woman charging electric vehicle whilst using phone

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Drivers have been sceptical about how long it takes to charge an electric car since they began to increase in popularity towards the end of the 2000s.

It’s understandable since drivers are used to filling up their vehicles with fuel in a matter of minutes. Of course, with electric vehicles, it isn’t that simple.

We have to charge our cars just like we charge our phones – it can be a slow process that we often do overnight.

How fast can you charge an electric car?

Of course, the rate at which you can expect your vehicle to charge depends on two main factors (and a few smaller ones).

Firstly, how large is your battery? A Mercedes EQV 300 has a capacity of 90kWh. However, a Nissan Leaf e+ has a battery capacity of 56kWh. Therefore, regardless of other factors, the Nissan is likely to charge faster as there is less capacity to charge.

The second factor to consider is the rate of the charger you are using. There are different types of EV charger, which we’ll get into below.

Knowing these two figures can help you easily determine how long it will take to charge your electric vehicle. This can be helpful when planning long journeys, or how to fit charging around your work schedule.

You can determine the time you’ll need by doing the following calculation:

Battery Size ÷ Charging Speed = Time Needed to Charge Vehicle

What are the different types of EV charger?

There are three main types of EV charger – rapid, fast and slow. As you can imagine, they are named for the speed at which they will charge your vehicle.

Rapid chargers

If you have access to rapid charging, you’ll be getting the fastest charging on the market. These chargers can provide anywhere from 40kW to 150kW depending on the model of charger and vehicle.

Rapid DC chargers are the most common rapid charging points and use CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards. They provide power at 50kW, meaning a vehicle with a battery capacity of 50kWh would take exactly one hour to fully charge.

However, Rapid DC isn’t the fastest! Ultra-Rapid DC provides power at double the amount of a Rapid DC charger. These charge points are designed to accommodate the fact that as EV technology develops, battery sizes are increasing. Ultra-Rapid DC keeps charging time down despite extra capacities.

Tesla drivers have also had access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. However, Elon Musk announced that the network is being made available to other types of vehicles towards the end of this year. On a similar note, owners of older Tesla models could use adapters to connect with other Rapid DC chargers, but all newer models are being made compatible with CCS charging.

Woman plugging charger into electric vehicle

Fast chargers

The most common faster chargers are rated at 7kW or 22kW, and tend to provide AC charging instead of the DC charging offered by Rapid chargers. Fast chargers are often found at home charging points, but can be seen in public parking places such as supermarkets where you are likely to park for at least an hour.

Most 7kW chargers are untethered, meaning drivers can attach their own charging cables. If a charge point is tethered, it means that only vehicles compatible with the attached cable can be used.

The Type 2 connector is the most common charge point standard. Most EVs have the capacity to connect to them, so it is beneficial to have as many of them in our charging infrastructure as possible.

Slow chargers

Slow chargers are said to be rated at 3kW, but the most common of them rated at 3.6kW. Slow charging includes the use of drawing from the mains with a three-pin plug.

This offers a good deal of options when it comes to charging away from home. If you are visiting another household, for example, you can plug your car into the mains and charge. The owner of the home does not need to have an EV charge point installed. However, most authorities on the subject do not recommend using a three-pin plug as an alternative to a dedicated EV charger.

Slow chargers are ideal for workplace and home parking, as vehicles tend to be left stationary for long periods of time. They wouldn’t be convenient at service stations for obvious reasons.

Making the transition to EVs

We know that EV infrastructure is improving rapidly every year, and we know that battery life and range is steadily increasing too.

Consider what is stopping you from shifting your business towards an EV fleet. Is it something Fuel Card Services could help with?

Many readers may already be getting cheaper fuel with a fuel card, but switching to an electric vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t continue reaping this benefit. With the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card, you’ll save 2p per kWh when you charge. You can also use the Shell EV Card to pay for regular fuel, if you want to make a gradual transition to EVs.

For example, we can keep your servicing and maintenance costs low with MyService.Expert, helping to keep your vehicles on the road consistently.

