Industry Guides

Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging

Charging Electric Vehicles is an area often surrounded by more myths than facts.  Here at SmartEv, we would like to help overcome this confusion with some simple facts below.
Let’s start with the basics.
Charging an Electric Vehicle is different from refilling a car!  A simple fact, but often overlooked.  Living with an EV is more akin to using a smartphone than planning your transport schedule around fuel stations.  Rest assured, it’s not a difficult transition to make, and very few owners ever return to using fossil-fuel powered vehicles again.
You can charge your car up at home.  Or at work.  Or in public.  You don’t need to visit a fuel station and stand outside for several minutes, and then go and pay.  The beauty of EV charging is that it is usually much more convenient to plug in wherever you stop.  In your garage at home.  In your car park at work.  Or in a public charging location, like Motorway services or shop car park.
Charging your car up takes longer than filling up with fuel – at present.  Using a public DC charger is the fastest way to charge, refiling the average EV to 80% 30 minutes for a 200+ miles range if your car is capable of that.  However, charging technologies are moving fast, so expect to see this drop on the latest generations of fast chargers and cars.
So that’s an outline.  Thinking of purchasing an EV or providing chargers for your company?  The following questions normally get asked
How long does it take to charge up an electric vehicle?
This depends on:
  1. The capacity of the car battery (measured in KwH).  Imagine it like the fuel tank of your vehicle.
  2. The speed of your charger.  Imagine it like the speed of the fuel pump at the filling station.
What does this mean in reality?
Take the new Nissan Leaf, for example.  It has a 40kwH battery (the fuel tank).  Charging with a 7kW home charger (a typical home charger) will take around 7 hours.
Or if you connect the vehicle to a public DC fast charger, typically you get 80% of the range in 30 minutes.
What’s the difference between AC and DC chargers?
AC chargers are suitable for most locations where a car is stopped for a duration, e.g. at home or work.  The chargers are compact, and can connect to a standard single-phase or three-phase electricity supply.  The on-board circuitry on the EV undertakes the AC to DC conversion necessary for the battery to charge.  AC chargers can transfer up to 22kW
DC chargers are capable of charging at much higher rates (sometimes more than 50kW).  Because they do AC-DC conversion in the charger itself, the car can handle the faster charging rates.  They are typically much larger floor-mounted devices, requiring high-capacity three-phase power connection.   Because of the higher costs involved, they are usually found only in public charging areas such as motorway services.
How much does it cost to charge up an electric vehicle?
If you are charging the car at home or work, this depends on the cost of your electricity, per kWh.
For instance, a complete charge of a 40kWh Nissan Leaf (155 miles range) will need 40kWh or electricity.  Current electricity supply costs for electricity are approximately £0.12 per kWh (uswitch, March 2018).  Or if you are on an Economy 7 tariff, this may drop to around £0.08 per kWh.
So a complete charge of a Nissan Leaf will cost around £4.80, for approximately 155 miles of range.  According to RAC reports, the average car commute distance to work in England is 9.9 miles (9.5 in Wales).  This would normally equate to around 3kWh of electricity, costing approximately £0.36.
If you need a fast charge in the public area, there are various public monthly and pay-as-you go schemes available (see  These obviously charge a premium for the speed and convenience – but the overall travel cost is still much more cost-effective than using a petrol or diesel-engine car.
What are the different types of charging types or speeds?
In Europe, there are two different types of AC charging connector, called (believe it or not),(J1772) and Type 2 (61296-2).  The connector type varies depending on the vehicle.  Both types have the same essential capacity, but Type 2 has greater future capacity, with additional connector pins and capable of transferring up to 43kW of power.  Contact us at SmartEv for more information.
There are also 2 different main types of DC charging connector.  As above, the type will vary depending on what the vehicle is equipped with.  The CHAdeMO connector is found in Nissan, Mitsubishi and Kia models, and the CCS connector in BMW, VW and Hyundai.  Most public DC stations are equipped with both types of connector.
Any further questions, or want a quote for EV chargers?   Don’t hesitate to call us on 01707 443 179 or email for a quick response and helpful advice.