Do you want to know the best ways to charge your electric car? Do you want to charge your car efficiently and cost effectively? Do you want to maximise the lifespan of your EV’s battery? Then keep reading and discover Andersen EV’s top electric car charging tips…
1. Buy a home EV charger
Naturally, the best way to charge your EV is to ensure you have a quality charging point at home.
Because having your own personal charging point provides a wealth of benefits and eliminates many of the problems or irritations that are associated with public charging points.
The benefits of installing an EV charging point at home include:
Convenience - say goodbye to queuing to use public charging points. You can charge your car whenever you want.
Cheaper charging - with access to your very own EV charger, you’ll be able to charge your car up at those times of day when electricity rates are at their lowest.
Improved property value - installing an EV charger at home can boost the value of your home, especially if the charger is a premium, aesthetically-pleasing one.
Secure - home EV chargers allow you to charge your car within the security of your own driveway.
Eco-friendly - if you have solar panels on your home, then some EV chargers can be connected, allowing you to charge your car using the power of the sun!
- Better battery life - having your own EV charger at home, can be better for your car’s battery, especially if you previously relied on high-capacity chargers when out and about.
As you can see, there are myriad benefits associated with installing a dedicated EV charger at home.
So, if you want to make charging your EV as efficient and enjoyable as possible, start by installing a premium EV charger at home.
But, that’s not all. Below, you’ll find our other top EV charging tips.
2. Understand your EV
In order to make charging easier, quicker and more efficient, it’s vital that you develop a good understanding of your EV.
By knowing what capacity your battery is, you’ll be better able to determine how long charges will take with various charging points.
The key pieces of information you need to know, include:
Range - this will typically be listed by the manufacturer in terms of miles. This number will often include the suffix WLTP. WLTP stands for Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure and is a test that - amongst other things - assesses the driving range of new cars.
Battery capacity - it can also be handy to know the battery capacity of your EV. EV battery capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Without over simplifying things, the more kWh a battery holds, the longer range it will deliver. As a general rule, you’ll find that the higher-end EVs have larger battery capacities.
- Charging time - it’s also useful to understand how long it will take to charge your EV. This will depend on both the battery capacity and the power-output of the charger you’ll be using. For example, if you install a 7kW charger at home, then it’ll be able to charge your average EV in around four to six hours (this will vary on your exact EV). Install a higher capacity 22kW EV charger, and you’ll potentially be able to charge your EV in as little as two hours (again, this varies per individual EV).
By understanding the above pieces of information, you’ll be better informed and better able to plan your charging requirements throughout the day/week.
3. Understand charging connector types
Today’s electric vehicles predominantly feature the same type of EV connector; known as the ‘Type 2’ connector or socket.
This has become the ‘universal’ connection type for EVs in recent years, but nevertheless, you’ll make charging much easier if you know what type of connector your car has, and the types of connectors that are present on your local public charging points.
Having said that, there are a few other connector types in use (albeit on a limited basis).
These different EV connector types include:
CHAdeMO - this connector type was developed in 2010 and is mostly found on Japanese manufactured EVs such as Nissans, Mitsubishis, and Toyotas. Some other EV brands can use this type of connector via an adapter.
- CCS (Combined Charging System). This is a newer type of connector which has two types:
- CCS Type 1 - this is a connector type which includes both the old Type 1 connector and a fast-charging DC connector within a single socket.
- CCS Type 2 - this connector type features the newer, ‘universal’ Type 2 connector along with a fast-charging DC connector within a single socket.
Note - you’ll find that newer premium EVs, such as the Porsche Taycan feature a CCS Type 2 connector, meaning they can be charged at home or at public ultra-fast charging points.
By fully understanding the connector type that your EV has, you’ll be better able to plan your charging options both at home and when you’re out and about.
4. Charge ‘smart’
A point that is often overlooked by newbies to the world of electric vehicles, is that the lithium-ion batteries that are used in EVs require charging in a slightly different way to most other battery-powered items.
Instead of letting your EV’s battery run down close to 0% and then charging it up to 100%, you want to instead get into the habit of keeping your car’s charge within a 30% to 80% ‘charging window’.
In other words, don’t let your car’s battery charge drop below 30%. Likewise, when charging it up, aim for about 80% charge.
Some models of EV allow you to set a ‘target charge point’, where the car will stop drawing charge once it has reached a certain capacity.
