All you need to know about charging an electric vehicle

October 19, 2021


Thinking about switching to a zero or ultra-low emission vehicle? We answer the most common questions about electric vehicle charging. 

Where to charge your electric vehicle? 

This is probably one of the first questions you ask yourself when thinking about switching to an electric vehicle, and you’re not the only one. 

There are two ways to charge an electric vehicle – at home or public charging. 

Charging at home

Around 80% of all-electric car charging takes place at home. You can either use a regular socket or have a home charger installed. The former is possible using the portable slow charger provided with your electric vehicle. It will charge at around 3kW and can require up to 19 hours for a full charge. 

The second option is to have an electric car charging installed at home. This will allow you to have a faster charge as most chargers deliver electricity at 7kW. You will need to arrange the installation with a provider. Find the list of recognised providers here

Note that you can benefit from a  special grant from the government – the  Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, covering 75% of the costs for the charger and installation (up to a maximum of £350). More information on the grant can be found here

If in London, you can also write to your local council and ask them to install an on-street charger if you don’t have one near your house. More information can be found here.

Public charging 

The city of London has made huge efforts to support the development of public charging stations. You can now find chargers in most supermarkets, near hotels and car park operators. A number of applications can also help you to localise the nearest charging point such as ZapMap or Pod Point App

Bolt has partnered with Ubitricity to bring more charge points across the city of London. After identifying where private hire drivers would benefit the most from more charging points, we are working with the council of Hammersmith and Fulham to speed up the installations of more charging stations. As per today, 50 charging stations have been installed. 

In addition, we continue to work side by side with relevant councils and policymakers to identify how we can best help as a company a faster transition to green vehicles.

How often do I need to charge an electric car? 

Charging an electric car can take as little as 30 minutes or up to 19 hours. Different factors will influence the length of time it takes to fully charge an electric vehicle  –  the speed of the charger, the size of the battery in the car, and the amount of electric car the car can handle. It also depends on your lifestyle. You can simply charge your car at home with a regular socket when you are not driving either at night or during the day. A Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery will for instance require 12 hours of charge to be complete. Think of charging your EV in a similar manner to charging your smartphone, if you plug it in when you get home, you’ll almost always wake up with plenty of charge.

If you need to charge urgently while on the road, you can always use fast chargers. However, it is recommended to only use them for an emergency top-up or long-distance driving as it will strain your EV battery to rely on them for all of your charging needs.

Cost of charging your electric vehicle

The most affordable way to charge an electric vehicle is home charging and costs on average  £9.20. The national average domestic electric rate is around 17p per kWh. Use this home charging calculator to get an estimation of how much a full charge would cost you.

It is often cheaper to use electricity in the evening. The majority of electric vehicles usually give the option to adjust charging settings so they only draw charge when energy tariffs are at their lowest point. 

Don’t forget to check with your electricity provider as some of them are offering special fares for EV drivers! When using public charging stations, costs can vary from one provider to another. Most charging points will charge you a fee but some are widely accessible.

You can also subscribe to a provider’s membership to access their chargers freely across the city. Check out ZapMap for more information on pricing per charger.

How to extend your EV battery life and optimise your miles range?

Last but not least, here are a few tips and tricks to extend the life of a battery. 


Driving in eco-mode will help you get more miles out of your electric vehicle because it will reduce your vehicle’s energy consumption.

Avoid fast charging

Fast charging is very convenient but can affect the lifetime of the battery in the long term or long-distance driving.  Try to limit the use of those only in case of emergencies.  

Climate control and heating – turn it down if it’s comfortable to do so

Turning down your climate control will reduce your static energy consumption. Setting off when the temperature is close to 20 degrees will improve your range.

Tyre pressure

Ensure your tyre pressure is at the optimal level to reduce unnecessary rolling resistance.

Charge the battery up to 80%

According to EV manufacturers, it’s best to charge the battery to 80% of its capacity. Not only is this faster, it means you avoid the last 20 percent of charge that is slower and heats the cells more, potentially degrading them. However, when you do need the car’s full range capability, then you can still charge the battery to its maximum.

Maximise your regenerative braking 

This is a system that uses the electric motor as a generator to send energy back into the battery every time you lift off the accelerator or brush the brakes. If you only decelerate using regenerative braking then you are minimising your energy consumption. Make sure you always have regenerative braking on and you leave enough space for it to slow you down before you need the brake.

Constant speed

There’s no need to accelerate too much. Minimising it keeps your energy consumption lower. The faster you go, the more energy you use.

Interested in switching to an electric car? 

Learn more about the benefits of having an electric car in this blog article. Find more information about becoming a Bolt driver here


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