Do you sometimes wonder why, after a long charge, your vehicle’s battery isn’t as full as you expected it to be?

For a lot of new electric vehicle owners finding clear guidance on how to approach public charging isn’t easy. You might pull up to a 22kW charger and connect your vehicle without realising that your specific vehicle may limit the maximum power which is received, and therefore be disappointed by the little charge you accumulated during your charging session. We’ve put together this article to help new EV drivers understand exactly what type of public charge points is compatible with their vehicles. We will address the difference between slow, fast and rapid charging; the importance of finding out about your vehicle's maximum power charge; and finally, how to calculate how long your vehicle is going to take to reach a full charge on different charging speeds.

Slow, Fast and Rapid Charging

There are three types of electric vehicle chargers: slow, fast and rapid.

Slow chargers deliver between 3kW to 6kW and are usually used for domestic charging, but there are a few EV models in circulation which allow for this type of charging. You would typically choose to charge at this speed overnight, as it will usually take over 6 hours for your vehicle to reach a full charge.

Fast chargers are usually 7kW or 22kW chargers. These are typically found on-street or in car parks and are particularly convenient for a top up charge while you go about your errands. Most vehicles will take around 4-6 hours to charge from 0% to 100% on a 7kW charger, and a couple hours on a 22kW charge point – as long as the vehicle does not limit the maximum power received to less than 22kW.

Rapid chargers are the fastest and most powerful charge points, which start from 50kW. If your vehicle is compatible with any of these chargers, you could generally reach a full charge in a relatively short time. Rapid chargers are an important part of the mix of charging points needed for a stress-free EV life, and are particularly convenient throughout longer journeys, when you might want to keep your breaks to a minimum.

While we haven't deployed rapid chargers yet, Source London offers both 7kW and 22kW chargers across London. Our typical customer will use our charge points for around 3 hours, or they might take advantage of our overnight cap (using our 7kW chargers from 8PM to 7AM for a fraction of the price).

However, a few of the EV drivers who use 22kW charge points aren’t always aware that their vehicles’ power capacity is lower than 22kW, or that they would be charging more efficiently on 7kW chargers instead. In the next paragraph, we’ve put together a few tips to understand what your vehicle’s charging compatibility is.

Your vehicle’s maximum charging rate - How to understand what charging speed is appropriate for your vehicle

To answer this question, the first thing you should find out is what your vehicle’s maximum charging rate is. One way to do this is to look for your vehicle and model on the UK EV Database. Once you’re on your vehicle’s specs page, scroll down to the ‘Battery and Charging’ table and look for the item called Charge Power. This number indicates your vehicle’s maximum charging rate . For example, a 36kWh battery Nissan LEAF has a charge power of 6.6kW. This means that if this vehicle is plugged into a charge point that delivers 22kW or more, they will not receive any more than 6.6kW. In this case, then, the user should use Source London charge points whose speed does not exceed 7kW.

Should you not be able to find your vehicle on the UK EV Database website, or if you want to double check the information you found online, you can always call your dealership and ask for clarifications.

How long will it take for my vehicle to reach a full charge?

If you are unsure about the different charging speeds and how the different charge point may affect your charging experience, here’s a short guide on how to understand how long your vehicle will take for each different charge point.

First, remember what your vehicle’s maximum charging rate is. Bear in mind that any charger faster than your vehicle’s maximum charging rate will not shorten your charging time. For example, if your vehicle has a maximum charging rate of 6.6kW and you plug into a 22kW charge point instead of a 7kW charger, you will still need the same amount of time to reach a full charge than if you plugged into a 7kW charger.

Once you have fully grasped what type of charge points your car is compatible with, find out what your vehicle’s battery capacity is. You can find that out on the UK EV Database as well.

For example, a Renault Zoe ZE50 R135 has a battery capacity (often called battery size) of 52kWh and a maximum charging rate of 22kW. To find out how long it would take for this vehicle to reach a full charge on a 7kW charger, divide its battery capacity by the charge point’s speed: 52/7 = 7.42 (it would therefore take approximately 7 hours and 25 minutes). This vehicle’s maximum charging rate allows for a higher speed charging session if plugged into a 22kW. Again, divide the battery capacity by the charge point speed (52/22), and you’ll find out that on a 22kW charger, it would only take approximately 2 hours and a half for this vehicle to reach a full charge.

By finding out your vehicle’s maximum charging rate and battery capacity, you will then be able to understand just how much you can expect out of your charging sessions, both in terms of electricity delivered and the time consumption.

In conclusion, we appreciate that navigating the world of EV charging can be challenging for a new EV driver. We strongly suggest that you look online or ask your dealership about your vehicle’s specific maximum charging rate and battery size, as this information will help you understand what charge points work best for you and when to best schedule your charging sessions.

We hope this article was helpful, and should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Happy charging!

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