What are Electric Car Charging Points?

We seldom get through a week of nationwide news without hearing about the electric car, and there are a number of important reasons why we are so interested in these vehicles. The eco-factor has to be at the top of the list and why shouldn’t we want to learn more about how we can get from A to B without increasing our considerable carbon footprints? Fuel cells are also pretty high on the technological agenda and these ultimately involve the electric car at some point. Although these marvellous vehicles have definitely caught the attention of the UK and beyond, there remains a few teething problems that we can’t escape. It is apparent that the typical electric car cannot be driven for more than a limited distance without running out of juice. This article looks at the current state of play and discusses a new development that may further propel these vehicles into the limelight and right onto our driveways finally.

How they work

electric car charge pointsEssentially, an electric car is powered by an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine and this in turn is powered by rechargeable electric batteries. Electrical vehicle charging stations have been set up all over the country in order to supply electrical energy to recharge the aforementioned batteries. The need for these facilities has grown immeasurably over the last 3 or 4 years and the type of charging station can vary greatly. The charging rate has also increased in recent times because of the increased amount of electrical vehicles has dictated that we need these cars to be charged far more swiftly than before.

How they have progressed

Fans of TV motoring shows such as Top Gear have undoubtedly groaned as they’ve watched the hapless presenters sit and wait, rather impatiently, for up to 24 hours as their stranded electric chariots have been recharged courtesy of a feeble looking charging point. There is no way that the typical petrol or diesel car driver would ever switch over to electricity if this situation remained the same for the future. So these charging points have been revised and the introduction of heavy duty connectors combined with inductive charging mats have changed things for the better.

Council charging points

The amount of electric cars currently buzzing around our towns has increased to the point that the local councils have started to do something positive about the way these vehicles can be effectively kept on the road. Many UK cities have introduced a network of charging points that are usually situated in public car parks. This forward thinking approach has met with the approval of many eco-aware individuals and is hopefully the sign of things to come. Although the electric car owners will be charged double for the privilege of parking in these amenities, the electric will come free of charge.

UK charging network

As well as the council run charging points there are various networks that support the electric car’s thirst for power and this can only be a good thing as competition will hopefully prove to have a positive effect on the cost of this activity. Companies such as CYC have access to over 1500 charging points spread over the UK and if you join this scheme you will be given an RFID card that provides you with access to these amenities. Although the points are not owned by CYC, they can access them and the electric car owners can pre-charge the RFID car with credit before their journeys.

Free home chargers

Another cool development regarding the electric car charging dilemma is the introduction of home charging devices. If you think about the whole scenario regarding the need to keep your electric wagon topped up with electricity, it kind of makes good sense. These gadgets are available in 3 different specifications at the time of writing this article:

  • 3.7 kW Home Charger – This device will charge most electrical cars fully in 6-8 hours. Whilst this may seem like a fairly long wait, it is okay if you simply use the vehicle for getting around town a couple of times per day.
  • 7 kW Fast Charger – The faster model will charge several electric models to full capacity in about 3-4 hours and adds a little extra speed to the equation.
  • Universal Fast Charger – This version can offer a fast charge to all electrical vehicles and will get them back on the road in around 4 hours.

The benefits of having your personal car charger are fairly obvious and as well as the added privacy and convenience, you may also qualify for a free installation of the device. Each home can only have one of these chargers and the home in question should have a strong mobile signal to allow for anonymous usage data to be fed back to the service provider company.

The Future

At some point we should see cars with the ability to recharge themselves by way of a hybrid power plant and we have already witnessed supercars with a 50/50 split, so the future is certainly bright for these eco-friendly chariots.