on 13, Nov 2018

How To Charge Your Electric Car: A Guide To Electric Car Charging

Electric cars, as we all can agree, is inevitable and foreseeable for the near future. But do you know all the backstory associated with electric cars and charging? Long story short, to make your life straightforward: Here is everything you ever need to know about charging an electric car.

Someone who doesn’t know about the existence of electric cars might be living under a rock if you ask me. Electric cars or EV vehicles were a fairly unknown idea long back, especially during the days of hard rock and unkempt long hair. 21st century marks the birth of mass produced electric cars with credits to the last five years for the transformation of electric car industry from nascent to full-grown.

Did you know that the first electric car was built 20 years before the first mass-produced car Ford Model T?

‘Electric car’ is one of the very few terms that can be associated with future and it is as modern and groundbreaking as they come, but there is no escaping the fact that electric cars were around the same time as cars powered by IC engines. Advancements like an invention of the lithium-ion battery must be thanked for the EV cars that we see today, but they were overthrown by the IC-engined cars by the beginning of 20th century.

There is a saying that goes by “What goes around comes around”. According to various studies, IC engines will be replaced in the near-future by electric and hybrid cars. Oh, the irony!

It’s time for some quick facts:

  • The world has welcomed electric vehicles with open arms; around one million electric cars were sold in 2017 with an astonishing growth rate of 54% and in the next couple of decades, EVs are going to be omnipresent.

  • More manufacturers are now devoting a rather huge chunk of their resources towards the research and development of electric vehicles.

  • India is still behind in this global race, but the government of India had a plan of converting the entire fleet of vehicles to fully electric by 2030, which is barely 12 years away.

  • A report prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance has some doubts on India being a big player the EV market, the report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says that more electric rickshaws and buses will grace the Indian roads over the next 10 years.

So, let’s get down into business:

How will I charge my electric vehicle? And where? And how much will it cost?

One can easily charge his/her electric vehicle at home or on the move. Electric cars can basically be plugged into your home and charged using an EV charger, just like you charge your phone or use your vacuum cleaner. You can definitely go ahead and read it again if it makes you feel better but yes, you read that right.

It is also found that almost 80% of the EV users charge their electric car battery overnight at home or at work. You can also charge it on the move, provided the infrastructure is adequate for EV cars and electric charging stations and electric charging points are available. The fuel efficiency of an electric vehicle is measured in kilowatt-hours (KWH) per 100 miles.

To calculate the cost per mile of an all-electric vehicle, the cost of electricity (in rupees per kWh) and the efficiency of the vehicle (how much electricity is used to travel 100 miles/160 kilometres) must be known. If electricity costs 5 Rs per kWh and the vehicle consumes 40 kWh to travel 100 miles, the cost per Kilometer will be just a shy over 1 Rs. This is a hypothetical development, as different cars have different efficiency figures.

Still not satisfied?

Here is a meticulously detailed breakup of the costs by Business today India: 

The calculations have been made with an assumption that both cars-ev and petrol cars-- travel 50 kms a day for 24 days in a month (6 days a week).

Here's the calculation:

An Electric Car (Mahindra e2o) 

Full Range 140 Km
Total Consumption Of Electricity In A Full Charge: 16.5 Units
Electricity Usage Per Km: 16.5/140= 0.12 Unit
The maximum Cost Of Electricity In Delhi (Domestic): Rs 6.5 Per Unit
Total Cost Of Running For 1 Km: Rs 6.5 x 0.12 = 0.78 Or 78p
Total Expenditure In A Day: Rs 0.78 x 50 = Rs 39
Total Expenditure In A Month: Rs 39 x 24 = Rs 936

The calculations clearly show that the electric car just needs an investment of Rs 936 per month, owing to the relatively low price of electricity per unit.

Mileage Assumed: 15 Kmpl
Price This Year (May 2018): Rs 77 
Average Consumption (Distance Traveled /mileage): 50 /15= 3.33 Liters Per Day
Cost Of Running In 2018 (Per Day): Rs 77 x 3.3 = Rs 254.1
Average Working Days In A Week: 6
Total Working Days In A Month: 6 x 4 = 24
Total Expenditure In A Month: 24 x 254.1= Rs 6,098.4

 The difference in running cost of both cars= Rs 6,098.4-936= Rs 5,162.4

Now, as the costs involved are fairly visible, you might be wondering how to charge an electric car and the different types of EV chargers available.

Don’t worry, just keep on reading:

Type-of-EV-Charger

Different ways to charge EVs:

  1. Home Charging 

Home-ChargingAlmost 95% of the electric car charging will be done at homes. There are many ways to charge an electric vehicle at home. Simply plug into a standard electricity outlet; all-electric cars an onboard charger provided by the manufacturer itself. This charging cord that you get with your car can be used to charge your vehicle. However, this won’t charge the car fast enough for your daily use so, what you need is an EVSE or Electric Vehicle Service Equipment. 

  1. EVSE

EVSE is that device which converts AC power into DC power and fills your car’s battery through the car’s onboard charger. it’s various types of cords that can be used to charge your car. A wide range of EVSEs is available in the market. EVSE is widely used abroad; they are also available in India with even ‘made in India EVSE’ units like from DRIVE AMP. 

  1. Charging Networks

Charging-Networks

Charging networks can be used on the go; they are public electric charging stations which can be used by anyone like a petrol bunk. Availability of charging networks are abundant with rates that vary upon the session/monthly/yearly flat rates to per-kWh rates to hourly rates.  