If you’re still concerned about range, we can help you make a full charge of battery go further with our Tele-Gence tracking system. If improved safety and automated reporting aren’t enough, you can find the most optimised routes to stop your drivers from burning through unnecessary charge!

Get in touch today and find out what we could do to help you make the switch to electric vehicles.

Charger plugged in to a black electric vehicle

How long do electric vehicle batteries last?

EV batteries are one of the many things that may seem daunting to drivers considering the transition from a combustion engine vehicle. How long can they expect these batteries to last?

Know your vehicle

Whilst it is inevitable that EVs are the future of transportation, drivers do have some reservations. For example, the range of an electric car has often been questioned when compared to a combustion engine vehicle. In addition to this, drivers are concerned about the lack of charging infrastructure.

However, these concerns may die out in the coming years. Battery technology is improving each year, meaning vehicles can travel even further. New charging stations are being implemented, with a huge increase in the number of charge points being seen each year.

Speaking of batteries, however, that’s something else that drivers will need to get used to. What is the life of an EV battery, and can they be replaced?

How do EV batteries work?

Electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries. This is a type of rechargeable battery that has many applications. For example, they are used in mobile phone, laptops and tablets due to their ability to provide consistent, portable electricity.

It’s their recharging capability that makes them ideal for electric vehicles.

Rather than using a single battery, EVs use a collection of thousands of lithium-ion cells.

Charging causes chemical changes within the battery. When the vehicle is in motion, the chemical changes are reversed – that’s what generates the electricity needed to power the vehicle.

What happens to EV batteries over time?

Just like your phone or laptop battery, however, the capacity of your vehicle’s battery will decline over time.

The repetitive cycle of charge (when your vehicle is plugged in) and discharge (when you drive the vehicle) have an impact on the amount of charge the battery can hold. In fact, approximately 20% of your battery’s capacity will be lost after approximately eight years of daily use.

Most estimates put the lifespan of an EV battery at anywhere between 10-20 years depending on a number of factors. The lifespan of these batteries, however, is only going to increase as technology advances.
Given that you can expect your vehicle’s battery to last at least 10 years, drivers should not add the lifespan of the battery to their list of reservations about transitioning to an EV.

When the capacity of your EV battery does eventually stop working efficiently, what does this mean? Can you get a replacement, or is the vehicle set for the scrap heap?

Charger plugged in to electric vehicle

Can you replace an electric vehicle battery?

Luckily, many manufacturers provide a warranty. The length of this warranty can vary, but tend to be around 8-10 years or around 100,000 miles. This means that if something went wrong sooner than expected, there’s a chance your warranty will cover any battery replacement.

Unfortunately the battery is one of the most expensive components in an electric vehicle. Replacing it without a warranty won’t come cheap. Currently, the average cost of replacing a battery is roughly £4,000.

Whilst that seems drastic, there is hope! Just 5 years ago, the same battery replacement would have cost just over £7,000. If this trend continues, the cost of replacement might be quite reasonable by the time the 2030 ban comes around and EV adoption in the UK is more widespread.

What can you do to extend the life of your battery?

Whilst there is nothing you can do to fully halt the depreciation of your battery’s capacity, there are steps you can take to encourage a longer life!

For example, you should avoid leaving your vehicle fully charged or at a low charge for an extended period of time. When your battery is charged around 50%, this is actually putting the least amount of strain on the battery. Therefore, if you know that your vehicle isn’t going to be used for a few days, consider waiting to charge it at a later date. Or, if your battery is low, you could charge it to 50%, and finish charging next time you come to use the vehicle.

Using fast or rapid chargers can also degrade your battery capacity if used frequently. Of course, they are a necessity when making long journeys, but it’s worth keeping this in mind if you want to add some years to your battery’s lifespan.

Whilst there’s not much that can be done about the temperature, extreme heat or cold can also put strain on your battery. Parking in the shade in summer and indoors in the winter could make the world of difference in this regard.

Have you considered making the change to electric?

Whilst yes, your battery may lose capacity over time, this does not negate the many benefits of electric vehicles.

More and more drivers and businesses are going to be using EVs in the coming years. Fears surrounding charging and range anxiety are slowly being put to rest.

