Everything you need to know about charging an electric car
Now Reading
Everything you need to know about charging an electric car

Everything you need to know about charging an electric car

If you’re new to EVs, here’s a charging primer to get you up to speed

Electric VEHICLE

Most electric vehicle (EV) owners talk about a moment of zen – a point, typically a few weeks after buying their car, at which all the anxiety about charging and range just disappears. They’ve figured out the new technology and realised it wasn’t so hard after all.

But for new owners, or the EV-curious, charging can be intimidating. How does it work? How long does it take? What is a kilowatt-hour, anyway? If you’re new to EVs, here’s a charging primer to get you up to speed.

Where can I charge an electric car?

There are three options: a private charger, a public fast-charging site or a slower public charging site. The first option is typically the best and cheapest and doesn’t involve waiting. Another smart strategy is to top up at a public station in a place where you would be spending some time anyway – say, the gym or the grocery store. These chargers typically add somewhere around 30 miles an hour. They’re also relatively cheap to build and thus are popping up all over the place, particularly in shopping centres and in office parks.

How do you charge an EV on a long trip?

You’ll probably want a so-called fast-charger to top up along the way. There are about 8,000 of these sites in the US, dotting service stations and rest stops along interstate highways and other major roadways. Once you punch in a destination, most EVs will now map the most efficient route, including stops for charging.

Those who prefer the do-it-yourself approach can build their own itinerary via an app like Plugshare, a platform in which drivers crowdsource information on charging locations, including feedback on each site’s speed and reliability.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Most of the time, somewhere around 15 minutes will be enough at a fast charger. The latest electric vehicles and charging infrastructure are built to get the job done quickly. When the machinery on both sides of the cord is fairly current, a quarter hour will add more than 160 kilometres of range for the vast majority of contemporary EVs, which is typically plenty unless you’re on a long road trip.

How much does it cost to charge an electric care?

In the wild, probably somewhere around $18. That’s for a 15-minute session with an average contemporary EV at a typical rate (35 cents per kWh). In truth, though, this is probably the most complex question in charging. Prices vary widely by state and by network, and pricing structures differ too, with some companies charging by kilowatt hour and others by time. To complicate matters further, rates can vary based on the time of day and there are memberships, which provide lower per-unit prices in exchange for a monthly or annual fee.

How much does it cost to charge an EV at home?

On average, about $50 a month. Though again, it varies widely based on where you live and how efficient your EV is at turning electrons into miles.

How accurate are EV range estimates?

Official EV range estimates reflect a mixed-route driving regimen as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency. Higher-speed cruising is only part of the equation; ditto stop-and-go traffic. Generally speaking, if you are going fast on an interstate, your observed range will be slightly lower than the estimate. In traffic or running errands around town, the opposite will be true – your battery will stretch farther than expected.

Keep in mind, your choices matter too. Cranking the AC, carrying heavy cargo and accelerating quickly, among other things, will hamstring distance.

Can you charge a Tesla at a non-Tesla station?

Yes. If you’ve got a Tesla, you can plug in at pretty much any public charging station, though you will need an adapter. Because of the sheer number of Teslas relative to other EVs, private, for-profit charging networks still desperately need your business.

What happens if EV runs out of battery?

When range is getting low, most contemporary EVs do the math and automatically navigate to a nearby charger. Many also activate some form of “limp-home” function, a setting that shuts down climate control and other non-essentials in order to squeeze a few more miles of distance. Even when the battery is all but dry, your car will drag itself along slowly – the accelerator pedal will feel mushy – to at least die in a safe place. At that point, there are emergency roadside charging services in some markets, but in many places, you’ll need a tow truck to move your bricked EV to a plug.

What’s the most efficient way to charge an EV?

If you want to prioritise battery life, charge mainly on slower networks, don’t fill up all the way and don’t drive until empty. Get a charger at home (or work), plug in at 20 per cent, top up to 80 per cent. Rinse. Repeat.

The government reckons most EV batteries will last between 12 and 15 years. And remember, the longer that you own your electric vehicle – and the further you drive – the more carbon it offsets. Get it up around 200,000 miles and it will start glowing green.

Read: Motor launches electric car-sharing platform in the UAE

Also read: UAE’s Al-Futtaim Group launches first Volvo electric car in the region

You might also like


Scroll To Top