  1. Fast chargers (level 3 and level 4 chargers)

Fast-chargersThink Mobile fast chargers; these do the same job as them. Charging is not the same at 1% and 99%, when the battery is almost full, the charge rate decreases, and this phenomenon is called tapering. Level 2 chargers are more common chargers that charge your car at about the same rate as a home EVSE. But there are also level 3 chargers that charge considerably faster than a normal unit.

Tesla’s supercharging is often referred to as Level 4 charging. Tesla is quickly growing the Supercharger network, and this creates one large competitive advantage for the popular EV company. At the moment, Tesla Superchargers have a max power output of 120 kW and only Tesla cars can use this facility.

How much time will it take to fully charge my electric car?

An electric car charging time takes as little as 30 minutes or up to 12 hours; the charging time is completely dependent upon factors like the size of the battery and the speed of the charging unit. 

  • Recharging with a domestic plug into a regular household socket: 8-to-10 hours: 

Recharging with a regular household can take up to 10 hours in general through a 230v socket and the auxiliary cables and equipment provided by the manufacturers. Charging overnight using household is the most ideal way for a day to day use.

  • Normal charging with a home charge point: 4-to-6 hours:

A charging station for domestic electric vehicles can be installed at your home. It comes at a price but charging time is reduced almost by half. This makes it the cheapest and the easiest solution to put in place. Beware though, it is sometimes necessary to increase the power of the electrical connection to the house, which can, in turn, reflect on your monthly bill.

  • Semi-quick charging: 1¼ hours:

SEMI-QUICK_CHARGINGBig corporate companies with large fleets of electric vehicles install more powerful connections with electric car charging points. They also generally have three-phase circuits, which greatly reduces the charging time compared to normal recharging at home.

  • Quick charging at petrol stations: (30 minutes)

This is the fastest way to charge an electric car. The charging time is between 30 mins and one hour. A very powerful car charging station can charge an electrical battery to 80% in a half hour. Tesla is currently developing an electrical terminal capable of fully charging a battery in a matter of minutes.

QUICK-CHARGING

These are all various times as per international standards and infrastructure facilitates which are yet to see the light in India. You can also calculate the charging time using:

Siblega is a simulator which can calculate the electric car charging time for any car depending upon the battery capacity and charge speed.

Top Up charging can also be done with electric cars. Top Up charging is very similar to charging your mobile phones where you charge your device (in this case, your car) while it is sitting idle overnight or while you’re working or shopping. That brings us to the question: Charging at home vs work?

Charging at home is cheap and convenient but charging while at work is ideal if your workplace supports fast-charging of any kind. If a level-3 charger is available, then you can easily charge your electric car to 80% in just an hour. Public places supporting fast charging will also be a boon as you can get your vehicle charged while you get the groceries.

Now, the problem of cost emerges:

Do I have to pay to use public EV charging points?

Mahindra electric is a leading electric car manufacturer in India with models like the e2oPlus, eVerito and many other commercial electric vehicles. eVerito is India’s first electric sedan with a 252 ampere-hour/ah lithium-ion battery supporting a range of up to 140 kms. As Mahindra electric points out:

Some charging points may be free to use while some have to be paid for depending upon your usage. India’s electric charging infrastructure will progress by 2020 with the entry of new stakeholders in the market with the sole aim to make India all-electric.

According to Plug in India, there are 231 public electric car charging stations in India. Recharge India is a mobile app and website which can be used to locate various electric charging points across India.

Here is a detailed video about a public charging station in India:

 Plug in India has shared this in-depth statistic:

Currently, petrol rates are hovering at around Rs 80 or more in some cities. Based on this atrocious rate, we have made the following calculations:

The cost of operating a small ICE car (Hyundai i10, Maruti Celerio Automatic or equivalent) after 4 years is around Rs 3,06,640

The cost of operating a small electric car hatchback (e2o Classic, e2o Plus) after 4 years is around Rs 39,000

The cost of operating an ICE scooter (Honda Activa, TVS Jupiter etc) after 2 years is around Rs 36,600

The cost of operating an electric scooter (Hero Photon, Okinawa Ridge+) after 2 years is around Rs 3,400

EV-Charging-StationElectric cars, as you can overtly see, is much cheaper than the fossil-fueled counterparts, but what about electric car battery replacement?

Lithium-ion battery deteriorates by time and How much will it cost to change an electric car battery?

For a normal electric car, the battery needs to be replaced within 8 or 9 years and within 5 to 6 years in an electric scooter or motorcycle. An electric car battery cost varies between different models and is generally within 15-20% of the price of the electric car when new.

Electric cars are the future with an increasing number of manufacturers getting into the electric bandwagon. India, although not advanced in this setting, will emerge as a leading electric car market by 2025, as per various studies. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says that India will have better progress on electric two-wheelers, rickshaws and electric buses over the next 10 years. The report believes that by 2040, EVs will constitute only 40 per cent of the total passenger vehicle fleet in India.

The government of India is also releasing tenders to increase charging infrastructure in the country along with various incentives for EV purchases. All this seems to be very plausible, but only with time. As of now, India is far away in terms of infrastructure and is yet to clamber up the electric ladder like the other developed countries.

We must be prepared to welcome the electric cars while, at the same time, cherish the past and embrace the future that beholds. Next up is flying cars; so stay tuned to My New Car India for the latest industry news and updates. 


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