What are the different methods of charging an electric vehicle?

What does EV. stand for?

EV stands for electric vehicle. Electric vehicles are vehicles that are partially or fully powered by electricity. EVs are cheaper to run because they have fewer moving parts to maintain and are very environmentally friendly because they use only or no fossil fuels (gasoline or diesel).

The 3 types of EV charging

There are many different ways to charge an electric vehicle battery pack. Faced with normal charging methods, fast charging methods, and different connector types, it can be a little daunting at first. But the truth is, it’s a lot easier than you might think! In this short guide, we’ll walk you through all the key information you need to know.

Essentially, there are two main considerations: where to charge and how fast to charge. These two factors are interlinked, and the speed of charging depends on the EV you have, its battery capacity and the charging system you use.

Another key thing to know from the start: there are three categories or types of charging: trickle charging, AC charging and DC charging.

Trickle Charging
The slowest method of charging your electric vehicle at home, using a standard (three-prong) 220-volt plug. This method is recommended only in an emergency, but use caution and consult your electricity provider.
AC Charging
With a wall-mounted charging box installed, you can use AC home charging for 3-4 quick charges. AC public charging is also available.
DC Charging
The fastest way to charge an electric vehicle – at a public DC fast charging station with a power of 50 kW or more. With this method, you can charge your battery from 20% to 80% in about 40 minutes. There are also some ultra-fast charging stations that are more than 150 kW.

Home vs. public charging

Home charging

Around 80% of all EV charging is currently done at home. Usually overnight while owners sleep – waking to a fully charged battery the next morning that almost always provides more than enough EV range for most people’s daily travel needs.

There are TWO TYPES of home charging available: Using Trickle Charge with your household current or AC Household Charge with an installed wallbox. Here are the key differences:

  • TRICKLE CHARGE
    • Provides charging through a standard (three-prong) 220V plug that comes with your EV. The other end is simply plugged directly into your EV
    • Doesn’t require installation of additional charging equipment
    • Can deliver 13 to 16 km of range per hour of charging
    • Charging speed: approx. 65 km of range in 5 hours (overnight), or 200 km in 14 hours
    • Using Trickle Charge is only recommended in urgent cases when you have low battery charge and cannot drive to a public station or access an AC wallbox at home. This is because the use of household electricity may cause problems associated with electricity bills and electrical loads, so always use this charge solution with caution and discuss with your electricity provider before first use. Purchasing an ICCB (In Cable Control Box) cable when using Trickle Charge is recommended, for maximum reliability and peace of mind.
  • AC HOUSEHOLD CHARGING WITH WALLBOX
    • The most common and recommendable home charging option
    • Provides charging through a 230V outlet which allows charging 3 to 4 times faster than Trickle Charge – depending on the acceptance rate of your specific model and the charger
    • Especially useful if you have time to top up your electric vehicle overnight: it takes around 6 hours to fully charge a 40 kWh battery car
    • Requires the installation of a dedicated EV charging wallbox, which should be fitted by a trained electrician
    • Ideal if you have a garage or driveway in which it can be positioned
    • There may also be financial incentives in your local region or country to minimise purchase and installation costs

Public charging stations

Thanks to an expanding network, these charging stations are becoming more and more accessible, especially in urban centers, allowing you to charge your batteries whenever you need to if you have to travel long distances.

Public charging stations offer AC charging and wall-mounted charging boxes or, in most cases, DC fast charging.

Both are faster than charging at home: AC public charging can be 3 to 10 times faster than AC home charging, depending on the output of the charging station and the ability of the electric vehicle to handle the AC charger. As shown in the diagram below, all DC charging stations are considered fast charging stations:

DC Fast Chargers

The fastest way to charge an electric vehicle today
Deliver over 50kW of charging power at voltages above 450V and currents up to 125A
Capable of charging from 20% to 80% in approximately 40 minutes
Using Combo DC (CCS, Combined Charging System)
DC charging should be minimized to prolong the life of high voltage batteries

What’s the Difference Between AC and DC?

Electric vehicles can use two types of “fuel”. They are called alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). Power from the grid is always AC. However, batteries, like those in electric cars, can only store DC power. That’s why most electronic devices have converters built into their plugs. What you may not realize is that every time you charge a device like your smartphone, the plug is actually converting AC power to DC power.

AC Charging for Electric Cars

When it comes to electric cars, the converter is built right inside the car. It’s called an “on-board charger,” but it’s really just a converter. It converts AC power to DC power, which is then fed into the car’s battery. This is by far the most common method of charging electric cars, and most chargers use AC power.

DC Charging for Electric Vehicles

As we’ve already learned, power from the grid is always AC. The difference between AC charging and DC charging is where the AC power is converted, inside or outside the car. Unlike an AC charger, a DC charger has the converter inside the charger. This means that it can supply power directly to the car battery without the need for an on-board charger to convert it. The DC charger is bigger and faster and is an exciting breakthrough in electric vehicles.

Currently, most charging stations use AC charging. The typical charging rate is 22 kW, depending on your car and the power available in the charging infrastructure. This type of charging is ideal for charging at home or at work, where you need more time to fill up. On the other hand, DC charging is more commonly found near highways or at public charging stations where you don’t have much time to charge. However, DC charging is making its way into home charging, offering new possibilities for customers as it not only allows for fast charging, but also bi-directional charging. As a leader in the new energy industry with 20 years of experience, the, contact us for your home charging solution.

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