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Infrastructure

Where to charge an electric car?

January 31, 2022 | Wesley van Barlingen and Callum Biggins

Today, nearly half of all prospective new car buyers are thinking of going electric. Lower prices, wider model variety, and government support all provide fertile ground for the electric mobility market. But, as interest in electric vehicles (EVs) skyrockets, 49 percent of potential electric car drivers are still worried they will run out of charge on the road.

While this fear is understandable, it might also be comforting to know that 89 percent of current electric car drivers encounter no issues at all when it comes to charging their car when they need to. Unlike petrol or diesel-powered vehicle drivers who can only fill up at petrol stations, electric car drivers have many more options for replenishing their rides. But, where are the most common places to charge an electric car?

In this article, we’ll take a look at each of the five most popular places where EV drivers charge their electric cars and what’s in store for the future of electric car charging infrastructure.

Where can I charge my electric car?

The answer to that question depends on many factors including what charging stations are available at your location and what you find convenient.

According to our Mobility Monitor report, where we interviewed hundreds of electric car drivers (and potential electric car drivers) across Europe, there are five places where they currently charge their electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.

A graphic showing the five different locations and the preference of EV drivers across Europe for each.

The vast majority (73 percent) of electric car drivers responded that they currently charge their vehicles at home. That number is as high as 90 percent in Norway and sits around 68 percent in the UK. The next most popular place where electric car drivers currently charge is at work (40 percent), at service stations (36 percent), at retail and hospitality locations (31 percent), and in public car parks (19 percent).

Let’s take a look at each of the five most popular places where electric car drivers currently charge their vehicles.

A woman entering her electric vehicle at her house, the exterior of the wall has an EVBox Elvi home charging station .

1. Charging an electric car at home

As you can see in the table above, home charging is by far the most popular way to charge an electric vehicle. Today, 68 percent of UK electric car drivers charge at home, and as electric cars become even more common around the world, PwC forecasts that this trend will continue.

So, why is home charging so popular? It comes down to two things: price and convenience. As you only pay for the electricity you consume based on your household’s electricity price, charging at home is nearly always the cheapest way to fill up your vehicle. Plus, instead of having to find a petrol station, wait in line, fill up, and pay inside, you can simply go about your day (or sleep the night away) and return to a fully charged vehicle. 

Want to find out more about charging an electric car at home? Check out our in-depth article to find answers to the most common questions about home charging. From how to charge an electric car at home, to potential charging speeds, costs, and best practises, you'll find everything you need to get started.

A young professional man about to plug his Tesla into a charging station in an office car park.

2. Charging an electric car at the workplace

While nothing beats the convenience of charging at home, workplace charging isn’t far behind. As revealed by our market research, 43 percent of UK electric car drivers already charge their vehicles at work—and many more indicate they would like to if the option was available.

It’s encouraging to know many forward-thinking workplaces are already working to meet the evolving needs of their employees with electric car charging. However, many employers still have some work to do.

It goes without saying that employers that do provide electric car charging offer their employees a highly convenient and sought-after amenity. What’s more, not all electric car drivers have the luxury of charging at home, which makes workplace charging even more important. Find out why electric car charging is crucial for any workplace and how it can delight employees for years to come in our latest blog posts.

A gas station with multiple EVBox Troniq Modular DC fast charging stations in the parking lot.

3. Charging an electric car at service stops or petrol station

Another popular location to charge, especially in the UK, is at the services or petrol stations. As per our research, 49 percent of UK electric car drivers charge their vehicles at service stops or petrol stations regularly, plus a further one in five would love to do so should the option become available. 

What makes service and petrol station charging attractive is that many fuel retailers offer what’s known as DC fast charging. Also known as Level 3 charging, this is the fastest charging method available, replenishing a vehicle’s battery in just minutes as opposed to hours. While charging at home or at the office can take part of the day or overnight, some Level 3 chargers can have you back on the road in just 15 minutes (depending on your vehicle).

A French hotel with an EVBox charging station in the car park.

4. Retail and hospitality charging stations

In addition to homes, workplaces, and service stations, electric car drivers can now charge anywhere they go—think shopping centres, cinemas, commercial car parks, hotels, restaurants... the list goes on.

In fact, according to our research, 46 percent of electric car drivers in the UK enjoy charging their vehicle whilst shopping, dining out, or staying at a hotel. Just about any electric car model can charge around 20-25 percent in an hour or two, so you can easily enjoy a meal or a shopping trip and get to your next appointment without ever worrying about an empty car battery.

And with the internet in your pocket, it’s easy to find nearby hotels or restaurants that offer electric car charging. Some establishments even provide charging for free, such as Tesco, in the UK, who allow their superstore customers to charge while they shop.

A professional woman plugging her electric car in at a public EVBox charging station.

5. Public charging stations

While the above-mentioned locations account for the majority of electric car charging, public charging points are equally as important. According to our research, 24 percent of electric car drivers in the UK use public chargers regularly. Not only do they help meet the growing number of electric cars on the road, but some also offer fast charging which can reduce charging times.

Public charging is critical for the uptake of electric mobility. As such, one of the biggest challenges cities and governments currently face is keeping up with the growth of the number of electric cars on the road. To prepare the streets for tomorrow’s electrified transport system, ensuring there are enough charging stations available for all is crucial.

If you’re wondering where you can find public charging stations in your area, you can use one of the many specialised electric car charging maps online or simply search for “Public charging stations near me” in Google to find an overview of your options.

Electric car charging infrastructure forecast

Many countries have acknowledged the need to advance electric mobility to reduce rising CO2 emissions. As governments around the world boost funding to accelerate electric car adoption, demand for charging infrastructure is forecast to increase. In fact, between 2020 and 2026, the global electric car charging infrastructure market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 30 percent

Installing charging stations at homes, on the roads, and at all types of businesses is key to establishing infrastructure that can support the growing adoption of electric cars. 

Electric mobility is becoming the new standard, and suitable charging infrastructure is needed to keep up with the increasing demand. Electric car driving will not only change the way we commute but will allow us to decide how and where we choose to 'refuel' our batteries.

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