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There should be at least a couple of points where you can charge your electric car at most places you’d park and leave the vehicle for an hour or two, especially in town centres. Some common locations for public charging points include supermarkets, leisure centres, multi-storey car parks and so on.
The cost of charging an EV at a charging station depends largely on the type of charger - whether it’s a fast or rapid charger - and the company that operates it, so it can vary. It shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive, not least because some drivers will rely exclusively on those charging stations. Some electric car charging points cost nothing, though it’s likely you’ll be paying in another way - for instance, to park in a car park or to use a leisure centre.
Using EV charging stations couldn’t be easier - you just need to make sure the connector type for your car matches the one on the EV charging station. Fortunately, you can see which type of connector is required on the Uswitch map above. Some can be paid for using standard contactless payment methods, but others may require you to have an account with the charging station operator.
Public EV charging stations will provide either fast or rapid charging as they’re designed to be used quickly. The table below provides a general overview of charging times and connector types at most fast and rapid charging stations.
|Fast charging||7-22 kW||4-6 hours||Type 1 - 22 kW (5-pin); Type 2 - 22 kW (7-pin)|
|Rapid charging||43-50 kW||30 mins-1 hour||Type 2 - 43 kW AC (7-pin); CHAdeMO - 50 kW DC (4-pin); CCS - 50 kW DC|
Supermarkets are a common location of public charging points for EVs. If they have car parks attached, most customers will park for forty minutes to an hour while they do the weekly shop, which is a perfect amount of time to top up an EV battery.
Which supermarkets offer free EV charging, though?
In partnership with Volkswagen and Pod Point, Tesco has rolled out 500 free electric vehicle charging stations in car parks at Tesco Extra and Superstore car parks across the country. 400 of these charging points charge at 7 kW, while the other 100 charge at 22 kW and 50 kW (though these require a small fee to be paid).
Asda electric car charging was free between May 2021, when a partnership with Engie saw the rollout of 50 kW chargers across 19 locations in West Yorkshire, and October 2021. While those chargers are still in place, they now require a fee to use.
The electric car charging points at Sainsbury’s stores charge at a rate of 7 kW and are free to use for customers.
A widespread rollout of electric vehicle charging stations at Waitrose stores across the country is currently underway, with 800 Shell Recharge charging points due to be installed in 100 locations. Each site is expected to have six 22 kW and two 50 kW charging points. It’s likely that, as these are part of the Shell network which does generally charge drivers, the Waitrose chargers will also ask drivers to pay to use them.
Aldi has partnered with Shell NewMotion to install free-to-use 22 kW EV chargers at all its new UK stores - this will see 140 chargers installed.
Since 2017, Lidl has been partnered with Pod Point to install EV charging stations at 228 stores across the UK. The charging stations charge at 22 kW and 50 kW and cost 26p per kWh as of October 2021.