FAQ – Everything You Need to Know about EVs and EV Charging
The electrical vehicle (EV) revolution is here, bringing many questions for the driving masses as they switch from their gas-fueled ICE vehicles to plug-in cars, trucks, and buses. For some, range anxiety is at the forefront of their minds, while others worry about charging facilities. Everyone driving an EV for the first time will have to go through a learning curve to some degree. Charging station developers and owners too will need to get a firm understanding of the most efficient, cost-effective and profitable charging options available. Here we'll answer some of the most common questions concerning EVs and EV Charging.
Q: How long does it take to charge an electric car?
A: That very much depends on the type of car and the charging facilities. A standard electric car with a 60kWh battery should take 6-8 hours to charge using a Level 2 charger. Three-pin Level 1 chargers, however, are much slower, taking 18-24 hrs. On the other end of the spectrum, a rapid/turbo charger found in public charging stations can charge an EV to 80% in 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on battery size.
Certain factors can affect charging speed, like the ambient temperature as a colder battery might take longer to charge. Also, your battery's capacity will impact charging time. The larger the battery, the longer the charging time. At a multiple gun charging station, the time to charge your car often depends on the number of cars in line. Some stations may operate a reservation system, while some utility companies suggest time limits based on charger power level. Employee charging stations at a place of work may use a reservation system depending on the number of cars and available charging points.
Electric car turbo chargers are still relatively new technology, and they are not yet widely used in vehicles on the road. They allow customers to recharge their vehicles faster than most European charging networks. In the case of Porsche, who have been developing their own turbochargers, depending on the model, they can charge up to 100 km in only 5 minutes.
Q. How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
A: According to the US car consumer resource guide, Kelly Blue Book, an electric car gets 3 to 4 miles per kWh. Using the U.S. household average from June 2022 of about 15 cents per kWh, it would cost about $59 per month to charge an electric car (calculation based on an average monthly distance of some 1250 miles). Rebates and incentives for electric car owners to install home chargers might further reduce that cost. That number changes if you are using a public charger with different apps charging different amounts per state or per country for Level 2 charging.
Q. What are the costs of charging your car at a public charging station?
A: The average cost to charge your car at a public charging station using a DC fast charger is $0.40 to $0.70 per kWh hour. So expect to pay $30 to $40 to be fully charged. Battery size is a factor in charging time. Also, your car needs to be below 80% charged to use a superfast/ rapid charger. Expect an 80% depleted EV battery to reach full charge in about 30-60 minutes. The size of the charger is also a factor. A 150kW charger will take 20 minutes, and a 50kW charger 60 minutes to charge a 60 kWh battery to 80%. Other factors impacting charge duration include the car’s ability to take a higher power charge, outside temperature and the battery’s lifecycle.
Tesla’s Superchargers cost around $0.25 per kWh, so a full recharge to 250 miles of range is approximately $22. DC Fast Charging depends largely on your app and your state or country. In the U.S., for example, the EVgo network charges $0.29 a minute for DC Fast Charging in the Chicago area. Given this metric, to charge an EV for 80 miles would cost $8.70.
Q. What are the electric car charging tariff prices in 2022?
A. There are many different tariffs for charging electric vehicles (EVs) at home, and the specific tariff you pay will depend on your location and electricity provider. Here is an example of a home charging EV tariff:
A flat rate of $0.12 per kWh
• A monthly service fee of $10
• A one-time installation fee of $250
With this tariff, if you charge your EV at home and use 100 kWh of electricity in a month, your total cost would be calculated as follows:
Total cost = (flat rate per kWh x kWh used) + monthly service fee + one-time installation fee
= ($0.12/kWh x 100 kWh) + $10 + $250
= $12 + $10 + $250
It's important to note that this is just one example of a home charging EV tariff, and the rates and fees you pay may be different depending on your specific circumstances; different tariffs at different times of use are a way for utilities to incentivize EV drivers to charge EVs at times when the average power load on the utility is lower.
With the current energy crisis in Europe, tariffs on most EVs have been temporarily canceled in the UK as the government has introduced the energy price guarantee. This caps bills at £2,500/year for a typical household in the UK, while in the EU incentives and tariffs vary from country to country.