That’s not to say you should never charge your EV up to 100%. If you’re going to embark upon a long journey, you’ll definitely want your EV completely ‘topped up’. But, for everyday driving, we’d recommend sticking to that 30:80 rule.
Note - to find the optimal charging regime for your EV, consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer. It’s also worth noting that there are different types of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs. The majority of today’s EVs use lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (L-NMC) batteries, whilst Tesla EVs tend to use lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (L-NCA) batteries. Each battery type has differing characteristics in relation to optimal charging practices.
5. Limit fast charges
Ultra-fast charging points are becoming increasingly common as companies such as E.ON, BP, Shell and others install them at petrol stations, motorway services and other similar locations.
They’re handy, particularly if you need to charge your car mid-way through a long journey.
In fact, according to charging providers such as E.ON, an ultra-fast DC charging point with a power output of 175kW, could charge your electric car with a 100-mile range in as little as 10 minutes (naturally, this is an approximation and will vary depending on the exact car being charged).
It all sounds great doesn’t it! However, it’s argued by some people that the continued, repeated use of ultra-fast chargers can - over time - accelerate the degradation of your EV’s battery.
Now, we’ve got to be clear on this point. There is mixed evidence on the impact of ultra-fast charging on EV battery life.
According to the European Battery Alliance, a research paper Impact of Charging Rates on Electric Vehicle Battery Life, published in the journal Findings, found that L-NMC batteries can be damaged by ultra-fast charging. However, the research also discovered that the Battery Management Systems (BMS) of the 10 most popular EVs in the UK effectively prevent this damage from occurring.
On the other hand, some EV manufacturers advise against repeated use of ultra-fast DC chargers in order to prolong battery life. For example, Kia states that, ‘Use of DC charge should be kept to a minimum in order to help prolong high-voltage battery life’.
Whilst the jury still appears to be out on the repeated use of ultra-fast chargers, you’ll find you won’t have to use them as much if you have a premium EV charger at home…
6. Drive thoughtfully
You can reduce the amount of times you need to charge your EV simply by putting a bit more thought into your driving.
In the same way that you can eke extra mileage out of a petrol or diesel powered car by being light on the accelerator and brakes, the same is true of EVs.
Making your EV go further isn’t just about less acceleration and deceleration though. By practising good ‘road craft’ you can get more range from each charge. Road craft refers to a set of skills associated with hazard perception, vehicle positioning, anticipation of environmental hazards and overall vehicular control.
In short, by driving thoughtfully you can maximise the range of your EV between every charge.
7. Park in the shade
During the warmer months of the year - particularly when we get the occasional heat wave - it’s wise to keep your EV parked in the shade.
The main reason for this is that the lithium-ion batteries in electric cars don’t respond well to extreme temperatures (either hot or cold).
These extreme temperatures affect the chemistry of an EV’s lithium-ion battery, making it more difficult for the battery to retain its charge, ultimately reducing available range.
8. Use a garage in winter
Closely related to the above point, you should consider parking your EV in a garage during the winter months.
Just as EV batteries don’t respond well to extreme heat, they don’t respond well to extreme cold too. So, if you think you could be in for a ‘cold snap’, park your EV in a garage where it will be better insulated. As a result, you’ll find your car better retains its charge and range for the next day.
9. Think about heating/cooling
The use of your car’s cooling and heating system can have a considerable impact upon your EV’s range.
Heating is especially draining upon an EVs battery. So, when it comes to the colder months of the year, it’s wise to adopt the following heating techniques:
Preheat your car! Turn on your car’s heating system whilst it’s still plugged into your home’s EV charge point, and you can get your car feeling nice and warm without sacrificing any range. Some models of EV actually have a ‘preconditioning’ feature which can be activated from the car’s infotainment system or smartphone app. This can be scheduled, so your car is preheating at a certain time each morning.
- Use only the seat and steering wheel heaters. If you’re out and about, and it starts to feel a little chilly in your car, then try turning on only the seat and steering wheel heaters rather than the car’s main heating system. With seat and steering heaters typically only using 75W of power compared to the 3,000 to 5,000W of power used by the main heating system, this’ll definitely prolong your battery’s charge.
10. Allow your EV to cool before charging
Whilst it may be tempting to plug your EV into your charger the second you get home, you may find that you get better charging results by waiting five to 10 minutes first.
Like some of the other tips in this article, this tip is based on the fact that your EVs battery will charge and perform best when it’s not too hot or cold.
