With the recent announcement that the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned in the UK from 2030, more and more people are talking about ‘going electric’. There is a growing public charging network in the UK. But having your own designated chargepoint is much cheaper and more convenient. Here’s the lowdown on personal chargepoints…

Let's Start at the Beginning

Electric vehicles (EVs), or ‘plug-in vehicles’, are cars or vans that are at least partially powered by electricity from an on-board battery. All EVs are classed as ultra-low emission vehicles.

There are loads of reasons why EVs are a great option for drivers. They are highly responsive, with impressive handling and quick acceleration. They have lower servicing and maintenance costs and use much cheaper fuel. They are better for the planet, producing zero tailpipe emissions and having a much smaller environmental footprint over their lifetime compared to traditional cars.

What’s more, Boris’ 10-point climate plan makes EVs the only kind of car legally authorised to be sold in the UK after 2030.

But we’re not here to convince you to buy an electric car. We’re here to help you understand how to charge one.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates the following costs to power a car for 100 miles:
> Petrol or diesel car = £13-16
> EV charged at public charging station = £8-10
> EV charged at home = £4-6

How Do Chargepoints Work?

Chargepoints provide a way of connecting your car to the mains electricity supply. It’s like your own personal petrol pump, but without the leaky nozzle, petrol fumes or impatient driver in the queue behind. Chargepoints can be stand-alone units or attached to the side of a building.

Charging starts automatically once the car is connected and stops automatically when the car is fully charged. Charging can also be stopped manually at any time, sometimes remotely via an app.

What Type Do I Need?

Chargepoints vary in the amount of power they can output in a given moment, and this affects how quickly they can charge a vehicle. Therefore, chargepoints are classed as ‘slow’, ‘fast’ or ‘rapid’. The table here gives you a rough idea of the numbers, but charging times will also depend on the EV’s battery size and stage of charge.

Which one's right for me?

Generally, rapid chargepoints are used for ‘topping up’ while out driving. They are often installed at public service stations. Slow and fast chargepoints are more appropriate for when a vehicle is parked for a longer period of time – for example, at shopping centres, offices or homes. In fact, all domestic chargepoints (those installed at private homes) must be slow or fast.

Is there anything else to think about?

The cables that connect a chargepoint to your car have different types of connector. You need to make sure your connector (think of it like the plug) is the right shape for your car (think of it like the socket). No need to worry though – most modern vehicles now use the same type of connector, and this will all be sorted out for you by your chargepoint provider anyway.

You can also choose whether you want your chargepoint to have a permanently attached cable, or the ability to switch different types of cable in and out. Being able to attach multiple cables means you could charge multiple cars (with different shaped ‘sockets’) from the same chargepoint.

Why Should I Get My Own?

Having a designated chargepoint at home or work is the cheapest and most convenient way to recharge. Evidence from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) suggests that EV owners do the majority (80%) of their charging at home. Benefits include…

Save money – charging at home is cheaper than at public charging stations because you’re paying a domestic rather than public electricity tariff. It’s even cheaper when you re-charge overnight. You also avoid having to pay a membership or connection fee.

Smart monitoring – all Cactus Energy installations come with a free app-based monitoring system so you can track your usage, costs and savings; programme charge times for when electricity is cheapest; and control live charging activity.

Enjoy greater convenience – take advantage of the time when your car is already parked at home or work, reduce on-the-road pit-stops and always have a guaranteed space at the pump.

Green credentials – landlords, property developers and businesses can enhance their CSR, reach new audiences and future-proof their buildings.

Reduce your carbon footprint – charging at home produces fewer emissions because you can utilise off-peak electricity (when renewables are generating more of the national grid’s energy).

Minimal fuss – chargepoints are quick and easy to install, require minimal maintenance and can be fitted discretely to existing structures.

Get Help With Funding

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) provides grants that cover up to 75% of the cost of buying and installing a chargepoint. Funding is available to homeowners via the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) and businesses via the Workplace Charging Scheme.

To qualify for the grant, the installer, vehicle and chargepoint must be OLEV-approved. At Cactus Energy, all of our chargepoint installers and their products are authorised by OLEV. What’s more, we’ll take care of all grant-related paperwork for you.

What's Next?

If you want to know more about installing an electric vehicle chargepoint, take a look at the info on our website or get in touch today. If you already have your own renewable energy generation system (such as solar panels) or are interested in installing one, we can even link this up to your chargepoint – making your fuel completely free!

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