We live in a time where we need to be more energy and pollution conscious. One of the ways we may combat air pollution comes in the form of an electric vehicle (EV). However, one thing you may want to consider before purchasing your EV is how to charge an electric car.
With charging stations increasing in their availability, it has never been easier to charge your electric vehicle. The option to charge your car at home, or at work is now an achievable reality.
Before know how to charge an electric car, though, you need to know exactly what an electric car is.
What Is an Electric Car?
According to Electric Vehicle News, an electric car is a car which uses one or more electric motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses stored electric charge from a rechargeable battery to propel the car.
As an alternative to the traditional combustion engine, electric cars have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases.
An electric vehicle offers the ability to harness power from sustainable and renewable sources, such as wind, solar, and even tidal power.
Once the electric charge forms, the energy is transmitted to a battery within the vehicle via electrical cables. A simple socket provides a secure connection to your car, be it at home or the workplace.
What Is Top-up Charging?
We can think about our electric cars in the same way we think about our mobile phones. When we go to sleep at night, we usually plug in our phones to charge. It's no different for our electric cars. When we get home from work, we plug the car in to charge overnight.
Top up charging is the act of plugging in the car when we are on the go. I often plug my phone in at work to top up the charge, and it's no different for an electric car.
Most workplaces offer electric car charging points, as do many of the pit-stops we may find ourselves visiting during our journey.
Factors That Influence the Charging of Your Electric Car
The size of the battery will determine the amount of charge your electric car may hold. If you allow your battery to run down entirely, it will take longer to charge to full than if you top-up charge regularly.
The car will only charge as fast as the vehicle will allow. A 7kW rated vehicle will not charge faster if you plug it into a higher rated socket, such as a 22kW charger.
Also, the colder it is, the less efficient the charge and the less mileage is added to the range of the car when charging. It's worth considering a garage for your overnight charge if the temperature is an issue.
What Are the Different Types of Charging Points?
When we think about how to charge an electric car, it is vital to consider the category in which the charging station belongs.
Here are the basics:
There are three types of charging stations. Level one and level two are the most common types of charging points used mainly in our homes and public areas. However, level three charging points are sometimes known as DC Fast Chargers.
A level three charging station offers the fastest way to charge your car. Please note that not every electric car can charge at a level three station. Always consult your manufacturer's guide.
You must use level three chargers with caution when you think of how to charge an electric car. Because they output at far higher voltages, persistent use can damage your battery.
Type three charging stations remain unsuitable for home installation.
How to Find a Charging Point
A useful site to find suitable charging points is Plug In America, who can help you to locate charging points on your chosen route. Remember, top-up charging is a great way to keep your mileage capacity healthy, so this is an excellent resource for anyone who has an electric car.
You will find that there are likely many charging points available to you.
How to Charge an Electric Car
The Union of Concerned Scientists is an excellent resource for information regarding how to charge an electric car. However, the following information represents some basics for how to charge an electric vehicle.
How to charge an electric car at home
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You will need a dedicated charging port in which to plug in your car. Ask a qualified professional to fit the charging port near to the area where you park the car or in your garage.
A charging port is a compact, weatherproof electrical socket which connects to your car via charging cables. Like our mobile phones, you uncoil the cable and plug it into the port of your vehicle. Most charging ports use a standard EV plug to connect to the car.
Many public charging ports, including those we use at home, use either a 120-volt or a 240-volt circuit. As standard, most homes come equipped with 120-volt power points, but these take much longer to charge an electric car.
By investing in the installation of a 240-volt power outlet, your car will charge much faster.
Level one and level two chargers are the most common for home and public use. Public level two chargers have standard connection plugs that fit most models of electric cars.
How long will it take to charge at home?
How long an electric car takes to charge will depend on whether you have a level one or level two charger. It will also depend on how full your battery is before you plug it in.
For most of us, top-up charging throughout the day will keep our vehicles sufficiently charged.
A level one charger can give you enough energy to travel four to five miles with every hour of charging. However, a level two charger may provide 15 to 25 miles with an hours charge, as explained by The Union of Concerned Scientists.
How often should you charge your car at home?
Every time you arrive home, it pays to plug in your car, the same as we would for our mobile phones. Once the battery is full, the vehicle will stop charging and will be ready for a full day's work when you wake up.
How to charge an electric car at work
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You may wonder how to charge an electric car at work? Check with your employer before you invest in an electric vehicle to make sure that power points are available.
Plugging your vehicle in when using ports supplied at your workplace will enable your car to top-up.
How to charge an electric car in public
Many stations, cafes, and public rest areas have power points for you to conveniently top-up your car while you are traveling.
This useful YouTube video demonstrates how to charge an electric car in public and how to find suitable charging points:
Travel with a Green Peace of Mind
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular and sophisticated. On my street alone, two of my neighbors have electric vehicles with charging ports in their front gardens. Once we have taken care of the initial investment, how to charge an electric car becomes second nature.
Plus, it's good for the environment, so it's a win-win!
Why not tell us if you are thinking of buying an electric car? Perhaps you already have one, and you would like to share your experiences with us in the comments section below!