The UK National Grid supplies power in Alternating Current (AC) which has to be converted to Direct Current (DC) before it can charge a car battery. This conversion from AC to DC can either be done by the car, or the charger.
Chargers that supply DC are faster than chargers that supply AC. DC chargers are not found in homes, typically in one of the many charging stations now dotted around. Read on to find out more:
DC simply stands for Direct Current. This means that you get the current from the source to the item that needs power directly in just one direction, rather than through an Alternating Current (AC) that reverses direction.
DC charging points are designed for use now and then, especially when you need a quick, efficient charge. The power that flows from a DC charging point can actually put a strain on the battery of your car that has to handle all this extra energy. In turn, this can reduce the lifespan of your battery and its effectiveness if you use it for long periods of time.
DC Charging is also not readily available for home use and are frequently found in commercial environments, such as public charging stations. They require a 440-volt DC power supply, and so they are not safe for the majority of homes.
For AC charging, typically what you are looking at for your home, is in two levels.
AC Level 1 - This is the type usually supplied with the car, its not much more than a charging cable with a standard 3 pin plug on the end. This will be the slowest charge. Perhaps even up to 20 hours from flat to full.
AC Level 2 - For this, you would typically have a company or electrician in to install a dedicated charge point at home. This type of charging needs the same supply and outlet that you would use for a clothes dryer or electric shower / cooker. This is typically around 220 volts, double that of a level 1 charger. Level 2 charging is far quicker than that of level 1, promising a full charge in just 6 to 8 hours. This means you can do it overnight and simply unplug the car in the morning ready for your commute. As they are also relatively inexpensive to fit, many EV owners seek this method of charging as an upgrade from level 1 charging.
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