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How Do Public EV Charging Stations Work?

Public EV charging stations are appearing at more places across the country, from supermarket car parks to motorway services, from hotels to office blocks, and many more. Public EV chargers make it easier than ever for people to charge their electric vehicles wherever they may be or where they go, and the more EV chargers that are available for public use, the more likely people are to be able to run their electric vehicles conveniently.

Public EV charging stations are used in different ways to private chargers installed on residential properties or certain workplaces. Drivers don’t want to spend huge amounts of time waiting for their vehicle to charge, especially in the middle of a long journey, whereas at home or work, you would charge vehicles over a longer period of time.

That means a fundamental change in these chargers and what they need to accomplish.

What Are Public EV Charging Stations?

Public EV charging stations are available for any electric vehicle owner to use, and are found in places that are commonly used or easily accessible to drivers in a range of locations. When charging at home or work isn’t an option, whether through a lack of infrastructure or when drivers are on a trip away from home, they allow the journey to continue.

A lot of public EV charging stations are used for much shorter periods of time than others, with the goal being to provide more power over a quicker stop. However, fast charging capabilities aren’t always the best option for preserving battery life over the long-term. To help with this, more EV chargers that are incorporated into street infrastructures or can be added without overtaxing the power grid can help provide more opportunities for vehicles to be charged, wherever they are.

Where Are Public Electric Vehicle Charging Points?

Public electric vehicle charging points can be found in plenty of locations, but there is still work to do. More chargers are needed, and the options are diversifying to accommodate more drivers and vehicles. The focus on where to put them should be where drivers are looking to charge their vehicles, as well taking into account grid capacity, existing street furniture, and more. Parking capacity is also a factor, as it does take time to get enough charge to reach their next destination.

You can find public EV charging stations at locations such as:

  • Petrol stations
  • Motorway services
  • Supermarket car parks
  • Shopping centre car parks
  • Street parking
  • Leisure centre car parks
  • Hotel car parks
  • And many more.

How Do Public EV Charging Stations Work?

Public EV Charging stations work a bit differently to private chargers. This mostly comes down to how they’re used, the length of time and cost to charge a vehicle.

You’ll encounter a range of speeds and terms with EV chargers, including fast, rapid and ultra fast. There are situations where each has its use, but the faster the charging power, the more of an effect you’ll notice over the lifespan of your EV battery.

For very short stints to charge your EV, the faster speeds can be useful, but fast chargers provide a much better balance and can be integrated into existing street structures for minimal impact and maximum functionality.

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Vehicle At A Public Electric Vehicle Charging Point?

The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle mostly follows a simple equation:

Battery size (kWh) ÷ Charger power (kW) = Charging time (hours)

This means, a 52kWh battery using a 50kW charger would take just over an hour to charge. There are a range of charging powers that can be used, with lower power often used at stations vehicles are going to be parked for hours at a time, such as at home or potentially at work.

Faster speeds tend to be used for public EV chargers, so less time is needed to charge the vehicle before it moves on.

How Much Does EV Charging Cost?

EV charging costs vary as much as fuel prices from location to location. The big factor here is when the vehicle is charged and what tariffs apply. It can cost £15 to fully charge an EV at a public EV charger, which is a considerable saving on petrol and diesel.

This is because of different tariff prices on electricity for commercial use, as well as the amount of time it takes to charge. It can cost anywhere from £7 to £10 to get to 80% charge at a rapid public EV charging station. Compared to the cost of filling up at the pump, you can immediately see the savings - and that’s before smart EV charging is considered.

Smart charging for electric vehicles is a way of saving even more money. This feature charges a vehicle when electricity is available at the cheapest cost, which means more savings for EV owners.

Accessing A Public EV Charger

To use a public EV charger, you will need to register with one of the providers operating the station. There are a few different services in the UK, and you’ll need a fob, swipe card or app to use these devices to charge your vehicle. Payment is handled at the machine or through an app, in many cases.

Some chargers can be used for free, for example a supermarket might have a low powered charger that can be used for free while you shop. Check any terms and conditions before using any public charging point.

Why Do We Need Public EV Chargers?

The goal is to make EV charging accessible to the 62% of UK homes that don’t have driveways or the ability to have their own charge point. This allows them to charge their vehicle when it suits them most, before or after journeys. That might be the trip to work, to the shops, or it could be something bigger and longer, such as a holiday or something else.

Depending on what else is going on in their lives, having public EV chargers reduces the risk of a driver or vehicle being left stranded. There’s still work to do to improve the charging network across the UK but progress is being made, but it will never remove the need for public stations even when we get there.

When There’s No Personal Charging Station For Electric Vehicles

In some cases, residential properties won’t be able to install their own EV charging point. There might not be any off-road parking, for example, or the infrastructure isn’t able to be installed. These might be older estates where there’s no space or capability to install the technology needed without severe disruption - not only to the home in question, but those around it.

There are solutions to help with this, such as on-street chargers but these stations will need to planned carefully to ensure there is sufficient access and parking spaces are not blocked. It is a great solution that makes use of existing street infrastructure, however.

Extended Trips Away From Home

Holidays and road trips can involve long journeys to reach your destination - or the open road might be the holiday! Charging infrastructure is better in some places than others, and while this is improving, some places might not have any EV chargers. This is something to keep in mind when planning a trip.

Public EV charging stations means you can keep your vehicle topped up and ready to go. While charging up overnight isn’t an option, the fast-charging capabilities make it easier to top up and get moving again.

Helping Employees And Customers Go About Their Daily Lives

Businesses can help electric vehicle owners, whether they have their own charging point or not, by providing chargers for staff and customers. As mentioned above, hotels, supermarkets, and more can all make use of public EV charging stations where people stop for a period of time, do what they need to do, and leave with more charge than they arrived with.

Other businesses, however, have a tougher task, and their main focus will be on staff. Giving employees the chance to charge their vehicles while they are working is a huge bonus, helping with staff retention and recruitment, and shows they are aware of the social views on the environment while playing a part in making a change.

Want To Know More About EV Chargers?

EV chargers are going to become more common as more people make the switch to electric vehicles, and that means we need to continuously improve and increase the infrastructure that supports them. These vehicles improve each year, in terms of how far they can travel between charges and how long they take to fully charge, but we can’t let anyone end up stranded because there aren’t enough charging stations.

While increasing the number of EV chargers in residential areas, properties and developments helps with this, there will always be a need for public electric vehicle charge points, too. Understanding the needs of staff and customers can not only help with the transition to electric vehicles, but increase a business’ value to them, too.

If you’d like to know more about EV chargers, and how they can be included in residential or commercial developments, speak to a member of the team at Connected Kerb now.