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Charging your EV

With an EV, you can forget the green and black pumps at the traditional filling stations. The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car as we know it, is being phased out and every driver will need to get ready for the clean energy that is electric and the kilowatt hour (kWh)

So, what does this mean?

Your Electric Vehicle (EV) is powered by a rechargeable battery. This is a similar concept to how your mobile phone works. The battery will supply power for your car to function in all aspects, including to drive power to the wheels and to operate all your new cars tech (EVs are full of it), as well as all the usual driving and safety features.

To use the old phrase – fill your car up, you now need to charge it⚡️. The process, although daunting at first, is really pretty simple. Your new EV is supplied with a charging cable, you simply plug this into the charging point on your car, where you would have previously added fuel, and then plug the other end into a power source to add the charge. This can be done at home or away from the home, more information on that later.

Also, it is important to understand that there are many different charge point providers, and as was the case when the transition to EVs started, you had to be a member and use their payment method to use their charging network. This is now getting much more mainstream and simpler with many chargers accepting simple contactless payment for the energy you take. More information on this on our Mobile App.

It is important to understand how and when you need to charge your car to allow you to drive the car as required so that you are able to make the transition away from the dirty filling station. This is something Bounce can help you plan for.

So, what are the numbers…?

Instead of a 2.0 litre engine, a litre of fuel and mile per gallon, with your EV, you will get used to a different set of numbers and buzz words.

Kilowatt Hour (kWh) defines the size of the battery and its charge capacity. This can range from 30kWh to just over 100kWh, although these will likely increase over the coming years. The higher the number, the more power the battery can store and hence, the further it is able to travel on a full charge. It will also require more time to charge to capacity.

In the UK, the average EV will consume around 34 kWh to travel 100 miles. In this example a car with a 70kWh battery will have a range of around 200 miles.

OK, so what about the chargers – 7kw, 22kw or 50kw?

Kilowatt (kW) is the speed that a charger (and car) is able to pass electric to your car’s battery. The higher the number, the faster your car’s battery will charge. Speeds range from 3kW from a domestic three pin plug to rapid chargers delivering at speeds of up to 350kw. Speed can also be limited by the car’s ability to transfer the power, and some older EVs will not charge over 50kw. Most modern cars now are able to charge at Ultra-fast speeds.

As an example, you have a car with a battery capacity of 70kWH and you plan to charge at home at a speed of 22kw. 

Based on the average consumption of 34kWh per 100 miles, this car will have a range of around 206 miles.

Simply divide the car’s battery capacity by the speed of charge to calculate how long to obtain a full charge? 

70(kWh)/22(kw) = 3.2 hours to fully charge and give you 206 miles of range.

Or, if you charged en route at a rapid charger, say 100kw, then the charge time would be 42 minutes, 70/100 = 0.7 hrs. = 42 minutes, assuming you have no range left whatsoever.

*Even the biggest capacity battery of 108kWh could fully charge in as little as 20 minutes with the fastest ultra-rapid chargers, enough for almost 400 miles.

*Based on the average consumption of 34kWh per 100 miles

Where to charge?

This can be broken down into four options.

Charge at home 

Charging your car at home is the most common option and can be done using a three-pin plug charger, although a slow rate of charge at just 3kw, or by having a wall box charger installed, dedicated to charging your EV at faster speeds of up to 22kw. This is limited due to the power supply to domestic properties. This can often be the cheapest option to keep charged.

Workplace charging 

In some cases, you may also have an option to charge your car at work, with more businesses preparing for the future with EVs, we can see charging points appearing in most business car parks. There are many types of charge points available that can offer anywhere from 7kw (fast) to 50kw rapid charging, allowing your EV battery to charge in a shorter time. More on that later too.

Destination charging

Destination charging refers to charging away from your home at places that you may travel to, for example, shopping centres, supermarkets, leisure facilities and tourist attractions. These chargers will typically be fast or even rapid chargers with speeds of 7kw-50kw.

EV Charging stations

As more is invested in our infrastructure, we will see more dedicated facilities just for EVs. There are examples of these already open in the UK in addition to the banks of chargers we now see at the traditional filling station reserved for EV parking and charging. Because these locations are usually en route and replace you filling the tank of your ICE car, chargers here tend to be rapid or even ultra-rapid to enable you to add charge very quickly to minimise your stop. With speeds of up to 350kW at these facilities it’s possible to add 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes, just enough time for a comfort break and to grab some snacks for the next leg of your journey.

The charging infrastructure is improving every day with charge points being added by the thousands every month. The easiest way to find all the charging options in your location, on your planned route, or at your destination, is to use the network function in your Bounc-e EV Mobile App.

Cost of charging your EV?

As with traditional fuel, the cost constantly fluctuates.

The cost varies greatly between providers, location and speed of charge.

With the recent spike in energy costs across the board, home charging remains the lowest rate, around 34p/kWh on average, although this does depend on your supplier and if they have a smart EV tariff available, where rates can be reduced for charging at certain times of the day.

