Slow charging can be annoying for electric car owners.
It can slow your day down, alter existing plans, and add to your list of headaches.
So why does it happen? Read on to find out why your electric car can sometimes charge slowly.
What factors can affect EV recharge time?
There is a range of factors that can impact how long it takes your electric car to charge up. The most common of which include:
- Load sharing
- Outside temperatures
- Charging capability of the electric vehicle (EV) charge point, recharging cable, and the electric car battery
Knowing how and why your battery recharges under different conditions can ensure that you are always in control of the recharging speed- and can help your car to charge faster if you are pushed for time.
How load sharing impacts on charging speed
Load sharing refers to multiple sources using and sharing the same power supply, which applies to both domestic EV chargers and some public rapid chargers.
Public EV chargers
Some public rapid chargers, at 22kW per hour, can suffer from shared load if multiple cars are plugged into the same charger. While the charger has the capability to recharge both cars simultaneously, it can slow down the charge time for both.
An easy solution for this, if possible, is to move over to a charging station that recharges only one vehicle at a time, or choose a double charger that is currently free.
Home EV chargers
If recharging at home, you may be slowed down if your charger is sharing the load with the rest of your house.
Running lots of home appliances with high-energy-consuming alongside charging your EV can lead to delays. As such, you can try to avoid running the following appliances at the same time as your charger:
- Wet appliances including washing machines, dishwashers, and tumble driers
- Consumer electronics including laptops, TVs, games consoles etc
- Cooking appliances including the hob, oven, kettle, and microwave
- Unnecessary lighting
How the outside temperature affects charging speed
Most EV batteries have an ideal operating temperature, and though it can differ by model, it’s usually around 20-25°C.
If outdoor temperatures drop significantly below zero degrees, it will affect both charging speed and the driving range achieved per charge, because the electrochemical processes that ensure batteries refill slow down as the temperature drops.
To get around this in the short term, use the preheating mode on your EV before you set up the car for recharging. If you don’t have a preheating mode, try and go for a short drive and heat the cabin before you plug in to shorten recharge times.
Long term, consider parking in a garage. Not only will this shorten recharging times, but your insurance premiums might go down, too!
Can charging capability affect charging speeds?
Simply put, yes.
If your electric car has a charging capability of 7kW, the maximum power-rated charging cable and charging unit you need are 7kW.
This means that if you have an incorrect or incompatible charging station or cable, including those with a charging capability of 3kW, or even 10kW, then recharging can take longer than it needs to, or at least won’t be any faster.
EV charging capability
Each electric vehicle has a charging rate, given in kW.
This will be denoted in the vehicle handbook and should correspond with matching charging cables and charging units to help your electric car recharge as fast as possible.
Most manufacturers fit a 7kW charging capability system within their vehicles, with newer models pushing 10kW. The more power the car can accept, the faster it can charge.
As such, older EVs may not have the fastest charging capabilities, which will then increase charging time. The only way to get around this is to invest in a newer EV with higher charging capabilities.
EV charge point and charging cable capability
Likewise, the charging rate of your charge point and cable will affect the speed of recharging.
As a general rule of thumb, the lower the wattage, the slower the charger will be. This will then increase the number of hours a full charge will take.
EV chargers come in three varieties:
- Slow chargers commonly charge at 3kW per hour- Type 1
- Fast chargers at 7kW per hour- Type 1
- Rapid chargers run at 22kW per hour- Type 2
Type 1 chargers have a single-phase power supply and are most commonly found in domestic properties.
Type 1 charge points support three-phase power, can support charging of 22kW and beyond, and are found in public areas, such as motorway service stations.
Type 2 charge points will always charge your EV faster because they have a higher voltage. Some consumers connect their vehicles to these Type 2 chargers that are faster than their car is compatible with, in the hopes that it will charge their car faster.
However, as we know, the charging time is decided by the charging capabilities of the electric car itself, not the charging unit. If your car chargers at 7kW, connecting it up to a rapid charger that runs at 22kW will not help it charge faster, because the maximum the car can accept is 7kW.
It won’t damage the car, but it also won’t help to charge it any faster.
The same can also be said for the charging cable.
EV charging cables
When purchasing EV cables, you should also ensure that the power rating of the cable matches the power rating of your car. This keeps your car safe while charging and allows the car to charge as fast as it possibly can.
Some advice encourages EV owners to purchase 22kW compatible cables as it future-proofs you for future EV ownership that may come with a higher charging capability. This is an option you could consider, but there will be no benefits to charging speed and it won’t improve access to public chargers, because they are generally tethered.
The length of your charging cable is also important for charge speed.
As well as becoming a fire hazard, unnecessarily long cables will take longer to charge as they will have higher resistance to the flow of current.
As such, you should try to ensure your charging cable is as long as it needs to be to reach comfortably but not so long that it can cause hazards from being coiled during use and increase charging time.
Top tips for fast EV charging
In summary, to make sure your EV can charge at its full capacity, follow our top tips below!
- Limit electrical use at home during EV charging.
- Make sure your charge point corresponds to your car charging capacity and is not overloaded.
- Warm the car before you plug it in if it’s cold.
- Ensure your charging cable matches your EV charging capability and is not overly long.
Need a compatible EV charging cable?
Now you have made the swap to a lean, green machine, keeping it charged will be high on your priorities list.
Appropriate equipment is the easiest way to achieve this.
For all of your EV charging cable needs, contact us here at EV Cable Shop today. We have a wide range of cable sizes and types, perfect for electric cars of all makes and models.