Electric car charging time
A light indicating that the tank will be empty in a few kilometers is no problem for the driver of a diesel or gasoline car. Just drive to the next gas station and after a few minutes the journey can continue with a full tank. The situation is different when charging an e-car. The e-car charging time varies considerably from a few minutes to several hours. In the following, we present what drivers of electric cars must pay attention to when charging.
How long does it take to load?
Depending on the charging capacity, the e-car has to be charged at different times. And this is not possible within a few minutes as with refueling. The charging time varies from 30 minutes to 10 hours. It depends on the maximum charging power and the battery capacity of the vehicle. For orientation, the rule of thumb can be used: battery capacity divided by charging power gives the charging time in hours. But the ambient temperature and the battery's state of charge also play a role.
For private users or small fleets, the wallbox is the ideal solution. It is connected to the public power grid by an electrician. The battery is charged with up to 22 kW within a few hours. Public charging stations in parking lots or at gas stations also provide this charging power.
Fleet management must take into account the charging process, which lasts several hours. e-cars in the fleet are only worthwhile if they have regular breaks from driving in which the battery can be charged. Here, fleet management has to plan where a charging station is located and whether it is available. Therefore, each fleet should also have its own charging station in order to be independent. In the future, manufacturers plan to reduce the e-car charging time to 10 minutes (at 350 kW) with high power chargers. Therefore, e-cars are becoming more and more attractive as an alternative for the fleet.
The charging time also depends on the current used for charging.
The battery of the electric car is charged with direct current (DC). Alternating current (AC) comes from the public power grid. However, the chargers are able to convert the alternating current into direct current. The advantage of charging with alternating current is that you can fall back on a well-developed power grid and even charge your vehicle at the home socket. The disadvantage of this method is the long charging time.
Fast charging stations, on the other hand, charge the batteries with direct current, which significantly reduces the charging time. In 30 minutes, the battery is filled up to 80%. However, not every vehicle has the possibility to use these charging stations. Therefore, fleet managers should pay attention to whether the e-car has a fast charging module or if it can be retrofitted when buying a car.
What types of connectors are there?
There are different types of plugs that lead to different charging times. The standard is the Type 2 plug, which can be used to charge the battery with alternating current, so it is compatible with most public charging stations. For fast charging with direct current, the Combo plug is used.
A Combined Charging System (CCS) is suitable for both DC and AC charging. Tesla has developed the Supercharger, which allows the battery to be charged to 80% within 30 minutes. However, the Supercharger cannot be used for other types of vehicles.
For the domestic socket, the Schuko plug is used, which fits into any conventional household socket. It is important to always equip the cars in the fleet with the charging cable, because a charging cable is only available at fast charging stations.
In order to charge faster, charging columns should be chosen that are not connected to other e-cars. The power output would be divided between the cars at such a column and the charging time would be delayed. If the use of such a charging column is unavoidable, it helps to make sure that you share a charging column with an e-car that is already almost fully charged.
How to save the battery?
The way the battery is charged affects its lifespan. 80% of the battery's capacity can be charged relatively quickly. From then on, the voltage no longer increases and, at the same time, the current at which it is charged decreases. The battery should be charged slowly if possible. Low power conserves the battery. E-cars should therefore be charged at every opportunity. Since the batteries are lithium-ion, they have no memory effect and therefore do not lose capacity.
How far can electric vehicles go?
On the one hand, the driving style is decisive for the e-car range. On the other hand, the batteries are becoming more and more powerful and thus the e-car is not only something for short distances in city traffic. The newer models currently manage 500 km with one charging process. This range is thus suitable for a long distance without any problems. But cars with a shorter range can also be used for long distances. In general, a range of 300 km and 30 minutes charging time means that the vehicle is suitable for long distances.
The network of public charging stations is also growing steadily, so concerns about range are unfounded, and e-car drivers often even benefit from extra parking spaces.
E-cars are becoming more and more attractive for fleets. With all the advantages, the range of electric vehicles is still an important issue. There are now over 10,000 charging points in Germany for e-cars. The waiting time for charging can be bridged with a shopping trip or a stroll around town. The manufacturers are well aware that charging time is currently a problem, so they are constantly developing new solutions to reduce the e-car charging time to just a few minutes. This development shows that the e-car is only a matter of time in all fleets.