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By | 24 Dec 2021

Electric Vehicle Chargers: Types, Charging Speed

The electric car these days has ceased to be a fantasy and turned into a real, familiar vehicle. This type of car is very economical because it does not need to be refueled with expensive gasoline or diesel fuel, which also pollutes the atmosphere. However, the battery of an electric vehicle must be charged.

An electric car has a rather simple device compared to cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE). This is due to the fact that an electric motor is much simpler than an internal combustion engine and does not require regular maintenance. And since the electric drive has practically no rubbing parts (except for rolling bearings on the shaft), its efficiency reaches 90-95%. At the same time, the level of efficiency of a gasoline internal combustion engine barely reaches 35%, and a diesel one - 45%.

If we talk about an electric car as a whole, then it does not have significant differences from ordinary cars with an internal combustion engine. Basically, the difference is only in the engine. And since the electric motor runs on electricity, it needs a capacious and powerful battery instead of a liquid fuel tank in conventional cars. For the rest, the cars have practically no significant differences. An electric car has the same suspension system, body, and so on.

Of course, there are many other subtleties and minor design differences.

An electric car has essentially the same battery as a laptop or mobile phone, for example. The only difference is in volume and power. This means that the same charger is used for charging as for any other gadget. The only difference is in power and charging current. And also the fact that chargers for electric cars are large, so you can't put them in your pocket or backpack. Also, electric car manufacturers use their own unique connectors.

An electric vehicle charger (charger) is a device that converts high voltage alternating current (220 volts in a single-phase circuit or 380 volts in a three-phase circuit) into direct current with a voltage corresponding to the voltage of the car's battery. Such chargers can be of different types:

  • Stationary - wall cabinets, racks, and so on;
  • Portable devices - you can carry it with you in the trunk of an electric car.

It doesn't matter what it looks like or what type of charging, in any case, it is just a device that converts one type of electricity into another, corresponding to the technical parameters of an electric car.

If we talk about a visual presentation, then this is a kind of gadget that is connected to a power source through an ordinary household outlet or to a special connector (depending on how you charge your car). On the other hand, the device has a corresponding connector for connecting to an electric vehicle. This is what a portable charger looks like.

Stationary devices are connected to the power supply network through a single-phase or three-phase circuit. It is important to know here that a three-phase circuit gives more power, which means that the charging speed of the battery also increases. Basically, it is a stationary station that can be installed in the garage. The same stations are installed at electric filling stations and parking lots for electric cars.

The station is always connected to the electrical network. And to connect to the car, there is a corresponding cord (electric cable), at the end of which there is a connector for connecting to an electric car.

The electric vehicle itself also has the built-in equipment needed to charge the battery. If you trace the circuit from the charger connector to the battery (inside the electric vehicle), then the most important component here is the current and battery level controller.

The controller passes a certain maximum amperage and automatically cuts off the power supply to the battery when it reaches 100% charge level. The controller also adjusts the charge level between the battery sections so that each battery cell has the same charge level, does not overheat, does not boil or fail.

The charging speed of any battery, including an electric vehicle, depends primarily on the current strength. The higher the amperage, the higher the speed. But the important thing to understand here is that fast charging will significantly shorten battery life. Therefore, manufacturers are trying to find a certain balance, creating such chargers that cause minimal damage to the battery and at the same time are able to charge the batteries quickly enough.

If we talk about ordinary batteries, then they are charged with a current of small strength (in domestic conditions, a maximum of 2-3 amperes). And an ordinary household outlet is more than enough for such purposes.

But in electric vehicles, the battery is quite large and powerful. Therefore, more power is required to charge it. The current strength in this case can reach 60-80 amperes (when charging from a DC station, the current strength reaches 250 amperes). And an ordinary household outlet is not capable of delivering such a current. Therefore, the charging speed from a household outlet will be slow.

It can take up to 24 hours to fully charge the battery from 220 volts. But usually, most electric cars are charged from a household outlet for about 16 hours.

The capacity of the battery itself also affects the speed. Accordingly, the larger the battery capacity, the longer it will take to fill it.

As mentioned above, there are different chargers for electric vehicles. The differences between them lie not only in portability, but also in different power schemes. And some chargers work without wires at all.

So, there are the following types of chargers for electric cars:

  • from a household outlet of 220 volts;
  • from a network with a voltage of 380 volts. It can be of two types:
  • single phase circuit;
  • three-phase circuit;
  • direct current;wireless;
  • from a gas generator;
  • Solar powered.

The latter option is not the most efficient, so solar charging is used by some EV manufacturers only to slightly increase the range.

The fact is that in order to efficiently charge the battery of an electric car, the solar panel must have very large dimensions and impressive weight (even taking into account modern technologies). But the car has some size limitations. And since batteries are usually placed on the roof of a car, these sizes are enough for only a slight recharge.

Of course, there is a possibility to fully charge an electric car using a solar panel. To do this, you will need to leave the car in direct sunlight for a few days.

Other types of memory are more efficient, but they also have certain differences between themselves. Therefore, let's take a closer look at them.

Efficiency: DC charging stations are increasingly integrated with renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, enhancing the sustainability of EV charging.