How do I recharge my electric car?
One of the most frequent questions about electric vehicles refers to recharging it: How do I recharge my vehicle? How long do I have to leave it charging? We will try to give you some guidelines that we hope will help to answer any questions you may have. Next, we will give you all the detailed information you need to know.
The recharging of electric vehicles depends essentially on the type of charging, the charging mode and the type of connector. These factors depend on the characteristics of your vehicle and the place where you recharge it.
One important issue to highlight is that, at present, not all electric vehicles have the same charging characteristics. It is important that you find out as much as possible at the dealership and ask about this before buying the vehicle.
Charging at home. At night.
Whenever possible, the most convenient and most common option is to recharge your vehicle at home (or, failing that, at work) if possible. The cheapest solution is to recharge the vehicle at night, at low-cost tariffs (at night it can be a third of the cost during the day). With current vehicle ranges, these can be charged to their maximum capacity without any problem in 8 hours, provided that you are using a specific recharging point for electric vehicles.
When the vehicle is charged at the dealership, it normally comes with a cable called the “emergency” cable that is compatible with a domestic socket (Schuko). Even so, this is discouraged, since it is probable that the socket in your home is not electrically configured for intensive use such as the charging of an electric vehicle and, additionally, charging it in a domestic socket instead of using a specific recharging point will always entail a longer recharging time. Therefore, it is advisable to use a specific recharging point, normally installed on a wall next to the parking space to ensure greater safety and effectiveness when recharging our vehicle.
We must also be familiar with our vehicle’s connector i.e. the connector located in the vehicle’s inlet where we connect one of the ends of the charging cable. There are two types: some vehicles come with a type of connector technically called SAE J1772 (type 1 connector) and others with a Mennekes connector (type 2 connector). It is important to be aware that not all vehicles have the same connector in the structure of the vehicle, mainly because if we are in the street at a recharging point including a cable that goes directly to the inlet of the vehicle, we must make sure that it is compatible. Physically it is simple, because physically a cable with a connector of one kind cannot be connected to a vehicle with a connector of another kind. Like all new products that evolve, in the future there will probably only be one type of connector (as in the case of USB), but until then we must bear this in mind when purchasing our vehicle.
In addition to this type of conventional recharging, where we said that with current batteries an electric vehicle is fully charged in between 6 and 8 hours, there are vehicles which also have other types of charging (semi-quick charging or quick charging) which allow the vehicle to be fully charged in 1 hour or 80% of the battery charged in 30 minutes. This quicker charging is only possible if, on the one hand, the vehicle has this functionality and, on the other, the appropriate recharging infrastructure is used. Below we explain this option in greater detail.
Charging in public thoroughfares.
Semi-quick charging and quick charging are found mainly in publicly accessible infrastructure (public thoroughfares, service stations, shopping centres, etc.). The first allows us to charge our vehicle in approximately 1 hour and the second allows us to charge the battery of the vehicle up to 80% in approximately 30 minutes (also depending on the vehicle) which, to date, is the most similar to refuelling at conventional petrol stations.
Some vehicles have quick charging as standard, others have it as an option and some do not provide it. It is important to consider whether or not the vehicle has this option before purchasing it; and if it does, its cost (some manufacturers include it as standard and others as an option with an extra cost), because for certain uses it may be necessary to use quicker charging and, if the vehicle does not include it, it cannot be incorporated subsequently.
The types of connectors that allow quick charging include the CCS Combo, the CHAdeMO connector and the Mennekes connector.
In order to be able to charge your vehicle at home, within the terms of the electricity contract for your house, you should consider the option of changing to a time restriction tariff, since this can imply considerable savings if you are going to charge your vehicle at night. Both vehicles and some recharging points can programme the charging and charge it during the cheapest hours, and the cable can be left connected to the vehicle, which will begin to charge at one o’clock in the morning, when electricity is cheaper (provided that you have a time restriction tariff).
In the case of quick charging, it is advisable to use this when the battery has as little charge as possible in order to achieve greater efficiency in the process. Even so, it is advisable not to use this type of charging as the regular and sole battery charging mode.
It is important not to forget to always carry in the boot the types of cable your vehicle can use in order to deal with any eventuality that may arise (emergency cable with a Schuko).
Before leaving the vehicle, provided that you have not programmed the charging for a later time, it is advisable to ensure that the recharging process has begun correctly by verifying this on the vehicle’s dashboard or, depending on the model, in the connector’s indications or in the vehicle’s illuminated signals.
At Endesa we always recommend installing a recharging point in your home instead of charging your vehicle directly from a domestic socket, for reasons of safety and convenience and to reduce charging time.