How do I charge an electric car?

Are you wondering how to charge an electric car? We explain the whole process and share how it’s even simpler with Onto.

Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, electric cars don’t run on petrol - they’re powered by electricity. When you start driving an electric car, you’ll get to swap the service stations for convenient public charging points.

It’s likely you’re familiar with the process of filling up at the petrol pump, but you may be wondering about the practical side of charging your electric car.

In this article, we’ll explain how it works, how long charging can take, and how a subscription with Onto makes the whole process even easier.


  • Charging your car is easier than you might think. It just requires a bit of planning. 
  • Chargers can be slow, fast, or rapid - a full charge will take 8-12 hours on a slow charger, 4-6 hours on a fast charger, and 20 minutes to 1 hour on a rapid charger.
  • Onto make charging even easier with including 14,000 public charging points included with every subscription*

*If you select a no-charging subscription, this won’t apply.

How to charge an electric car

Charging an electric car is easier than you might think. In fact, it takes just a few simple steps:

  1. Open your car’s charging flap to access the charging outlet. If you’re not sure where the charging flap might be, check your manual.
  2. Take the plug from the charging point and place it securely in your car’s charging outlet.
  3. The car will begin charging. 
  4. Once charging is complete, remove the plug and close the charging flap - you’re ready to get back on the road!

Watch our quick video guide to charging, which features everything you need to know about charging an Onto electric car.

Smiling woman holding an electric charger

How fast can you charge an electric car?

Now that you’re familiar with the process of charging your electric car, you may be wondering how quickly you’ll be able to charge your car. This will depend on the type of charger you’re using and your car’s onboard charger. 

The main types of chargers you’ll see on the road are slow, fast, and rapid:

Slow chargers

  • Often found at home charging points, but occasionally at older public charging points.
  • 3 - 6 kW, but usually around 3.6 kW.
  • 8-12 hours to a full charge; many drivers charge overnight, but check the terms of each provider first to avoid overstaying charges. 
  • Often have tethered cables, though some may be untethered and require you to have your own cable. All Onto cars come with their own three-pin domestic charger, which is portable and easy to use.

Fast chargers

  • Often found at home charging points, public charging points, and service stations.
  • 7 or 22 kW, depending on the connector type and car battery.
  • 4-6 hours to fully charge on a 7kW charger and 1-2 hours to fully charge on a 22kW charger (with compatible batteries).
  • Many are untethered for increased compatibility with different plugs, though some are tethered with specific cables.

Rapid chargers

  • The standard across most public charging points and service stations for over a decade.
  • 50, 100, or 150 kW, depending on the connector type and car battery.
  • 20 minutes to 1 hour for an 80% charge on 50kW; 20-30 minutes to fully charge on 100 kW .
  • Cables are usually tethered to the charging points.

Charging your electric car with Onto

When you choose an electric car subscription with Onto, public charging with Shell Recharge* is included with every vehicle. And if you book a Tesla, you’ll also be able to use the Tesla Superchargers - with up to 250 kW of power, they can charge up to 80% in just 15 minutes! 

With your all-inclusive Onto subscription, you’ll never be far from a place to stop and recharge, totally free of charge.

We've also partnered with the UK's leading home charger company PodPoint, so you can get a home charger at a discounted rate. Find out more here >

*If you select a no-charging subscription, this won’t apply.

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