Q: How many solar panels do you need to charge an electric passenger car?
A: In a residential setting, you will generally need between 12-16 solar panels to charge most EVs on the market. The specific number of solar panels used to charge your EV depends on the type of panel, EV battery size, and the amount of sun exposure. For example, smaller cars such as the Nissan Leaf may need as few as 5 solar panels and larger cars with bigger batteries may need over twice that number. As figures vary in every circumstance, this is a somewhat oversimplified explanation.
Q. How do you calculate the power consumption of an electric car?
A: The most common way to calculate your EV's energy consumption is using kilowatt-hours/100km (62.5 m), ie. how much kilowatt-hours of electricity your vehicle uses for every hundred kilometers/ 62.5 miles that you drive. Current ballpark numbers are 1kWh per 5km/3.1 m. The average Tesla will use about 34kWh of electricity for every 160 km/100 miles driven.
To calculate the power consumption, you divide the kilometers/miles driven by kWh consumed. For example, 100km/25kWh = 4km per kWh.
So for example if you drive 50km per day and you have a 40 kilowatt-hour battery, your power consumption is 20 kWh per 100km.
Q: Can the power grid cope with electric cars?
A: That question very much depends on who you ask. National Grid states that if all UK car owners switch to EVs simultaneously, it is unlikely to overpower the UK's energy grid. This, they claim, would only increase demand by around 10%. But not everyone accepts this answer.
An article in Which EV offers another explanation: In its current form, the UK grid could not cope with the nation charging EVs at once at 7kW (the typical home charger rate). They would need 230GW – three times the UK grid capacity.
To be safe, the UK Government has introduced Electric Vehicle Smart Charge Points Regulations. This ensures the smart functionality of EV charge points, allowing the car to pause charging during times when grid demand is highest and energy most expensive.
The same conjecture exists in the US. One study, highlighted in the Washington Post, states that to meet its 2030 climate goals, the nation will need to invest as much as $125 billion in the grid to allow it to handle electric vehicles. Business Insider argues that at 2030 estimates, some 5.6 million electric cars, trucks, and vans would only comprise 4% of peak loads.
To meet demand, the UK and US are ramping up renewable energy-powered charging via solar and wind. With hydrogen and wave energy (a potentially tremendous natural resource, potentially capable of producing 64% of last year’s total utility-scale electricity generation in the U.S), it seems evident that invention and ingenuity regarding renewable energy will accomodate the increased electricity demand for EVs.
Q. How much CO2 can electric cars really save compared to diesel and petrol?
A. According to TransportandEnvironment.org, a medium-sized EV emits about 70% less CO2 than a petrol-powered equivalent. At a best case scenario it is around 80% less CO2 than diesel and petrol. This is especially true in countries such as Sweden, which gets most of its energy from renewable sources, and France which derives its energy mainly from nuclear.
It’s important to note that the calculation of CO2 savings from the vehicle depends on the level of CO2 emitted in the generation and transport of the electricity the vehicle uses. Therefore, using an EV charged with fossil fuel-sourced electricity is less effective for reducing CO2 emissions.
In the UK, the number is closer to 30% savings, according to a study in Nature Sustainability published in the Guardian. These numbers will improve as green charging (solar and wind) takes hold and EV technology improves.
Q: How much CO2 do you save by driving an EV?
A: The greatest impact of EVs will be felt in towns and cities, where tailpipe emissions will considerably reduce CO2 levels. The Mayor of London estimates road transport accounts for half the capital's air pollution. It's estimated that over a 12 month period, one electric car on the roads can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2. That is the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona.
Q: What are the differences between EVs, HEVs, PEVs, BEVs, and EREVs?
A. Electric cars come in many different formats. Some are completely electric using batteries (EVs/BEVs), others combine gas in hybrids, and there are plug-in hybrids too. Here's a list of the most common types:
EVs and BEVs have no internal combustion engines and rely solely on battery power (the 'B' in 'BEV'). They can be charged at home using Level 1 or 2 chargers or out of the home, commercially with a Level 3 (DC) fast charger.
HEV: Hybrid electric vehicles. These run on both gas and an electric motor using energy stored in a battery. Unlike most new EVs that need to be recharged, HEV recharge their batteries via regenerative braking.
