More drivers of new and used cars are considering switching to an electric vehicle than ever before. The appeal includes low emissions and usually a reduced insurance policy, as well as the low cost of charging an electric battery compared to the cost of petrol or diesel. However, prospective and new owners often find the charging process a little confusing.
The simplest and most reliable way to charge an electric car is at your home, or place of work. Your car should come with a standard lead and plug that will work in a domestic electricity socket, although it may be a good idea to have an electrician check that your wiring can handle the load. This is a cheap and convenient option, particularly if you’re on an electricity tariff that offers reduced rates for off peak electricity use, charging your car overnight will cost very little.
The time it takes to recharge will vary according to the type and size of your battery, but even an empty battery should charge fully overnight. However, if you want to charge your battery more quickly, it can be worth having a fast charging point installed. This can fully charge a battery in a few hours, and although they are currently expensive, government grants are available to help cover the cost. If you don’t have a garage with a power point home charging may not be an option. This issue puts many people off electric car ownership, although alternatives are available, they are not always easy to find. Some councils offer free parking for electric cars, on the road, or in an open or undercover car park, with a charging point built in to the space, you can also find charging points at some supermarkets.
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Manufacturers of electric cars may provide charge points specifically for owners of their own models. Several private companies have also set up networks of charging stations throughout the country, there is usually a cost attached to these, often in the form of a monthly fee.
If you only make short journeys in town you should be able to keep your car topped up by just charging at home, the difficulty arises when you need to take your car on a longer journey. Some motorway service stations offer electric vehicle charging, but to ensure you can complete your trip you may need to research your route in advance. You will also need to know exactly how far your electric car can travel on a single charge, bearing in mind that this will vary according to your speed and how smoothly you travel.
When you visit a motor trade dealer to consider buying a new electric car you will be able to test drive using trade plates, make sure you ask about all charging options and costs.