Are you curious about the best time to charge your electric vehicle (EV) in the UK? Whether you are considering making the switch to a greener mode of transportation or already own an EV, understanding when to charge your car is essential for keeping your batteries optimised and your driving experience smooth.

Introduction to electric cars and why the charging time is important 

As we explore this electrifying world together, it’s fundamental to elucidate why the ‘best time to charge an electric car in the UK’ emerges as a frequent query among like-minded, eco-conscious individuals.

Just consider electric cars as high-powered electronic gadgets on wheels. Though they emanate silent elegance on roads and inflict minimal environmental wounds compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts, what sets them apart is their distinct fuelling dynamics. Unlike traditional cars requiring infrequent visits to petrol stations, EVs thrive on regular home refuelling — often enacted overnight while you enter realms of dreams. As such, integrating daily charging routines into your lifestyle and incorporating them wisely play pivotal roles in keeping up with this innovative form of transportation.

To adapt to this shift in driving habits, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with various aspects that affect an EV’s charging regime, including the different charger options available, as well as the different EV-friendly energy tariffs available. 

Types of electric car charging options in the UK

In our quest to find the best time to charge an electric vehicle in the UK, understanding the varied charging options available is invaluable. Primarily, two main alternatives exist: home charging and using public charging stations.

Charging at home

Overview of home charging equipment

Home charging is indubitably a convenient choice for most electric vehicle (EV) owners. When it comes to the equipment involved in the charging process, fundamentally, you need an EV home charger – a device typically wall-mounted in your garage or any other suitable location outside your house. These chargers come with various power capacities, but the standard ones provide 7kW to 22kW.

Many leading manufacturers offer EV home chargers. They include brands like Pod Point, Tesla, and Ohme, among others. Despite their slight differences in features and design, they all serve one critical purpose: powering up your EV battery.

Charging at Public Charging Stations

Overview of public charging network in the UK 

Aside from home charging, public charging stations are critical in establishing the best time to charge an electric vehicle in the UK. Currently, the public network in the UK boasts an impressive portfolio of these stations, thanks to companies such as Tesla Supercharger, Ecotricity Electric Highway and Pod Point Network.

These networks have their chargers strategically scattered across towns, along highways, in car parks or at service stations. They offer faster charging speeds compared to home options, with power capacities ranging from 7kW up to 350kW for some rapid chargers.

Accessing and paying at public charging session

Accessing a public charger primarily requires you to plug your EV’s cable into the vehicle’s inlet port and then into the free charging at the station’s socket. However, initiating a session often varies across different networks; it might involve swiping a membership card or even using mobile applications.

Payment procedures also differ among operators. Note that you may encounter pay-as-you-go tariffs, monthly subscription plans offering lower rates, or flat rate fees per charging session, according to the network operator. Regardless of these differences, though, understanding how each system works can play an instrumental role when determining your preferred charging speed and schedule.

The time it takes to charge an electric car 

In the sphere of electric vehicle (EV) technology, one of the most frequently asked questions revolves around charging. After all, understanding how long it takes to charge your car fully is paramount in coordinating effective daily schedules and making optimum use of your EV.

Slow charging option

How long does it take to fully recharge an EV using slow chargers?

Slow chargers, generally offering a power output range between 2-3kW, require a considerable amount of time for full charging. Depending on the size of your EV battery, slow charging an EV typically takes between 6-12 hours. That said, this extensive duration can vary in accordance with specifics like the EV model or battery size.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of slow charging?

Slow chargers may take their time but offer the dual advantages of being relatively affordable and less stressful to the EV’s battery longevity. However, they are admittedly not practical if you are looking to charge overnight or for a quick boost during a busy day, given their extended periods of charging.

Tips for optimising slow charging: 

To make the most out of slow charging:

  1. Ensure that you connect your EV overnight when you don’t need it.
  2. Additionally, using slow chargers can be particularly advantageous if consistent access to fast-charging infrastructure remains challenging.

Fast charging options 

How long does it take to fully recharge an EV using fast chargers?

Compared to slow chargers, fast chargers significantly reduce that timescale by providing outputs usually around 7kW -22kW. The ‘fast’ designation implies a faster full charge taking anywhere from 3 – 7 hours. This duration can vary in accordance with specifics like the EV model or battery size.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of fast charging?

Fast charging options open up more possibilities for quickly revitalising your EV throughout the day and overnight. You can get a fast charger (7kW-22kW) charger installed at your home. Note: to install a 22kW charger at your home, you need three-phase power.

Rapid charging options 

How long does it take to fully recharge an EV using rapid chargers?

