Electric Vehicle Charging Explained – What are the Different Types and Equipment for Charging an EV?
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, however, understanding the different charging methods can be a challenge. This blog aims to explain the basics of charging an electric vehicle, the types of chargers available, and the advantages and disadvantages of charging at home versus public charging stations.
Charging Options –
There are two main decisions when it comes to charging an electric vehicle: where we choose to charge and how quickly we choose to charge. Different charging speeds are available depending on the specific EV you possess, the battery size, and the type of charging station being used.
At Home Charging
Charging an EV at home is the most popular option, with 80% of all EV charging taking place at home. There are two types of home charging available: Trickle Charge and AC Household Charge.
Trickle Charge uses a conventional three-prong outlet and is the slowest way to charge an EV at home. It can provide a range of 13 to 16 kilometres per hour of charging, with a full charge taking around 14 hours.
AC Household Charge is the most popular and suggested method of home charging. It offers charging through a 230V outlet, allowing charging up to four times quicker than Trickle Charge, depending on the charger and a specific model’s acceptance rate. A 40-kWh battery automobile can be fully charged in around 6 hours.
Public charging stations are an alternative to charging at home. These stations, which are becoming increasingly accessible, allow recharge the battery while the EV is on the move if one needs to travel farther. Two types of public chargers are available – AC Quick Chargers and DC Fast Chargers.
AC Quick Chargers provide charging power of at least 50kW at a voltage of 450V and a current of up to 125A. They can charge in around 40 minutes, going from 20 to 80% of its initial charge.
DC Fast Chargers are currently the fastest method for charging an electric car. They deliver charging power of at least 50kW at a voltage of 450V and a current of up to 125A, charging in around 40 minutes.
EV Charging and On-Board Charger
While using AC charging, the EV internally converts the electrical power to DC. Every EV has an internal charger that can change the current before delivering it to the battery.
Today, the majority of EVs come with an On-Board Charger (OBC) that transforms the AC input from the utility to DC and charges the battery. An onboard charger’s primary function is to control the energy transfer from the grid to the battery.
Wireless EV Charging Technology
The wireless charging methods are still in progress and are not widely used, additional research is being carried out. The Wireless Charge system’s core is based on a charging plate inserted into an AC power box that charges the vehicle using electromagnetic radiation. Despite having capacities of up to 11 kW, the current is known to stay at lower levels and not pose a hazard.
The most often used AC sockets are Type 1 and Type 2 connections, primarily for AC Household Charging. For DC Fast Chargers, the most popular connections are CHAdeMO and SAE Combo (sometimes called Type 2 CCS, which stands for “Combined Charging System”).
EV Charging Equipment
Electric vehicles require an efficient charging system to keep them running. Currently, there are three versions of EV chargers: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3, also known as Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC).
Level 1 Chargers Level 1 chargers are the simplest and most affordable form of EV charging. This charge level involves connecting the EV into a regular 120V AC outlet using a special electrical cord with the proper connectors on either end. The battery is then charged using the EV’s built-in battery charger.
This form of charging is typically constrained by the amount of power that the outlet can provide, typically 12-16A or less (1.44-1.92kW). Based on an EV with a 3 MPkWh rating, this means that each hour of charging will add up to 5.8 miles. A 10-hour overnight charge would only increase the battery’s range by 58 miles.
Level 2 Chargers Level 2 chargers are widely accessible and affordable. With Level 2 chargers, an EV may be connected to a 240V outlet, such as one used for an electric range or dryer. Currently, level 2 chargers are only accessible up to about 20kW, so using our example, an hour of charging at 20kW would add 60 miles. In the 7kW to 10kW range, there are many of Level 2 chargers, sufficient to overnight recharge the majority of EVs.
A Level 2 10kW charger, accounting for system losses, could recharge a long-range vehicle or delivery van with a battery capacity of 100kWh in little more than 10 hours. There are permanent Level 2 chargers with a higher capacity, although portable chargers with a smaller capacity are also available. However, locating a 240V outlet might be harder than doing so for a Level 1 120V outlet.
Level 3 Chargers Level 3, or DCFC, chargers bypass the onboard battery charger, the DCFC in DCFC converts AC power to DC and sends the DC power straight to the EV battery. This enables direct EV battery charging from the DCFC. The rating of the DCFC equipment and the quantity of power provided by the utility or other major power sources determine how much DCFC can produce.
A battery charging system with a substantially bigger capacity is possible at this charging level. Due to its high cost and requirement for 480V electrical supply, DCFC chargers are often only used in fleet operations or commercial fast charging stations.
One EV with a 100kWh battery can be fully charged in roughly an hour using a 100kW DCFC. A 3MPkWh EV would acquire 300 miles for every hour of charging at his rate. Chargers for DCFC batteries must have 480V three-phase electricity and are substantially more costly than chargers for Level 1 or 2. This mostly restricts them to installations at commercial EV chargers.
Additional Speed Restrictions
The acceptance rate, which determines how much power an EV battery can absorb during a charge, has a maximum limit. This restricts how quickly the EV battery may be charged by the DCFC. For instance, if a 100kW DCFC is connected to an EV with a 50kW acceptance rate, the EV will only charge at 50kW.
Infrastructure Purchase and Installation Fees Infrastructure acquisition is necessary to increase the amount of accessible public and private charging equipment. Fees for infrastructure operation and upkeep also need to be taken into account.
Electric vehicles represent the future of the automobile industry, offering cutting-edge technology and more cost-effective options across the board. As EV usage rates increase it’s important to understand how to power an EV. Having access to a recharge station is necessary, just like it is for an automobile that runs on gasoline.
Not to mention, with the advent of newer technologies, maintaining and charging Electric Vehicles have become easier and more convenient. It is just about time, that we slowly glide into an era of EV fast, reliable and hassle-free charging!