range and charging

VIEW FUEL TYPE DECISION TOOL

Find out if an electric vehicle is suitable for you

SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE

Not all vehicle dealers are electric vehicle approved, therefore you should ensure you are within driving distance of a main dealer who is able to provide servicing and maintenance before you purchase an electric vehicle.

SEASONAL VARIATIONS

When considering the maximum range of pure electric vehicles, there will also be seasonal variations. For example, in the Winter you will typically use the heater, windscreen wipers and headlights more often, all of which draw electricity from the battery. This will further impact the daily range of your vehicle.

A typical pure electric vehicle will have a usable range of between 150 and 300 miles on a single charge. Once the battery is depleted, the vehicle will no longer run until sufficiently recharged. It is important to select vehicle with suitable range for your daily requirements, for very high mileage drivers a vehicle that has a high charging rate to allow high speed charging on public chargers can also be a strong benefit.

Key considerations are:
1.  the range of your specific vehicle
2.  the speed at which it charges on the public network
3.  your ability to charge the vehicle during the day for high mileage drivers

IMPORTANT never assume you will achieve the official range quoted by the vehicle manufacturer, as these are from the official test cycles which are laboratory based tests.  In certain conditions such as cold weather you may find you get less than the manufacturer quoted range, so if in doubt, contact the vehicle manufacturer or their dealers to obtain real world driving ranges under different conditions.

Charging

There are four main speeds at which you can charge an electric vehicle.

• Slow charging (3KW)
• Fast charging (7-22KW)
• Rapid charging (43-50KW)
• Ultra-rapid charging (150-350KW)

Slow charging is seldom used as can take 24 hours or more to charge a vehicle with a large battery (example charging with a 3 pin plug).  Fast charging (as can be done with a dedicated home charger) is typically an overnight charge and can take 4-8 hours to fully charge. Rapid charging which is only compatible with certain vehicles can give an 80% charge in just 30 minutes. Rapid charge points can be either AC or DC depending if they use an alternating current supply or a direct current supply. Ultra-rapid charging can be even quicker with some of the best systems providing 200 miles charge in less than 20 minutes.  The charging time for all methods will depend on your vehicle's battery size and on board charger, as well as the charge point being used. For example Tesla cars have larger batteries so it can take longer to charge, however their public charging network uses 120 - 250kW charges so are much faster charging.

POWER CONNECTORS

Although technically many electric vehicles can be plugged straight into the mains at home via a standard 3-pin socket, we recommend having a dedicated charge point installed. These will have the benefit of quicker, more efficient and convenient charging and are designed to deal with the high energy loads needed on a daily basis. For these reasons, having a dedicated home charging unit installed is strongly recommended.

The connector type will depend on:

• AC charging or DC charging
• Charging speed

CHARGING CABLES

A final consideration with charging is that different vehicle manufacturers provide different charging leads. For example some manufacturers provide leads with a 3-pin domestic plug to allow charging directly from the mains, which we would only recommend for occasional use. Others, may provide a Type 2, Mode 3 connector or other charging lead for use at dedicated charging points, or both types of lead.  It is important that you consider what charging leads you will require and check which come supplied with the vehicle as you may need to order additional leads.

When purchasing a charging cable, always consider:

a)    The charger outlet socket
b)    The vehicle inlet socket

Some charge points will come with a tethered cable already attached to it.