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Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are classed as a low carbon technology and can help the UK meet its carbon emission ambitions. The UK Government has set an ambitious target to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and the Scottish Government by 2032, which will accelerate the transition to electrified transport for all.

This webpage will aid you in understanding:

  • What an EV is
  • Some important impacts of EVs
  • What kind of EV chargers are available
  • How you can connect an EV charger to the network
  • Answers to EV FAQs
  • Network capacity maps

So what is an "EV"?

An electric vehicle (EV) refers to a vehicle that runs completely on battery power. In the same way that your regular car uses petrol or diesel as its fuel to run, EVs use electricity which is stored in a large battery. As there is no petrol or diesel being used the car produces no direct C02 emissions. Usually EVs will be charged at overnight with smaller chargers that take longer to charge the vehicle. There are also commercial “rapid” chargers available that can quickly get the car up to a full charge.

1- Realise: Realise a low carbon future at lowest overall cost for our customers; 2- Ensure: Ensure a safe and resilient network; 3- Inform: Inform our customers on the steps we are taking to prepare for a low carbon future; 4- Engage: Engage with our stakeholders to ensure we meet these objetives.

The uptake of EVs is predicted to happen in a disproportionate way with the majority of uptake expected to happen in urban and suburban areas. Although an electric vehicle has fewer than 20 moving parts, charging your average EV overnight is estimated to double the electricity consumption of the home. To cope with that demand, we would require around £200m-300m of investment in each of our electricity network areas – this could rise to over £1b in our investment areas if smart charging is not adpted.

As the network operator for Central & Southern Scotland, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire and North Wales, there is some important information you should know when you are thinking about connecting new charging points to the grid. 

The adoption of EVs is predicted to happen in a disproportionate way, with majority uptake in urban and suburban areas.
An average electric vehicle will use the same power in 1 year as one wind turbine generates in 1 hour.
Swapping a convention combustion engine car for an electric version could provide 'fuel' savings of over £1000 for a typical user.
Charging an average domestic EV at home every night would almost double the electricity consumption of the home.
To cope with demand we need to invest around £200m to £300m in each of our electricity network areas in the next decade.
An electric vehicle has fewer than 20 moving parts - compared to a diesel engine which has over 2000..
If we don't adopt smart charging, this could rise to over £1b investment in our areas.

Types of Chargers Available

Below is a guide to the types of chargers available for you to connect to the grid.


Slow chargers (up to 5 kW) take between 8-10 hours to charge most EVs today. A slow charger is the type that consumers would use to charge their EV overnight.

Did You Know?

A typical slow charger will provide about 15 miles of range per hour. The same time it would it would take an elite runner to travel the same distance.


Fast chargers are between 7kW-22kW and can charge the average EV in 2-5 hours.

Did You Know?

A fast charger can provide up to 100 miles of range per hour, similar to the length of Hadrian’s Wall.


Rapid chargers are 43kW or above and can charge an EV to 80% in roughly 30 minutes.

Did You Know?

30 minutes using a Rapid charger delivers more power than a typical smart phone uses over 20 years...

A Guide to Connecting Chargers

The time, cost & impact on the network will depend on what you want to connect. The following should only be used as a guide as costs and time scales may differ depending various aspects like network constraints, such as distance to cables or available capacity.

Key: LV = Low Voltage; HV = High Voltage; MVA = Mega Voltage Ampere; EHV = 33,000 volts.

Single Residential Homes, Small Offices or Similar (Small Connections)

Most modern domestic services should be able to cope with a single slow charger without additional costs from us; however you would still need to pay your installer for their service.

