Here at EVision we know that all of the electric cars accompanying lingo can get quite confusing. So, let’s keep it simple. Charging electric cars is different from filling up a petrol/diesel vehicle with fuel. EV drivers can plug-in whenever they park and return to a vehicle with a fuller battery than when they left it.
Electric cars charge at 3 different rates depending on the charger type.
A type 1 charger is your granny charger. The reason being that it’s the slowest charging rate (sorry to all of the granny’s out there!). A granny cable provides power via a 3 pin wall socket similar to those that you plug your vacuum or TV into. This cable will charge EVs at around 10 amps. Which means that in 1 hour you will approximately have 9-10 miles of range added to the battery. A BMW i3 94Ah at home will recharge in 14-15 hours at 10 amps.
This is one of the most popular cable types. These fit into chargers at car parks and street chargers and charge at 16 amps on average. Type 2 charging cables give 18-20 miles of range to the battery in 1 hour. Alternatively a 32 amp type 2 charger can add around 30 miles to your battery per hour. This is also the same as 16/32 amps charge rate as a wall mounted home charge unit.
Annoyingly this is not called type 3, but are called Rapid chargers. These are typically found at service stations in the UK. They are capable of charging electric cars at around 110amps meaning that this charger type can completely charge your car (to 80%) in around 25 minutes.
AC and DC
AC stands for Alternating Current (a system invented by Nikola Tesla). AC is a much more stable type of current and is the standard type of charge connection that you will see at most charge points. DC stands for Direct Current and requires a much higher capacity electric network, which is why you will see fewer of them. The advantage of a DC charger is that it is capable of charging a battery much quicker than an AC charge. For example; a Type 1 (granny) charger will be an AC (alternating current) unit hence it charges slower than others.
Tethered or untethered?
To add even more to the mix, some charge points you come across will be tethered and some will be untethered. Basically, a tethered charge point is one where the cable is attached to the charge point already. All you need to do is plug the other end directly in to your EV. For reference all Tesla Superchargers are tethered connections. If you are at an untethered charging unit you will need to have a cable in your car to attach to the unit before charging.
EV charging networks
As the number of electric cars on our UK roads rapidly increases, the EV charging infrastructure becomes a more important travel consideration for drivers. Within the UK there are a number of public charging networks that offer UK-wide or National coverage. Some of the largest major charging networks include; Chargemaster, Polar, Ecotricity and Pod Point. As well as this the UK houses a vast number of Tesla Superchargers.
Tesla Superchargers deliver extremely rapid charging to Tesla electric cars. Supercharger sites in the UK have dual cable posts to allow for charging of both the Combined Charging System Combo 2 (CCS Combo 2) and DC Type 2 connectors.
Not so bad, right?
See, it’s not too bad afterall. We know it can be difficult to understand all of the electric cars different charging rates and cables but this guide should hopefully help you out.