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Electric car charging options: How and where can I charge my electric car?

If you believe the predictions, electric cars will flood the streets in the next few years. The manufacturers are busy tinkering with new models, but what about the charging options? There is still a shortage here. We have put together a few options for you on how you can charge your e-car.

⏰ In a nutshell

Is the short information enough? Or if you don't yet have an electric car that you need to charge, we will be happy to help you with the decision and have summarized the top electric cars for you:

Charging an electric car at home

Charging the electric car at home is probably the easiest way - but also the slowest.

Can e-cars be charged from a normal socket?

Yes, it is possible to charge from a household socket, but should only take place in exceptional cases. As a rule, you need a special cable with a control and protection device, but this is part of the scope of delivery for most electric cars. The charging power of the household network is not particularly high, you have to get by with 2.3 kW. Conversely, this means that you should plan a lot of time to charge your e-car if you want to charge it from a normal socket.

In addition, the normal socket often does not withstand a long-term heavy load unscathed, which can lead to increased heating and thus to a higher risk of fire.

Why do I need a wallbox?

In addition to the faster charging time, wall charging stations - also known as wall boxes - are also safer than charging on the house network, as they have special RCDs. These prevent people from being electrocuted or the power cord overheating. The wallbox is simply mounted on the wall and can be of different sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, there are now suitable wallboxes for the respective e-car, but many independent manufacturers also offer wallboxes for charging at home.

The charging power is between 3.6 and 22 kW, depending on whether a high-voltage connection is used or not. If you connect the box to the latter, electric cars can be charged in two to six hours. What all wallboxes have in common is that they require a permanent connection to the house installation and usually have a type 2 EU plug. There are suitable connection cables for electric cars with a type 1 plug.

The wallboxes can differ primarily in terms of charging performance and ease of use. There are boxes with a display or control panel that provide information about the charging process. Some boxes can also be networked, but with such devices you have to reckon with a significantly higher price. Currently there is not only funding for electric cars, but private wall boxes are also being funded with 900 euros.

What does a home charging station cost?

Depending on how high the charging capacity is and which manufacturer you choose, a wallbox can cost between 500 and 2,000 euros. Then there is the price for the electrical installation and assembly, because both must be carried out by a specialist. An electrician is then also liable for the professional installation. Even if a wallbox is another investment, a charging station for at home is a must for anyone who wants to charge their e-car efficiently and independently of public charging stations.

Can I charge an electric car in every house?

That is not being said, because it depends on how old the electrical installation of your house is. If it is a new building, there should be no problems, but the electrical system in older houses is usually not designed in accordance with the currently applicable regulations for charging e-cars. In any case, have your electrical installation checked by a specialist. They can then tell you whether the existing installation is sufficient for connecting electric vehicles. The main thing here is that old electrics do not necessarily endure long charging with high power - or at least no official seal is given for it.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

You can't say that across the board, because it depends on how big the battery of your electric car is and with what power it is charged. A small battery is of course charged more quickly than a large one, whereby charging at a household socket takes a long time even with small batteries, whereas it only takes an hour at a fast charging station. Here is an example: The Hyundai Kona Elektro is available with a 39.2 kWh battery and a 64 kWh battery. The charging time at a domestic socket is approx. 14 hours for the smaller battery, and even approx. 23 hours for the larger one.

If you charge with a wallbox, the 39.2 kWh battery is fit again in approx. 8 hours, with the 64 kWh battery it is only about 6 hours if you charge with 11 kW. If you find a 100 kW fast charging station, both batteries are fully charged in just 54 minutes.

We have put together the charging times of all current e-cars at various charging options in a clear guide for you.

Can the electric car be charged with photovoltaics?

Yes, you can charge your e-car with a photovoltaic system. However, such a system is more suitable as a supplement, because after all you can never be sure how often the sun shines and what output the system will bring accordingly. What also happens is that the normal number of panels that are attached to the house roof is usually not enough to charge an electric car. Either you add more panels to the system or you can continue to use mains electricity, but save a little money thanks to the solar energy.

