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How to charge your electric car if you don’t have a driveway

While charging your EV with a home charging point is the default option, it’s still possible to get a boost even without off-road parking

Two people say in the back of a car with the boot open. One is pointing at the mountains and water in the distance

It might seem like an electric car is not an option for you if you don’t have a driveway or other off-street parking to charge at.

While a lot of people choose to get at-home charging points fitted, you should still be able to charge your EV without one, and without any off-street parking at all.

In fact, the charging network across the UK is expanding at such a rate that finding a charger while out and about is no issue at all. In some spots, you might even be able to charge for free!

Charging your EV at home

Most people choose to charge their EV at home, with overnight being a convenient time to plug in. You can still charge your car at your address, even if you don’t have a driveway or other off-street parking.

At this time, there are no legal restrictions that say you can't use your EV charger in the street, but the Highway Act does allow councils to remove the chargers if they’re unsuitably placed.

It’s a good idea to park as close to your home as possible, and you can buy a cable cover to stop your charger from being a trip hazard in the street. You can then plug into the sockets in your house, and charge your EV just like you would your smartphone.

Some houses aren’t suitable for plugging in EV chargers, so make sure you check this beforehand. As long as your charger reaches, there’s no reason why you can’t charge your car in the street outside your home.

Charging your EV at work

If you’re lucky, you might be able to get a good chunk of charging done while you’re at work, as some workplaces are investing in charging infrastructure.

It’s the perfect solution – if your car is parked up throughout the day at your workplace, there’s no reason why it can’t be plugged in to get a boost. It’s also a great way to encourage a greener approach to the daily commute.

Workplaces can get government funding for fitting charging points through the Workplace Charging Scheme. This will cover up to 75% of the costs of buying and installing an EV charging point.

Charging your EV using the public network

Even if you don’t have a driveway to charge on, it’s likely there will be somewhere close to home that you can plug in and ‘fuel’ up.

Keep an eye out while you’re next out and about and see if you can spot chargers in your area – car parks, attractions like theme parks, hotels and restaurants, plus shopping centres and supermarkets, are all good options.

You can use apps and online map websites to track down chargers in your area and find the cheapest ones available. You’ll usually find a range of slow, fast and rapid chargers in the public network, but it’s a good idea to only use rapid chargers when really necessary to maintain battery health.

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Asking your council for charge points in your area

The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme can be used by councils to help with the funding of building a charging network. This scheme is specifically dedicated to the expansion of on-street parking where off-street set-ups are not viable, so are ideal for those motorists who don’t have a driveway.

£20 million has been allocated to the scheme for use across 2022–2023, and will cover up to 60% of eligible capital costs.

If you don’t have access to off-street parking and think your community would benefit from a public charging point, it might be worth bringing this up at your next local council meeting.

How to charge your EV for free

As we move closer to the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel cars and EVs become the norm, we can expect to see a decline in the amount of free charging stations available. For now, you might be able to charge your EV for free at shopping centres, supermarkets, hotels and other attractions.

You’ll usually find that free chargers offer a slow charge, so they’re more suitable if you’re able to plug in for a while and get a good boost.

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