Maybe it’s time for you to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle?

For fleet managers considering the transition, it is natural to be worried about how EVs may affect your finances. You should be doing everything you can to minimise costs, and this is made possible with the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card.  You can save 2p per kWh, access 7,500 charge points across the UK and even use it to pay for regular fuel.

Get in touch today, and we’ll see how we can ease your transition to electric vehicles.

Back of white hybrid car

Why don’t we see many Diesel Hybrids on our roads?

Since hybrid vehicles arrived on our roads, motorists have wondered why they always seem to be paired with a petrol burning engine instead of diesel.

After all, the idea makes sense. Electric motors are very efficient, and diesel engines give you better miles per gallon than a petrol engine, so why not create a hybrid of the two? Surely this would be the most efficient vehicle on the market!

However, upon further inspection, it doesn’t seem to be so simple.

What is a hybrid vehicle?

If you’ve driven on a UK road in the last decade, you’ll definitely have seen a hybrid vehicle. In fact, they have been around since the late 90s, but weren’t too common back then. They are now becoming a popular solution to the problem of pollution in this country.

Furthermore, their popularity is likely to increase further with the government’s announcement of the ban on sale and production of ICE cars from 2030.

A hybrid vehicle uses more than one means of propulsion. The most common example of this is a vehicle that uses both an electric motor and a petrol engine to power it. The electric motor is used at lower speeds, making it very efficient for driving in traffic when you are stopping and starting. The petrol engine takes over at around 15mph, when the vehicle is already being accelerated.

There are multiple types of these vehicles, such as a Parallel Hybrid, Range Extender or a Plug-in.
A hybrid vehicle is a great option for drivers who are not yet ready to transition to a fully electric vehicle.

Why aren’t there many diesel hybrids?

Most of the hybrids you’re likely to encounter use a petrol engine. Considering that diesel is more efficient, it’s worth investigating why they aren’t paired with an electric motor.

There are three main reasons why we don’t see diesel hybrids.

Cost

As you have probably seen at fuelling stations, diesel fuel tends to be more expensive than petrol. Additional hardware also means that diesel engines tend to be more expensive to produce and maintain, often due to parts added to help them reduce emissions. In fact, a diesel engine costs around 15% more than a petrol engine to manufacture.

Similarly, electric motors don’t come cheap either. Battery backs, high-tech electronics, and powerful motors certainly drive prices up. This is especially true in current circumstances, with global part shortages driving prices even higher.

Therefore, combining these two engines would result in an incredibly pricey vehicle. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem for some, but would the extra cost be worth it?

Torque

Another advantage of a petrol hybrid is the way the two engines complement each other.

A petrol engine outputs the most power at higher speeds, whilst an electric vehicle delivers the most torque at lower speeds. This means that when the vehicle is moving slowly, the electric motor is driving it forward. When it speeds up, the petrol engine is designed to handle the higher speeds with great efficiency.

However, a diesel engine is also great at producing torque lower down. So, when paired with an electric motor, there is actually less efficiency. Both motors are fantastic at low speeds, but would need some serious engineering work to make them work as well at the higher speeds.

Basically, a petrol engine and an electric motor are proven to complement each other. A diesel engine and an electric motor simply don’t match that!

hybrid vehicle chassis

Less need

There is simply less demand for a diesel vehicle to be hybridised.

Petrol engines are able to convert 25% of their fuel’s energy into kinetic energy, which moves the vehicle forward.

Diesel on the other hand, is more efficient overall. Some diesel engines can convert 10% more than this.
This begs the question then – why would we need to hybridise a diesel vehicle if it is already more efficient?

There is not much that adding an electric motor would do to improve the vehicle’s performance and efficiency. It would be more expensive, but would offer a smaller improvement.

Despite all the reasons listed above to avoid creating a hybridised diesel vehicle, there are a few on the market.

The Mercedes E300de, the Peugeot 3008 and the Citroën DS5 are all diesel vehicles supported by an electric motor, though they are built in various different ways.

Could your fleet be using hybrid vehicles?

