EV Chargepoints are categorised into four main types: Slow, Fast, Rapid and Ultra-Rapid.

These are differentiated by how quickly they can charge up a car based on the chargepoint’s maximum power output and how much power the car’s battery can take.

Rapid charging times are often quoted for a charge to 80% (not 100%) because charging speeds slow significantly after 80%.

Charging to only 80% will avoid longer charge times and help protect the life of your battery. Some manufacturers recommend charging to 80% unless you need to travel a longer distance.


Slow chargers use AC and have the lowest electricity power output, ranging from 3kW to 6kW.

Slow chargers are usually used when charging at home where vehicles can be left overnight to slowly charge. You’ll also find slow charging in places where your vehicle will be idle for a while, such as at the office, parks or museums. These units tend to be older and are less common.

Charging times will vary depending on the charging unit and the particular EV being charged: it would take about 10 hours to charge a 40kWh battery from 0-80%, while a 90kWh battery would need about 24 hours to recharge from 0-80%.


The bulk of the public charging network is made up of fast chargers, most of which are AC chargers. Fast chargers have a power output ranging between 7kW and 22kW – a big difference from their slow charging counterparts.

This means you can charge your vehicle even faster than you typically would be able to at home. EV drivers will often opt to have a fast 7kW charger installed at home (depending on whether your house can handle it). If your home can’t guarantee enough electricity supply for a 7kW charger, then a charger with a load balancing feature can be installed.

Charging times, again, vary depending on your vehicle and on the chargepoint: A 7kW charger will charge a compatible EV with a 40kWh battery from 0-80% in just over 4 hours, with a 22kW charger being able to deliver that charge in 1-2 hours.

Fast chargers tend to be found wherever you’re likely to park for an hour or more such as supermarkets, department stores, leisure centres or car parks.

Despite the allure of a higher wattage and shorter charge times, fast charging isn’t for all EV models and most plug-in hybrids are currently unable to charge at faster rates.

Rapid (AC or DC)

They are the most common type of rapid EV chargepoints in the UK and can be found at most motorway service stations.

Rapid chargers are the quickest way to charge your battery. 

Rapid AC chargers use more power than their fast counterparts and deliver a charge at 43kW. Because a DC charger doesn’t need to convert energy, they allow you to charge your car at 50kW or more.

Rapid charging can only be used on vehicles with rapid charging capabilities and all rapid chargers will have cables tethered to the individual unit. You’ll still be able to use a 50kW chargepoint even if your model can’t accept such a high rate, as the power will be restricted to whatever your car can handle.

Your car knows what it can handle and will automatically restrict the power.

Depending on your model and starting charge, rapid chargers can recharge your battery from 0 to 80% in 20 to 40 minutes.

Rapid DC chargers use CCS connectors (the standard connector for most EVs today) or CHAdeMO connectors (used by some EVs such as the Nissan LEAF).


Ultra-rapid DC chargers can provide power at 100kW or more. These are typically designated as 100kW, 150kW or 350kW – although maximum speeds can range between these three figures.

Ultra-rapid chargepoints are the new frontier of EV charging as they are able to keep recharging times down despite ever-increasing battery capacities in newer electric models.

Gridserve’s latest Forecourt at Gatwick Airport has 22 High Power chargers capable of charging at 350kW. Although most electric cars aren’t currently equipped to take a 350kW charge, this is an excellent example of how the automotive and energy industries are preparing for an electric future.

This truly is an exciting time to be an EV driver!

Tesla Supercharger Network

The Tesla Supercharger network is a network of over 1,100 a DC ultra-rapid chargepoints, and you’ll have probably seen their distinct large red and white chargers at some point.

The majority of Tesla superchargers have a speed of either 120 kW or 150 kW. However only a handful of them are open to all EVs, for the majorty of them you have to be a Tesla driver to use them.

Their newer V4 Superchargers can charge up to 250kW and these are now open to all EVs with a CCS charging port. (You can watch James at the unveiling of thefirst UK V4 Tesla Superchage Station in Tottenham here)

AC vs DC? kW and kWh? What does it all mean?Find out here!CCS or Type 2? What are all the different types of connectors?From finding where to lease a car to finding a public chargepoint, and more!Here are all the online resources you need!
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