PHEV: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These expand the possibilities of hybrids. There are two types of PHEVs:
Extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) use an electric motor to propel the car while the ICE generates electricity. The engine's stored electricity takes over when the battery expends its energy.
Parallel (or blended) PHEVs use the ICE and electric motors to move the car.
Q. What obstacles prevent a municipality from allocating sufficient grid power for a new EV charging station?
A: There are several immediate obstacles. These include:
• The cost of installation and electric infrastructure costs for DC fast chargers
• Finding the space for stations with multiple rather than singular connectors and cheaper wall-mounted rather than freestanding charging stations
• Aligning the energy providers' and network operator's investment plans with the municipalities' EV infrastructure needs
• Coordinating the support from the property and private landowners to upgrade and build EV charging infrastructure.
Q. What incentives are available for companies electrifying fleets?
A. Multiple tax benefits and subsidies are available for companies subsidizing their fleets. These include:
• Qualified Plug-In Electric Vehicle Tax Credit: This provides between $2,500 and $7,500 in credit for each vehicle purchased but this mainly applies to consumers and households. Small businesses could also claim personal vehicles for business use.
• Alternative fuel source tax credit: This tax incentive applies to companies that install alternative fuel sources, including electric vehicle charging stations. This credit covers 30% of the cost of the station up to $30,000.
• Electric bus and truck fleet tax credits: Business owners can get up to $40,000 in tax credits for new vehicles purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2023. It’s available for 10 years, through the end of 2032.
• Multiple states incentives: As of July 2021, at least 47 states and the District of Columbia offer incentives to support deployment of EVs or alternative fuel vehicles and supporting infrastructure.
• EV charger grant for workplaces: the Workplace Chargepoint Grant is voucher-based and provides the upfront costs for purchasing and installing EV charging equipment and places of work.
• Tax Benefits: Businesses installing charging infrastructure can receive a 100% first-year allowance (FYA) for expenditures incurred.
• Additional incentives: There are also 20% subsidies on purchasing an EV van or truck (up to a maximum of £8,000)
• Businesses that buy EVs can write down 100% of the purchase price against their corporation tax liability. This only applies if the vehicle emits no more than 50g/km CO2
• Multiple regional incentives are also available throughout the UK.
Most EU countries also offer a package of incentives for companies to electrify their fleets. A full list can be seen here.
Q. What obstacles are delaying the availability of EV charging stations?
A. The main obstacles delaying the availability of charging stations are:
• Inadequate availability of critical national infrastructure
• Lack of a fairly distributed geographical spread of charge points. Currently, major cities have many more than other areas.
• Insufficient electricity in more rural areas
• Planning issues to install chargers can be complex with multiple authorities involved.
Q. How can EV charging stations obtain additional power?
A. Renewable energy, primarily through solar and wind, is the easiest way for EV charging stations to obtain additional power. Battery storage facilities will allow the power to be stored and utilized when needed. Intelligent EV charging points that communicate with the grid and minimize the demand will also be beneficial. Intelligent off-grid power generation sources such as GenCell’s hydrogen and ammonia charging solution offers EV station owners a resilient, reliable source of additional power.
Q. How will the new US tax incentives impact the EV charging market?
A: The Inflation Reduction Act creates tax incentives to encourage the purchase of electric cars. These include:
• A $7,500 tax credit for consumers with certain restrictions (tied to annual income, battery mineral sourcing and retail price).
• A $40,000 commercial clean vehicle tax credit which doesn't carry any requirements.
This should incentivize individuals and businesses alike to embrace electric vehicles at a faster pace than ever before.
Q. Do new European Commission directives impact the European EV charging market?
A. Yes, the EU's EU750 billion stimulus package includes the following:
• EU20billion to boost the sales of clean vehicles
• 1 million electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations to be installed by 2025.
In addition, the Clean Energy Package includes updated building regulations intended to accelerate EV home charging.
Q. How much more electricity would be needed if all cars were electric?
A. If all cars in the US went electric motorbiscuit.com states that the country would need "14 billion kWh of energy to charge them all.” A study by McKinsey concludes, “as the number of EVs on the road increases, annual demand for electricity to charge them would surge from 11 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) now to 230 billion kWh in 2030.”
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