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How Do Charging Stations Work? All You Need to Know! 

How Do Charging Stations Work? All You Need to Know! 

Understanding how the charging stations work is very important information for anyone planning to purchase an electric car. Charging stations differ significantly depending on the amount of charge they provide, and they also are not compatible with every vehicle. Thus, you need to understand what charging level is working for and what type of plug your electric vehicle has. 

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Over the past couple of years, the number of public charging stations increased significantly. More people now are leaning towards electric vehicles than before. Some automakers even are targeting 2030 to switch completely to producing electric vehicles.

Understanding how charging stations work is important, especially if you are planning to purchase your first-time electric car. However, keep in mind that public charging stations are not the norm because most people tend to charge their vehicles at their own homes. According to recent statistics, about 80% of electric car owners charge their vehicles at their homes, which means that only 20% need to look for a public charging station.

If you are one of that 20% who still did not install an electric charger at your home, you need to understand how charging stations work so you don't deal with any hassle in your daily commute. The good news is that you will most likely have enough charge to go through multiple trips in one day without worrying about what's known as the range anxiety that we used to hear about when it comes to driving an electric car. 

This article provides you with all details you need to know about how do charging stations work. It also highlights the different lessons we learned while we were investigating the world of electric vehicle charging

How do charging stations work? 

To understand how charging stations work, there are a couple of topics you need to keep in mind, and you have to be knowledgeable about. 

  • Charging levels 

Not every charging station or electric charger is the same. Some of them might provide you with very slow charging capability, while others can provide you with a super-fast charging option. Depending on the level of the charger, you can determine how fast you can charge your electric car. 

Level one is the basic electric charger, and it's usually the cheapest but, it does not provide you with the best charging capability. It takes you forever until you completely charge your vehicle.

Most level 1 electric chargers can be installed at home, so you don't have to worry about going to a public charging station to use a level one, and no one would do that.

Level 2 electric chargers are much faster than level one, and depending on your vehicle's type; it might take you to charge 10 or 25 miles every hour, which is convenient. 

Finally, Level 3, or what's referred to as the DC fast chargers, are much more powerful. They provide you with the quickest charging option for your vehicle. According to automotive experts, some electric cars charge up to 90 miles per hour when using DC fast chargers. 

  • Chargers plugs 

There are different types of electric car charger plugs that you might encounter. For instance, the common one is the standard where you have only one single charger purport. Then, you have the combo or combined charger, which is referred to as a CCS system. Finally, the Tesla charger, which comes in a separate category. 

The common CHADEMO plug is suitable for fast chargers, and some customers indicated that their vehicles got to 80% charge using this plugin only 30 minutes, which is fascinating. Keep in mind that this time frame might differ significantly depending on your vehicle's battery status and age, along with the temperature when you charge the vehicle. 

The J 1772 Is one example of these standard electric charger plants. You can install this type at your home and get it connected to the outlet of the voltage of about 110 or 220 without any issues. 

The CCS chargers are mostly, and the point here is to have multiple plugs simultaneously. When you plug these two plugs into the station, you get higher voltage and charge your vehicle within a shorter time frame. 

Finally, the Tesla charger, which is very compatible with any outlet. For instance, you can connect it to your house outlet or probably the dryer outlet without any problem. You can also use the Tesla plug at any public charging station. 

  • Charging costs 

When it comes to charging an electric car, prices can differ significantly depending on the automaker and the type of charger looking for.

For example, Nissan Leaf is providing a certain program called no charge to charge. This program indicates that you have up to two years of free charging at any location, including those with the DC fast charging option. 

Brands like Tesla have different unlimited charging options associated with older models as well. 

Charging station costs can be a little confusing to inexperienced drivers of electric vehicles. For instance, some stations might only ask you for a certain minimum fee just to get the machine going. In some scenarios, you must only pay about $3.50. Once you hit the first couple of kilowatts, the price changes to $0.29 for every kWh. 

Some parking stations might even provide you with free charging like those in Baltimore. You only pay for the parking fees, and you get the option to get your electric vehicle plugged into a charger without any problem for the fast two hours. 

Keep in mind that most charging stations might cut you off at 30 minutes. In other words, once you hit the 30-minute limit, you can't continue charging your vehicle. Many customers just restart the charging process every 30 minutes.

How do you pay at electric car charging stations?

As we indicated before, most electric charging stations are not free, and you have to have a certain payment method. In general, most customers prefer to have a certain designated card for electric vehicles charging payments.

You could either use your smartphone app or probably get a different card like the RFID one. Usually, you don't have to worry about payments going through because the charging process will not start unless the payment goes through completely. 

How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle at a charging station?

In general, charging an electric car takes between as low as 30 minutes to as high as 12 hours! 

The amount of time it takes to charge your electric car depends heavily on several components. For instance, you won't need as much time to charge an electric car with large size. No battery compared to another vehicle with a smaller old battery.

Also, the charging level might be another component when determining the amount of time you'll need to charge your car. For example, if you decided to go with level 1 chargers, you will need much more time than going with the Level 3 chargers you might find in public places.

What happens if the electric car runs out? 

Think about the situation as you are a gasoline car running out of gas. What will happen when the gasoline car does not have a gas question as it will stop. Same thing for the electric car. If it doesn't have the amount of electric charge to run, it will completely stop. 

 Automotive experts recommend that you never get close to the point where your car runs out of electric charge because this affects the battery significantly and might shorten its lifespan. 

Based on several studies, we notice that getting your car at what's known as the deep discharging where there's not much power left is dangerous. It can easily deteriorate any component in the battery and cause it to get damaged prematurely.

Keep in mind that the battery is one of the most expensive components in an electric car, and therefore, the last thing you want to mess up with is affecting this battery and causing it to get damaged. It can cost you simply thousands of dollars, if not more. 

Is charging an electric car cheaper than gas? 

Many people are thinking that charging electric cars is almost free and much cheaper than buying gas. However, that's not the case here. Yes, charging an electric car is cheaper than gas, but it's not 0.

According to recent statistics in the United States, it might cost you up to $460.00 for charging your electric car on an annual average. On the other hand, you might need about $837 for buying guests. Yes, there is a difference, but it's not more than 50% different. 

Can you plug an electric car into a regular outlet? 

In general, most available electric vehicles nowadays are compatible with your regular house outlet. They come with their own chargers that you can connect to the house outlet.

Keep in mind that charging your electric car at home might not be the optimum option if you're looking for a fast charge. If you're planning to leave the car charging overnight, that could work. However, if you have a trip in the next couple of hours, you might need to consider faster available public charging stations instead. 

Do electric cars charge while driving?

As of now, no. However, several researchers are working on certain technologies to allow electric vehicles to charge while driving. Some states are working on providing certain metal plates that they can place on the roads to allow the electric cars in charge while driving.

The biggest university that's doing the research is the Cornell University. 

Can you leave an electric car charging overnight? 

If you rely on the level 1 standard plug charger, yes, you can because it will be very slow, and it will take you at least 12 hours overnight. However, if you are using a faster charger, you want to prevent dealing with overcharge, which means that you're not recommended to leaving your car charging overnight at that type of charger. 

Conclusion

Understanding how do charging stations work is a must for anyone who is planning to purchase an electric car. Charging stations differ significantly depending on the type of charger itself, and they also differ depending on the type of plug you have in your vehicle.

For example, some stations provide level 1, level 2, and Level 3 charging options. Each option has its price and own needed time to charge your vehicle fully.

Similarly, there are different types of plugs connected to your vehicle that you want to find a station that is compatible with these plugs to charge your vehicle and prevent driving miles looking for the wrong charging station.

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