Charging Times for Electric Cars
Charging times are essential when it comes to switching to electric cars. You want to charge your car with the same efficiency as filling one up with fuel. Charging times highly depend on your electric car’s battery size and on the power of the charging point.
Simply put, the larger your battery, the longer it will take to charge. Charging can be sped up depending on what charging point you use. The fast and rapid charging points will recharge the battery much quicker. Chargers are given a power rating in kW, and the higher the kW, the faster the charger. These can range from a three-pin socket that you find in your home, to specific rapid chargers found at motorway services.
An average battery in an electric car is 40kWh however, some cars have batteries that range up to 100kWh. Charging the smaller batteries will take you less time. At a 50kW rapid charger it will take approximately 52 minutes to charge fully.
It's common for electric car owners to use the 'Top-up charging' method. When they go shopping or go to work, they will put their EV on charge and go on about their day. Top-up charging allows drivers to feel relaxed about not running out of power. It keeps the battery at a stable level so you can get from A to B comfortably. Always double check you have enough energy to get to your destination, you don't want to run out of charge whilst you’re travelling.
If you have access to a home charging point, take advantage of overnight charging as well as day charging. Typically, when an electric car reaches 80%, the charger will automatically reduce its power to help keep the battery from depreciating so, don’t worry about leaving your car on charge over a long period of time.
Slow, Fast, and Rapid Charging
All electric cars can be charged using compatible charge points with a high maximum charge rate. Even if the charger has a higher rate than the given charging rate for your car, it will fill the battery using the electric car’s maximum charging rate. Public and workplace charging points will have a rate of 7kW or 22kW, with most electric cars being compatible.
Most slow charging points have a maximum power of 3.6kW. These are less common due to the more powerful 7kW chargers. Slow charging is most common for home chargers and is great for charging your electric car overnight. The average time for a slow charger to charge the battery from empty to full can take between 8 - 12 hours.
The typical power rating for a fast charger is 7kW or 22kW. Fast chargers are mostly found in shopping car parks, workplaces, and other public spaces. From empty a 7kW charging point on average will fully charge a battery between 4 – 6 hours and a 22kW in 1 – 2 hours.
Rapid chargers are the fastest electric chargers available. Rapid chargers provide a rating of 43kW to 50 kW whereas the ultra-rapid chargers provide a rating of 150kW to 350 kW. This is to make sure that EV owners can charge their car in an efficient amount of time so they can continue with their journey. Rapid chargers can deliver up to 80% charge in just 30 minutes or less. Almost all fully electric cars can be charged at any rapid charging point; however plug-in hybrids aren’t compatible.
How to calculate your EVs charging time.
You can calculate charging time by dividing battery capacity by the rating of the charging point. E.g 60kWh/22kW = 2.7 hours
Factors That Affect Charging Speed and Efficiency.
There is a combination of physical and environmental factors that can affect charging speed. Keeping the battery in good condition helps keeping it efficient. The battery management system is there to help regulate the batteries when charging and discharging to help prolong their life.
The power ratings of charging points can impact the depreciation of the battery. There is evidence of rapid charging points influencing the battery life. However, these effects are reduced significantly by the battery management system.
If a battery gets too cold, this will impact the charging speed and the capacity that the battery can hold therefore limiting the mile range. Manufacturers have implemented a heating system surrounding the battery to keep an efficient temperature.
The Future of EV Charging
The government has put aside £500 million to invest in the rapid charging infrastructure between 2020 to 2025. The aim is to have charging points available no further than 30 miles driving distance from a location and to have at least 6 to 12 high powered charge points at each motorway service by 2023. By 2035 they aim to have 6000 rapid charge points across England’s motorways and major A roads, incentivising the electrical revolution.
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