Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are growing in popularity more than ever before. However, being a nascent technology, people do not have much clarity about the various kinds of charging stations at their disposal. In this article, we’ll briefly introduce you to electric car charging stations in the most easy-to-understand language.
What is an Electric Car Charging Station?
There is no proper or official definition for the term. In practice, any combination of two or greater individual charging points is referred to as a charging station. These stations are not full forecourt experiences yet. Often, they would constitute a small section of your standard petrol station. Besides, there are streets that offer individual charging points.
Currently (as of March 2019), there are less than a thousand public charging stations in Australia. To be precise, there are 2,300 EVs currently on Australian roads and approximately 800 stations. Of these, less than 75 percent are fast charging.
What are the Charging Speeds Like?
Given the diversity of electric car charging stations, it should not be surprising to learn that charging an EV would vary across models and stations. The total time the batteries of an EV would take for recharging is ascertained by the number of kilowatts the charging station could offer and the power the car can accept – higher wattage means faster charging. Currently, there are three different speeds:
• Slow charging (3kW): A slow charge would take anywhere around eight hours if you’re charging your vehicle from zero to full. Most home-based charging bases are slow chargers.
• Fast charging (7-22kW): Fast charging would require anywhere between three and four hours for fully replenishing an EV’s batteries from no charge. Most public charging bases or points charge at this rate. If you desire, you can have a charger with fast charging capacity installed at your home.
• Rapid charging (43-50kW): Most existing EVs aren’t designed for rapid charging. If you drive a car that is compatible with the standard, you can expect the charging time to come down to 30 to 40 minutes. Due to very few EVs capable of being rapidly charged, most public charging points do not offer rapid charging. Some electric car companies could have proprietary networks that work exclusively with their cars.
Currently, slow-to-fast charging is the norm. Even some car models from reputed auto makers may not work with a charge rate of more than 3.7kW. Therefore, if you are particular about the speed with which your EV charges (which you should be), then carefully peruse the car’s charging speed numbers and battery capacity.