Private vs public EV charging
Private and public charging for electric vehicles each come with their own pros and cons, from costs to driver’s experience – here’s our complete guide.
Following the impact of the recent fuel supply issues and panic fuel buying, more of the UK public is considering transitioning away from petrol and diesel cars and investing in their first electric vehicle. However, owning an electric vehicle requires a little extra knowledge when considering charging speeds, EV charging installation costs, and so on.
There are a range of options when it comes to charging an EV and this simple resource that will help you understand the differences and benefits of private vs public EV charging. We’ll be comparing the cost, convenience and speed of these two charging options.
Cost of private vs public EV charging
It’s possible that once you’ve purchased your EV, you will utilise both private and public charging points, although some factors could limit what’s available to you, such as not having a driveway, being located where public charging stations are limited in availability and so on. So how do costs vary when comparing the cost of charging at home in comparison to on the road?
Private EV charging costs
When looking to charge your electric vehicle at home, you do have the option to use your familiar three-pin plug, however charging times are lengthy, therefore manufacturers recommend installing a dedicated EV charging box (often wall mounted) to your home. To help with the costs of installation, the government offers the OZEV grant (formally OLEV grant) which will contribute up to £350 off the costs associated with an EV charging box installation.
Note that certain electric vehicle manufacturers are still offering a complimentary installation on an EV charging home point with the purchase of a new electric vehicle.
Your remaining cost is charging your vehicle with the EV charging point. You can expect to pay between £6 to £9 for every full charge of a standard EV, with a 60kWh battery and 200 mile range. This can vary of course depending on the model of EV, speed of home EV charger and your energy tariff.
Public EV charging costs
There are a range of options when considering public EV charging points. For example in some retail parks and supermarket car parks you can find free EV chargers which you can connect to whilst shopping – these are typically a slower variety of charge point.
If looking to utilise on-street charging points (often found now attached to standard lamp posts), an example of costs per kWh is around 13p.
Faster, rapid-charging points that are commonly found at service stations for the public to use, similarly to on-street charging points, often require an account and charge card with the provider. You can expect to pay higher rates, around £6 for a half an hour charge - resulting in approximately just under 100 miles of charge. You can find your nearest point using an app such as ZapMap.
Convenience of private vs public EV charging
If we focus our attention away from the cost of EV charging and all the options available, how does the convenience differ when comparing private and public charging? These factors can vary considerably depending on what type of area you live in – therefore doing your own research into options for your particular circumstances is very important.
Private EV charging is often considered the no-brainer option if you have a driveway – being able to charge your electric vehicle in a safe space, at home, overnight is fantastically convenient. The majority of owners taking advantage of this option install a standard charger at home which typically charges their electric vehicle fully overnight (approx. hours).
EV owners can park their vehicles in their driveway, connect their cable in moments and the vehicle will charge until unplugged – and more importantly most vehicles will allow you set a time a charge when electricity is at its cheapest.
If you’re not fortunate to have your own driveway you will likely be utilising overnight on-street charging or charging points located in supermarkets, retail parks and service stations.
When considering on-street charge points, it’s obvious that there are a number of factors which could cause this option to be a less-streamlined than others. Such as availability, the size of the space available, location of the charging point from your home address and so on.
When considering supermarket and retail park charge points, most users are typically charging their vehicles at these locations for brief periods of time. As discussed these charge points are typically lower in power, so you would need to charge more often to keep your battery at an optimal charge level.
Finally, service station charge points that are often equipped with rapid chargers allow the user the ability to charge their EV battery fully for shorter periods of time. This is extremely convenient for longer journeys, which is why they’re often found at motorway service stations. However, you may have to wait if they’re all occupied and just as there is with fuel there is a massive price disparity between local petrol stations and motorway service stations, with the latter hugely more expensive.
Rented driveways and empty parking spaces are also helping to alleviate EV charge point anxiety, considered one of the main barriers to mass EV adoption. YourParkingSpace.co.uk currently has 6500 charge points locations which can be booked in advance, with up-to-the-minute reliable availability.
Speed of private vs public EV charging
Private charging point speeds
When considering charging speed options for private charging points, these consist most commonly of two types of charging, 7kW and 22kW.
7kW charging points for private use are the most common option. This is because the majority of homes already support single phase power supply. For each hour you charge your EV, a 7kW charging point offers around 30 miles of charge for a standard electric vehicle. Therefore, this option has the ability to charge an electric vehicle to full battery overnight.
The faster option for home charging is a 22kW charging point. However, your home needs to first be compatible with three-phase power supply and also, your EV must be able to accept 22kW power.
Public charging point speeds
There is a wide range of options when choosing what type of public charge point is most suitable for you in regards to speed.
A similar speed to home charging options, public fast charging consists of 7kW and 22kW chargers. Ideal for users who are able to park their vehicle for a few hours, these chargers are slower but cheaper options for charging.
More appropriate for quick top-ups, rapid EV charging points offer from 50kW power options. Typically charging 100 miles of charge within an hour of charging.
The fastest charging option available to the public charging are ultra-rapid EV chargers offering charging power available of up to 350kW – equivalent to 200 miles charge in under half an hour.
When owning an electric vehicle, it’s likely that you will experience using a range of charging options throughout the year. The general consensus however, is that charging your vehicle at home is both convenient and cost-effective. If this is not possible in your circumstances, your best friend is planning. For longer journeys, ensure you’re already aware of your charging locations and the types of charge speeds available – this will ensure you’re always topped up and able to continue your journey safely.