Stepping up the game are the rapid chargers with considerable output power between 50kW -120kW or even 350kW. Using these behemoths, EV drivers can augment an average car’s battery from zero to eighty per cent in under an hour. This duration can vary in accordance with specifics like the EV model or battery size.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of rapid charging?

Rapid charging is indeed a boon for long-distance travellers or those needing charger power for immediate replenishment. Despite their impressive speed, such high-power output comes at a premium cost and may accelerate battery wear when used frequently. Furthermore, these chargers are only available at public charging stations. 

Tips for optimising rapid charging: 

While using rapid chargers:

  1. Schedule them predominantly for long road journeys requiring ample charge across shorter periods.
  2. Also, judicious sporadic usage can help mitigate battery deterioration associated with repeated use of high-kilowatt charges.

Thus, identifying the best time to charge electric cars in the UK revolves significantly around how you manipulate these different types of chargers based on your day-to-day requirements and constraints.

The best time to charge an electric car in the UK

Cost considerations during off-peak hours 

Identifying the right time for charging your electric car, specifically addressing economic concerns, can be complex. However, with a dedicated understanding, it becomes no different from seeking prime hours to operate heavy-duty home appliances.

The UK’s electricity demand on the national grid fluctuates based on day-hours. Overnight and early morning hours are usually deemed off-peak times when consumption significantly decreases (usually from around 12 a.m. to 7 a.m.). Consequently, power companies often offer substantially discounted rates on electricity bills during these periods — the prime time I’d recommend for charging your EV at home. To access these discounted rates, you must be on a specific EV-friendly tariff provided by certain energy suppliers. 

Remember, too, that leveraging EV-friendly tariffs requires either a smart charger or manually scheduling your EV and energy tariff’s charging intervals. 

Availability of public charging stations during different times of the day. 

Being ‘on the move’, users with heavy dependency on public charging stations might face distinct dynamics concerning both petrol station accessibility and time management given the rapidly growing community of EV owners across the streets of Great Britain.

Surely, there is common ground — early mornings see lesser competition over charging points again due to reduced commuting activity.

However, when we treat each day independently, weekdays present peak rush after office hours (5 pm – 7 pm) with people wanting top-ups before heading back home, whereas weekends show higher traffic around the afternoon (1 pm – 3 pm). Nevertheless, public superfast chargers at sites like motorway service stations— maintained by networks such as Ecotricity, Ionity and Tesla Supercharger — are generally less congested after business hours.

Getting around high-usage times may involve prior planning on mapping your travel routes and accommodating suitable charging stations and spots. Some navigation apps intelligently guide motorists with real-time usage information for nearby EV charging points.

To conclude, there is no definitive answer to the best time to charge an electric car in the UK. However, taking into account various factors, such as energy tariffs for home charging and public charger user footfall during specific day hours, can certainly help you get closer to finding the optimal charging time for your vehicle.

Additional factors to consider

When aiming for efficient charging to determine the best time to charge your electric car in the UK, there are several contributing factors. Among these additional aspects, the temperature’s role is particularly significant – which can directly impact both your car battery performance and its charging time.

The impact of temperature on battery performance and charging time 

The interplay between temperature and electricity can have an impact on your EV’s performance. As the weather in the United Kingdom can be quite unpredictable and varies across different seasons, it’s worth addressing this to ensure your EV runs smoothly throughout the year.

Electric vehicles are powered by Lithium-ion batteries by design. During bitter winters or warm summers, this battery type may not perform at peak eff

icacy due to certain thermo-chemical properties every EV owner ought to understand.

  1. Decreased battery range in cold weather: As temperatures drop, so can an electric car battery’s driving range – an impact all too noticeable with colder UK climates.
  2. Longer charging times in cold weather: Low temperatures also result in lengthened charging times because an electric car batteries management system works harder to keep itself ‘warm’.
  3. Inferior battery health due to high temperatures: While extreme cold ensues slow charging, extreme heat can prove detrimental, too, undermining long-range battery health.

Navigating around such temperature-induced challenges requires some insightful tactics: planning longer trips well in advance, preferably pre-heated interiors while still plugged in or going easy on air conditioning and heating settings while driving can alleviate stress off your battery pack considerably.

Understanding how ambient temperature interacts with charging an electric car operation is crucial to ensuring optimal performance and knowing when it is the best time to charge an electric car UK-wide under varying weather conditions. You’re not just wiser about maintaining suitable charger-electric vehicle interaction but can enhance the overall driver experience by negating unforeseen disruptions caused solely by weather variations.


In conclusion, understanding the charging options available, the time it takes to charge your EV, and the associated benefits and drawbacks of specific chargers can help you optimise your EV charging experience. Whether you choose to charge at home or a public charger, be sure to consider the best time to charge your EV in the UK to save money and time while ensuring you always have enough power for your next journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *