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Explore our comprehensive guide on EV chargers to understand your choices before you buy  — then confidently compare EV chargers from leading suppliers with SpotDif.

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The SpotDif guide to EV chargers in 2024

If you're considering upgrading your vehicle to an electric model in 2024, SpotDif’s guide to EV chargers offers an insightful overview of your charging options. Whether you're looking to install an EV charger at home, enhance your business with charging stations, or just want to understand the different types of EV chargers available, this guide is designed to help you make an informed decision when you compare EV chargers with SpotDif.


In this guide, we will explore the various types of EV chargers available in the UK, including Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each type has unique features and benefits to suit different needs and setups. We’ll delve into how these chargers work, the benefits they offer, and the key factors you should consider before making your purchase.


From understanding the basics of how they work to comparing costs and charging speeds, our comprehensive overview will equip you with all the information you need. Let’s dive in and discover which EV charger could be the best fit for your vehicle and lifestyle.


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EV charging vehicles

What are EV chargers?

With the world increasingly focused on combating climate change and embracing sustainability, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a game-changing solution for greener transportation. But unlike petrol or diesel cars, they require electricity for power.


EV chargers, or electric vehicle chargers, are devices that power up your electric car by converting electric power from the grid into a form that can be stored in the vehicle’s battery. 


EV chargers not only enable the use of electric vehicles but also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, supporting the shift towards more sustainable transportation solutions.


Ready to learn about the different types of EV chargers and how they compare? Read on!

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Why should you compare EV chargers through SpotDif?

Comparing EV chargers through SpotDif ensures you find the most competitive prices and best service options from a selection of vetted, top-quality providers. It's a straightforward, efficient way to ensure you choose the perfect EV charger for your home without any of the usual fuss or hassle.

How does each EV charger type work?

Not all EVs can handle the same amount of power when charging. Some can only handle up to 16 amps, while others, like the snazzy new Audi e-Tron, can handle up to 40 amps. So, it's crucial to know your car's charging capabilities before you compare EV chargers or even buy them, lest you end up with an EV charger that doesn't match your car's charging ability!


EV Charger Types


There are different types of EV chargers available, each offering different charging speeds and compatibility with various electric vehicles. Below are the main EV charger types in the UK market.


Level 1 EV chargers


Level 1 chargers are the most basic type of EV charger, using a standard household 120-volt AC outlet. 


These chargers are straightforward to use as they don’t require any special installation beyond a typical three-prong outlet. Although the charging process is slow, usually providing about 4 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging, they are suitable for overnight charging or users with low daily driving distances.


Level 2 EV chargers


Level 2 chargers operate on a 240-volt AC supply and are much faster than Level 1 chargers, offering about 12 to 80 miles of range per hour of charging. 


Installation typically involves a professional setup to handle the higher voltage. These chargers are ideal for home use if you have higher daily mileage or for public charging stations due to their quicker charging capabilities. They balance cost and performance, making them the most popular choice among EV owners.


Level 3 EV chargers


Now, if you're looking for the fastest charging experience, these EV charger types in the UK, also known as DC fast chargers or rapid chargers, are where it's at. These chargers use direct current (DC) to charge your vehicle's battery directly, bypassing the onboard charger. 


Level 3 chargers can add around 60-80 miles of range in just 20 minutes of charging time. Impressive, right? You'll typically find Level 3 chargers in public locations along highways, allowing for quick top-ups during long-distance trips. 


However, it's worth noting that Level 3 chargers are more expensive and require specialised infrastructure. Examples of EVs that can utilise Level 3 charging include the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf e+, and the Chevrolet Bolt EV.


Wireless EV chargers


Wireless or inductive chargers represent a newer technology that allows charging without physical connectors; instead, they use magnetic resonance to transfer energy from a pad on the ground to a receiver in the vehicle. 


While not as widespread or as efficient as corded solutions, they offer unmatched convenience by eliminating the need to plug in cables and are slowly gaining popularity in home and luxury vehicle markets.


