How to charge your electric car
Charging your electric car is simple. Just plug it in to a suitable power source and it will charge up. But there are several factors that affect how quickly your car charges. Here’s our guide.
AC and DC charging
The UK National Grid supplies power in a form called Alternating Current (AC). This has to be converted to a form called Direct Current (DC) before it can charge your car battery.
The conversion from AC to DC can either be done by your car, or it can be done by the charger. Chargers that supply DC are faster than chargers that supply AC.
Types of charger
3-pin household wall socket
This is typically the slowest way to charge up. Many drivers using this method choose to charge their cars overnight. This supplies power to your car as AC.
Your Wallbox is more powerful than an ordinary household socket and will need to be professionally installed at your home. Fortunately, there are grants available to help with the cost. There are three different Wallbox power outputs available:
- Slow (3.6kW): 1.6x faster than a 3-pin plug. Can fully charge your car in 6-8 hours.
- Medium (7.2kW): 3x faster than a 3-pin plug. Can fully charge your car in 3-4 hours.
- Fast (22kW): 10x faster than a 3-pin plug. Can fully charge your car in 1-2 hours.
These are usually found in motorway services or on main roads. They use a high power AC or DC supply to get you charged up in minutes instead of hours. Incredibly, they’re capable of charging your electric vehicle to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
Types of connector
There are two types of connector you can plug into your electric Volkswagen.
Mennekes (Type 2)
This is the type of connector that plugs into your car if you are charging from a 3-pin household socket or a Wallbox. Most public charging stations have at least a Mennekes (Type 2) socket.
CSS (Combined Charging System/Combo)
This is the type of connector that plugs into your car for rapid charging. The CSS/Combo connector type allows you to charge at all public charging stations with a DC charging output of 22 kW or more.
Other connectors exist, such as Type 1, CHAdeMo and Schuko, but these are not compatible with your Volkswagen.
There are other factors that may affect how fast your electric car charges. These include:
- Temperature (very hot or very cold)
- How full the battery is (charging the last 20% of capacity is slower)
- How much power the vehicle can accept (each vehicle has a built-in limit)
In general, we recommend that you do not charge your electric car fully every day. This protects the battery.