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  • Feb 10, 2022

  • 7 min read


Our team’s top tips for charging on the public network

Here's how members of our team made the switch to electric without access to off street parking or a home charger

Charlie Fraser, EV Communities Champion at Octopus Electric Vehicles

Charlie's car: Tesla Model 3

Car use: I use my Tesla for day trips, going away for the weekend, shopping, leisure and commuting to our office in Weybridge.

Living situation: I live in a rented shared house in North London. The landlord wasn’t up for adding a charge point to the property. Because of splitting the bills, it just wasn’t going to work.

How Charlie charges: In my previous high rise flat I had access to a slow charger at work. This was in 2013, the early days of EV, so chargers were few and far between. It was great because I could put my car on charge twice a week and it wouldn’t impact my experience at all, my battery was always topped up with enough charge to move about during the week.

Now I use the supercharger on the way to the office at Heathrow. It’s 40 miles each way, so it takes about 25 minutes, three times a week to cover my mileage. Lots of people at Octopus have electric cars so we also have access to workplace chargers. There’s a supercharger 5 miles from my house if I need to charge before I start a journey, but I mostly plan to top up on my route.

Monthly cost of charging: It costs me £50 a month to charge on average. In a petrol equivalent that cost would be £150 per month in fuel.

Charlie’s best advice for switching to electric: It takes a little bit of time to get used to planning your day around charging, but it’s not a difficult change to make. I’ve been driving an EV for 9 years so it’s second nature now and so much easier than it’s ever been to drive electric.

Ellie Caldwell, Data Analyst at Octopus Electric Vehicles

Ellie’s car: Renault Zoe

Car use: I use my electric car to commute to and from the office each day. It’s a 30-mile commute each way from my place in Hampshire to the office.

Living situation: I live in a flat so it’s not possible to install a home charge point at my place.

How Ellie charges: I park my car at the train station close to the office twice a week, leaving it on the slow charger during office hours. I'm fairly fortunate in that there are quite a few free public chargers in car parks near me and in places I'm travelling to, like shops or shopping centres. I have to still pay for parking, but I can make use of the free EV chargers. It sometimes means I have to walk a little further, but I get free miles in my car so it’s totally worth it!

Monthly cost of charging: £35 a month - not bad when you consider I drive 10k miles a year!

Ellie’s best advice for switching to electric: When going on long journeys always have a plan B in case any of the chargers at service stations are out of use along the route. I’ve saved so much money compared to when I was driving a petrol car, even using public chargers. It’s a no brainer for me to drive electric now.

Tom Hill, Business Development Executive at Octopus Electric Vehicles

Tom’s car: VW ID3

Car use: I commute to the office two or three times a week, which is only about 10 miles for me. Every few months I do a 100+ mile trip up to Liverpool to see family.

Living situation: I own my place, but it doesn’t have any off-road parking so I’m not eligible for a home charger.

How Tom charges: I’m lucky to have a 7kW fast charger under a minute walk away from my house. In a normal week, I’ll only charge my car once up to 80%, which gives me around 180 miles to work with. I’ll use lamppost chargers when I need to.

I like to plan my routes with a fast charger on the way so I can quickly top up on journeys using my Electroverse card. I can get my car from 20% to 80% charged in less than 25 minutes.

I love the fact that EVs have better internal space because you don’t have the gears in the way. This is great for me as I have a Labrador who sometimes comes on trips - we went all the way up to Lincolnshire recently and the pup had more than enough room. It’s a smaller car externally so it’s very easy to park, and there’s no compromise on internal space. Win-win!

Monthly cost of charging: About £15 - £20.

Tom’s best advice for switching to electric: It seems like a lot to think about until you actually do it yourself. I find it so easy to manage my charging around my lifestyle. My best advice is to do 5 or 10 minutes of research before you get in the car using the Electric Universe map so that you know the charger you’re headed to is free. To have an electric car you do need to be a bit flexible, but the pros massively outweigh the cons in my opinion.

Alex Coleman, EV Seller at Octopus Electric Vehicles

Alex’s car: VW ID3

Car use: I commute to the office, plus use the car for family trips. I’ve got a young son, and I find there’s plenty of room in the car for him and all of the stuff I need to bring with me on trips.

Living situation: I live in an old arts and crafts house in West Sussex, it’s a building that’s been divided up into 16 homes. I can’t get permission to install a charger passed by the other freeholders. The neighbours would be keen to switch to EVs if there was charging, so it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

How Alex charges: I incorporate charging into my everyday life. I do a 98 mile trip to and from the office two or three times a week, so I’ll plan a charge on the motorway on the way to work and grab a coffee while I wait. I charge the car three times a week for about 30 minutes on a rapid charger which takes the battery from 10% to 80% in just 30 minutes. When I lived in London I’d use the fast chargers on the street. I also like to charge while I’m doing the big shop on a Sunday at the supermarket for free. There are also some chargers at places like pubs, so it’s great to charge up while grabbing some lunch or reading the paper.

Monthly cost of charging: I’m using mostly rapid chargers at the moment and doing nearly 2000 miles a month, so my cost of charging is around £175. It would cost me closer to £255 if I were using petrol or diesel.

Alex’s best advice for switching to electric: Most people are surprised about how easily they can incorporate charging their EV into their daily life. Before you get your car, load up the Electric Universe app and find out what chargers are around you and what speeds are available and factor that into your planning.