There are a number of different ways to charge your electric car’s battery pack. Being faced with normal and fast charging methods, and different connector types, can be a little daunting at first. But in fact it is much more straightforward than it first appears! In this short guide we’ll let you in on all the key information you need to know.
Essentially, it comes down to two main considerations: WHERE you decide to charge and HOW FAST you decide to charge. These are interconnected, and the charging speed will depend on which particular EV you own, its battery capacity and what sort of charging system you are using.
Another key thing to know from the outset: There are three categories or types of charging: Trickle Charge, AC Charge and DC Charge.
Terminology – Good to know!
There are several different terms used for charging stations but they all usually refer to the same thing: charging station, charging outlet, charging plug, charging port, charger, and EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment).
You have two options – charging your EV at home using your own domestic mains electricity supply, or making use of public charging stations. This will affect the types (and speeds) of charging available to you.
Around 80% of all EV charging is currently done at home. Usually overnight while owners sleep – waking to a fully charged battery the next morning that almost always provides more than enough EV range for most people’s daily travel needs.
There are TWO TYPES of home charging available: Using Trickle Charge with your household current or AC Household Charge with an installed wallbox. Here are the key differences:
AC HOUSEHOLD CHARGING WITH WALLBOX
Increasingly convenient thanks to the ever-growing network, these stations can often be located throughout urban centres in particular and allow you to top up your battery on the go if you need to travel longer distances.
Public charging offers AC Charging with a wallbox or – in the majority of cases – DC Fast Charging.
And both options are quicker than charging at home: AC Public Charging can be 3 to 10 times faster than AC Household Charging, depending on the charging station output and your EV’s capacity to handle AC Chargers. All DC Charging stations are considered fast, as the following figures show:
DC FAST CHARGERS
The national grid delivers AC (Alternating Current), but electric cars need DC (Direct Current) to charge their battery pack.
You might be asking yourself if you need an adapter for different charging methods and types. At the moment, there isn’t a universal connector for all EVs and all chargers. But the different connector types do correspond with the different levels of charging, making things easier for EV drivers.
Here’s an overview of the main connector types:
|Type 1||Type 2||CHAdeMo||Type 2 CCS|
|CHARGING TYPE||AC Charging||AC Charging||DC Fast Charging||DC Fast Charging|
|NO. OF PINS||5||7||4||9|
|CAPACITY||Up to 11 kW||Up to 43 kW||50 kW - 100 kW||Up to 170 kW|
|VOLTAGE||230 V||230 V / 400 V||500 V||450 V|
|CURRENT RATING||Up to 32 A||Up to 63 A||125 A||125 A|
|COMPATIBILITY WITH KIA EV'S||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
AC CHARGING CONNECTORS
Type 1 and Type 2 connectors are the most commonly used AC sockets – typically for AC Household Charging.
DC CHARGING CONNECTORS
For fast charging, the CHAdeMO and SAE Combo (also known as Type 2 CCS, which stands for “Combined Charging System”) are the most commonly used connectors. These two connectors are not interchangeable however (a CHAdeMO port cannot charge using an SAE Combo plug, and vice versa). So before driving to a charging station you’ll need to know if your car is compatible with the connectors available. Some may just have a CHAdeMO connector, some just an SAE Combo Type 2 CCS connector, and some both.