how often do you have to charge an electric car
Car Buying

How Often Do You Have to Charge an Electric Car?

The growth in technology has led us to benefit from a multitude of smart options. One of the smart options on the rise today is the electric vehicle (EV). While electric vehicles may account for only 3% of the car sales today, studies indicate that these sales will climb to 10% of global sales by 2025. By the year 2040, the sales will spike to almost 58%. Given that car enthusiasts are increasingly interested in purchasing and owning an electric car, we are led to ask several questions. For instance, how much will these cars cost? How do you maintain an electric vehicle? And how often do you have to charge an electric car?

Charging levels of Electric Cars

Charge display from an electric car

When it comes to charging electric cars, they are grouped under three distinct categories based on the speed at which they recharge a vehicle. These three categories are divided into levels, including:

Level 1:

These can easily be found in your homes. Here the charger uses a regular 120v charging speed. As a result, an eight-hour charge can allow an electric car to travel 80 miles.

Level 2:

This uses a specialized charging which runs on 240v. It is mostly used in both workplaces and public charging stations. If you charge your EV for four hours on level 2 charging, it will equate to approximately 80 miles of traveling distance.

Level 3:

Level 3 charging is also referred to as DC Fast Charge. As the name suggests, these are special charging stations located in public places. Charging at level 3 speed for merely 30 minutes equals approximately 90 miles of traveling.

Factors Affecting How Often You Have to Charge an Electric Car

Did you know that everything from the weight of your electric car to its battery size and even the surrounding temperature can have an impact on how long your electric vehicle can go on a single charge? Consequently, the answers to those questions will determine how often you would have to charge it.

Before answering the question about how often you have to charge an electric car, let’s first take a closer look at some of the key factors that help determine how often an electric car needs to be charged and whether you can do something to adjust them.

Your Style of Driving Matters

It’s fairly obvious that the more you drive, the more you’ll need to recharge. This means that the way you operate your electric car profoundly impacts how frequently it requires to be charged. If you know your vehicle well and have watched a few episodes of Formula E, you’ll understand what regenerative braking is.

Regenerative braking is an integral part of driving an electric car, especially if you spend most of your time driving around the city. Rather than slamming on conventional brakes that waste heat energy, regenerative braking allows your electric vehicle to recover that energy and feed it back into the electric car’s battery.

In fact, braking helps in getting more miles and allows your electric vehicle to drive further without the need to be charged. Electric car drivers driving down a hill or a mountain will have more miles when they reach the bottom.

Bigger is Always Better

Haven’t we all heard this phrase several times before? The same rule applies to the battery of an electric car. For instance, the previous Volkswagen ID.3 had a battery of 45kWh and could go up to only 215 miles without charging. In contrast, the latest Tesla Model 3 is equipped with a 75kWh battery and can drive around for almost 360 miles without stopping for a charge.

Alternatively, there are times when a bigger battery doesn’t always translate to a longer range. Manufacturers of Electric Cars tend to use different battery technologies with varying optimisation levels. These automatically impact how far the car is likely to travel without recharging the electric vehicle.

Moreover, since an average driver tends to drive around 20 to 30 miles a day, looking into battery options covering more than 200 miles on a full charge is what you should be gunning for. This way, you can comfortably go about your daily driving without having to worry about charging the car’s battery to full every night.

Age is More Than Just a Number

The problem with using anything that runs on batteries is that the battery tends to degrade over time. Electric cars and their batteries are no exception. Luckily the battery degradation tool from GEOTAB gives owners of electric cars a rough idea of how long they can expect their battery to last. It should be noted that many manufacturers suggest that electric car’s batteries retain at least 70% of their capacity during the initial eight years.

Alternatively, if you decide to lease an electric car instead of buying it, the degradation of your electric car’s battery wouldn’t be a cause of concern for you. Even if your EV’s battery isn’t performing like it used to, you’d simply hand it over to the leasing company instead of worrying about resale options.

Weather Woes and Battery Snoozes

Believe it or not, the weather is another key factor that influences how often you have to charge an electric car. The lithium-ion batteries of electric vehicles tend to rely on chemical reactions in order to produce electricity; however, weather, especially when the temperature is low during the winter, reduces the rate at which these chemical reactions occur.

This automatically reduces a battery’s performance. Not only that, but when your electric car’s battery is cold, it might cause the regenerative braking to be limited or disabled entirely. As a result, your EV’s battery won’t enjoy the same benefits of city driving. Apart from range, cold weather also significantly impacts the time an electric car takes to charge. Even Tesla’s superchargers are no match to Mother Nature’s cold weather.

Different Ways of Charging at Home – Level 1 charging vs. Level 2 charging

Luxury modern house and electric car

Learning how to charge your vehicle at home has become increasingly important especially when answering questions like how often you have to charge an electric car. However before you learn about the frequency of charging, we first must understand the different ways through which one can charge an EV at home.

Level 1 Charging

One of the most common and widely used means of charging an electric car at home is by simply plugging it into a regular charging outlet near your garage; however, the problem with this method is that charging through home outlets is an extremely slow means of charging. This type of charging for electric cars is usually called “level 1 charging.”

Like with mobile phones, many people who own electric cars tend to charge them overnight. This usually ends up covering for the distance that they drive on a daily basis. For times when you may have to travel across the country or take a longer trip, many states are now offering charging stations that are available for you to ensure a quick top-off.

Level 2 Charging

Alternatively, if you plan to regularly travel long distances in your EV, you may want to consider a level 2 charger. These require a 240 V service. To have one installed, you must first get in touch with an electrician who can inspect the breaker box to ensure that it can handle level 2 charging. If not, the electrician will probably make the necessary adjustments to your breaker box to allow this type of charging. Although level 2 charging for your electric car may be a bit costly, it is definitely worth it in the long run.

Tips for Planning Ahead so Your Electric Car Doesn’t Run Out of Charge

While planning in advance so that you don’t run out of charge might feel unnecessary and inconvenient, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Using a dedicated wall box to charge

Firstly, electric car charging at home is a breeze if you have a driveway. Electric car experts strongly recommend installing a dedicated wall box from an OZEV-approved installer. This not only allows you to avail faster charging but also helps in saving on your electricity bills.

Taking the Charging Time into Consideration

Another thing to consider so that your electric car doesn’t run out of charge is the length of time it will take to recharge your vehicle. Luckily there are now a variety of EV charger types to give your car a charge at different rates. Currently, the fastest charging speeds offered by UK charging stations are about 350kW DC.

In Conclusion

With the production of cars running on fossil fuels like petrol and diesel is on the brink of extinction by the year 2030, electrification of transportation is undoubtedly the way forward into the future. In fact, many studies suggest that in less than a decade, car owners will face difficulties locating petrol pumps, mechanics, and spares.

As a result, knowing and investing in electric cars no longer remains an option. So whether you are considering buying an electric vehicle or considering leasing one, gaining important knowledge is imperative. Try asking questions like “how often do you have to charge an electric car?” is but one of the many questions you should be seeking answers to before jumping into getting one.