EV Chargers: What Are They and How Do They Work?

EV Chargers

The rise of electric vehicle chargers (also known as EV chargers) shows that it is now more important than ever to create sustainable and eco-friendly solutions, for transportation and energy to reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment. One of these solutions is electric vehicles and charging operations. In the past few years, the emergence of electric vehicles has been on the rise with vehicles moving from being powered by standard petrol and diesel engines to full electric power or hybrid versions. Believe it or not, electric vehicles are not a new or recent invention. Early prototypes date all the way back to the mid-19th century with the first practical electric car being invented in the late 1800s.

Electric vehicles (EVs) were quite popular in the early 1900s, however, they possessed low speeds and limited range which wasn’t a huge problem at the time, but the development of the internal combustion engine led to the decline of the popularity of EV vehicles.

EVs began to rise in popularity again throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, with companies such as Tesla and Nissan producing vehicles with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that were practical and affordable. Over the next few years and leading up to the present day, the demand for EVs grew which meant that charging infrastructure had to grow – rather than just having charging points placed at homes, governments had to install charging options throughout cities and public spaces.

We now see EVs everywhere and those looking to invest in an electric vehicle still may struggle to understand the different options of chargers available to them. Important questions you may ask yourself include: what is an EV charger, how do they work and where can I charge my vehicle? Here at MAC, we are here to provide our expertise in answering these questions. In this blog, we will help you understand what an EV charger is and more.

What is EV charging?

EV charging uses the power of the electrical grid to power the car’s battery through the means of electrical charging equipment – technically known as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). A battery requires charging otherwise it won’t be able to produce power.

There are several places where powering your EVs battery can take place. For most people who own electric vehicles, they will charge them at their homes, but due to the high demand and popularity of EVs, public charging stations and workplace charging stations have been installed all over the UK.

Home Charging Stations

The advantage of having a home charging station for your EV is that you will be able to start each day with a ‘full tank’, or more accurately a fully charged battery. Home stations enable your electric vehicle to be charged overnight with most EV owners installing a home charging station when purchasing an EV.

Public Charging Stations

Public charging stations for EVs have been installed in rapid succession over the last few years because of the growing popularity and demand for EVs. These stations are ideal for EV owners who are making longer trips and plan where they can charge their vehicles on the go. These stations are typically found at service stations, car parks, supermarkets and other public areas.

Workplace Charging Stations

For those who use EVs and have to commute longer distances, some businesses and companies have started to install stations for their employees. Fortunately, the government offers a scheme to help businesses install charging points for the workplace through the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS).

Electric Charging Networks in The UK

There is a wide selection of UK charging networks that EV drivers can use in public charging spaces.  

  • Supercharger station: This one will benefit Tesla drivers where you can simply turn up at a Supercharger station and plug your vehicle in to be charged. 
  • Gridserve: These charge points can be accessed by using contactless payments. 
  • BP Pulse: This is one of the UK’s largest public charging networks that offer access via a subscription service, pay-as-you-go as well as membership cards and an online app.

How Do Electric Vehicle Chargers Function?

There are many ways to charge your electric vehicle, but how do all these different charging stations and EV chargers function? EV users want the ability to charge as quickly as possible and get out on the road without hassle or limitations.

Depending on the type of charger you are using will determine how fast your electric vehicle will take to charge. Other factors playing a part in how fast EVs will charge include the battery’s capacity and what state the battery is in before charging, which is defined by the power in kilowatts. If the battery has less power, then reaching full charge will take longer.

While leaps and bounds have been made over the past few decades regarding electric vehicles, one area that is still being developed is the ability to charge wirelessly. Wireless charging for EVs is a developing technology and not yet widely available. This is due to wireless technology being much less efficient than wired, in addition to it being much more expensive to install and maintain.

Types of EV Chargers

The many types of chargers for EVs is a topic that owners will need to know about, as the right charger for the right vehicle will help to make your charging times more efficient, as well as knowing if the type of charger you are browsing is compatible with your vehicle. There are a variety of EV chargers, each of which is assigned to a level that determines the type of EV charging point you are using. The different levels will affect the charging speed of the battery.

Level 1 Chargers

Level 1 chargers typically deliver power at a rate of 1-1.5 kilowatts which is ideal for longer charging periods, such as overnight charging at homes, and usually takes 8 to 12 hours for a full charge.

Level 2 Chargers

This type of charger delivers power at rates of 7-22 kilowatts depending on the charging station. For smaller batteries, charging will only take a few hours – typically between 1 and 5 hours – and for larger batteries the charging duration is typically 8-10 hours. These are the most suitable chargers for home charging stations.

Level 3 Chargers

Otherwise known as ‘DC fast chargers’, level 3 chargers are the most efficient at delivering power at rates of up to 350 kilowatts. Level 3 chargers can charge an EVs battery within half an hour, making them extremely ideal for public and workplace charging stations. However, it is important to note that not all level 3 chargers are compatible with every electric vehicle.

Charging Your Electric Vehicle at Home

No matter where you take your electric vehicle, you’ll always need a charging station at your home – public stations may not always be available or you may just want ease of mind knowing you can simply get up and go at the start of the day. However, most EV owners are looking for the most efficient and cost-effective solution for charging their EVs. With rising electric prices, you’ll want the most ideal charging station for your home that is compatible with your vehicle.

How Long Does It Take to Charge Your EV At Home?

The time it takes to charge your EV to full charge will typically take between 8 and 12 hours depending on if you have a level 1 or level 2 charging station and the size of your battery. Using a home station is much more convenient than relying on public charging points, relieving you of any hassle and stress. MAC supplies several EV chargers for those looking for multiple charging modes and ease of use. By choosing one of our EV chargers, you can simply connect your vehicle to the charger via the cable and wait for it to be charged.

Can You Charge an EV With a Standard Home Plug?

Although it is possible to charge an EV with a standard home plug, we do not recommend doing so, as a standard 240-volt household outlet can only deliver power at a rate of 1-1.5 kilowatts. This is considerably slower compared to a level 2 charging station that MAC can supply, and it is more appropriate to have a dedicated EV charging point installation with proper wiring and protection circuits for safer and more efficient charging.

Exploring Our Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions

EVs are a great way to combat harmful emissions and reduce your carbon footprint. Here at MAC, we take pride in supplying innovative and easy-to-use EV chargers that will keep your EV topped up and ready for action. Our exceptional EV charging stations offer maximum efficiency, convenience and cost-effective solutions for your home. Speak to our expert team by telephoning us on 0121 730 4800 or contact us via email at sales@midlandaircon.co.uk.

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