What is EV charging and how does it work?

ev charger

What is EV charging?

Much like visiting the petrol station to refill your petrol or diesel vehicle, EV charging allows you to recharge the battery in your electric vehicle by plugging into a charger. Our charging solutions can assist you in charging your electric vehicle wherever you go, whether it's at home, at your workplace, or on the road. 

An EV charger draws an electrical current from the power grid and delivers the electricity to the vehicle’s battery, like any other appliance you charge by plugging into a wall socket. EV charging can occur at home, at public charge points, or at work, offering flexibility and convenience to EV owners. 

Basics of EV charging

How does EV charging work?

There are several types of EV charging, each with varying charging speeds. A popular method is to install a charge point at home, which uses an alternating current (AC) and has a maximum output of 7kW. The average charging time is around eight hours, and many users prefer to charge their electric vehicle(s) overnight to take advantage of off-peak energy tariffs for cheaper charging. Home EV chargers can also be connected to existing or new solar panels, offering you the chance to charge for free by utilising excess solar energy.  

AC chargers can go up to 22kW, and are suitable for both residential and workplace settings, offering faster charging speeds. Direct current (DC) chargers are larger and more powerful than AC chargers, with charging capabilities of up to 350kW. On average, DC chargers can charge an EV to 80% capacity in under an hour and are often found at motorway service stations, making them ideal for long journeys, as well as being handy for fleets and taxi companies who need a quick recharge.  

charging white car

Types of EV charging connector

It’s essential to know which chargers and connector types are compatible with your EV model as different vehicles require specific connectors in order to charge.

Type 1 connectors

Type 1 sockets are typically found in older EV models and support up to 7kW of AC charging.

Type 2 connectors

Type 2 sockets are found in most EV models and support up to 22kW of AC charging.

CHAdeMO connectors

CHAdeMO connectors are used for DC charging and are popular among older EV models such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Type 2 CCS connectors

CCS (Combined Charging System) is the most commonly used DC charging connection, containing a combined AC and DC port.

EV charging rates explained

When it comes to charging an electric vehicle, the most economical option is usually to charge at home, especially if you have an off-peak electricity tariff. On-road charging prices are generally higher. 

To calculate the cost of charging your EV, you should consider the cost in pence per kilowatt-hour (kWh), rather than pence per litre. A kWh is a standard unit of measurement of energy that your supplier uses to bill you.  

The cost of charging electric vehicles depends on several factors, including the vehicle’s battery capacity, charging speed, and the electricity tariff you use. To estimate the cost of charging at home, you can multiply the battery size of your EV by the electricity price per kWh from your supplier.

man on phone
EV charging process

Using an EV charger

Home EV chargers are very simple to use and often you just need to plug the connector into your vehicle to charge. You can monitor and control your charging through a smart EV charging app that’s linked to your hardware, such as the Radius Charge home app. From here, you can create charging schedules, start and stop charge sessions remotely and even view your energy usage.  

When using public or on-road charge points, users are required to verify either their identity or payment information before initiating a charge session. This is done through various methods, such as RFID (radio frequency identification) charge cards, smartphone apps, or contactless payment. Once authorised, the user plugs the charging connector into their vehicle, and the charger communicates with the vehicle to determine charging rate and battery status.

women charging

EV charging times 

Calculating EV charging speeds depends on several factors, including the onboard charger size, charging rate, state of charge, battery health, and even temperature. As a general rule, you can estimate the time it will take to charge your EV by dividing the battery size (kWh) by the charger power (kW). 

For example, charging a Tesla Model Y at home with a 7kW charger would take approximately 10.5 hours to charge fully, making overnight charging a convenient solution for a guaranteed full battery. If using a 22kW charger at work, the Tesla Model Y would take around 3.5 hours to charge. On the road, if using a 100kW charger at a motorway service station, the Tesla Model Y would take approximately 45 minutes to charge.  

It’s worth noting that your EV will not charge at the maximum rate for the entire charge session, particularly for DC chargers with a higher kilowattage. Charging starts relatively slowly before quickly increasing to 80%, and then reduces again as the battery approaches full charge. This maximises charging efficiency and helps preserve battery life.  

chargepoint at home

EV charging best practices

Electric vehicles rely on Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that deteriorate naturally over time, leading to reduced battery capacity and range. On average, EV batteries last upwards of 10 years and lose around 1-2% of their range each year. To prolong the life and efficiency of your EV battery, consider following these tips:

Drive at a steady speed to avoid sudden acceleration and braking, which consumes more energy and drains the battery faster.

Use your EV's eco-mode to conserve energy by limiting features that consume the most energy, such as air conditioning.

Charge up to 80% and avoid letting the battery level drop below 20% whenever possible. This can prevent premature battery degradation. However, it's okay to charge to 100% for long trips occasionally.

Avoid frequent rapid charging, which can lead to battery degradation and reduce your vehicle's overall range over time.

car charging

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