At first thought, charging an electric car might be as simple as plugging your phone into charge. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. There’s a lot to know, not just about how to charge the electric vehicle, but how to make it last longer and which options may be easier financially.
Electric vehicle chargers are typically characterised by three speeds of charging; rapid, fast and slow. For the most part, charge capacity is measured in kilowatts (kW). For the most part, cars will require a Type 1 or Type 2 connector cable, with a lot of charging stations often requiring a Type 2 connector.
The slow chargers are exactly what they say on the tin, charging up to 3kW, which is OK if you’ve got 6 to 12 hours to kill. These chargers are more suited to an overnight charge. But if you’re using a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), the charge will take about 4 hours, give or take. Fast chargers can provide a charge between 7 to 22 kw, meaning you’ll have a full charge in 3-4 hours. The rapid chargers come in two forms, Alternating Current or Direct Current. The Alternating Current chargers can charge up to 43kW while the Direct Current chargers go up to 50 kW. Either way, you will have a fully-charged electric vehicle after an hour.
The battery also has a part to play in the charging lifespan. The bigger the battery, the longer it will take to charge. And the make will also factor into it. For example, there are some plug-in hybrid cars that can’t rapid charge.
Consider these intro points our guide of electric car charging explained and we shall move on to the where aspect of the charging process.
All areas are going to have a charging station in proximity. This is where Google Maps becomes your new best friend, as it can tell you how far away you are from a nearby station as well as whether it is in use. You should look at your daily routes so that you can match the charge to the journey and factor in when you’ll need the stations.
When it comes to payment, many charging stations are free to use. But if you’re pressed for time and need to use a rapid charger, you may be expected to dip into your wallet. Payment methods will vary depending on the region you’re based in. Some regional networks will provide an RFID card while others may allow you to use a smartphone app for payments.
Charging an Electric Vehicle at Home and Work
While you can and should get your head around all of the charging ports available around your local area, buying a charger that you can make use of at home is perhaps the most cost effective strategy for you. Home chargers normally have a charging rate similar to slow chargers, charging up to 7 kW.
A word to the wise, if you’re going to be charging at home, try to keep the car fairly close by, ideally in a garage, because the last thing you need is wires leading over footpaths which increases the risk of accident.
Although it is a rarity, many companies are also embracing the idea of electric charge ports, which you can make use of as a company benefit.
Ultimately, your decision for the right charger is down to the mercy of your daily commute. If you’re a frequent traveller who could spend more time in the car than out of it, rapid charging may be an option. A slower charger could be more suited to fleeting commutes.
Either way, you should make sure that wherever you go, a charging port isn’t too far away.