EV charging is an essential part of electric vehicle ownership. In this article, we are going to address all key issues related to electric car charging, including EV connectors, charging speeds, public EV chargers and charging at home and work.
There are three types of electric vehicle charging options – rapid, fast, and slow, which are often referred to as “Level 1”, “Level 2”, and “Level 3”. These types represent the power outputs and also denote available charging speeds. All the methods allow you to top up your car, but the speed will not be the same.
Each type of EV charger has an associated set of connectors for low- or high-power use either for AC or DC charging.
There are three types. Rapid AC chargers simply use more power on one connector type (43kW), whereas rapid DC chargers allow the car to charge at 50kW by supplying DC straight to the car on one or two connector types. Ultra-rapid units and Tesla’s Supercharger network work at more than 100kW power.
Rapid EV charging is the fastest way to top up your electric vehicle. You can usually find such EV charging stations close to the main routes or at motorway services. On average, it will take about an hour to fully charge a brand new electric vehicle on a regular rapid charge point.
However, you may be able to recharge your car to 80% in less than half an hour, depending on its model. When the battery becomes closer to full charge, the charging speed will decrease significantly. Thus, charging your vehicle to 80% helps to maximize process efficiency and protecting the battery.
All rapid units have tethered cables, so you can only use this type if your car supports it.
Fast chargers are rated between 7kW and 22kW and can fully top up small electric cars in about three to four hours. Times will depend on the vehicle and unit speed. For instance, a 7 kW charger can fill up an electric car with a 40 kWh battery in less about 4-5 hours, while a 22 kW unit will do it in 1-2 hours.
Car parks, leisure centres, supermarkets prefer to install these kinds of chargers as their clients tend to spend more than one hour on their premises. Most fast units supply AC charging (7 kW) and are untethered. Although, some networks and work-based units feature DC chargers with CCS or CHAdeMO connectors with attached cables.
It is generally used in such places when the EVs have plenty of time to charge, for example, in multi-dwelling units, homes, and fleet charging locations. On average, it takes about 5 to 8 hours to fully charge the vehicle. Charging units can be untethered or have tethered cables.
This type of charging is the most popular method of charging electric cars. Many EV owners use it to at home overnight. Nonetheless, these units are also popular with workplace and public points. This method takes a much longer time, so it is less common for public stations.
It is possible to slow charge your EV via a standard three-pin socket. However, if you top up your car regularly, we strongly recommend addressing a professional accredited company to install a dedicated EV charging unit at home or work.
The choice of connectors is determined by the car’s inlet port and the socket. Rapid units use Type 2, CCS or CHAdeMO connectors. Slow and fast chargers usually use Commando, Type 1, Type 2 or 3-pin plug outlets.
European electric vehicles, such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Renault, Volvo and VW, tend to have Type 2 inlets and the corresponding CCS inlet combination Asian manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi and Nissan, prefer a Type 1 and CHAdeMO standard.
Interestingly, an increasing number of Asian companies switch to European standards for vehicles sold in the region. For example, Nissan Leaf now features Type 2 AC charging for its second-generation model but retained CHAdeMO for fast charging. Hyundai and Kia plug-in models have switched to Type 2 inlets and Type 2 CCS combination.
Most electric vehicles are equipped with two cables for slow and fast charging. These cables allow a car to connect to most untethered charge points. It is worth mentioning that using tethered points may require the cable with the correct connector type.
A conventionally powered vehicle will not run without fuel. Neither will an EV unless it has a sufficiently charged battery. Most car owners can only fill up their cars at a gas station, but EV owners have several options to top-up their rides.
If you have a garage with electrical service, this is the easiest and the cheapest option. All EVs are equipped with basic chargers, although an even better option would be to ask an electrician to set up a fast charger. So, you can charge the vehicle twice as fast.
Some businesses choose to install EV chargers in their parking lots for their employees’ and clients’ use. Most of them are fast chargers. Considering that a typical workday is about 8 hours, this option is still useful.
The number of public EV charging stations is expanding rapidly in Ireland and the whole world. You can find public stations in public parking garages, apartment buildings, retail parking lots, and car dealerships.
If you are going on a road trip, it’s imperative to plan your route according to the public charging stations location. Public stations are usually equipped with fast charges, which makes them most worthwhile for topping up the battery while dining or shopping. Even a better choice is a station that suggests rapid charging, although you may need to use an adaptor.
Electric car charging process doesn’t seem to be some futuristic technology anymore. There are three charging modes: slow, fast and rapid. Each of them may require a different cable depending on the car model you need to charge.
You can top up your car at home, at work and public stations. However, EVs are still less widespread than conventional cars. That is why every EV owner has to be aware of the availability and accessibility of EV charging stations and this process in general.