Tips and advice

How to charge your electric car without a driveway

A guide to charging your EV if you don’t have home charger or live in a flat or house with no driveway

Public EV charge point

The dawn of the electric car age is upon us, and with it comes the need for an accessible means of charging them. You may have noticed some owners of electric cars conveniently charging their vehicles on their driveway from a wallbox charger sitting on the outside of their house and wondered what the solution is for those who live in a flat or a house without a driveway.

The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme set up by the government contributes to 75% of the cost of installing an electric car charging system in your home if you own an electric car, and is capped at a maximum of £350. However, to be eligible for this scheme you must have ‘dedicated off-street parking’ on private land, most commonly in the form of a driveway or garage, which many homeowners or renters may not have.

In some areas you can charge your car with a lead from your house to a parking space outside your home, but this requires more thought and depends on your local council’s rules. 

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Fortunately, home charging isn’t the only way to top up your EV. Some local authorities are utilising the government’s on-street residential charging scheme, under which more public charging points are being installed in accessible locations.

You may also consider charging your car in places you spend a substantial amount of time other than your home, such as your workplace or the gym.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the public charging network is set to inevitably expand by the time the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is banned in 2030, so public charging stations will become more widespread, making it another viable solution. 

Charging on the street

Charging outside

While you might have trouble qualifying for the government’s wallbox charger grant if you don’t have a private off-street parking space, it’s not technically illegal to run across the pavement from your charger to your car, depending on the local authority.

This charging method is not recommended for a number of reasons. According to most council rules, the charging cable must be removed once the vehicle has fully charged, and it’s worth bearing in mind that you could be legally responsible if a passer-by trips and injures themself as a result of your obstruction of the pavement, so it may not be worth taking the risk.

It’s also not recommended to charge your EV through a traditional three-prong socket in your home as there is a risk of fire and charging is extremely slow anyway.

If you do decide to run a charging cable across the pavement, you'll need to ensure the cable is long enough to reach without using an extension. It may also be wise to place a protective anti-trip cover over the cable where it crosses a public right of way.

On-street residential charging scheme

On-street charging

Thankfully, many councils have begun installing more and more charging points around cities to help increase support for electric vehicles. While a typical EV currently takes longer to charge than it takes to refuel a petrol or diesel car, this solution allows EV owners to top up while they’re parked and doing a shop, for example.

The on-street residential charging scheme is a government grant that promotes this initiative by enabling councils to install charging points in lamp-posts, kerb-side pillars or even into pavements where they can be retracted away.

To use most of these points you will likely need to bring your own cable, and the charging speeds will vary depending on the power available to the area.

Charging at work and other places

Charging at the supermarket

Another government scheme exists to promote the installation of charging facilities at the workplace, called the ‘Workplace Charging Scheme’, so it’s definitely worth asking your employer whether they plan to install any chargers.

Businesses can save up to £300 per socket for a maximum of 20 sockets if they qualify for this grant, making the prospect much more attractive for business-owners. With many workplaces keen to get employees back into the office, the installation of electric car chargers could act as an incentive. With many people spending a substantial amount of time at work it makes good sense to charge your car while you’re busy.

Electric company-car tax explained

Another place many people spend substantial amounts of time is the gym. Many of the UK’s gyms now offer charging facilities in their car parks for use while you keep yourself fit, and some may offer this as part of your membership plan, so it’s worth checking what’s included in yours.

With many supermarkets and shopping centres also installing public charging points to entice shoppers, there are more places to charge your EV than ever before.

The public charging network

Public charging network

We have, of course, lived through most of motoring history without access to our own personal fuelling station on our driveways, so the public charging network should eventually become as widespread as petrol and diesel stations are now. 

In areas such as London where housing is more dense, drivers are less likely to have access to their own driveways to charge an EV at home. If you are one of these people, the good news is that Greater London has the most public charging points in the UK.

Most public charging stations offer slow, fast and rapid charging, with ultra-rapid charging available in some areas, although the speed at which you can charge also depends on your car. There has been a 335% increase in the number of public chargers from the end of 2016 until the end of 2021, with fast chargers making up the majority of these installations and the infrastructure is continually expanding.

The prices to charge your car vary depending on charging speed and where you go to recharge, so it’s worth shopping around. Even on public networks, though, it will almost certainly cost much less than it does to refuel a petrol or diesel car, especially with the government ever more keen to deter people from using these fuels.

For more information about charging speeds and types, read our guide to fast and rapid charging

Most Popular

UK road tax costs 2021/2022 explained
2021 Road Tax explained
Tips and advice
7 Jan 2022

UK road tax costs 2021/2022 explained

Best 0% APR car deals
Hyundai Bayon deals
Deals
5 Jan 2022

Best 0% APR car deals

Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month 2022
Renault Captur Iconic
Best cars
7 Jan 2022

Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month 2022

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
29 Sep 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
1 Dec 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
17 Jan 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
27 Oct 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022