Electrical Car Charging Process

Charging an electric car is an entirely different process than filling a car with petrol. There are multiple points to consider, and it’s essential to know all the information on how to charge an electric car before you start driving one.

In this article, Perth City Electric has answered the most common questions on how to charge electric cars and added some helpful tips on electric car charging.

Electric Car Charging | How To Charge An Electric Car


How to charge an electric car

The charging process of how to charge an electric car is fairly simple, but it’s important to be aware of all the available options.

Home charging gives two main options:

  • Using a traditional three-pin plug extension
  • Installing a personal home charger

Both work in much the same way, but a three-pin plug will require an extension cable to reach your car and will normally be a slower process compared to having a home charger installed.

Home chargers are by far the most convenient way of charging your EV but do carry an installation fee. There are current government schemes in place to help EV owners install a charger in their homes.

Public charging stations are much the same as home charging stations. Simply plug in your car and leave it to sit whilst you go about your shopping or daily work.


Electric Car Charging | How To Charge An Electric Car


Electric car charging cables

It’s essential to know what adaptor your EV is compatible with. You will normally find this out from your car dealer upon purchase, but you can also consult your handbook for confirmation.

The two types of cables that are most common in the UK are:

  • Tethered
  • Untethered

Tethered cables are straightforward to use and are connected to all rapid and ultra-rapid charging stations. To use a tethered cable, take the attached charging cable from the charging station and plug it into your car.

Some slow and fast charging stations will use untethered connections, meaning you will need to supply your own cable. EVs will come with a detachable cable, meaning all you have to do is carry this around with you so you can connect to any charger you come across.

Although there is no universal charging cable for EV charge points, most do use the same system. Again, taking time to double-check your charger type could help save you hassle down the road. It’s also worth downloading helpful apps such as zap map and Pod Point, as these will give you more information on the type of public chargers in your immediate area.


Where to charge an electric car?

Another important point to consider when working out how to charge an electric car is the location of the charger.

Electric car charging points can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Charging at home
  • Charging at your place of work
  • Public charging

Home chargers are the most convenient solution to charging your electric vehicle (EV), but they come with an installation fee, and certain requirements must be met to have one installed on your property (mainly having private parking). Perth City Electric can help determine whether you’re suitable for an EV home charger and handle the full installation if requested.

Charging at work is a great option, especially for long-distance commuters, but not every workplace has charging points installed.

Public charging is the costliest option when it comes to charging your electric vehicle. The cost of public charging can vary depending on the type of charger and network used. You can still find free public charging stations in certain commercial car parks, although these are becoming less frequent.

Read more about the different electric car charging points or find a detailed breakdown of how much does an electric car cost to charge.


Electric Car Charging | How To Charge An Electric Car


Electric cars: How long to charge

For some EV drivers, the most frustrating part of owning an EV is the charging time. If you’re considering buying an electric car and wondering how long does it take to charge an electric car, read on for further details.

There are a few factors that play a part in how long to charge an electric car for. These include:

  • The size of electric car battery
  • The charger’s power
  • The type of charger you use

The basic equation that can help you answer how long does it take to charge an electric car is:

Battery size (kWh) ÷ Charger power (kW) = Charging time (hours)

Let’s put this equation to the test for three common electric car battery sizes: 50kWh, 60kWh and 70kWh. Using a fast charger of 50KW, we would see the following results:

  • Battery size of 50kWh ÷ 50KW Charger = 1 hour charge time
  • Battery size of 60kWh ÷ 50KW Charger = 1 hour 20 charge time
  • Battery size of 70kWh ÷ 50KW Charger = 1 hour 40 charge time

Keep this helpful equation in mind so you can easily calculate your charge time at any type of charging station. You just need to remember your car battery size and find out the power of the charger you are using!


Electric Car Charging | How To Charge An Electric Car


Different types of charging stations

The different speeds and types of charging stations can be broken down into three main groups. Knowing the different groups is helpful when trying to work out how long does an electric car take to charge.

These groups are:

  • Non-Rapid – anything between 3KW - 50KW Chargers
  • Rapid Charging – 50KW – 100KW Chargers
  • Ultra-Rapid Charging - 100KW Chargers and upwards

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Non-Rapid Charging

Sometimes known as slow or fast charging, non-rapid charging is the most common type of charging for home EV chargers. Non-rapid charging times can range between 6-12 hours, depending on the power of the non-rapid charger you use.

Common charge powers for non-rapid chargers are:

  • 3kWh
  • 7kWh
  • 22kWh

As charge times can take up to 12 hours with 3kWh chargers, they are only suitable for home charging points.

Often you can find free “slow” 7kWh and 22kWh charging points at supermarket car parks. However, even these chargers can take around 6hours for full charge, meaning you’re unlikely to get a full charge if you opt to use one at a public charging point.

Think of those free public charging stations as convenient top-up points, rather than full-charge solutions.

Rapid Charging

Rapid chargers are most commonly found along motorways, providing a quick rapid charge for your EV if in need. A rapid charger between 40-60 KW will only take around 20-60 minutes to fully charge your EV.

Expect to pay a bit more for rapid EV chargers due to the high electric power usage. However, for a full charge, you will only be looking at around £7-15 at most. Not bad for a quick charge whilst on the go!

Ultra-rapid Charging

Ultra-rapid charging stations are being signposted as the future of EV chargers. Ultra-rapid chargers can fully charge an EV in just 20-30 minutes, providing the most convenient solution to electric charging yet.

Ultra-rapid chargers are only available for the newest models of EV, but expect more and more EVs to become compatible with the technology used in ultra-rapid chargers.


Electric Car Charging | How To Charge An Electric Car


How long do electric car batteries last?

Charges from electric car batteries tend to last less in terms of millage compared to a traditional full-tank of fuel. The standard range of current EV vehicles is between 100-300 miles with a full charge, but this will depend on the model of your EV and the size of your electric car battery.

Expect your battery to lose performance slightly over time, but in general, your EV’s battery will live up to the performance specified by your dealer and car handbook for many years.

To discover more about EV batteries and EV charging stations, contact Perth City Electric today.