Range anxiety is among the biggest obstacles faced by the modern electric car. If motorists weren’t worried about becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest charging point, then it’s entirely plausible that the internal combustion engine might already be a thing of the past.
Are you considering investing in a new electric car, but you’re worried that you won’t be able to find a place to charge it? Let’s take a look at some of the technicalities, and see if we can address those concerns.
Where to charge?
If you’re going to charge the lithium-ion battery attached to the bottom of your electric vehicle, then you’ll need a suitable charging station. By and large, these come in four different forms. There are home charging stations, ones you might use at work, public chargers, and ones at a service station.
What really matters is the charging speed on offer. If your car is going to be parked in the same spot for eight hours, or even longer, then you can get away with a slower ‘trickle’ charge. This tends to be what’s favoured in public parking spots and home charging stations.
The most common variety of charging stations will provide a throughput of around 7kW. This will allow the majority of electric cars to charge from empty to full over the course of a working day. In practice, it’s rare that a battery should be allowed to fully discharge. So, you’re instead driving for half an hour and then charging for eight, such that the battery is kept constantly topped up.
This not only provides you with some wriggle-room. It’ll also help to maximise the lifespan of the
A rapid charging station is useful on long-distance drives. They’re rarer and more expensive, but they’ll allow you to plan multiple legs, and extend the effective range of your electric vehicle. You’ll tend to find these at motorway service stations. Do your research in advance, and plan your route according to the charging facilities. Bear in mind that there’s always the possibility that you’ll get there and find the charger out of service. So, make sure that you have a contingency plan, and that you don’t drive past charging stations. A short break from motorway driving will allow you to refresh your mental batteries, too. Cars like the Vauxhall Corsa-E can rapid charge in just 30 minutes, enabling you to continue your journey as quickly as possible.
Supermarkets, shopping centres, and other public places will often have space or two for hybrid and electric vehicles. You can use the pod point map to easily locate charging stations of this type. In many cases, you can save a considerable amount – as using the pod point will provide you with an incentive to use the attached business.