By RAM Tracking on 27 Mar 2024

EV Charging - A Guide

Whilst the government continues to drag its heels on developing the UK's infrastructure of electric vehicle charging, businesses, car manufacturers and even fossil fuel-providing fuel companies are making strides to make EVs a viable option for the future. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced for the first time that electric vehicle sales outstripped diesel pushing it into 2nd place behind petrol vehicles.

If you want more information on EV fleet cost management read our previous post.

Adding map points on our vehicle tracking software as to the best locations for charging is a really useful way to help your drivers if their batteries need a top-up.

We found this a really useful site for Charging Station locations.

When it comes to electric vehicle (EV) charging, there are several types of cables and charging speeds commonly used. The charging speed depends on factors such as the type of connector, the power rating of the charging station, and the capabilities of the vehicle's onboard charger. Here are the main types of cables and their associated charging speeds:

  1. AC Charging (Alternating Current):

    • Type 1 (J1772): This connector is commonly used in North America and Japan. It delivers power at a maximum rate of around 7.2 kW (single-phase).
    • Type 2 (Mennekes): This connector is popular in Europe, Australia, and other regions. It can provide power at various speeds, typically ranging from 3.7 kW to 22 kW (single-phase or three-phase).
  2. DC Charging (Direct Current):

    • CHAdeMO: Primarily used by Japanese automakers, this connector supports high-power charging. Depending on the version, it can provide power up to 100 kW or more.
    • CCS (Combined Charging System): This connector integrates AC and DC charging into one plug. It supports high-power DC charging and is commonly used in Europe and North America. It can provide power ranging from 50 kW to 350 kW or more, depending on the version.
    • Tesla Supercharger: Proprietary to Tesla vehicles, these connectors provide high-speed charging for Tesla cars. Superchargers can deliver power up to 250 kW or more.
  3. Tesla-specific Connectors:

    • Tesla Mobile Connector (UMC): This is a portable charging cable that comes with Tesla vehicles. It typically supports charging at up to 7.4 kW when connected to a standard household outlet (depending on the vehicle model).
    • Tesla Wall Connector: This is a home charging station designed by Tesla. It can deliver power ranging from 7.4 kW to 22 kW, depending on the model and the power supply available at the installation location.

The charging speed can vary significantly depending on the capabilities of the charging station and the vehicle's onboard charger. Newer EV models often support faster charging speeds, and high-power charging stations are becoming more widespread, allowing for quicker charging times. Additionally, advancements in technology continue to push the limits of charging speeds, with some stations now offering ultra-fast charging capabilities exceeding 350 kW.

EV Charging Equipment

The types of charging equipment commonly used for electric vehicles (EVs) vary in terms of their installation, features, and costs. Here's an overview of the main typeTs of charging equipment along with approximate costs based on current electricity prices in the UK:
  1. Business Charging Stations:

    • Basic Charger (3 kW): This is a simple charging unit that can be installed at home. It typically offers a charging power of around 3 kW, suitable for overnight charging. Costs for basic home chargers can range from £200 to £500, excluding installation.
    • Enhanced Charger (7 kW to 22 kW): These chargers offer faster charging speeds, ranging from 7 kW to 22 kW, depending on the model and installation configuration. Costs for enhanced home chargers typically start from around £400 to £1,000, excluding installation.
  2. Public Charging Stations:

    • Slow Chargers (3 kW): These chargers are commonly found in public locations such as car parks, shopping centers, and workplaces. They provide a charging power of around 3 kW and are suitable for longer-duration charging sessions. Costs for using slow chargers at public locations can vary but are often billed on a per-kWh basis, typically ranging from £0.10 to £0.30 per kWh.
    • Fast Chargers (7 kW to 22 kW): Fast chargers offer higher charging speeds compared to slow chargers, making them suitable for topping up during shorter stops. Costs for using fast chargers at public locations are usually billed on a per-kWh basis, similar to slow chargers, with prices ranging from £0.15 to £0.40 per kWh.
    • Rapid Chargers (50 kW to 350 kW): Rapid chargers provide significantly faster charging speeds, allowing EV drivers to quickly recharge their vehicles. Costs for using rapid chargers at public locations can vary but are typically priced higher per kWh compared to slow and fast chargers, with prices ranging from £0.20 to £0.60 per kWh.Charging Cable:

Charging cables and maintenance 

A portable charging cable (often referred to as a granny cable) is included with most EVs. It allows you to charge your vehicle from a standard household socket. Costs are typically included with the purchase of the EV, but aftermarket cables can range from £100 to £300.

Often overlooked, this piece of equipment is really important when it comes to optimal charging, if faulty, it can:

  • Reduce the speed of charge.
  • Waste energy through being inefficient.
  • Potentially cause harm as when faulty they overheat which can burn to the touch or shock.

As they say, a cool cable is a happy cable. It should really be part of your vehicle check.

  • Always check the cable has no visible damage like a crack, frayed end or exposed wiring.
  • Keep it in a dry place as moisture can cause corrosion.
  • Strong sunlight may weaken the cable's outer layer.
  • Periodically clean the contact areas with a non-conductive cleaner to avoid oxide build-up.

Even though there currently is no requirement for a PAT test on vehicle cables it should undergo an annual inspection to check for:

  • Insulation resistance
  • Contact resistance
  • Continuity tests.

By ensuring your equipment is in full working order you will minimise the energy lost and keep recharging at its lowest cost.

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