From slow, steady overnight charging with Level 1 to rapid roadside top-ups with DC fast chargers, understanding the functionality of each can help you choose the right EV charger to meet your needs and enhance your electric vehicle experience.


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How EV chargers power your vehicle

Getting to grips with how EV chargers work is key to picking the right one for your needs, whether it's for home or business use. 


At SpotDif, we're all about keeping things simple. We aim to help you easily understand your options and what you might spend on different types of EV chargers, so you can make the best choice without the fuss!


Connecting


Plugging in


To begin the charging process, the EV charger connects to your vehicle through a compatible charging cable. This connection can vary by charger type and vehicle model, with some systems offering adaptors for different standards.


Wireless systems 


For wireless chargers, you simply park your vehicle over a charging pad, and alignment sensors will help you position your vehicle correctly to start the charging process.


Charging


Energy transfer


Once connected, the charger converts AC electricity from the grid into DC power suitable for charging your car’s battery (except for Level 1 chargers which use AC directly). This conversion is crucial as it matches the electricity to the battery’s requirements, ensuring efficient charging without damaging the battery.


Speed variation


The charging speed can vary greatly — Level 1 chargers provide a slow charge ideal for overnight use, Level 2 chargers offer a faster charge suitable for daily use, and Level 3 chargers provide a rapid charge that can significantly boost the battery in just one hour.


Monitoring


Charging status


Modern EV chargers are equipped with smart technology that will allow you to monitor the charging process. This can include checking the current battery level, the charging rate, and the estimated time until full charge.


Smart features


Many chargers connect to smartphone apps or home networks, allowing remote monitoring and control. You can schedule charging during off-peak electricity hours to reduce costs, receive notifications about charging status, or even pause and resume charging based on your needs.


Safety checks


Monitoring also includes safety features that detect any faults in the charging process, such as overcharging or any electrical faults. These systems ensure that charging stops automatically if a risk is detected, protecting both your vehicle and the charger.


Overall, EV chargers power your vehicle by ensuring a safe, efficient, and controlled transfer of energy from the power grid to your car’s battery, complemented by advanced features that allow for easy monitoring and management of the charging process. This makes EV charging not just functional but also adaptable to the needs of modern electric vehicle owners.

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Compare trusted EV charger installers

SpotDif is dedicated to working exclusively with trusted and vetted suppliers across all sectors to ensure you receive the best possible service for your needs.

First, we'll ask you a few questions to identify your specific requirements. Then, we'll provide you with quotes for EV charger installations from reliable companies in your area. All you need to do is choose the one that best fits your needs.

Comparing types of EV chargers

When selecting an EV charger, it's important to consider several key factors that will impact your experience and costs. Here, we compare three critical aspects: ease of installation, charging speed, and cost.


Ease of installation


Level 1 chargers


Level 1 EV chargers are the simplest to install, as they typically use a standard 120-volt outlet. This makes them an easy, plug-and-play option for many homeowners, requiring no special installation beyond ensuring a dedicated circuit.


Level 2 chargers


Installation is more complex for Level 2 chargers because they require a 240-volt outlet, similar to large appliances like ovens and dryers. We’d recommend choosing professional installation to handle the higher voltage, which may include upgrading your home’s electrical system with the help of a professional.


Level 3 chargers


Level 3 chargers are the most complex to install, often needing industrial-strength electrical systems that aren’t usually found in residential settings. The installation of level 3 chargers can involve significant site preparation and permitting, so we’d recommend seeking the help of a professional installer.


Charging speed


Level 1 chargers


The slowest charging option, providing about 4-5 miles of range per hour. Suitable for overnight charging, or EVs with smaller batteries.


Level 2 chargers


These are significantly faster, offering about 20-30 miles of range per hour. This makes them suitable for daily use, reducing your charging times to just a few hours.


