Electric cars have long been considered a carbon-friendly alternative to traditional, fuel-run vehicles. They're also cheaper because it typically costs more to fill your tank with petrol or diesel than it does to charge a car using electricity. But how much power does an EV charger actually use when it's plugged in? That's what we're looking at here with this guide to how much power an EV charger uses.
How do I charge an electric car?
Electric vehicle owners charge their cars via two primary methods: at home or in public. Both use varying amounts of power depending on several factors, such as the kW and location (if it's in public). Here’s what you can expect when charging your EV at home and in public.
Home chargers are becoming increasingly popular as more people buy electric vehicles. You can install a home charger with a domestic 3-pin socket, although a dedicated home EV charger is better suited. That's because they deliver around 7kW of power (more on that shortly), while standard 3-pin sockets are 10A or less (that's about 2.3kW). Subsequently, a 7kW home charger provides approximately three times as much power and is three times faster than a domestic socket.
You’ll find public chargers located on the street, at supermarkets, service stations and shopping centres. Many of them feature rapid charging, which can charge your battery to about 80% in around 30 minutes. Currently, there are more than 30,000 public chargers in the UK, and the number continues to grow.
Should I charge my EV at home or in public
It depends. Charging your EV in the privacy of your home is more convenient as you don’t need to search for a charging station. It’s also cheaper: initial installation cost can be anywhere between £100 -£1,000, and you’ll only pay for the energy consumed once it’s installed.
Public charging stations often provide rapid charging, but you'll struggle to locate one if you don't live within proximity to a public charging point. Households outside big cities may find it particularly difficult to identify nearby public charging points.
What’s cheaper? Charging at home or in public?
Going by standard energy price, you can expect to pay around £35 to charge your EV to about 80% using a rapid charger. The cost also depends on the individual charging point and the vehicle manufacturer, so there are variables to take into account.
At the same time, using a home charger will cost you around £15 to charge your car from zero to 100% (its full range). Therefore, it works out cheaper to use a home charging point. The time of day you charge your car will also have an impact – you’ll pay less during off-peak periods.
How much power does an EV charger use?
Public charging uses considerably more power than home chargers and costs a lot more. For that reason (and the purpose of keeping it simple), we’re going to focus on at-home charging from here. A dedicated home charger tends to use 7kW of power, which is currently the most powerful and fastest way to charge your electric car at home.
Ok, so what exactly is k/W?
We’ve referred to kW (or kWh) a fair bit throughout this article, but what exactly is it? kW and kWh refer to kilowatts and kilowatt-hours. Watts are a unit of power, the measure of amps and voltage combined. It relates to how much power runs through any given supply: one kW is a thousand watts. Then there’s kwH, which is the amount of energy consumed in an hour.
What’s cheaper: electric charging or using fuel?
It's not just EV home charging versus public charging; there's also the debate over electric and fuel cars. Before, there was no argument: it was cheaper to charge your EV than to fill the tank in a fuel-run car. However, the current surge in energy prices has left many wondering if it's still cheaper to own an electric vehicle or if it's worth switching back fuel.
Even with rising energy prices, it's still more affordable to own an EV and charge it at home. Research has shown that using fuel can be 80% more expensive, even in the current climate with surging energy costs. Therefore, you're likely better off if you own an EV and charge it than you are with a fuel-run vehicle.
How long does it take to charge your car?
On average, it takes around eight hours to give your EV some serious juice. The timeframe should be long enough to charge the battery from zero to 100%. For most people, this means charging their car overnight when they're not at work. Plus, charging your car late at night is generally more cost-efficient as it's an off-peak period.
Anything else I should know about EV charging power?
Whether you’re charging at home or in public, it’s worth remembering that the tariff, energy cost, battery capacity, charging speed and charging level all play a role. You may pay slightly more if you drive one car brand over another, too. It’s helpful to use an online calculator to get a better indication of what you might pay and the power needed to charge your EV. One thing is for certain, however: EV charging is still the most affordable way to run your car.
Summary: power up
An at-home EV charger uses around 7kW and, on average, costs approximately £15 to charge to 100%. It's still the cheapest option available, comfortably beating public charging and fuel-run cars. And it's even cheaper if you generate your own energy through renewable energy sources, but that's another story for another day.
Thinking of having an EV charger installed?
Go ahead and get free quotes from local EV installation specialists in your local area. Find a qualified professional to come and install your new EV charging unit. Rezigo's independent tradespeople are fully vetted to safely install your charger, so click here and grab some quotes today!