Guide to electric vehicles charging

Questions & Answers

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

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

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

  • charging cable
  • charging point (private charging station)
  • card to activate charging (depending on whether the charging station has been purchased or leased).

No, there is no need to drain the battery completely and then charge it completely. Modern lithium batteries used in vehicles benefit most from short partial charging sessions.

Most electric cars let you carry out even short partial charges if the vehicle's battery is not completely drained. The charging time in these cases can even be very short.

You can monitor the charging status with the app of the operator you have chosen to charge with if the function is available.

Yes, some operators provide a booking service via app to ensure availability of the charging station upon a user's arrival. Or, just go to a charging station to check availability and charge your car. In many cases, stations can be used by more than one car at a time. 

Charging services on public land are offered by various operators (Mobility Service Providers). Each operator allows customers to view the charging infrastructure of their network on their website or on a dedicated app. It is usually possible to check the status of the columns, whether they are busy, booked, available or in maintenance. 

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

Typically, an average car with a 25-kWh battery takes:

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

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

  • the tracking of consumption and the cost of charges
  • the possibility to adjust the charging power used (e.g., by reducing power to ensure that other home appliances can be used at the same time)
  • the possibility to schedule charging remotely, based on the hourly cost of electricity or other needs, when the regulatory system allows
  • real-time information on charging status
  • the optimization of charging coordinated with the electricity generated by the user’s own photovoltaic plant at home. 

There is no need for a new meter when connecting to the home electrical system.

Where the power supply to the meter is limited (e.g. to 3 kW), smart charging stations can be used to regulate the current, or you can charge at night, when other energy-intensive devices are not normally running. If you have different needs, you will then have to request a power increase at the meter.

The cable supplied with your electric car will have a connector that allows connection to the inlet or car socket and a plug of a given type that allows the customer to plug into the socket of the charging station.

Cables with the following plugs are provided for AC charging to connect to the charger infrastructure sockets:

Mode 1 and Mode 2 – “Shuko” plug

Mode 3 - Type 2 and Type 3 plug

 

The cable with a type 2 plug, also called "Mennekes,” is now widely used in Europe, except in France. It charges cars in single-phase or three-phase alternating current up to 22kW at the charging infrastructure socket and up to 43kW via the connector on the cable connected attached to the charging infrastructure.

The so-called "Scame" type 3A plug and cable is now 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 United States and Japan, AC charging takes place via cables attached to the charging infrastructure. Therefore, the cable will have a connector that the customer will insert into the car's inlet. The connector is a type 1, the so-called "Yazaki," and charges the car in single-phase, alternating current at a maximum charging capacity of 7.4kW.

For direct current charging, the cables are attached to the charging infrastructure and their connectors are as follows:

Mode 4 - CHAdeMO connector

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

The cable with a CHAdeMO connector is the world's most common standard for fast DC charging and is used, for example, on Nissan, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, and Citroen vehicles. It currently charges on international fast charging infrastructure at a maximum power of 50kW, but it could 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 cable is mainly used by Japanese and US car manufacturers. The CCS COMBO 2 cable allows both fast DC charging and slow AC charging and is currently installed on international fast charging infrastructure in direct current at a maximum power of 50kW, but it could charge at even higher power levels. It charges in alternating current with the same power levels as previously described for the Type 2 standard. The car manufacturers choose the power limit to be applied.

Furthermore, there is an ad-hoc standard used only by Tesla with a single Type 2 connector both for alternate current charging and direct current charging. When used with direct current, it charges exclusively with Tesla Superchargers based on a proprietary protocol.

There are different types of cables for charging an electric vehicle. Every car model comes with a cable with a plug that connects to the charger socket and a connector that plugs into the car (socket or inlet). 

Here is an overview of international standards for the types of connection to the electric charging network.

Charging vehicles at home typically takes place in 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. Electric vehicles can be charged at public AC stations (in Italy according to Mode 2 and Mode 3) or at DC stations (Mode 4).

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

The electric car purchased or rent is always equipped with a charging cable. If the driver wants to buy another cable, compatible with other sockets, he can buy it online or from the dealership. Costs vary with power (between €200 and €1000).

Introduction to electric mobility

Read our introduction guide to electric mobility

Guide Electric Mobility

Guide to Electric Vehicles

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