Before starting detailing the charging types for electric vehicles, we want to emphasize that in this article, except for the normal charging type, we will always talk about a recharge of the 80% of the battery. Up to this percentage the recharge is carried out at the maximum power, and the remaining 20% is normally recharged at a lower power, depending on the charger and the vehicle, in order to protect the battery.
So let's find out which charging types for electric cars are breaking into the market nowadays:
Normal or conventional charging
It’s the simplest option, but the slowest one at the same time. It consists of a 220 volts plug with single phase alternating current. This type of charging can be done either with a conventional or a specific plug:
- Charging point with a conventional plug
This type of charging point usually has a power of 2,4kW and 10 amps. To have them installed we need an approximate investment of about €350.
As for the charging time, every hour that the vehicle is plugged in is equivalent to 15km of autonomy. This means that to fully recharge the battery of a vehicle whose capacity is 40kWh, it should be plugged in for about 16 hours, which would be equivalent to have 260km of autonomy. It’s important to remember that a full recharge will rarely be carried out, since the average daily km of European vehicles is less than 60km, whose autonomy can be recovered in only 4 hours in a conventional plug.
Therefore, it’s perfect for single-family homes to charge the vehicle at night, when there is less electricity consumption.
And apart from discovering the different charging types for electric vehicles currently available on the market, we also recommend you to find out which connectors and plug types are most commonly used. Don't miss the following post!
- Specific charging point or wall box
In this case, the power it’s located between 3,3kW and 7,5kW (from 16 to 32 amps) and the required investment is about €1.000.
However, even if the investment is higher, to recharge the same amount of km it will take less time since, in this case, each hour of recharge is equivalent to 40km of autonomy. That is, to fully recharge the battery of a 40kWh vehicle, it will be necessary between 5h and 10h (depending on whether we are talking about 7.4kW of power or 3.7kW, respectively).
Therefore, this is an ideal charging point for multi-family or single-family homes and even for companies, where the electric vehicle charging speed coincides with a workday.
This type of charging uses a power between 7,5kW and 22kW, and allows charging the vehicle, supposing a 40kWh capacity, between 4 and 2 hours, respectively. It’s mainly associated to cover the charging stations in the tertiary sector (leisure centers, hospitals, shopping centers, etc.).
In this case, we can differentiate the semi-fast charging point depending on whether it is using alternating current or direct current.
- Semi-fast alternating current (AC) charging point
With a power between 7,5kW and 22kW, it needs an initial investment that can oscillate between €6.000 and €15.000. In this case, each charging hour is equivalent to an autonomy of between 40 and 120km (depending on whether you charge at 7.5kW or 22kW). It is an ideal installation for cities with less than 2,000 habitants, logistics and distribution companies, small and medium enterprises, parking areas, supermarkets, cinemas, shopping centers, etc.
- Semi-fast direct current (DC) charging point
This equipment has a power of 22kW and needs an initial investment that can oscillate between €15.000 and €20.000.
Each hour is equivalent to an autonomy of 120km. If we take into account a battery of 40kWh, in less than 2 hours we will have the 80% of our vehicle charged.
Therefore, it’s an ideal installation for cities with more than 10.000 habitants, for locations near interurban roads and medium-speed urban roads, logistics and distribution companies, parking areas, supermarkets, cinemas, shopping centers...
It allows charging the 80% of the battery in just 20 minutes. In this case, we can also differentiate the fast charging point depending on whether it’s AC or DC:
AC: it offers the charging to 43kW in three phase. If we have a 40kWh battery capacity, we will have the 80% charged in 45 minutes, which is equivalent to 213km.
DC: it offers the charging to 50kW. If we have a 40kWh battery capacity, we will have the 80% charged in 38 minutes, which is also equivalent to 213km.
Therefore, every twenty minutes of charging are equivalent to 120km of autonomy approximately, so this charging points are suitable for cities with more than 15,000 residents with an electric taxi service, logistics and distribution companies, medium and high speed interurban roads, dealers and service stations.
In summary, the most appropriate location for these types of points is on fast roads or near them, since the electric car charging speed corresponds to a rest stop; between 30 and 60 minutes.
The negative part is the economic cost of these points, since in order to have one of these points of rapid charging, is required an initial investment of € 50,000.
Starting from the same charging power, for example, 50kW, to recharge the 80% of the total capacity, it will take more or less time depending on the battery capacity of our vehicle.
If the battery capacity is 40kWh, we will recharge the 80% in 38 minutes. If the battery is 20kWh, we will recharge it in 19 minutes. But if, on the contrary, it’s 75kWh, we will recharge it in 1 hour and 20 minutes, since in this case the charging power is less than the battery capacity itself.
For this reason, super-fast and ultra-fast charging types have appeared on the market, in order to offer to the new generation of battery vehicles of more than 60kWh, charging times comparable to the refueling times of current combustion vehicles.
And if you are interested in calculating the total cost of the recharges, keep in mind that while at home the price per kWh can be between €0 and €0.15, in public chargers the price can exceed € 0.50 (although there are also free ones).
Through direct current or DC and powers between 100kW and 150kW, it allows charging the 80% of our vehicle in just 15 minutes, taking into account a 40kWh battery.
This is equivalent to have 200km of autonomy, but the trend is aimed to boost the next type of charging.
This type of points allows charging with powers between 175kW and 350kW in DC, according to the number of vehicles that are connected simultaneously at the same charging point.
Thanks to this power, we can recharge the 80% of our vehicle between 5 and 10 minutes, whether if we charge at 350kW or at 175kW, respectively. In both cases, we obtain an autonomy around 210km.
Therefore, these types of charging are the ones that most closely resemble the refueling times of combustion vehicles and, therefore, we can say that the trend is focused both on emphasizing the installation of this type of points and the manufacture of electric cars with capacities capable of supporting such recharges.
Which electric vehicles can support these powers?
The current problem is that the major part of the vehicles is not prepared for this type of charging, since their batteries are not able to withstand such powers.
At the moment, the only car brand that is compatible with this type of charging is Tesla, using the Supercharger V3, the most powerful version of its charging stations. It offers a power of 250kW for Model 3 and 200kW for Model S and Model X.
So, actually the first electric vehicle capable of fully utilizing the 350kW power will be Porsche Taycan, which will have an 800V battery and is scheduled to be launched by the end of 2019, so this charging points are suitable for cities with more than 15,000 residents with an electric taxi service, logistics and distribution companies, medium and high speed interurban roads, dealers and service stations.
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