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Electric Vehicle Charging Explained

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Electric Vehicle Charging 

Transitioning to an electric vehicle can be daunting for some people, especially when it comes to charging the car.

With a conventional car most drivers will be familiar with terms such as “miles per gallon” or “price per litre”. Electric cars work in a similar way, but instead of referring to petrol, diesel and fuel economy, EV charging is determined by kilowatts (kW) and kilowatt hours (kWh).

In Layman’s Terms, kilowatts determine the speed in which the charge point can charge the car, whereas, kilowatt hours refer to the amount of electricity/kilowatts the vehicle’s battery can store.

You don’t need to have a degree in Physics to own an electric car but it’s important to understand how kilowatts and kilowatt hours can impact your charging experience, and fundamentally, how long it will take to charge your car.

To use an example, the fully-electric Vauxhall Corsa-e has a 50 kilowatt hour battery, think of this as the size of the car’s “fuel tank”. If the car is plugged in to a 50 kilowatt charge point, it would take the car one hour to charge from empty to full. In turn, if the same car is plugged in to a 7.2kW charge point, the battery is only able to accept 7.2 kilowatts per hour based on the maximum output of the charger. This would then take the Corsa-e 7 hours to charge from empty to full.

To make life easy for EV owners, the speed of EV charge points are typically determined by their location. For example, motorway service areas have chargers that operate at 50kW or higher. This is because they are designed to charge your car quickly, reduce dwell time and get you back on the road in the shortest time possible.

In turn, venues like hotels and golf clubs will have chargers with slower speeds, varying from 7kW to 22kW. This is because they are long dwell time locations so there’s no urgency to charge the car quickly, however, the charge points can provide a significant boost of range over several hours.