How To Charge An Electric Car Without A Driveway

A man starts charging his blue Renault Zoe from an app on his phone

Looking to get an electric car but live in a flat or terraced housing and have nowhere to install a charger for your electric car battery? You're not alone!

In 2022, Zap-Map surveyed 4358 electric vehicles drivers and found that 16% of them didn't have access to a home charger, a figure that hadn't had a significant change since the initial survey in 2019. This means that there are groups of people happily using their EVs without a charging point at home and that the other charging options available are sufficient for everyday use.

There are many benefits that using an EV has over a petrol or diesel car including lower running costs and a more positive impact on the environment, and you shouldn't feel limited because of where you call home and whether or not that location is suitable for an electric car charger.

If you're considering buying an electric car but you don't have a driveway to install a home charger on, we have gathered some of the other ways that EV drivers are keeping their cars going whether they live in a third story flat or just simply don't have suitable private off street parking.​

A grey CUPRA Born and a blue CUPRA born are plugged in at an EV charging station

Use Public Charging Stations

Using public EV charging points is the simplest way to charge electric cars on the go. 90% of those surveyed by Zap-Map said that they use a public charging point with those in supermarket car parks and motorway services the most commonly used on a regular basis.

There are a number of apps and websites that you can now use which will give you the status of public charging points, including if they are all in use or if any are awaiting repair. These rely on drivers inputting the information themselves as they come across any issues so there is always the danger that it could be inaccurate.

How are Public Charging Solutions Being Developed?

There is no shortage of charging solutions being developed right now that can keep your electric car charged and ready to go. The Zapmap database shows that since September 2022 over 15,000 electric car charging points were added to the UK network, which was an increase of 43%. This number is only going to increase as the EV infrastructure continues to improve.

There are now also a number of different types of chargers available and being installed to encourage more people to switch to EVs but also to make being able to charge your electric car much more accessible.

A grey Hyundai Ioniq 5 parked on the street and plugged into a lamppost charger
A pop-up EV charger in the ground and not in use
An Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron plugged in to an on-street charger

Lamppost Charging

Using a lamppost to charge electric vehicles is an incredibly innovative solution to today's charging challenges. Using city infrastructure such as lamp posts to double as charging electric vehicles is cheap and easy to do compared to other charging solutions. Ubitricity, one of the main installers, estimates that as many as eight million households don't have access to an off-street parking or private parking space which makes lamppost charging points a great solution.

Turning lamp posts into public chargers has been trialled in London with over 7000 installed so far. Most notably, Sutherland Avenue features 24 EV charging lamp posts which earned it the nickname ‘Electric Avenue' when they were installed. They are integrated into the existing infrastructure and keep footpaths and pavements clear and are a great option for overnight charging.

These lamp posts don't offer as much of a charger as dedicated solutions but make up for it with their ease of installation and the ability to be powered by renewable energy. Typically the standard output is a maximum of 5kW, so slower than a wallbox charger but quicker than using a standard three pin socket.

Kerbside Charging

British company Connected Kerb have developed a range of kerbside chargers. Their unique approach to EV charging helps make solutions even more accessible and they intend to install 190,000 public on-street EV chargers, which will be worth up to £1.9bn, by 2030.

Their aim is to "accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility for all people with reliable, affordable and accessible electric vehicle charging solutions". Their network is made up of fast, on-street charging devices which combine power and data to deliver convenient locations, reliable charging, and fast fibre connection.

Pop Up Chargers

UK company Urban Electric have developed a solution for electric charging in urban areas whilst reducing on-street clutter by introducing pop-up chargers which slide underground when not in use. They can then be walked across and leave the full width of the pavement accessible, making them an ideal solution in busier areas.

Using the Urban Electric app to locate the charging points you then "pop-up" the point, activate it for your charge, and plug your car in. All Urban Electric charging points are 7kW which would allow a full charge for a car with a 60 kWh battery in roughly 8 hours.

Charger Sharing Services

There are now services in place that anyone can sign up to which allows EV drivers to share their at home charging stations and is sometimes also referred to as community charging.

Octopus Energy, for example, works with Co Charger to help people rent out their home charger to those who don't have access to their own home charger. It makes home charging more accessible to more people and is a more sustainable option by putting more charging points in frequent use rather than just when the homeowner requires them.

Whilst each individual host sets their own rates for hiring their charging point, Co Charger offers a free calculator to help you figure out how much a host should be charging based on their energy tariff cost. Once you request to use a charging point you just need to wait for the host to approve your usage and then a payment is made automatically through the app.

All-New Townstar EV Charging Whilst Worker Unloads The Rear Of Van

Workplace Charging

Charging your EV at your work is another great way to keep your car topped up. It can take the pressure off the need for a home charging solution. There are also benefits for businesses to install chargers at work. It adds an extra employee benefit having to charge on-site as well as the benefits for the environment.

In 2022 Transport and Energy found that, at the time, there were 33,000 charging points at workplaces across the UK compared to 31,500 at public sites however Zapmap reported that only 8% of EV users surveyed actually used them regularly.

Currently the UK Government offers the Workplace Charging Scheme which is a voucher based scheme that provides eligible applicants with support towards the cost of purchase and installation of EV chargers. This make it even easier for employers to encourage their staff to drive electric as they are able to provide charging points, up to 40 per applicant.

A red Range Rover Sport is plugged in to charge in a car park as the driver leaves the area

Destination Charging

Destination charging is one of the most useful ways to keep your electric car charged whether you have a home charger installed or not. Defined as anywhere that the car is parked for a mid to long time, many people will take advantage of chargers in locations such as supermarkets, shopping centres, car parks, and hotels.

Zapmap found that in 2022, 50% of their survey respondents regularly used supermarket car park charging points and 29% said that they regularly used charging points in retail carparks, highlighting just how important these are for EV users.

It's also much more convenient than waiting at motorway service stations or at a fuel station as you can leave the car plugged in and do something that you were planning to do anyway, such as shopping or going for a meal, and come back to additional charge in your battery.