If you’re looking to get an electric vehicle (EV), one of the main things to think about will be where to charge it. There are a few options for EV drivers, including having an electric vehicle charging point installed at your house or making use of public charge points on the go.
This article looks at some of the differences between home and public charging, as well as some of the benefits and disadvantages of each type.
Charging at home
Around 80% of EV drivers have a charge point at home, and with their convenience and long-term savings compared to relying on public charge points, it’s easy to see why. There are also some downsides to charging at home, and not every house will be suitable for installing a charger.
Advantages to home charging
- More convenient and dependable than public charging – With an at-home charger, you won’t need to wait in queues for a public charge point to become available, and you can charge your EV whenever you’re at home.
- It’s cheaper to charge your EV at home – Actual costs will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the electricity tariff you’re on. For example a Renault Zoe costs around £15 for a full at-home charge, but around £23 for a rapid charge at a public charge point. If your house has solar panels, and you’re at home when the sun’s energy is strongest, your charge will essentially be free as the EV will take power directly from the solar panels. If you prefer to charge your EV at night, you can store and use solar energy at any time with a battery.
- Adds value to the property – With EV ownership on the rise, houses with built-in charge points will have a higher market value if you choose to sell in the future. This may not be the case in every area, but research suggests that houses with charge points installed sell for an average of 30% more than others nearby.
Drawbacks of charging at home
- Possibly long charging times – the majority of home chargers are 7kW or 22kW, and some EVs can be charged using a regular 3-pin plug and mains supply. This does however mean that charging will take longer than at a rapid public charge point, with a full charge taking between 8-12 hours. This is fine if you want to charge your vehicle overnight but might not suit everyone.
- Increased electricity bills – unless you have solar panels and battery storage, your energy bills will likely increase due to the extra amounts of electricity needed to charge your EV. As mentioned above, it is often cheaper to charge at home rather than a public charge point, but this increase in energy usage is still an important thing to consider. Petrol prices have fallen slightly since June 2022, but the average cost of filling up a medium sized car still sits at around £95. The average EV battery is around 67kWh, and filling the battery up at home will cost under £20, which is considerably cheaper than fuel costs.
- Need to have a charge point installed – At home charge points may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you don’t have off-street parking at your house. You will need space to be able to park your car close enough to your house to plug it in. There is also the initial cost of the charger, which can be quite expensive. While the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme is no longer active, the new EV chargepoint grant offers 75% off the cost of installing a home charger for those in flats or rented accommodation.
Charging in public
An increasing number of places now have charge points available for public use, including shops, workplaces and motorway services amongst others. This means you can charge your EV quickly when you’re not at home, and they allow people without access to off-street parking to easily charge their vehicles.
Advantages to public charging
- You can top up while you’re out and about – With over 33,000 charge devices in over 20,000 locations around the country, your nearest charge point might be closer than you think. This gives you the opportunity to top up your EV while you’re out doing jobs such as your weekly grocery shop.
- Most places offer rapid chargers – With a rapid or ultra-rapid charger, you can charge your EV up to 80% in as little as 20 minutes. This means you don’t need to wait for a long time at a public charge point for your vehicle to charge.
Disadvantages of charging in public
- Limited number of chargers – At each location there may only be one or two connectors, meaning you might have to wait for one to become available before you can use it.
- You have to look for somewhere that has a charge point – While more places than ever now have charging facilities, some people still face range anxiety finding somewhere to recharge before their battery runs out. By using apps such as Zap-Map, you can find the nearest charge point and even plan your journey around where you can charge your EV.
- Different apps or cards for each network – Charging networks in the UK use apps or RFID cards to allow you to pay for your charge, and many networks have their own cards and apps which you’ll need to have access to in order to charge. Charging is becoming more centralised though with Zap-Pay, an app that allows you to pay for charging on a range of different networks all in one place.
How often will you need to charge?
EV batteries are now becoming more powerful, allowing you to travel more miles on a single charge. The average range is just under 200 miles which is far more than the average number of miles driven per day which sits at around 20 miles. This means that you won’t need to charge your EV each time you’re out or even every night unless you’re travelling longer distances.