Batteries and EV Charging - the basics
A little home work goes a long way when buying or leasing your first Electric vehicle. Like a mobile phone and other common devices with a lithium battery, a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) needs to be recharged regularly which might be daily, twice weekly, once a week or less according to usage and type of vehicle. The same applies to a plug in Hybrid (PHEV) except they have a smaller battery so have lower range and use a petrol engine to provide back-up power to the battery.
Charging is usually done at home using a domestic 13 amp. socket or dedicated home charger for fast, convenient charging. Household electrical supplies should have their own circuit for safety reasons. If in doubt consult a qualified electrician.
There are two types of charging in the islands; slow charging (up to 3kW) for the home and standard fast charging (7-22kW) which can fully recharge most models in around 4 hours and is used at home, the work place and public places.
There are rapid charging units (43-50kW) found across the UK which will charge within 30 minutes to 80% full. These are usually found in high traffic locations ie. motorways and superstores etc. There are well over 600 rapid charge points and thousands of standard charge points.
REMOTE CONTROL BY APP
Every road legal electric vehicle comes supplied with a charging cable, either a domestic charge cable with built in charger or a fast charge cable for use with a home charger or public charge point. All European vehicles are fitted with either a type 1 (Yazaki) or type 2 (Mennekes) connector (pictured)
Most new models come with a climate control timer which allows a vehicle's onboard charging system to commence at a set time to take advantage of low economy electricity tariffs. Climate or comfort control can be also be set to allow the vehicle's cabin to be warmed up or cooled down ready to use at a preset time. In addition, an app can be activated to remotely control the charging and climate control.
When the vehicle is charged, it will automatically switch off and the LED light will switch to blue.
REGENERATIVE BRAKING & BATTERIES
The current generation of electric vehicles nearly all use lithium ion batteries except for a few niche, very low range vehicles. Lithium batteries are high density, long lasting and widely used across a range of industries. New electric vehicle models have sophisticated battery management systems which ensure the vehicle is running as efficiently as possible. They all have regenerative braking as opposed to conventional brakes where most the energy is lost through friction, regenerative braking uses the electric motor to feed braking energy into storage energy for the batteries to use later.
Some vehicle models are available to purchase outright and some with battery leases. The latter reduces the purchase price and provides warantee cover for the life of the vehicle. In this case, you never own the battery but lease it on a monthly basis for a relatively small cost relative to fuel bills for a conventional car. In the case of owning the vehicle outright, the battery will normally be guaranteed for 5 to 8 years or 100,000 miles (Terms vary according to manufacturer)
After the end of their vehicle service life which will be according to the number of cycles, lithium ion batteries can be utilized in storage energy systems for home or work for example in combination with solar power. Battery storage systems are increasingly being deployed together with renewable energy systems to store power during times of low demand.