Note - this tip won’t be applicable to all EVs. High-end EVs, such as the Porsche Taycan, heat and cool their batteries automatically when in operation. This means the battery will already be at optimum charging temperature when you arrive home.
11. Download EV charging apps to your phone
If you want to make charging away from home easier, we’d recommend downloading some of the most popular EV charging apps to your smartphone. By having some of these apps pre-installed, you’ll be able to quickly and easily use public charging stations.
A great example of a good EV charging app is Zap Map. This app allows you to search for EV charging points, plan your journey and easily pay for charging on-the-go.
We’d like to emphasise that you should pre-install these apps when you’re at home. Don’t wait until you desperately need to charge up to try and download one of these apps. Intermittent phone signal or lack of data could mean you’re stuck unable to charge up somewhere!
12. Travel outside of peak hours
This isn’t a practical solution for everyone - particularly if you work a nine-to-five job and commute in your EV - but travelling outside of peak hours will give you easier access to public charging points.
Not only will more chargers be available outside of peak hours, but you’ll find that the cost of charging is cheaper too.
As we said, this tip isn’t for everyone, but if you can take advantage of flexible working, or you only drive your EV occasionally, travelling outside of peak hours can be beneficial from a charging point of view.
13. Understand your vehicle’s eco-mode
Another of our top electric car charging tips is to familiarise yourself with your EV’s eco-mode, and how to use it.
As you’d expect, eco-modes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even between models in a single brand.
In general though, the eco-mode will fulfil the same function regardless of what type of EV you have.
When activated, the eco-mode will limit your EV’s power output, reducing acceleration and top speed. In some instances, activating eco-mode will also limit your vehicle’s heat and cooling systems.
14. Use your vehicle’s regenerative braking
This isn’t a ‘charging tip’ per se, but we’d recommend getting familiar with your EV’s regen options.
Wondering what that means? Most new electric vehicles come with a form of regenerative braking (or ‘regen’ as it’s also known).
Regenerative braking works by capturing the kinetic energy that is embodied within the EV’s forward motion, and converting it into electrical energy which can then be reused to propel the car forward (either immediately, or stored for future use).
In this way, regenerative braking captures energy that would otherwise be lost, but also helps to extend the range of your EV.
The actual mechanism of regenerative braking generally involves the EV’s electric motor. This motor operates in two directions - one direction draws electricity from the battery and drives the wheels, moving the car forward. The motor can also operate in the opposite direction. When the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator, the action of the motor will reverse, putting energy back into the EV’s battery pack. (Note - the actual mechanism of regenerative braking can vary depending on the manufacturer/model).
The experience of using regenerative braking often differs from EV to EV. For example, on some models, the amount of regenerative braking can be ‘modulated’. For example, you can set the regen braking so that it’s harder or softer. The harder it is set, the more the EV will decelerate when the accelerator pedal is lifted, and the more energy is returned to the battery.
On some EVs, however, the regenerative braking cannot be ‘modulated’ and simply has a single setting. This can take some getting used to, however if you want to prolong your EV’s range, we’d strongly recommend persevering until you get used to it!
15. Be courteous at public EV charging points
Whilst there’s a lot you can do to make charging your EV more pleasant, there’s also things you can do to make other peoples’ charging experiences more enjoyable, too.
We’re basically talking about courtesy.
The most important form of courtesy at public charging stations is to unplug your car as soon as it’s finished charging. In many cases, your car will have a corresponding smartphone app that can send you a notification as soon as charging has been completed.
Although the UK government is working with energy companies and charging point providers to increase the number of public charging stations, capacity still remains limited. So, not leaving your car plugged in longer than necessary will go a long way to making everyones’ charging experience more pleasant and convenient!
16. Stay informed
Electric vehicle technology is changing all the time. So too is electric vehicle charging technology.
With that being the case, it’s worth staying up-to-date on the latest developments to ensure you’re aware of any developments or advances that’ll make charging your EV even more convenient.
Here at Andersen EV we’re at the forefront of charging technology, offering the best home charging solution in the UK. If you want to stay informed, then bookmark the Andersen EV blog and sign up to our newsletter (scroll down this page and add your email in the ‘Newsletter’ section).
The leading home EV charging solution
As we said at the outset of this article, the best EV charging tip is to install a dedicated charging point at your home.
If you intend to do that, then explore the Andersen A2 - the UK’s only premium home EV charging point.
Available in a dazzling range of finishes and colours, packed with smart design-led features, and trusted by the biggest names in the automotive industry, the A2 should be at the top of your shopping list…