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Electric Vehicles 101: Charging EVs

Five years ago, electric vehicles seemed like a good idea, but there were a few niggles to iron out, including cost and ease of charging. Since then, the number of electric vehicle users has soared from 3,500 in 2013 to a whopping 210,000 in 2019. This rise in popularity is down to several factors, including choice, affordability, an increase in charging points, and a general shift in attitude, with more and more people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.

In this series, we look at everything you need to know before buying an Electric Vehicle (EV), including a detailed buyer’s guide to help you onto the road to greener driving. This week we start off with the basics: what you need to know about charging an electric vehicle.

Pioneers of the EV revolution sometimes struggled to charge their vehicles away from home. However, a rise in demand has led to a rise in EV charging points.

Types of Charging Points

Charging points are categorised by the power that they are capable of producing. This is measured in kW (Kilowatts) and the higher the kW, the faster an EV will charge. Just like mobile phones and other devices, different charging points and vehicles may have different connector types. Most EVs come with a choice of cables to allow charging with a range of connector outlets.

Charging points will provide one of three levels of power:

  • Slow charge- up to 3kW – 6-12 hours or overnight charging;
  • Fast charge- 7-22kW – full recharge in 3-4 hours;
  • Rapid charge – 43-50kW. These are either AC or DC (alternating current or direct current) with AC chargers providing 43kW and DC 50kW. Both AC and DC rapid chargers will charge most EVs to 80% in 30-60 minutes.

Finding Public Charging Points

Whereas finding a charging point used to be problematic for EV drivers, today most areas across the UK have access to EV charging points. Zap-Map is a handy app for EV users, which allows you to see your nearest public EV charging point.

Some EV charging points are free to use, but most require payment. The method of payment varies according to the provider; some require RFID cards, while others accept contactless payments or payment via an app. Usually, you will be charged a connection fee as well as a charging cost, calculated in either pence per hour or kW per hour (i.e. time charging, or energy consumed).

Home Charging

Home charging is often the cheapest and most convenient way of charging an EV, and there are government grants available for charge point installation. Home charging points usually provide slow charge, allowing you to charge your vehicle overnight.

The charge, range and type of connection required for an EV is an important consideration if you are considering buying an electric vehicle. For more information, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and keep an eye out for our EV Buyers’ Guide. For more detailed advice, contact a trusted local car dealership.

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