What alternative electric car charging options are there?
Living with an electric car without access to your own driveway and charger might seem daunting, but it’s entirely possible. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to charge an electric car without a home charger, the technology that currently exists to make EV charging easier, and what technology is coming in the future to make it even more convenient.
What’s the easiest way to charge an electric car?
Charging at home
The ideal way to charge an electric car is at home while you're sleeping. This is the most convenient and cheapest way to charge your vehicle, especially when you use an EV specialist tariff like Intelligent Octopus. You can charge your car for as little as 2.5p per mile using green energy from the renewable grid.
But if you don’t have a driveway, it could feel like a bit of a jump to switch from a traditional petrol or diesel car to an EV. The good news is that there are more options available to you than just home or public charging, with new technology being developed all the time. We’re here to make it even easier to switch to an EV, to help you understand the charging options that are available to you.
On street EV charging
On-street charging is widely available to people who live in towns and cities. This is usually a convenient way to charge as you can plug your car in overnight on a street close to your house and wake up to a topped up car in the morning. Considering most drivers only need to charge their car once a week, this is a super easy and convenient way to get more miles in your battery.
Public on-street chargers are typically slower than the rapid chargers you’ll find at motorway service stations. These chargers are designed to be used all day or night and can fully charge an electric car in 8 to 14 hours, depending on the battery size and how empty it is. In London, on-street chargers are often mounted on lamp posts. These lamp post chargers are fast and cheap to install and don’t cause additional clutter on the pavement. But they might not have dedicated parking spaces attached to them, which means non-EVs could park in the way of charging, and there can be restrictions caused by local residential parking zones and times.
Another option is standalone chargers, which protrude from the pavement. They can be built anywhere and generally come with a dedicated parking space. But, these chargers take longer to install and require extra council clearance, which makes everything take longer, and they’re more expensive to install.
There are also some innovative companies doing cool on-street charging that blurs the lines between these two types. Trojan Energy and Urban Electric are two companies that have recently started installing on-street chargers that are hidden in the pavement and pop up only when needed. They are as stealthy as lamp post-mounted chargers but can be installed anywhere.
Community EV charging
Community EV charging helps EV owners who don’t have access to charging facilities at their homes use someone else's home charger through a sharing platform. This model allows people to connect and share resources, ultimately making EV charging more accessible and convenient. Co Charger has created a platform that matches EV owners who need a charge with those who have a charger available for sharing, and facilitates the process of arranging a charging session and paying for the electricity used. It’s like the Air BnB of EV charging. This approach can help to reduce the need for new public charging infrastructure and provide a more cost-effective and sustainable solution for people who don’t have access to home charging facilities.
Workplace EV charging
Workplace EV charging refers to the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at places of employment, such as offices, factories, or warehouses. This can help encourage the adoption of electric vehicles by making it more convenient for employees to charge their cars while at work.
Some companies may offer workplace charging as an employee benefit, while others may install charging stations to help meet sustainability goals or attract environmentally conscious employees. Pairing workplace charging with an EV salary sacrifice scheme is the ultimate green employee benefit. Plus, it helps businesses work towards their environmental goals, and reduce Scope 3 emissions.
In the UK, businesses can apply for grants to help cover the cost of installing EV charging stations in the workplace. The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a government-backed initiative that provides grants of up to 75% of the purchase and installation costs, up to a maximum of £350 per socket. The scheme is available to businesses, charities, and public sector organisations in the UK, and covers the installation of up to 40 charging sockets per applicant.
As well as the WCS grant, businesses can also benefit from tax incentives for installing EV charging stations. The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme allows businesses to claim 100% of the cost of the charging station as a tax deduction in the first year of purchase.
Workplace EV charging is an excellent way for businesses to promote sustainable transportation, reduce their carbon footprint, and provide a valuable employee benefit. The availability of grants and tax incentives make it a more affordable and attractive option for businesses of all sizes.
EV charging subscription services
New developments in charging services mean there are now more ways than ever to charge your EV.
Meet Charge Fairy, a UK-based start-up that offers a mobile app and subscription service for electric vehicle (EV) drivers. Charge Fairy securely connects to your manufacturer's account with their app and keeps an eye on your battery usage and charge stats. It checks your car's battery at the end of each day and if it's running low they’ll come and charge it while you sleep. They've built a unique, battery-powered, mobile charger that they bring to your car, plug in and charge up your car in minutes using renewable energy. From £5.99 a month you’ll get 10kWh of charge (about 30 miles), monitoring and predicting services so you never run out of charge, and on location charging.
Wireless EV charging
Wireless charging for electric cars is a technology that allows electric vehicles to charge without being physically connected to a charging cable or plug. Instead, the electric vehicle is parked over a wireless charging pad or plate, and energy is transferred wirelessly through an electromagnetic field between the pad and the vehicle.
Wireless charging for electric cars uses a technology called inductive charging. The charging pad or plate has a coil of wire that creates an electromagnetic field, and the electric vehicle has a coil of wire in its undercarriage that can receive energy from the electromagnetic field. When the vehicle is parked over the charging pad, the coils are aligned, and the energy is transferred through the air via the electromagnetic field, charging the vehicle's battery.
Wireless charging offers several benefits over traditional plug-in charging methods, such as convenience and ease of use. With wireless charging, electric vehicle owners don’t need to physically connect and disconnect a charging cable or plug, which can be particularly helpful for people with mobility issues or those who are looking for a more seamless charging experience. Additionally, wireless charging can be more aesthetically pleasing as it eliminates the need for visible charging cables and plugs.
While wireless charging technology is still in its early stages, we expect it to become more prevalent as EVs become more and more popular and charging infrastructure continues to evolve.
Living with an electric car without access to your own charger is entirely possible. While there are different types of chargers available, the most important thing is to find a charging option that works for you and fits your lifestyle. With advancements in technology, charging an electric car without a home charger will only become more accessible and convenient in the future.