Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Electric Vehicle?

An electric vehicle is a vehicle which has a battery and an electric motor. The battery is charged up by connecting to a charging facility. Commonly they are referred to as "EVs", also "BEVs" (Battery Electric Vehicles).

What is a Plug-in Vehicle?

A plug-in vehicle is a broader term. It could mean a completely electric car with battery and electric motor, or it could mean a plug-in hybrid. A plug-in hybrid is a vehicle which has both a battery with an electric motor and a petrol tank with internal combustion engine. Either way, the vehicle can be plugged in to charge its battery.

What is an Ultra Low-Emission vehicle?

An Ultra Low-Emission Vehicle "ULEV" is defined in the UK by the Government as cars or vans with tailpipe CO2 emissions of 75 g/km or less. Comparatively to conventional vehicles, they emit extremely low levels of motor vehicle emissions.

Are there different types of electric vehicle?

Yes! The Energy Savings Trust has a short introductory video on the main types of electric vehicles, it's a good summary.

Energy Saving TrustTypes of Electric Vehicles Explained

How do you charge an electric car?

Most electric cars can be charged at home from any standard British 13amp socket, using a cable which most electric cars come with. It's as easy as charging your phone. Faster sockets, commonly "Type 2' outlets, can be installed at home or work; often for free or cheaply with support from Government Grants.

Away from home, public chargers are available up and down the country, and there are currently over 11,000 available. There are a few different companies that provide the charging facilities and customers need to register with a charging provider in order to use them.

Who are the main charging providers?

The charging networks operating in Brighton currently are:

  • Charge Your Car - Known as CYC, they operate the majority of the charge points in Brighton, including all the Council's on-street marked charging bays.
  • Pod-Point - Operate public charge points like the ones at Hove and Brighton stations, but also allow individuals purchasing their chargers to permit public access.
  • Polar - Public charge points with free charging.

Across the rest of the South Coast, there are a few more, including: Charge Point GenieEcotricitySource LondonEnergise and Tesla.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Much less than Petrol or Diesel! At home, it's your standard electricity rate, which is probably in the region of around 14p per kW (the UK average is 14.37p). So, a car with a 20kWh battery will cost less than £3 to fully charge. This cost can be almost halved for people with an economy 7 meter, charging at night on cheaper rates. Out and about, public charging facilities have costs which vary between networks and charger type - they can range from completely free to around £6 for half an hour on the fastest "Rapid" chargers.

However an electric car is being charged, without much effort it's possible to achieve around 5p per mile. With a bit more consideration around how and where you charge, it can be under 2p per mile. What's more, if you have your own solar panels at home, you can charge from the sun - for nothing.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The short answer is anywhere between 15 minutes and 7 hours. Although it's a seemingly simple question, it is never as simple to answer because there are many factors which affect how long it takes to charge. Primarily, the size of the car's battery and the type of charging facility are the two main things that affect the time it takes to charge. Generally speaking, the higher power the charging facility, the less time it will take to charge the car. One easy way to find out is to use an EV charge time calculator to help understand real world charge times. 

What financial support is available for owning an electric car?

In addition to reduced fuel costs, as low as 2p per mile, there are a number of ways to receive financial support in the switch to electric and low-emission vehicles:

Support from the Government:

  • Plug-in car, van and motorcycle grants, offering:
    • 35% of the cost of a car, up to a maximum of £3,500.
    • 20% of the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000.
    • 20% of the cost of a motorcycle, up to a maximum of £1,500.
  • Electric Vehicle Home charge Scheme (EVHS) offering:
    • Provides funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points at domestic properties across the UK.
  • Electric Vehicle Work charge Scheme (WCS) offering:
    • Support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations.
  • Vehicle Tax Rates:
    • £0 VED for electric and ultra-low emissions vehicles.
    • Reduced tax rates for company vehicles.
  • London Congestion Charge :
    • Ultra-low emission vehicles are exempt from the London congestion charge.

Support from Brighton & Hove Council:

How do you charge on long-distance journeys?

There are charge points available across the country, but planning your journey is sensible. Luckily there are some helpful tools to do this with.

  • Zap-Map: Map of all national charging points, with details on facilities available and plenty more. Available with mobile App and Website.
  • Ecotricity: The energy company Ecotricity run a network of rapid chargers across the country's main motorway service stations. Usage is charged per half hour and the chargers are accessed through the Electric Highway App.
  • EV Highway Status: Useful tool for planning journeys with charging stops.
What does "being ICED" mean?

You might hear this term being mentioned. As an electric vehicle owner, when someone driving a non-electric vehicle parks in charging bays it can be extremely frustrating. It's a bit like someone parking in the entrance to a petrol station. EV owners refer to these cars as ICE cars (Internal Combustion Engine cars), hence when one is parked in an EV bay, it's called being ICE'd. 

Is there a Tesla Supercharger in Brighton?

No. But there will be!

Tesla originally announced in September 2017 that Brighton would be a future supercharging location, stating that a supercharger was scheduled to be opened before the end of 2018. At the end of the year they updated their target opening time to 2019. Then, at the end of the year they didn't quite update their website in time, but - the target opening was pushed back to 2020.

Third time lucky?

For more information, check out Tesla's page on Brighton, on their map of Supercharging locations.

How do people without off-street parking charge their cars?

For those with their own driveways, charging at home overnight is an ideal solution, their cars are charged overnight and ready to go at the start of each day. But what about the significant number of people who are unable to charge at home?
We take a look at some of the solutions developing for those people without off-street parking.

Read more

How do you charge your car on a Brighton Lamp Post Charger?

It's quite straightforward!

  1. Park near a charger, check the unit is operational and plug in your vehicle.
  2. Make sure you've downloaded the Electric Blue App from the App Store or Google Play.
  3. Using the app, scan the QR code on the charger, or type in the unit's ID.
  4. Follow the App's instructions to complete the transaction and start your charge.

And just to show off the process, here's the local @YoungEVDriver showing us how it's done...