If an upgrade is required for a fast EV charger or possibly multiple slow EV chargers:

  • Upgrades required: Service cable upgrade
  • Approximate cost: £300 - £3,000
  • Approximate impact: 10-20m cable, ½ day – 1 full day of work
  • Approximate connection time: 8 weeks

Small Business, Carpark or Similar (Medium Connections)

A number of fast or rapid chargers (up to 20 or so depending on size) may require a connection up to 1MVA, similar to the requirement of connecting the power of a new supermarket

  • Upgrades required: dedicated connection – either at HV or LV
  • Approximate cost: £5k – 100k
  • Approximate impact: Detailed network review and design required
  • Approximate connection time: 3 – 6 months

Multi-story Carparks, Commercial Premises or Similar (Large Connections)

Rapid charge stations with multiple connections– greater than 1MVA

  • Upgrades required: HV connection requiring new substation at HV or EHV*
  • Approximate cost: £100k +
  • Approximate impact: Detailed network review and design required
  • Approximate connection time: > 6 months depending on location

*if an EHV connection is required a typical cost is >1M and 18-24 months installation time


We have answered some common questions on EVs, charging and installations below. 

How do I install an EV charging point?

You should start by contacting an accredited electric vehicle charge point installer to confirm whether your electricity supply is adequate to support the charging point.

Provided there is no problem with your internal wiring, the electricity supply or the equipment which joins your internal wiring to our electricity network, named the 'cut-out', you can install the charge point.

Once you have installed your charge point, notify us by completing this form and email it to: 

Central & Southern Scotland -

Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales & North Shropshire -

How do I know if my EV charge point will be installed correctly?

The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Code of Practice on Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation provides guidance for installers and confirms their responsibilities.

Specifically it outlines the installer’s responsibility to:

  • Assess the adequacy of the supply capacity for the new EV’s electricity consumption, plus any existing electricity demand, before installing the charging equipment
  • Assess the adequacy of the earthing, before installing the charging equipment
  • Notify the electricity Distribution Network Operator (DNO) once the charge point has been installed. If you are in Cheshire, Merseyside, North Wales, North Shropshire, Central & Southern Scotland this is SP Energy Networks.

Why do we I need to inform you if I am installing an EV charge point?

EVs can use as much electricity as a domestic power shower, but for much longer. When this is concentrated on parts of the network, demand on that network will rise and we will manage the network to maintain a secure supply. That is why we need to know each time a new charge point is installed.

It is also useful for us to know where EV charge points are installed in order to explore the opportunities they can offer in the future for smart grids.

Will you charge for me connecting my EV to the network?

Provided a properties supply capacity is capable of supplying the full demand of the property and the installer of the EV charging unit is using approved equipment which is suitable for use within the property type they are installing within, there will be no charges from us directly associated with an EV charger installation. You pay your installer to install your charger. You will pay for any power used by the charger using your normal electricity metering arrangements.

Where your demand exceeds your supply capacity or you are using equipment which is not suitable for your current supply characteristics there will be a requirement for reinforcement work. In some cases this work is carried out by us free of charge, alternatively a formal quotation for the required work will be sent to the applicant.

What happens if there are multiple electric vehicles at a property?

As with a single vehicle charger it is the responsibility of the installer to ensure that the existing supply is capable of supplying the full properties electrical demand. Where multiple vehicles are being charged simultaneously this can often result in overloading of supplies or the requirement for a reduced charging output. Before installing a charger it is important to understand if the charger will deliver the desired output and that it does not present a risk of overloading supply equipment.

Can I have an EV charger if I live in a property without off street parking?

In the majority of cases where a charger is required to be on-street the user will request a new supply which is separate to their existing properties supply. It is not permitted to run charging cables across public footpaths so the charging unit will normally be located at the kerbside. Supplies which are street side will generally be provided with a supply utilising a TT earthing arrangement, including RCD protection. Installers should ensure that they have the relevant permission from the local council or land owner prior to installing charging facilities on land not controlled by the Charge-Point owner.

Transport Capacity Maps

These heat maps are designed to give an indication of the relative energy demand for private cars alongside loading on the electricity distribution network in SP Energy Networks' Manweb licence area.


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