Electric vehicles are a pleasure to own and operate. Besides being less expensive to maintain, EV owners have several options to refuel their cars, some of which will make ICE car owners jealous.
In this article, we will dive into the charging options available to EV owners.
But before that, we will briefly look at how electric vehicles work.
How do electric vehicles work?
A car is electric if it derives part or all of the power for moving from a battery. When the power comes from only an embedded battery, the vehicle is called a battery-electric vehicle (BEV). An electric motor (or more) rotates the tires instead of an internal combustion engine.
Sometimes, a car has both an ICE and electric motors, meaning there is a battery and a fuel tank. This type of car is known as a hybrid.
To charge your electric car’s battery, you plug it into the grid, which supplies AC. There is an internal charger that converts the AC to DC before being stored in the battery. Some chargers can bypass the internal charger and supply DC directly to the battery.
Now that you know how electric vehicles work, we will consider how you can charge your EV.
How can I charge my electric car?
If you had been driving an internal combustion engine car, you are used to driving to a filling station and putting gas in the tank. However, with electric vehicles, you have several options.
Most electric vehicle owners charge at home. This is the most convenient way of charging for many reasons.
First, you can schedule the charging anytime as the charger is always available to you. This means you do not have to queue for a free charging point, and you can charge as much as you want. Some EV owners simply plug in any time they are at home. This is especially useful as you can wake up to a full battery if you plug in overnight.
By charging at home, you can reduce your fueling cost by targeting off-peak periods when electricity is cheaper, like the night or on the weekend. You could also install solar panels to produce your own electricity. Apart from being a more affordable source of electricity, solar power is cleaner, allowing you to reduce your carbon print further.
There are two modes or levels of home charging; Level 1 and Level 2. The former does not require extra hardware since you will be plugging into a standard home outlet with the EVSE supplied by your electric car maker. However, it is the slowest way to charge an electric vehicle, and it could take you days to reach 100 percent.
Level 2 chargers are faster but require a considerable investment apart from the cost of your EV. However, it is worth the extra expense because you will charge faster. Depending on the size of your battery, you can get a full battery in eight hours.
The other method of charging takes place in public.
There are two methods under public charging.
This happens when you are in a public place and plug in your car to charge while you engage in other activities. For example, if your attorney’s building offers destination charging, you can plug in and top up your battery while you obtain legal advice on the premises. Or you charge your battery while you do your grocery shopping at the supermarket.
Business owners offer destination charging to attract customers and retain their loyalty. This is why it is often free, although some may charge you enough to pay the electricity bill. You can use charging station finding apps to locate available chargers.
Destination chargers are usually Level 2 as they can add a considerable amount of charge in the space of a short time.
DC fast charging
This is the fastest way to charge your EV. DC fast chargers convert the AC coming from the grid into DC and bypass the internal charger in your car to store energy in your battery. You could get 80 percent battery in less than an hour.
DC chargers are usually offered by third-party companies that maintain a network. This is due to the high cost and power requirements of setting them up. Some charging networks require you to sign up and pay a monthly fee. Popular networks include EVgo, Electrify America, ChargePoint, etc. Tesla owners have exclusive use of its Superchargers globally, although the company has committed to opening up to other electric vehicles.
A word of caution about DC fast chargers: it is advisable to use them as sparingly as possible because they could make your battery degrade faster.
Electric cars give you more options to charge compared to ICE vehicles. You can charge at home or in public.
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