If you’re wanting to help the UK reach its climate goals, moving away from internal combustion engine vehicles is a great start. However, the prospect of moving straight to electric vehicles can be quite daunting as they require a whole new set of skills to manage.

However, a hybrid vehicle bridges the gap between electric and ICE vehicles. You’d still be refuelling the vehicle in the same way, but you’d definitely be starting your journey towards net zero.

As the transportation industry continues to evolve, it’s important to keep an eye on your costs. Keeping your fuel costs low is especially important, especially during rising prices.

Get in touch with Fuel Card Services today. You could save up to 10p per litre on fuel with one of our branded fuel cards, and our range of fleet management services offer other ways to save time and money.

Motorway with electric pylons in background

Can the UK energy grid cope with more electric vehicles?

As the UK adopts more and more electric vehicles, there have been questions regarding the country’s energy grid, and whether it can handle the increased strain.

In 2009, 55 electric cars were sold in the UK. Now, in 2021, there are over 515,000 plug-in vehicles on our roads. This consists of around 280,000 hybrid vehicles and 260,000 battery electric vehicles.

This is a huge increase in the adoption of plug-in vehicles, and the country is expected to continue transitioning to low emissions vehicles at a faster rate each year. With that in mind, it is understandable why concerns have been expressed in regard to the energy grid.

Is the grid prepared for millions of people charging their vehicles, all across the country?

Why is the UK adopting plug-in vehicles so quickly?

Of course, climate change is the primary drive behind this transition. The transport sector accounted for 27% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

If we are to reach our climate targets, the transport industry will have to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel burning vehicles and join the EV fleet. They will have to do it quickly too. A report by the CCC estimates that we will need 23.2 million EVs on road by 2032 in order to stay on target.

Whilst we are currently behind this target, it may still be possible thanks to new government policies.

As part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, measures have been put in place to accelerate the shift towards zero-emissions vehicles. These measures include the 2030 ban on the sale and production of petrol and diesel vehicles.

With this ban less than a decade away, many drivers are making the choice to adopt EVs sooner.

There are also grants available from the government to help purchase a plug-in vehicle. The amount offered in the grant depends on the type of vehicle. The government will pay for 35% of the full price of an electric car up to a maximum of £2,500.

Other grants exist, such as the workplace charging scheme, to financially assist businesses looking to install electric vehicle chargers in their places of work.

So, with a massive shift happening on the UK’s roads, how will the energy grid be affected?

Does the energy grid have the capacity to support more charging?

In short, yes.

According to National Grid’s project director, it is expected that electricity demand would increase by 10% if the entire country switched to EVs overnight and started charging.

Some might argue that 10% is a huge increase. However, increased reliance on off-grid energy sources such as solar panels has helped the country to rely less on the energy grid. In fact, the UK’s peak demand has fallen by 16% since 2002.

Basically, if we all started charging our cars today, we’d still be putting less strain on the energy grid than we were 19 years ago!

EV charger in car with graphics indicating charge progress

When is the best time to charge my vehicle?

Whilst the grid could certainly handle the demand if all vehicles were charged at once, this would be less efficient.

The grid sees the most demand between 6pm and 10pm. This is when most people return home from work; they’ll be switching lights on as it gets dark and using appliances.

When someone returns home from work, they will likely put their vehicle on charge straight away.

However, this may not be ideal. Having peaks and troughs of energy demand isn’t as efficient as having a balanced demand throughout the day.

Currently, the grid’s peak demand is between 6pm and 10pm, but then this quickly drops as people go to sleep. Overnight, demand is much lower than average. This means certain systems must be turned off, in order to not supply too much power to the country.

Therefore, the best time to charge your electric vehicle may be just before you go to bed. If cars were left charging from 10pm to 6am, this would fill in the huge gap in demand. Night time charging would also mean there isn’t an increased strain on the grid during the peak hours, which already require a lot of power.

When the demand is more balanced throughout the day, the system works more efficiently, meaning electricity costs will actually be lower for the consumer.

Are you ready for electric vehicles?

The UK seems to be well prepared for the changes ahead. When will you be making the transition? Are you a fleet manager considering adopting a fleet of EVs?

