This article was written by one of our guest bloggers – Giles Kirkland. It has been modified by Chris Papa-Constantinou of Drive Green.
Whether you’re doing your research before buying your first electric vehicle, are a new owner of an EV, or even if you’ve had an electric car for a while, you may have questions about charging your EV. That’s why we’ve put together this Ultimate Guide to Charging Your EV. We’re answering the most common questions about EV batteries, charging times, charging stations, and the future of electric vehicle development in the UK, so let’s get it started!
What makes an EV battery different from batteries in fossil-fuelled cars?
Traditional petrol or diesel cars depend on 12V lead-acid batteries to initially start the internal combustion engine. Electric cars that are completely battery-powered depend on lithium-ion batteries, similar to those used in cellphones and laptops. These lightweight, high-capacity batteries are ideal for electric vehicles because they are rechargeable and hold a charge for a long time. Hybrid-electric vehicles that run on a combination of fuel and battery power primarily use nickel-metal hydride batteries, which rely on fuel to recharge the battery.
How long does it take to charge an electric car in the UK?
Charging times for electric vehicles vary depending upon the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the specifics of the charging station. For example, charging an “empty” electric car battery on a 3.7kW charging station could take from 4 to 21 hours depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
Using a 50kW charging station could take between 45 minutes and 2 hours for a full charge. While there are advanced rapid 150kW charging boxes newly being released, some electric cars are not able to use them so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for your next EV.
How many miles do you get to a charge on an EV battery and how much does it cost?
Mileage varies greatly between different makes and models of electric vehicles. For example, the 2018 Nissan LEAF claims a range of 150 miles per charge, while the Tesla Model S 100D boasts of a 375-mile range. The cost of charging at home will vary depending on your energy provider, but with an average of around £0.15 pence per kWh, that should equate to around £15 to charge your Tesla 100kWh Battery from 0 to 100%.
How do I charge my electric car at home?
If you’re just tossing around the idea of buying an electric car, you may be wondering whether an electric car can be plugged into a regular outlet in the UK.
Even though most EVs come with a specialized charging cable that can fit the average three-pin domestic plug socket, using a professionally installed dedicated EV charging wall box will significantly reduce charging time. These home charging stations could cost upwards of £1,000, but the cost can be offset with a government grant. The UK’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) could fund up to 75% of the cost of investing in a domestic EV charge point.
The good news is that the UK government is making solid plans to support the transition over to electric vehicles throughout the country with a push to see to it that all newly-built homes in coming years will have electric car charge points.
One of the biggest concerns EV owners have is the inability to find a charging station while out and about. While it is, of course, easy to find a petrol station anywhere and everywhere you may go, one may be concerned that electric vehicle charging stations are fewer and further between.
Where can I charge my EV when I’m away from home?
However, various websites and apps provide interactive maps showing thousands of charging points across the UK, along with a wealth of associated information and tools for EV users. Many employers are also now installing EV charging stations as a convenience for employees who are making the switch to electric cars.
What is the future of EV batteries and charging?
With so much riding on the need for green technology, the UK government has also announced a £23 million funding plan to help promote the development of innovations in EV technology.
Just a few of the latest breakthroughs in battery technology include a silicon-enhanced lithium-ion battery shown to improve performance 3-fold, which car companies Daimler and BMW have made solid investments in. Toyota is said to be developing a solid-state lithium-ion battery said to charge or discharge completely in only seven minutes.
Yet another exciting technological advancement is an aluminium-air battery that allows EVs to drive over 1,100 miles on a single charge.
It’s safe to say that EV development is in its infancy, but the financial and environmental benefits are already strong enough to justify becoming an early-adopter. Charging your EV is becoming easier, cleaner, and more convenient every day.