Let’s use the average for our workings.

Charging the same 70kWh EV, would cost £23.80 on the standard tariff. Giving you a range of circa 206 miles, this works out at around 12p per mile. Compare that to an ICE car, even at 40 mpg, works out to 20p per mile of Diesel.

OK, so let’s charge on the move…

Now again, this varies greatly, with some charging points available free of charge, yes, free electricity. But let’s look at a rapid charging point and take an average figure of 50p/kWh, this works through to 17p per mile.

**All figures used are based on fluctuating prices and are approximate, correct in March 2023.

Charging Infrastructure

As set out in this guide, charging your EV has many options for consideration. Given that the most popular, easiest and cheapest way to charge is at home or the office, if possible, there are considerations that must also be taken into account as while these chargers are more convenient, they often take longer to Charge due to the available infrastructure. Charging speed isn’t only reliant on the charging station, it also depends on the electric capacity of the infrastructure it’s attached to, as well as the cars ability to transfer the power.

As an example, most private EV charging stations can deliver from 11 to 22 kW (assuming the presence of a main fuse with a rating of 3 x 32A, or amps, for the latter). That said, it is still very common to see 1.7kW / 1 x 8A and 3.7kW / 1x 16A chargers installed.

It’s important to note that the electrical supply will always be measured in amps (amperage) and not in voltage. The higher the amps, the more electrical load a building can handle.

Charging speeds are essentially grouped in to four categories:

  • Slow charging (AC, 3-7 kW)
  • Medium charging (AC, 11-22 kW)
  • Fast/Rapid charging (AC, 43 kW and CCS, 50 kW)
  • Ultra Fast/Rapid charging (CCS, >100 kW)

What’s more, many residential buildings currently have main fuses smaller than 32A, so it’s essential to keep this in mind when estimating at-home charging speeds and charging times. 

At Bounc-e, we will ensure that your potential install is fully surveyed to ensure that you are clear on the correct option of wall box charger and expected service level.

What about AC v DC? 

Most privately installed EV charging points will use AC chargers (AC stands for ‘Alternative Current’). When you use an AC charger to charge your EV, the EV itself does the job of converting the power to DC to charge its battery, contributing to the slower charging speeds, but also why it tends to be more economical and cheaper.

All EVs have an on board charger that converts AC to DC as it passes to the car’s battery for storage. This built-in charger can also be a factor in the charging speed you are able to achieve, however, all modern EVs can cope with the strongest AC current flows. 

AC Chargers key facts

  • AC charging is often a slower charging method compared to DC.
  • AC chargers are ideal for charging a vehicle overnight due to the speed and efficiency that the charge is delivered.
  • AC chargers are much smaller than DC charging stations, which makes them suitable for office, or home use.
  • AC chargers are more affordable than DC chargers.

So what about DC chargers?

DC EV charging (which stands for ‘Direct Current’) does not need your EV to convert the current, as with AC. Due to that stage being taken out of the charging process, the DC current can be transmitted to the car’s battery at much faster speeds.

DC charging is much faster, delivering the charge to your battery at the fastest speeds, adding 100 miles plus in just a few minutes. The offset of this outstanding performance is that DC chargers require more space and are more expensive than AC chargers which subsequently is passed on in the cost of using them to charge your EV.

DC Chargers Key Facts

  • Ideal for adding charge quickly to your EV when on the move.
  • DC chargers are costly to install and relatively bulky, so they’re most often seen in mall parking lots, residential apartment complexes, offices, and other commercial areas.
  • There are three types of DC chargers that we see around our network.
    • the CCS connector (Type 1 & 2) 
    • the CHAdeMo connector 
    • and the Tesla Supercharger connector.
  • Larger equipment, more space for installation and the cost of the chargers, means more expensive charging.

Charging an electric car battery

Obviously, once your car’s battery is out of energy, it needs to be recharged.

Many EV manufacturers often quote the time it takes to achieve an 80% charge, not 100%. The main reason for this is that the last 20% takes longer to charge relative to the first 80%. However, if you want to look after your EV’s battery, you can extend its life by not charging it fully. The recommendation is to keep the battery charged between 20 and 80%

Batteries operate optimally at between 20-25°C. If the outside temperature gets too cold or too hot, the EV’s battery management system (BMS) will reduce the power input to protect the battery. This reduction means that the car talks longer to charge and given that in the cooler months, you could use more of the car’s features, e.g. lights, wipers etc, that also uses the battery power so can have a slight impact on the range. A recent study tested the impact of driving cars in the cold British winter and found that some batteries lost as much as 30% of their range, although the average was much less, it is still something that needs to be considered. 

Electric car battery life

As EVs are still a relatively new concept, it’s difficult to be sure how long a battery will last. There are many factors to consider that could have an impact on a battery’s life, but early evidence suggests that the eight-year battery warranties issued by manufacturers are about right.

After eight years, the batteries will still work, but they’ll find it more difficult to hold a full charge. The good news is that there’s going to be a healthy market for second-use batteries.