We are now offering the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card, which means you can continue getting the benefits of a fuel card once you’re using EVs. You’ll save 2p per kWh, and you can continue using the card to pay for regular fuel.

Get in touch with Fuel Card Services today to see how we could help you. We can keep your fuel and charging costs low, and our fleet management services are to help your fleet work at maximum efficiency.

Electric charge point, charging a white electric car

Office for Zero Emission Vehicles – how can they help your business?

There’s no denying that the next decade will see many changes on our roads as zero emission vehicles become commonplace.

This change is not without government backing. In fact, a team exists within the government to support the UK’s transition – the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.

Who are the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV)?

OZEV is a team within the government working to support the UK’s transition towards electric infrastructure. The office is comprised of staff and funding from the Department for Transport, as well as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The office is responsible for advising ministers on matters concerning the transition to low emission vehicles. Their goal is to improve access to charging by supporting the rollout of charging infrastructure in order to make the transition more convenient and viable for consumers and businesses alike.

What are they specifically doing that could be of benefit to your business and fleet?

The Workplace Charging Scheme

OZEV operates the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS). This provides support to businesses, charities and public sector organisations looking to install electric vehicle charging points.

The WCS offers businesses up to £350 per socket for up to 40 charging sockets.

Your business can apply for the scheme if you meet the following criteria:

  • Are a registered company.
  • Must be either a public authority, or have received less than €200,000 of public support within the last 3 years.
  • Can either declare a need for charging equipment, or show intent to encourage EV uptake among staff or fleet.
  • Are located within the United Kingdom.
  • Have dedicated off-street parking.
  • Either own the property on which the charging points will be installed, or you can provide proof of consent from the landlord.

As of July 2021, the scheme has funded over 13,000 charging point installations.

In addition, drivers who personally own an electric vehicle can apply to the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which offer £350 to help towards installing a charging point at home.

Research and innovation

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles also funds and supports the research of emerging technologies. They hope that the UK can use the results of this research to “exploit and lead globally”.

Their goal is to use this research to make the most of the environmental and economic benefits that the country will see as we make the transition to a zero emissions infrastructure.

The government is set to provide £1.3 billion by 2025 in hopes of supporting the roll-out of charging points on motorways and A-roads, as well as in homes and businesses.

By 2023, OZEV aims to see a minimum of six high powered charge points at each motorway service area. By 2035, the government office expects to see 6,000 high powered chargers on the motorway network.

This is promising progress. Research suggests that the UK will need to install five times as many charging points as it has right now, if we are going to meet our climate goals.

Later this year, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles will release their Infrastructure Strategy. This will outline how they plan to support the charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030 phase out of carbon burning vehicles.

Row of electric cars connected to charging points

What is the 2030 ban on fossil fuel vehicles?

The government announced in 2020 that the sale and production of petrol and diesel cars would be banned in 2030.

This ban is just one step in the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan to revolutionise the UK’s industries and infrastructures to be more environmentally friendly, and make progress towards reaching our climate goals.

The ban was initially set to happen in 2040, only 10 years before the country aims to reach net zero. Pressure from green groups saw the ban brought forward to 2035, then again to 2030.

OZEV is the driving force behind ensuring that the UK has the infrastructure in place to support this change.

Many drivers have felt nervous about making the change to a low emissions vehicle. Fears about range limitations and charging speeds put a dent in the reputation of EVs. Drivers were worried that, compared to their fossil fuel burning vehicle, an EV would only travel a portion of the distance they required before having to stop at a charging point, which could take hours to get the battery up to full capacity.

With OZEV’s support and planning, however, these worries will likely subside in the coming years. The workplace and home charging schemes, as well as their funding towards public charging points will mean all drivers have easy access to EV charging.

How can Fuel Card Services help your business transition to EVs?

Businesses should ensure their fleets have easy access to the right charging facilities. On top of that, reducing fleet costs is equally important.

Our range of fleet management services can help your business save time and money, and ensure your operations run smoothly and efficiently. Get in touch with our team of experts today and see how we could help your business.