Level 3 chargers


The fastest EV charger available, capable of charging an EV up to 80% in as little as 20 minutes. Ideal for quick top-ups and long-distance travel, but are less commonly used at home due to its high power requirements.


Cost


Level 1 chargers


Generally the least expensive, often included with the EV. Costs range from £200 (if no additional installation is needed) up to £500 for setups requiring minor electrical work or new outlets.


Level 2 chargers


More expensive due to higher power requirements and professional installation needs, ranging from £800 for basic models and installation to as much as £3,500 for advanced models with significant electrical upgrades.


Level 3 chargers


The most expensive option, primarily used in commercial settings, with costs starting around £10,000 and can go upwards of £40,000 depending on system capacity and installation complexity.

The SpotDif Opinion

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In our experience, each type of EV charger offers different benefits and drawbacks. Level 1 chargers are economical and easy to install but slow. Level 2 chargers strike a good balance between speed and cost, making them the most popular choice for home charging. And if you’re looking for the quickest charge, we’d recommend opting for a Level 3 charger, but it’s important to note that these cost a bit more and come with complex installation requirements.

 

When comparing these options, we recommend considering your daily driving range, your access to public charging, and your budget to find the best fit for your needs.

How to choose the right EV charger

Selecting the ideal EV charger for your home involves considering several factors to ensure you meet your charging needs efficiently and cost-effectively. Here’s what to keep in mind:


Compatibility with your electric vehicle


Specific needs


Ensure the charger you choose is compatible with your electric vehicle. Most EVs use a standard connector, but some brands may require specific types of chargers or adapters.


Charger type


Check whether your vehicle benefits more from AC or DC charging and whether it can handle fast charging capabilities that might be more than the basic Level 1 charger provides.


EV chargers for residential or commercial properties


Residential chargers


These typically involve Level 1 or Level 2 chargers. Level 1 chargers are ideal for overnight use at home, using a standard electrical outlet. Level 2 chargers, offering faster charging, require a 240-volt outlet but are perfect for homeowners who need quicker charging.


Commercial chargers


Commercial setups often benefit from Level 2 chargers or even DC fast chargers, which are crucial for businesses needing rapid turnaround times for multiple vehicles. These installations might involve more complex setups and higher power requirements.


Your typical driving range and habits


Daily mileage


Consider how much you drive each day. If your daily mileage is low, a Level 1 charger might be sufficient. However, if you drive frequently or long distances, we’d recommend opting for a Level 2 charger to ensure your vehicle is always ready to go.


Charging time


Assess how quickly you need your vehicle charged. If overnight charging is adequate for your needs, a Level 1 charger may suffice. If you need a quick turnaround, consider a Level 2 charger.


Access to public charging facilities


Charging on the go


At SpotDif, we’d recommend evaluating the availability of public charging stations near your home or along your regular routes. If public charging infrastructure is robust in your area, you might opt for a simpler home charging setup.


Backup options


Consider how often you would rely on public charging as a backup to home charging, especially if you're choosing a slower home charger.


Budget for initial setup and ongoing usage


Installation costs


Factor in the cost of installation, which can vary significantly between a basic Level 1 setup and a more involved Level 2 installation. Remember, Level 2 chargers may require upgrades to your home’s electrical system. 


Installing a Level 1 EV charger typically costs between £200 to £500, while a Level 2 charger installation ranges from £800 to £3,500, including the charger, installation, and any required upgrades to the home's electrical system.


Operating costs


Consider the efficiency of the charger and the cost of electricity in your area. While faster chargers offer convenience, they might also lead to higher electric bills, especially if you’re planning on using it during peak hours.


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Compare EV charger suppliers with SpotDif

SpotDif is your premier resource for finding local EV charger suppliers offering the best deals. We'll explore our network of trusted UK EV charger providers and compare their products and prices for you.

Start your search for reliable and cost-effective EV charger suppliers, or contact us today to get started.

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Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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