The idea of switching to an electric car seems interesting due to all the fuel and maintenance cost savings. But, new EV owners may find the charging process a bit confusing. There are different types, levels and other factors associated with electric vehicle charging.
Hence, we have prepared this thorough guide to ease the process of EV charging for you.
Electric vehicles are like any other chargeable electronic device. They need electrical energy to function. Electric vehicles (EVs) store energy in the form of charge in their battery packs. The process of EV charging is basically a transfer of energy from an electrical energy source to the battery pack of a vehicle.
The vehicle must be plugged into a compatible outlet to begin the electric car charging process. You can install an EV charging station at your home or find one in public places.
Here are the fundamentals of how electric car charging works.
EV charging involves three major components: an electric vehicle, an electrical power outlet, and a connecting cable.
An EV is plugged into the power station via the connecting cable to recharge vehicle batteries whenever required.
Some charging stations are more efficient than others depending on the maximum rate of charging they can offer.
The speed of charging depends on the capacity of an electrical outlet and an EV’s battery pack.
While electric car chargers are easy to use, you must know about the following levels of EV charging.
The rate of EV charging is 120 volts in Level 1.
Most electric vehicles come with a cord and a control box attached to them for Level 1 charging.
One can plug in the cord to a three-pin wall socket to begin charging.
It takes about 8 to 12 hours to charge from 0 to 100 per cent at Level 1, depending on your EV battery capacity.
You don’t need to necessarily install any additional hardware for this level of charging.
The only downside of Level 1 charging is the long duration it takes to fully charge an EV.
Level 2 charging for EVs is rated usually at 240 volts.
This level of charging requires additional hardware.
Some EV manufacturers provide Level 2 home charger installation services.
A Level 2 charger takes about 6 to 8 hours to recharge EVs from 0 to 100 per cent based on its battery capacity.
While Level 2 charging is efficient, it adds the cost of the hardware to the charging expense.
Level 3 chargers typically charge at a rate of 480 volts.
It requires only 1 hour or less to charge an EV from 0 to 80 per cent.
Level 3 charging systems require expensive hardware, making their installations primarily suitable at public stations only.
You need to park an EV to charge its battery pack. Hence, you can utilise the time when you are not using your EV to charge it. Based on convenience, there are three major ways to charge electric cars.
You can get a private EV charging station set up at home. It is a convenient way of charging an EV, whether for an overnight charge or a quick top-up in the afternoon. Just make sure you buy a charger based on the maximum charging rate of your EV’s battery and get it installed via a professional.
Also, read: Charging an electric car at home: Time, cost, set up and more
The number of public charging stations is gradually increasing in India. You might find EV charging stations near parks, supermarkets, cinemas, etc., depending on the city you live in.
You don’t have to necessarily use public stations for a 100 per cent charge. A quick top-up will keep your car going. This way, you won’t have to worry about losing the battery charge while driving around the city.
Below are some key factors to remember when charging EVs at public stations.
An electric car can approximately gain between 30 to 50 km of range in one hour while using a 7 kW power outlet.
The cost of charging at public stations may differ depending on the state and city you reside in.
Several organisations in India offer charging stations for employees at work. So, you can recharge your electric car when it remains parked at your work location. Some companies provide this service for free as a perk for their employees.
In case your organisation offers an EV charging facility, it will be as simple as charging your vehicle at home. Typically, workplace chargers offer charging sockets where you can plug in your EV charging cable. Some organisations require employees to register via their app and scan a QR code to authorise the charging process.
If you consider the speed, there are three main types of EV charging options.
Slow chargers generally offer a charging rate between 2 kW to 3 kW. It makes them suitable for overnight charging at home. You can connect your electric vehicle to the outlet and charge from 0 to 100 per cent within 8 to 12 hours.
While slow charging is possible via any regular three-pin socket at home, it may increase the required electric car charging time. Thus, it is better to get a dedicated EV charging station installed at home.
Fast chargers usually provide a charging rate of 7 kW and charge from 0 to 100 per cent in 3 to 6 hours. This type of charger is usually installed at home as well as at public charging stations.
A typical fast charger requires a Type-2 kind of socket, which includes 7 pins. You can carry your own charging cable while driving to use public fast-charging stations whenever possible.
Rapid chargers offer the fastest possible charging speed with a rate of 50 kW. Rapid charging requires only about 30 to 60 minutes to charge an EV battery from 0 to 80 per cent. However, you might have to check for compatible charging cables based on your EV’s make, model and manufacturer.
The cost of charging an electric car may vary depending on several parameters. You can calculate the cost of EV charging by looking into the factors mentioned below.
Battery capacity: Batteries with higher capacities will take longer to fully charge than low-capacity batteries. Thus, the higher the battery capacity, the more you will pay for every charge.
Charging duration: The cost of charging also depends on whether you need a quick top-up or 0-100 per cent full charge.
Charging at home: At home, your power supply tariff will play a major role in EV charging costs. The electricity cost per unit varies depending on the state and city you live in.
Charging at public stations: The cost of charging an EV at public stations is also different in different states and cities.
Here are the approximate time durations to fully charge an electric car based on the type of charger you use.
|Slow||Standard, 3-pin plug; Type 1, 5-pin plug (3 kW); Type 2, 7-pin plug (3 kW)||3 kW to 3.6 kW||About 8 to 12 hours|
|Fast||Type 1, 5-pin plug (22 kW); Type 2, 7-pin plug (22 kW)||7 kW to 22 kW||About 3 to 6 hours|
|Rapid||Type 2, 7-pin plug (43 kW); 50 kW DC charger||43 kW to 50 kW||About 30 to 60 minutes|
Below are a few commonly asked questions about electric vehicle charging.
Not exactly, you can charge an electric vehicle using a compatible power outlet only. Following are the major EV charger compatibility factors:
Plug type (3-pin, 5-pin, 7-pin)
Charging capacity (3 kW, 22 kW, 43 kW)
You can majorly choose between regular and fast home chargers for most electric cars available in India. While looking for a home EV charger, you must focus on these factors.
The battery size or capacity of your EV.
The maximum charging rate possible for your electric vehicle.
The maximum charging rate an electric car charger can offer.
Rapid charging is the fastest way of charging an electric vehicle right now. A rapid charger usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes to fully charge an EV. It is way faster than regular or fast chargers that require between 3 to 12 hours to charge an electric car. However, you can use rapid charging only for compatible EVs.How far can I drive my EV with one full charge?
The range of your electric car decides how far you can drive on a single full charge. This range varies from one make/model to another. Electric cars in India generally deliver a range between 200 to 500 km per full charge. Other factors like the age of your EV’s battery and environmental conditions also impact the driving range.Can my electric car lose its charge when parked?
Yes, electric cars can lose charge even when parked. However, this loss of charge is minimal. You won’t have to worry about losing too much if you keep your EV charged by 50 per cent or above before parking for a long time.
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