The number of EV charging points in the UK is growing all the time. According to Zap-Map, an app that tracks the location of UK public charge points, there are now:

  • Nearly 20,000 charging locations nationwide.
  • With over 30,000 charging devices installed.
  • Offering over 50,000 individual connectors.

This is just a small proportion of the total UK EV charging network, with an estimated 400,000 more connectors installed at home and workplace EV charging points.

With about 8,000 petrol stations around the UK, there are now about 2.5 times as many places to charge an electric vehicle as there are to top up with unleaded or diesel.

A third of public EV charging points are in Greater London, one in eight is in the South East and nearly one in ten is in Scotland. But not all charging connections are equal — so what are the differences?

 

Types of Public EV Charging Points

Public EV charging points come in several different flavours. The biggest single network is Tesla Supercharger with a nearly 15% market share, but this is only available to Tesla drivers.

A close second place is the bp pulse network on 14.4%, followed by InstaVolt with 13.2% and GeniePoint on 9.7%. ChargePlace Scotland completes the top five on 8.3% according to Zap-Map (as of March 31st 2022).

Superfast EV Charging Points

Superfast EV charging points are the fastest, most powerful public connectors. The fastest ultra-rapid charge points can deliver 100kW or more and can take a modern EV to 80% charge in just 20-30 minutes.

In general, superfast EV charge points produce 43-50kW of power, so for most vehicles it will take around an hour to reach 80% charge.

There are some limitations on this:

  • Your vehicle must support rapid charging.
  • Your vehicle must support the tethered charging cable.
  • The power output will be limited to the maximum your vehicle can take.

As such, if your vehicle can plug into a superfast charging point but does not support 100kW power, it should still work, but will take around an hour to charge at a reduced 43-50kW rate.

We'll take a look at the end of this guide at the different types of connector used on domestic, workplace and public charging points.

Fast EV Charging Points

Fast EV charging points are public connectors normally rated at either 7kW or 22kW. Again, there is Tesla-only infrastructure, the Tesla Destination network, which operates at 11kW.

These are often individual charging posts installed by the roadside or in public car parks, rather than in dedicated EV charging stations. They are often untethered, which means you plug-in using your vehicle's charging cable.

Charging times depend on the power output of the charging post, along with a few other factors. Therefore, you can expect a 22kW charging point to take 1-2 hours to reach 80% (roughly twice as long as a 43kW superfast charger).

A 7kW post will take about three times as long as a 22kW post, as the power rating is roughly one third as much. That means you'll need to park for up to 6 hours to get up to 80-100%.

In practice, you might not need to fully charge your vehicle. If it's already partially charged and you just want to top up your range, a fast EV charging point can do that in about an hour or more.

 

Types of Home EV Charging Points

At home, you have the option to just plug into a standard 3-pin wall socket, but this will give you the slowest charging times, and it can take 12 hours to achieve a significant recharge of even smaller capacity EV batteries.

This is why there are hundreds of thousands of domestic EV charging points and workplace EV charging points installed around the UK, giving private premises fast charging capabilities.

Power Output of Home EV Charge Posts

Originally, home EV charging posts were rated at about 3.6kW. As EV battery capacities increased, so did the power ratings, introducing the option of 7kW domestic charge points and then significantly faster 22kW home charge posts.

Domestic charging points can be tethered or untethered, with tethered charge points usually supporting either Type 1 or Type 2 connectors (see below).

An untethered charging post has a 3-pin socket that you can plug your vehicle's own charging cable into, but supports a much higher power output than just plugging into a normal wall socket in your home or garage.

 

Types of EV Charging Connectors

In addition to the different types of EV charging points mentioned above, we've already touched on the fact that not all EV charging cable connectors are the same - and to plug into any charge point, public, private, workplace or at home, you'll need a compatible connector.

Slow EV Charging Connectors

The slowest charging comes from a standard 3-pin plug. Electric vehicles typically have the option to plug into an ordinary wall socket. They may also support 'commando' 3-pin plugs, the circular plugs often seen on professional power tools and outdoor rain-proof sockets protected by a spring-loaded plastic flap.

Fast EV Charging Connectors

Type 1 EV connectors are becoming less common, but were the first widely used standard for fast charging. They have three main pins in an inverted triangle, with two smaller pins on either side at the bottom.

Type 2 EV connectors are much more common and have five large pins at the bottom, with two smaller pins at the top, creating a bottom-heavy hexagonal formation.

Rapid EV Charging Connectors

Rapid EV charging connectors can combine AC and DC pins on a single plug. Examples of this approach include:

  • Tesla Supercharger connectors
  • CCS or Combined Charging System connectors
  • CHAdeMO connectors

CHAdeMO was developed in Japan and is installed in about 10,000 locations worldwide, including about 2,750 in Europe. Its name comes from the Japanese phrase "O cha demo ikagadesu ka?", which translates as "How about tea?" and refers to the 'just time for a cuppa' charging speed.

At power output of up to 400kW and a target of 900kW for the next generation of the connection standard, CHAdeMO is one of the fastest options, and is developed by the non-profit CHAdeMO Association.