Cost has been a huge factor in helping drive the sales of the EV (electric vehicle) market.
Alongside the much more reasonably priced varieties of electric vehicles now available, running costs are also significantly cheaper when compared to fossil fuel-dependent alternatives – helping drivers save thousands of pounds each year.
While EV vehicles are more cost-friendly, one of the most common areas of concern is still charging issues. On average, an electric car can travel between 100-310 miles on a single charge, depending on the model. This means that for those with longer commutes or regular, extended travel, it is important to get a handle on charging issues, especially when away from your home electric car charging point.
The problem of electric cars not charging is one that many newcomers and seasoned EV owners encounter – and these failures can be particularly stressful when you are far from home.
But, before you panic and start calling for a tow to your dealership, you may want to check the following common problems that even the less than tech-savvy may find surprisingly simple to solve.
Failure to Properly Adjust the Charging Timer
Many electric cars and charging stations come with helpful apps that allow drivers to set their charging times for off-peak hours when tariffs are lower.
This cost-saving benefit is highly convenient, as it allows your car battery to automatically start charging and stop without you needing to manually undertake the task. You just plug it in when you arrive home and by morning you are sorted – as directed by the app, the charger automatically turns on at the set start time and switches off when fully charged or the end time is reached.
If you, however, make extensive use of your vehicle during the day, you may need to recharge again before you return home – outside of the pre-set off-peak hours you’ve set up on the app.
This is easily achieved by:
- Adjusting your preferred charging hours on your app – some apps have proven a bit tricky to adjust and may require you to log in via a laptop or desktop to effect changes.
- Setting the same time for the start and end time for charging – which allows for charging anytime the car is plugged in.
- Switching off the timer.
- Use the timer override button correctly – see below for more information.
It is important to note, however, that this may cost you more as you are charging during peak tariff hours and that any changes to your setting will need to be restored again for the next day.
Incorrect Use of Timer Override Button
Electric cars come with a Timer Override button on their dashboards – which allows drivers to recharge their car outside of their normal charging window without adjusting the timer.
As per most electric car manuals, you should have a 15-minute window in which to start charging your vehicle after you have come to a complete stop. If you do not plug in your vehicle for charging within this timeframe, your old settings will remain, preventing any charging outside the set times.
To override any pre-set changes on your electric vehicle, you can:
- Check for the timer override button – which has a clock face with a circle that ends with an electric plug at 9 o’clock or an off-label. More information can be found in your EV handbook if you are unsure.
- Try opening the charging door as well, depending on the model – doing both simultaneously should result in the charging indicator light coming on, thus allowing you to proceed.
Daisy Chaining Electric Car Charging Cables
Sometimes EV drivers imagine they have just enough juice in their electric car batteries to get them home, only to have their car die several feet further away from their charging station than their cable will reach. Other times, EV owners have to share electric car charging points and a single driveway, leaving one electric car poorly positioned with a cable that can’t reach.
Whatever the case, many then use an extension cable to reach the charging point, in a practice called daisy-chaining. This involves using household extension cables to lengthen 3-pin, or granny, charging cables to recharge their electric car.
Unfortunately, most extension cables are designed for lower-power domestic use and cannot support the higher current that EV cables are designed for – making it dangerous to plug in your EV charging cables this way as it can result in an electric fire or shock, especially when done outdoors.
Although connecting a Type 2 to 3-pin cable to a granny cable may seem safer, it may still prevent charging – because the female connector that sends data to the vehicle is recessed, ensuring no current flows even with a live connection.
To remove the need for daisy-chaining, you should:
- Carefully position your charging station during installation so it can easily reach any vehicle that needs it – while also allowing for a second electric car if this is an option in the future.
- Choose a Type 1 or 2 connector with adequate length to reach the charging point – you can easily buy safe and reliable EV cables that can be as long as 20 metres, ideal for this occasion.
Trying to Use the Wrong Connector
One of the key challenges for understanding safe and effective electric car charge is that there is no universal connector for all electric car models, there are varied electric car charging cables available, and for each type of charger, there are a set of specific connectors that can be used.
