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How fast can EVs really charge (and other common questions)

By Jack Evans | May 22, 2024

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Here, we’re going to go through some of those commonly-asked queries to get to the very heart of what EVs offer.

How fast can EVs really charge (and other common questions)

Electric vehicles are becoming a more common sight on our roads and, as the push towards electrification increases pace, they’ll likely become even more popular. But the EV world still has a lot of mystery to it and though most people know that they’re powered by batteries, there’s quite a lot of questions to be answered.

Here, we’re going to go through some of those commonly-asked queries to get to the very heart of what EVs offer.

How fast can electric cars charge?

Electric vehicles all have different charging speeds. It’s worth remembering that how quickly an EV can top up is determined by its maximum charging rate. For example, if a car has a charging rate of 120kW, the maximum it can accept is 120kW. Even if you plug it into a 350kW charger, it’ll still only be able to manage a 120kW charge speed.

Porsche’s Taycan is one of the fastest-charging cars on the market today as it can accept up to 320kW of charging speed. At this pace, you could do a 10 to 80 per cent top-up in just 20 minutes - so it’s particularly rapid car when it comes to charging.

Do electric vehicles all use the same plug?

In the early days of electric vehicles, there were a few variations in charger types. These days, it’s far more settled with the vast number of EVs using Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connections to top up. You may find older cars like the Nissan Leaf using the less common CHAdeMO connector, but these aren’t a common sight on the latest breed of electric vehicles.

The CCS connector is the one you’ll use when you want a rapid charge, while the smaller Type 2 connector (all housed within the same charge point) is what you’ll plug into when you want a slower charge, such as when you’re stopping somewhere overnight.

Don’t electric vehicle batteries degrade quickly?

As with all batteries, the ones inside electric vehicles will degrade over time. This will mean that over the years an EV will lose some of its available charge, but it’s not all that much - reports in the US state that a five to 10 per cent loss after five years is common, though some models lose two to three per cent in their first few years before this levels off to one per cent a year.

However, many electric vehicles have been around long enough to prove that they can be easily used for hundreds of thousands of miles without over-the-odds degradation. Most manufacturers cover their batteries with at least an eight-year warranty, too, so there is some background support if degradation were to go too far.

Electric vehicle batteries can’t be recycled, right?

The vast majority of electric vehicles that have been built remain in use today, which means that initially, at least recycling hasn’t been much of an issue. However, a lot of manufacturers are exploring ways to give their batteries a ‘second life’ use once they’re not operating effectively in a car. This use is primarily for energy storage at a home; homeowners could charge up this battery with ‘green’ energy - such as that from solar panels - before using it to power their properties later for a fraction of the usual cost.

Car manufacturers are currently finessing the way they recycle end-of-life EV batteries in order to strip them of their usable materials. However, as Nissan has found with its Leaf, fewer vehicles than it had expected are entering the recycling territory - which means that they’re staying on the roads for longer.

EVs can’t be taken in the car wash, right?

This is a myth. While you might think that electricity and water aren’t famously a good mix, electric vehicles are perfectly fine to be driven through a car wash. They’re protected against the elements, after all, with the batteries securely sealed to protect them against water and debris.

There is absolutely no need to worry about taking an electric vehicle through the car wash.

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