Just like buying a fossil fuel car, there are a number of things important to consider
Before we start, a note on terminology. Kilowatts are used to describe charging capacity (which essentially correlates to charging speed). Battery charging is also thought of in terms of voltage. An EV battery is charged by connecting the vehicle to a charge point using a charging cable. Most vehicles have a standard charge and a fast charge. This can be through a single connector or separate dedicated connectors.
Charging can range from the slowest (Type 1) generally less than 2 kW, so they can take 10 hours or more to charge a typical EV. This can also be thought of as a few miles of range replenished per hour to DC fast charging, which is how you may describe Tesla’s Supercharger network, for instance. These fast systems are not supported by every EV and are still fairly uncommon. Some vehicles may not have the correct charging port to utilise fast charging, too.
But to simplify this we will refer to them as rapid, fast and slow
Rapid Chargers – Ideal for where fast turnaround is required, rapid chargers will charge a 40kW battery to 80% in 30 minutes, via DC or AC supply. Vehicles must have rapid-charging ability, which is easy to determine with the vehicle manual. Rapid AC chargers use the Type 2 connector, while rapid DC chargers use either CCS (Euro Standard) or CHAdeMo (Asian Standard).
Fast Chargers – For locations that offer long-term stays, fast chargers can charge a 40kW battery to 80% in 5-6 hours. Most EVs accept the Type 2 connector, and power is supplied via AC on all fast chargers. For larger battery types, these chargers can offer a home-charging solution.
Slow Chargers – Charging times vary, but a slow charger will typically charge a 40kW battery to 80% in 8-10 hours. Most slow chargers have Type 2 connectors, or can be tethered with a Type 1 connector. Suitable for all plug-in EVs, slow chargers deliver via AC supply.
The correct charge point for you and your usage depends on how you use the EV:
Home charging – EV owners charge at home through a dedicated charge point. These charge points will safely charge the vehicle at a rate that suits the power supply. A home charge point can supply 3.6kW (16Amps) to the vehicle although some supply up to 7.2kW(32Amps). Some houses may only be able to accept the 7.2kW charger, talk to your electrician to find out more. When we charge with an AC connector at home or on-street the power is delivered to the vehicle where an on-board battery charger (inside the vehicle) manages the rate of charge.
Destination charging – Public charging allows EV drivers to charge their electric cars on the road when they need to travel longer distances than allowed by their EV’s autonomy. These public chargers are often located near restaurants, shopping centers, parking spots, and such public spaces. These can be easily located using a variety of online platfrom and mobile apps.
Public (on-street) and destination charging – On-street and public parking chargers have become common around our cities and towns. As an EV owner you may charge or top up using one of these. You may also use private destination chargers that you will find in facilities like small businesses or hotels.
Charging at apartment complexes – If you want to install a charge point at an apartment complex, you will need to consult the management company. The charge point may need to be connected to a landlord supply rather than the supply for your apartment. Charge point suppliers can offer solutions to address access control and energy cost recovery.
Charging an Electric Car at Work – Workplace charging works very similarly to home charging. It is offered by an employer to their employees. The employees therefore have access to parking spaces with level 2 or level 1 charging stations during the day. Depending on your habits, charging at work could provide enough power for all of your travels.