The Ultimate EV Charging Guide
Electric Vehicles are taking over the motor industry. At Smartly, we couldn’t be happier, and we’re leading from the front by providing the best online source to learn about EV charging and committed to providing only the best charging products for customers in the UK.
What are Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles (EV), sometimes known as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine, and a battery instead of a petrol/diesel tank. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are a combination of electric and vehicle, so they have battery, petrol tank, electric motor, and internal combustion engine. EVs rely fully on electric charge, and PHEVs can be operated with battery power, or petrol (or a combination of both).
You can install an EV charger if you have one of the following:
You require power at the location too. If you do not own your property, we advise to seek permission before installing the charge point.
Home and workplace chargers vary in size, looks and features:
Smartly has partnered with the UK and Europe’s top charger manufacturers to provide the highest quality, most reliable and best-looking chargers. We only partner with premium brands who have a track record of outstanding products. We hand pick the products we sell and rigorously test them to make sure we know them inside out and can advise customers on even the tiniest details.
We have made sure all our chargers are “smart” so you can connect them to the internet and control the charging. This is great for a few reasons!
1. It gives you more control of when you charge and how much you charge.
2. It means you can save money by picking off-peak times to charge your car.
3. Generally, the cheapest electricity is overnight, and this is when electricity is also greenest (more of it is generated from wind or nuclear) so smart charging cuts your carbon footprint too!
4. If you have any issues with your charger, being smart means that manufacturers can diagnose (and sometimes fix) faults easily and remotely.
SLOW - up to 3kW
Slow (or Mode 2) AC Charging is the method of electric vehicle charging with a non-dedicated 3-pin domestic socket. Slow Chargers, with a traditional 3-pin plug at one end, charge VERY slowly (2.3-3kW), hence why they are also known as “Granny” Chargers. Some car manufacturers only supply this type of charging cable, but we recommend just keeping it for emergencies.
We highly recommended installing a dedicated EV charger at your home and/or workplace which is much safer and faster. 3-pin sockets are not designed for extended periods of charging. Also, EVs require communication between the car and charger so require more than the standard three pins.
FAST – 7 to 22kW
Fast (or Mode 3) AC Chargers are much faster than 3-pin chargers. They are purpose-built dedicated chargers installed in homes, businesses, or public areas. These are the main types of chargers UK homeowners purchase for charging their EV.
Our handy Vehicle Selector Tool will show you which type of cable/charger is compatible with your car. In the UK, most EV/PHEVs have Type 2 connections but check to be sure. More information on each type is below and in our dedicated Ultimate Charging Cable and Connector Guide:
Type 1 (or J1772) connectors are the standard in USA and Japan. In the UK, some older EV and PHEV models have this connection. For example, older models of the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Home and public fast chargers have a type 2 connection so if your car is Type 1, then purchase a Type 1 to Type 2 cable here.
Type 2 (also known as IEC 62196 or Mennekes). Since 2013 it has been the official connector type in Europe. All UK fast chargers have a Type 2 connection, and the majority of UK EVs and PHEVs have Type 2 connections, so you would require a Type 2 to Type 2 cable. Our handy Vehicle Selector Tool will show you which type of cable/charger you require.
RAPID – 50kW to 150kW+
Rapid DC Charging are super-fast chargers located in public areas like motorway service stations. You don’t need to purchase a cable for Rapid DC Chargers as they usually have tethered cables.
CHAdeMO is the original DC charging connector. It is less common than the newer CCS connector. You can still see it on the Nissan Leaf. Charging power is usually around 50kW.
CCS is the new standard for Rapid DC Charging. Charging Power can reach 150kW+.
Tesla allows you to use the existing Type 2 socket for Rapid DC Charging at their own Tesla Superchargers which can charge at 150kW+.
Depending on your battery size (kWh), and charging power (kW), approximate charge time can be found below:
|Charger Power||Charge Time (30kWh Battery)||Charge Time (60kWh Battery)||Charge Time (90kWh Battery)|
|3kW||9 hours||18 hours||27 hours|
|7kW||4 hours||8 hours||16 hours|
|22kW||1.5 hours||3 hours||6 hours|
|50kW||30 minutes||1 hour||2 hours|
It is worth noting that the maximum charge speed is determined not just by the charger power, but also by your vehicle’s on-board charger (the charger built into the car). Our Vehicle Selector Tool lets you know your on-board charger speed. For example:
A quick guide to working out cost is by multiplying your electricity tariff by your EV battery size. For example (using 15p per kWh as an average UK electricity price):
|Car||Battery Size||Range||Calculation||Cost to Charge|
|Nissan Leaf||37kWh||140 miles||15p x 37kWh||£5.55|
|Audi Q4 e-tron 40||76.6kWh||250 miles||15p x 76.6kWh||£11.49|
|BMW iX xDrive 50||105.2kWh||315 miles||15p x 105.2kWh||£15.78|
You can also change Electricity Supplier to one which offers a dedicated EV Tariff, which allows cheap charging at off-peak times (for example 5p per kWh as opposed to 15p per kWh).
Have a look at our EV charger selection, hand-picked and rigorously tested by our expert team. If you are unsure which charger to choose, read our EV Buying Guide or use our Vehicle Selector Tool to help show you the chargers and cables which are compatible with your vehicle.
If you have any questions, we’re happy to help! Click here!
We believe you should have the choice of who installs your charger. This allows greater transparency with charger costs and installation. We don't force you to take installation as standard - so feel free to purchase the charger alone, or select the installation option before adding to cart.
Our installation service is provided by our fully certified team for a set fee of £489 (inc VAT). This includes mounting to an external wall, and up to 10m of cabling to spare circuit on consumer unit. More complicated installs, or remote locations may incur an additional charge. We'll contact you once your order is complete to arrange the install. You will mostly likely need a new cable installed in your household or workplace consumer unit/fuse board, and the charger attached to an outside wall of your house/office or in a garage.
For home installations, the average cost in the UK is £500. The UK’s OZEV grant ended in March 2022 for single unit homeowners. Apartments owners and those who rent their accommodation are still eligible from 1st April 2022 with a newly named “EV Chargepoint Grant”. More information can be found here.
Scottish residents can also still apply for £250 funding through the Energy Saving Trust.
If you have any questions, please let us know! Our expert team is happy to help!
For businesses, the Government Workplace Charge Scheme (WCS) offers grants for installation. More details can be found here on the UK government website. All the EV Chargers on smartlycharging.com are approved for installation in the WCS.
The grant covers up to 75% of the total costs of the purchase and installation of EV chargepoints (inclusive of VAT), capped at a maximum of:
£350 per socket
⚡️ 40 sockets across all sites per applicant – for instance, if you would like to install them in 40 sites, you will have 1 socket available per site
After applying using the online application form, successful applicants are issued with a unique identification voucher code by email, which can then be given to any OZEV-authorised WCS Installer. All the EV Chargers on smartlycharging.com are approved for installation in the WCS.
Once the chargepoint(s) have been installed, the authorised installer can claim the grant from OZEV on the applicant’s behalf. The chargepoint installation must be completed and the voucher claimed within 6 months of the voucher’s issue date. If you have any questions, please let us know! Our expert team is happy to help!