Charging EVs

Outlined here are some of the charger types available. It is important to note that it is the vehicle and not the charge point that determines charging time.

This section is intended to be used as a beginner’s guide to charging EVs and PHEVs. Outlined here are some of the charger types available along with some jargon-busting. The Go Ultra Low website also has a wealth of information on the subject.

For local authorities, the key message here is that networks need to be reliable and accessible. LA-owned chargepoints need to be regularly maintained and any privately owned and operated ones should be monitored as much as possible to ensure they are working and available for use.

CHARGEPOINT TYPES

To learn more about different types of power and connectors visit the Energy Saving Trust chargepoint guide for businesses.

Wall Mounted Chargepoint

Jaguar I-PACE 400PS Electric HSE

Generally home chargers are used in workplace locations, and usually between 3kW and 7kW which equates to around 15-30 miles of charge per hour. Home chargers can be tethered (i.e. cable attached to the unit), although if you change your vehicle in the future you may need to replace the chargepoint if the connector on the vehicle is different.

Floor Mounted (‘Post’) Chargepoint

Nissan LEAF e+ charging

Can be 3kW, 7kW and increasingly 22kW, the latter charging at up to 80 miles of charge per hour for those vehicles that can accept that much power. These can be located on private property, for example at workplaces, or on public land for example at shopping centres or council car parks. Most will require either an app, smart card or RFID tag to access them.

Rapid Chargepoint

 

Audi e-tron 55 quattro

Generally found at motorway service areas, but increasingly being installed at urban rapid charging hubs and some supermarkets. 50kW offers 70-80 miles of charge in 30 minutes. Rapid chargers offering between 120kW and 350kW of power are being developed and installed, but currently very few vehicles can charge at these rates. All rapid chargepoints are tethered so have the cables connected to the chargepoint. The driver just needs to pick the correct cable, and follow the instructions on the unit to start a charge.

The Back-Up Charger: A 3 Pin Plug

This method is suited to ‘emergency’ or short-term charging. In order to charge an EV using this method the charging cable will be required to deliver close to the maximum amount of KWh a 3-pin plug can handle for anything up to 11 hours for a full charge, so there is a risk that with excessive use they can melt and potentially cause a fire hazard. A 3-pin plug will give between 8-10 miles of charge per hour plugged in.

Key Point: There are a number of charging options. For those without access to off-street parking then public and workplace charging will be vital. More information about chargepoint infrastructure is available here

 

USEFUL INFORMATION/JARGON BUSTING

  • Kilowatt (kW) – A unit of electric power that is equal to 1000 watts. Chargepoints are generally rated by power; the lower the rating the slower the charge. In your comms activities, note that the ‘k’ is lowercase and the ‘W’ in uppercase. It is also important to note that it is the vehicle and not the chargepoint that determines charging time.

 

  • Home, Workplace and Destination Charging Trends – At present, the majority of EVs are charged at home and owned by people with off-street parking. As EV take-up expands it is likely that more charging activity will be at destination charging, for example at a place of work, especially for users where they cannot charge at home (e.g. no off-street parking). There is currently grant funding available, and more information can be seen below.

 

  • Smart Charging – Charging data shows that there are significant peaks of demand for charging at the end of the working day, and with increased uptake this may cause electricity networks to reach or exceed capacity. As the take-up of EVs increases there will be a need to ensure that we do not put excessive pressure on the network and smart changing is one solution. Smart-enabled chargepoints are able to ensure that EV charging activity takes place at times of low demand (e.g. overnight) and help to ensure the stability of power networks.

 

  • Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) – This technology goes one step further and enables the bi-directional charging and discharging of electricity from EV batteries. This means that EVs can be used as ‘portable batteries’, providing energy storage facilities to help balance the grid during peaks in energy demand. For example, excess capacity from a stationary vehicle parked overnight could ‘sell’ energy back into the grid during the evening peak, and then ‘buy’ electricity back from the grid in the off-peak hours early in the morning when demand is low. This is likely to be well-suited to pool car fleets which are often unused at times of peak demand in the evenings but V2G is also viable for home charging solutions too.

 

  • Know Your Network – Currently, most public chargepoints are owned and operated by particular network providers and, at present, are generally not fully interoperable so you may need a smart card, RFID tag or app to access them. Different operators have different business models and some will require you to enter into a monthly agreement to obtain the best rates. Do your homework to understand which operator(s) run the network in your area. Zap-Map is a useful tool to help you identify your local network and plan for any longer journeys.

 

  • EV Anxieties – As well as range anxiety, there is also charging and experience anxiety. The former is covered in the FAQ section (link).
    • Charging anxiety is the concern over whether, on arriving at a public chargepoint, you will actually be able use the unit or if it is in use by another vehicle, or worse ‘ICE’d’ (blocked by a non-EV).
    • Experience anxiety is the concern over whether your charging requirements will be met on route. It differs from charging anxiety as this is more about whether the unit will be functioning when you arrive, whether or not you will be able to access the unit and whether your charging needs will be fully met.

 

Key Point: Charging is one of the major concerns and barriers to consumers and businesses, although it really doesn’t need to be. Make sure you fully understand the options out there, and try to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

 

GRANTS FOR EV CHARGING

OLEV home charge scheme

This grant offers 75% of the cost of installation of one home chargepoint per vehicle registered to an address. When purchasing a new EV, the dealership will usually help you arrange this and may have an agreement in place with a provider. The grant is available to anyone who has purchased a new or second hand EV since 1st October 2016. As of 1st July 2019, all chargepoints installed must be smart units. There are many different chargepoints on the market so you can find the one that suits your needs best. Full details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-grants-for-low-emission-vehicles#electric-vehicle-homecharge-scheme

OLEV workplace charge scheme

Offers 75% of cost (up to £500 per socket) for points at workplaces to enable employees to charge whilst at work. This can be used for all costs including groundworks, installation fees and the unit itself. There is no limit on the number of applications an organisation can make but the maximum number of sockets that can be installed is 20. Full details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-grants-for-low-emission-vehicles#workplace-charging-scheme

On-street residential charge point scheme

This grant supports the provision of EV chargepoints in residential areas with limited off-street parking provision in order to provide residents that cannot install their own chargepoint at home access to charging facilities near where they live. Local authorities must apply for the funding directly, and the fund is managed by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. The grant offers up to 75% of the capital costs of procuring and installing the chargepoint and dedicated parking bays, up to a maximum of £7,500 per chargepoint. There is no limit on the number of chargepoints that can be applied for. Full details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-grants-for-low-emission-vehicles#on-street-residential-chargepoint-scheme

 

Key Point: There are lots of grant schemes available to support charging of vehicles, and it is important that an authority can signpost businesses and potential owners to the various schemes that are out there.

 


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