters inside, turning it into DC within the vehicle).
There are also cases of 22kW fast chargers at certain public points, and you can have them installed at home. However, to install a 22kW EV charger in a residence, you have to have a three-phase electrical supply, which can be costly and time-consuming to upgrade. 22kW is the fastest charge available for domestic use, but single-phase electricity with chargers at 7kW is the norm in most UK households.
Fast chargers are three times quicker to charge your electric vehicle than slow chargers, and if you are fortunate enough to come across a 22kW, they are 10 times faster. Using the same example of the Renault Zoe, it should take around 7 hours to charge with a 7kW fast charger and 2.3 hours using a 22kW charger. However, on average, it should take between 4-6 hours to charge your EV with a 7kW fast charger.
Investing in a fast charger, specifically in the form of a dedicated home charging point, brings you an array of benefits. Some of these include convenience, in addition to safer and cheaper charging.
One of the biggest advantages to public fast chargers is that a large handful is free to use, especially in supermarkets and retail parks. However, you will have to drive specifically to one you know or drive around to find one, which won’t be too much fun after a long day at work. There could also be restrictions on how long charging is free, and you might not be able to fully charge your EV within the given timeframe.
According to Zap Map, there are currently 5011 rapid and 2703 ultra-rapid EV chargers in the UK. These speedy charging units are usually found near motorway services and are the quickest way to charge your EV.
A rapid charger usually powers at around 43-50kW and can charge our example EV, the Renault Zoe, from 0-80% in 45 minutes. After it reaches 80%, the charge will start to slow down, though this is to protect the battery from damage. More often than not, in order to fully charge your EV with a rapid charger, it will probably take around or over an hour (depending on your make and model).
An ultra-rapid EV charger uses significantly more power, typically between 50kW to a whopping 350kW! Your electric vehicle charging time will, therefore, drastically change depending on the make, model and amount of power the rapid charger has to offer. However, typically it can 20 minutes to reach 80% charge with a
Rapid charging’s biggest advantage is obviously that it’s quick. With it being the fastest way to charge your EV out there, it can save you bags of time when your EV needs some juice. That also means that it’s convenient, especially when on long journeys, as you don’t have to wait around for too long, compared to slow and fast chargers.
Both rapid and ultra-rapid EV charge points use DC to charge your vehicle, and whilst you might think the fastest option will be better, that is not the case with EV charging. In actual fact, rapid/ultra-rapid charging could potentially harm your EV battery when used frequently. It’s advised that you don’t make rapid chargers your go-to charger.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to get a rapid charger installed at home.
Invest in a fast home EV charger.
As the experts in EV charging, we supply and install electric vehicle chargers nationwide in as little as 8-10 days from DNO approval. Our expert advisers are standing by to take your calls at 03333 44 96 99. Alternatively, you can access our webchat service or fill in the contact form below.
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This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.
This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.
Spread over a 60 month period.
Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.
You decide the amount of months.
Minimum of £1000.
We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.
Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.
We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.
We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.
Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.
Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.
A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation.
What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.
If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.