May 12, 2023
Electric vehicles have been gaining a lot of popularity lately, it is highly evident that EVs will be playing a crucial role in the transportation trends in the future. However there is one question that every prospective EV buyer has i.e. how long does it take to charge the battery of the EV. The answer to this question can vary depending upon various factors, This article will give you a brief understanding of all those factors and also how batteries are charged.
How Does Battery Work?
An EV battery is made up of numerous cells , each of which consists of three key components: a cathode (the positive electrode). Anode(the negative electrode) and an electrolyte which is the source which facilitates the movement of ions.
While charging the battery a current is applied to it which causes the positively charged ions to move towards the anode from the cathode through the electrolyte. This creates a build-up of electrons on the anode which stores electric energy. When the battery is used to power the car later, the process is reversed which in-turn creates an electric current that powers the vehicle.
Therefore it can be said that the combination of the positive electrode, negative electrode and the electrolyte in the EV battery enables the storage and conversion of electric energy which powers the vehicle.
Slow vs Fast Charging:
There are two ways you can use to charge an EV i.e. slow charging and fast charging, however there is one thing common in both ways, which is that in both ways alternating current is used from the national grid, EVs have inbuilt converters which convert this Alternate current(AC) to direct current(DC).
A slow charger usually operates in the range of 2.3kW and 2.5kW, as mentioned before it uses alternate current from the national grid. The slow chargers that are being referred to here include household sockets which have a 3 pin plug charger. This method is the slowest way to charge an EV as it takes almost more than 18 hours for a full charge using a 3-pin plug charger. Let us take an example of the Tata Nexon EV max; it takes around 10-12 hours to charge its battery completely at home.
The time consumption of this method of charging isn’t the only drawback, it poses issues of higher altitude, such as fire hazards. Charging an EV at home has often caused fire hazards, the reason behind it lies in material used in the battery, Lithium is fragile in nature and is prone to overheating, and as lithium ion batteries are most commonly used in EVs. Another reason of such hazards is the strain put on the cables, circuits and socket as it is being charged at a level which is close to the household circuits maximum capacity which is 3kW. Although such hazards do not happen every time slow charging is done it is advised to avoid slow charging if it is not an emergency.
Fast EV Charging:
A fast EV charger usually used to operate in the range of 7kW to 7.4kW, the fast chargers being mentioned refer to the charging points in public place or can also refer to a fast charging station installed in a person’s house. These days it has gone up to 30kW. As mentioned, installing these charging stations at home is an option, however the installation process can be very non-economical and can cost you a fortune.
This method is a lot faster than slow charging, on an average it only takes 4-6 hours for a full charge. Using the same example of Tata Nexon EV takes around 4 hours for a full charge on 7.2kW and merely 1 hour on 30kW. Although it is a little hard to find an EV charging station always due to the scarcity of them, fast charging is a safer and more time-efficient method.
In conclusion, the batteries of EVs are a critical component that requires careful consideration when it comes to charging. Considering the fact that EVs are the future EV charging stations will soon be a more prominent part of the infrastructure of most countries.