- Slow charging stations that rate somewhere between 3-6 kW, one can use a 3-pin 3 kW, Type 1 & 2 3-6 kW, or Commando 3-6 kW AC connectors.
- Rapid charging stations require the use of Type 2 42 kW AC, CHAdeMo 50 kW DC, CCS 50-350 Kw DC, or Tesla Type 2 120 kW DC connectors.
When installing your home electric car charging points, you’ll have taken this into account to ensure the charger, cables, and connectors are compatible.
However, when away from home and in need of a charge, you will need to be more careful, especially if you are driving an EV from the Asian market that uses Type 1 connectors – instead of the more common European Type 2 connectors.
To stop you from attempting to use the wrong type of charger or charging cables, you can:
- Check with your charging network provider’s website to confirm which locations will work with your connectors – a step that is vital if you are planning a long trip.
- Ensure you know what type of charging port your vehicle has – your electric car manual or dealership can help you if you aren’t sure.
Charging Station Malfunctions
If you find your electric car was plugged in for its usual charge but the battery remains low the next day, you could be experiencing a problem with your electric car charging point.
Your first step should be checking the charging timer because if you’ve plugged in your vehicle outside the set hours without altering it, your car will not be charged – most times the error will be human and can save embarrassing conversations with engineers.
If your car is still not charged and it was properly plugged in and programmed for the designated hours, there is likely to be a problem. To solve this, you can:
- Check your app – most can run remote diagnostics and indicate if there is a malfunction that requires repair. In this case, call your installer to help make repairs or replace essential charging fittings.
- If you are encountering a similar hardware problem with a public charging station, you can get in touch with the service provider – most will quickly dispatch a team to check on the station and fix the problem.
The Electric Car is Fully Charged
Just as with other electronics like smartphones, once the battery is fully charged, EV charging automatically stops. Many of the electric car charging apps are also advanced enough to detect this and automatically stop the recharging process.
If you try to charge an electric car when it is already at 80% or above, you may find that the battery simply won’t charge any further. This isn’t a fault and is considered a safety and battery-saving precaution that keeps your electric car battery in the best possible condition, sometimes called its State of Health (SoH).
When charging on commercial premises or service stations, you will likely be using an app. These apps allow drivers to check on the battery level and receive notifications when the car is fully charged – letting you check progress when out and about, to see if you really do need another charge.
Unless you regularly use electric car charging points attached to office buildings and public car parks, chances are, you will have to pay to charge an electric car.
Most payable service stations need you to download an app or make use of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card to access their services. Using these tools is usually paid for through access to a debit or credit card from which they will make their charges and are typically based on price per kW and a connection fee.
If using an RFID card or paying via a debit card for EV charging, you may need to pre-load cash to allow you access a fee-based charge point.
Common problems with these services include:
- Exhausting these funds may result in an inability to charge your vehicle at certain locations. To get around this, simply top up your app or RFID card and you should be free to charge your electric vehicle again.
- If you have a problem getting your RFID card or app to work, you can look for free EV charging points in locations, like supermarkets, or get in touch with the provider to switch to a valid credit card.
If you are still struggling to charge an electric car, the software used by charging stations and apps could be to blame.
Some apps can be problematic to use, especially when accessed via a smartphone. To get around this, many electric car owners find it easier to manipulate settings when they access the app or site via a laptop or desktop instead.
Online connectivity can also be spotty in some places, making it difficult to use electric vehicle charging apps in locations such as service station charging stations. If you are unable to find a good 4/5G network because of a lack of phone signal, consider using a 4/5G hotspot from a friend or family member if you aren’t travelling alone, or pull into the service themselves and connect to their free Wi-Fi – you could even grab a coffee and have a break while you are at it.
Contact EV Cable Shop for help with EV charging
Electric cars remain a mainstay and given their popularity, are unlikely to decrease in number over the coming years.
For this reason, it is essential that owners of electric vehicles increase their knowledge about EV charging and are able to troubleshoot common errors that can occur while recharging – both for home charging points and in public service stations.
The experts at EV Cable Shop are passionate about electric cars and electric vehicles and are on hand to answer any questions you may have, from electric car batteries to EV charging cables.