Charge on the go: charging stations for e-cars

The public charging network for electric cars in Germany is still under construction. So far there are around 23,000 stations, but that is still too few when you consider that according to experts, there is a risk of a flood of electric cars in the next few years. We tell you what you need to know about this topic:

How can I find public charging stations?

Longer journeys with an electric car should be well prepared, because a charging station is not as easy to find as a gas station. It is best to find out about charging stations that are on your way at home before you leave. If you have a car with a navigation system, most models also have a function that shows the charging station network with the nearest charging station.

Where can you charge e-cars?

If you want to refuel at public charging stations, you have the choice between AC charging columns that provide between 11 and 22 kW and DC charging columns, which are the so-called fast charging stations. Here you can charge your car with a charging power of mostly 50 kW. Tesla's superchargers, which have an output of 135 kW, are an exception. However, they are only compatible with Tesla models.

Charging stations with an output of up to 350 kW are planned for the future, so that the car would be charged in just a few minutes. Charging options are mainly to be found in cities, because there they are more profitable than in rural areas due to the higher volume. So that you can pass the waiting time better, the stations are often located near restaurants, shopping centers, cafes, parking garages or municipal facilities. Our interactive charging station map helps you to find charging stations in your area more precisely.

How do I charge an electric car?

Basically, charging an electric car is not that different from filling up a classic combustion engine. However, you should make sure beforehand that you have the right plug type and charging cable with you. We give you step-by-step instructions:

  1. Shut off the engine
  2. Scan the QR code on the charging station with your smartphone and register via the app or use the charging card
  3. Open the "fuel cap" and connect the e-car to the charging station using a cable (if you use a special cable, first plug it in to the charging station and then to the car)
  4. Start the charging process in the app or online
  5. Stop the process as soon as the required charge level is reached (it stops automatically when fully charged)
  6. End the charging process by unplugging the vehicle

What does it cost to charge an electric car on the go?

As far as the payment modalities are concerned, there is a bit of confusion, because every provider bills differently. There are hardly any transparent tariff models from electricity providers, and the costs also differ enormously in some cases. If you have managed to fill up, you pay cash, with a card, on account, online or by smartphone, depending on the provider. With some providers you have to have registered with a special chip card beforehand, spontaneous charging is then rather difficult - but still has to be offered.

Many charging station operators do not bill according to kWh, which would be the easiest option. Why is that? This is a technical problem, because the standard charging stations must be equipped with meters that conform to legal requirements. The installation of calibrated meters is currently only possible at a few charging stations; there are not even calibrated meters available for fast charging stations. Regulation is regulation, which is why the operators use other billing methods. Flat rates after charging are not uncommon here and are around 6 euros, regardless of how long it takes.
But as I said, there is no general answer and it all depends on where you live and what is on offer there.

Inductive charging of e-cars

One wish for the future is inductive charging. Some car manufacturers such as BMW, Porsche, Audi and KIA are already working on solutions that are suitable for everyday use. The idea is good and would make the currently irreplaceable cable superfluous. Simply park and drive off the next day with the fully charged car, that would be what saves time and nerves.

How does inductive charging work in a car?

The energy is transmitted via an electromagnetic field from a so-called transmitter unit on the floor to a corresponding receiver unit on the vehicle underbody. If you will, the electricity flows wirelessly through the air. But it is not quite that simple, because the car has to be aligned exactly over the floor plate so that the efficiency does not suffer. Either the driver has to do this, or special technology in the vehicle aligns the car perfectly.

W was the first manufacturer in the world to bring an inductive charging process onto the market - the Munich-based company call it wireless charging. The system currently has an efficiency of 85 percent, which is not bad, but definitely still expandable. Wireless charging has been available as an option for the BMW 530e iPerformance since April 2018. But Porsche and Audi have also recognized the benefits, but inductive charging is currently significantly more expensive than a charging station and, in addition, even more ineffective.

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  • You know all prices even before the first talk with the dealer
  • Great deals from +1,600 dealerships
  • No hidden costs for car buyers

Stress-free & without negotiating about your new car