Guide to electric vehicles charging

Guide to electric vehicles charging

Questions & Answers

To charge your car at public charging station, you need:

  • charging cable
  • charging point (public charging station)
  • payment device (the charge can be paid via card or app, depending of the service provider chosen)

 To charge your car at a home charging station, you need:

  • charging cable
  • charging point (private charging station)

card to activate the charge (depending on whether the charging station was purchased or rented).

No, there is no need to fully discharge the battery to then charge it completely. The modern lithium batteries used in the vehicles benefit mostly from small partial charging sessions.

Most electric cars allow you to perform short partial charges even if the vehicle’s battery is not fully empty. Charging times in these cases can be very short.

You can monitor the charging status through the app of the operator you chose to charge with, if that function is available.

Yes, some operators offer a booking service through the app to ensure the availability of the station when the user arrives. Or you can simply visit a charging station to check its availability and charge your car. In many cases the stations can be used by more than one car at a time. 

Public charging services are offered by several operators (mobility service providers). Each operator allows customers to visualise the charging infrastructure in its netwrok through its site or dedicated app. In general, it is possible to check the status of the charging columns, if they are busy, booked, available or out of service.

The charging time depends on the charging power (load in kW of the charging station), of the maximum power accepted by the vehicle’s charger, of the type of cable used and, of course, of the capacity of the on-board storage system and the current charge level.

Usually, a medium car with a 25 kWh battery takes:

  • 8 hours to charge at home (with an average power of 3 kW)
  • 2 hours to charge at faster charging stations (with power between 7.4 and 22 kW)
  • 30 minutes to charge at even faster charging stations (with power between 43 kW and 50 kW)

A dedicated charging station ensures maximum safety and offers additional functions to customers compared with a simple wall plug, such as:

  • consumption control and the charging costs
  • the possibility of adjusting the charging power used (for example, reducing the energy to allow other devices to be used at the same time)
  • the possibility of remotely programming the charge, based on the hourly cost of electricity or other needs, where the regulatory system allows
  • real-time information about the charging status
  • the optimisation of charges coordinated with the electricity generated by the user’s own photovoltaic plant at home. 

There is no need for a new meter to connect to the residential electrical system.

Where the meter’s power supply is limited (for example, at 3 kW), smart charging stations can be used to regulate the current, or you can charge at night, when other devices that consume a lot of energy are not normally operational. If you have different needs, you will have to request an increase of the load at the delivery point from your energy distributor.

The cable supplied with your car will have a connector that allows the connection with the entry plug at your residence.

When it comes to the connection to the entry points from the charger infrastructure, the cables are usually supplied with the following connectors and charging level in Alternating Current (AC):

Mode 1 (slow charge though common plug) - “Shuko” plug

Mode 2 (slow charge with some specific protections for EVs) - “Shuko” plug

Mode 3 (slow or fast charge using a specific socket for EVs) - Type 2  and Type 3 Plugs

The cable with a type 2 plug, also known as “Mennekes”, is now widely used in Europe for example, with the exception of France. It charges cars in single-phase or three-phase alternating current of up to 22 kW in the charging infrastructure socket and up to 43 kW through the connector in the cable connected to the charging infrastructure.

The so-called “Scame” type 3A plug and cable is used only for light vehicles, such as scooters and microcars, and can charge in single-phase at a maximum power of 3.7 kW.

In the US and Japan, AC charging happens through cables connected to the charging infrastructure. Thus, the cable will have a connector the customer will insert in the car’s port. The connector is type 1, the so-called “Yazaki”, and charges the car in single-phase alternating current at a maximum charging capacity of 7.4 kW.

To charge in direct current, the cables are connected to the charging infrastructure and its connectors are as follows:

Mode 4 - CHAdeMO connector

Mode 4 - CCS (Combined Charging System) COMBO1 and CCS connector COMBO2

The cable with CHAdeMO connector is the most common standard in the world for fast direct current charging and is used, for example, in Nissan, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Citroën vehicles. Currently you can charge in an international fast-charging infrastructure with a maximum power of 50 kW, but it is possible to charge at even higher power levels.

The CCS COMBO2 cable is used by some European car manufacturers such as BMW and Volkswagen, while the CCS COMBO1 is used mainly by Japanese and North American car manufacturers.  The CCS COMBO2 cable enables the fast direct current charging and slow alternating current charging and is currently installed in an international fast-charging direct current infrastructure with a maximum power of 50 kW, but it is possible to charge at even higher power levels. It is charged in alternating current with the same power levels described above for the type 2 standard. The car manufacturers choose the power limit to be applied.

In addition, there is an ad hoc standard used only by Tesla with a single Type 2 connector used for charging from alternating current and direct current charging. When used with direct current, it is charged exclusively with Tesla superchargers based on a proprietary protocol.

There are different kinds of cables to charge an electric vehicle. Each car model comes with a cable with a plug that connects to the charging socket and a connector that connects to the car (socket or port). 

An overview of the international standards for the connection types to the electric charging grid follows.

The charging of vehicles at home usually happens with alternating current “AC” in Mode 1, Mode 2 or Mode 3, subject to national regulatory restrictions. All cables supplied with the car can be used.

The first step is to check the compatibility of the car socket wit the charging station’s standard. When buying a car, each manufacturer supplies one or two cables, which can be used for corresponding sockets at charging stations.

The purchased or rented electric car will always be equipped with a charging cable. If the driver wants to buy another cable, compatible with other sockets, he or she can buy it online or at the dealership. The costs vary according to the power.

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