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Blog – Slow, Fast and Rapid EV Charging Explained

Slow, fast and rapid EV chargers – EV charging speeds explained.

Did you know that there are three different ways to charge your electric vehicle? Using slow, fast and rapid EV chargers.

But what is the difference between slow EV chargers, fast EV chargers and rapid EV chargers?

In this blog, we’ll explain the different types of electric car charging speeds, where you would usually find them, how long it would typically take to charge an EV, as well as give you our recommendation on which is best.

Slow EV charging

A slow EV charger typically operates between 2.3kW to 3.6kW and uses AC (alternating current from the national grid) to provide power to your EV. Slow chargers come in the form of 3-pin plug EV chargers – sometimes called granny chargers – or dedicated 3.6kW EV chargers installed on your property.

Typically, you will 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. Although, they are missing out on key advantages by not doing so, and nearly £30,000 of government grant funding to help introduce business EV charging infrastructure.

electric car charging speeds

Is slow charging better for your EV battery?

Technically, yes, slow charging is better for your EV battery. That said, slow charging is exactly what it says on the tin – slow – meaning it is not a sustainable way to charge your electric car unless you are prepared to charge for over 18 hours (or sometimes a full day). Instead, opt for a fast EV charger as it does not increase premature battery degradation like consistently using rapid and ultra-rapid EV chargers.

slow charging

Fast EV charging

7kW, 11kW and 22kW EV chargers are all considered fast chargers, though 7kW EV chargers are the most common type of home charger in the UK. Fast electric car chargers usually come in the form of dedicated home chargers or public charging points in places like supermarkets or car parks.

Investing in a fast charger, specifically in the form of a dedicated home charger, brings you an array of benefits. Some of these include convenience, in addition to safer and cheaper charging.

One of the biggest advantages to fast public EV chargers is that a large handful are free to use, especially in supermarkets and retail parks. However, the number is shrinking with time. 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.

fast electric car charging

Rapid and ultra-rapid EV charging

According to Zap Map, there are currently 10,541 rapid and ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers in the UK. These speedy charging units are usually found near motorway services and are the fastest 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 and 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, in 20 minutes, most electric cars can reach 80% charge.

Ultra-rapid EV 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 it’s convenient, especially on long journeys, as you don’t have to wait around for too long, compared to slow and fast chargers.

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 or ultra rapid electric car charger installed at home.

Rapid electric car charging

Want faster, cheaper, and more convenient charging?

Invest in a fast home EV charger.

As the experts in EV charging, we supply and install electric vehicle chargers nationwide – all with first-class customer service.

If you’re interested in a home EV charger, our expert advisers are standing by to take your calls at 03333 44 96 99, offering free. unbiased advice. Alternatively, you can access our webchat service or fill in the contact form below.

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Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

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.

Underground cable

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.

Overhead cable

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.

Standard Installation
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.