Not everyone’s head-over-heels smitten with the idea, but the nation’s curtains will soon enough be opened (remotely by app, of course) and households’ milk (sourced from carbon-neutral cattle) will be delivered (by robot or perhaps even drone) at the time when all bar amateur and professional collectors’ cars will be powered by the marvellous invisible juice that is electricity.
Anyone new to the world of plugging a car in rather than visiting a fuel forecourt may have understandably found the different cables in terms of type and brand along with the various charge-points out there pretty daunting, but many PHEV and full EV adopters have got into the stride fairly quickly, the discipline of charging having become an unconscious part of their daily routines.
Electric battery ranges continuously improve with each new tranche of EVs and PHEVs that hits the road, recent newcomers like the new Nissan LEAF and Audi e-tron knocking on the door of 240 miles, the Kia e-Niro touted as good for 280 miles and the Tesla Model S Long Range reckoned to have an incredible 375 miles in its sights.
Charging some of the early electric cars to hit the scene was as tedious as watching a kettle boil or paint dry, but flat-to-80% recharging times and technology have also fortunately kept on getting better, and while 3-to-7kW (kilowatts) domestic home ‘wallbox’ chargers still typically need at least three or as many as eight hours in some cases, certain 22kW ‘fast’ boxes like those commonly found in shopping and leisure centres plus supermarkets can now be installed at home.
Without going too techie, chargers exist in AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) guises, and the Holy Grail is to buy or lease an electric car that is compatible with next-generation ultra-rapid chargers. These are generally regarded as ones providing an output of 100kW or more, up to as high as 350kW in some cases, shrinking the battery recharging time of suitable cars to around 30 minutes in many instances and as quickly as 8 minutes at the extreme. Handy websites such as Zap-Map can be used to easily identify the location of various chargers, with rapid DC points shown in purple. Early EV converts will no doubt have heard of Tesla’s ‘superchargers’, which are basically the American firm’s own brand of rapid chargers that originally pumped out 145kW but this has now been lowered to 120kW. Elon’s company is working on upping them to 150kw, though, as a step towards its 250kW V3 superchargers.
Completely emptying a battery until it’s flat as a pancake and then recharging it back up to a full 100% isn’t actually good for it, and it bizarrely takes relatively longer for a battery to charge from 80% to full, in case anyone was wondering why electric car manufacturers often quote four-fifths instead of to the brim.
‘Type 2’ connectors are exclusive to rapid AC chargers, making CCS or CHAdeMO variants the focus for prospective electric car plunge-takers who will only do so if the EVs they buy or lease can be charged at over 100kW. Rapid charge-points are almost always ‘tethered’, with the cable attached to the terminal, understandably limiting usage to compatible cars only, while some cars are equipped with both AC and DC ports, one on each flank.
IONITY has started rolling out blindingly perky 350kW charges in partnership with BMW, Ford, Mercedes and VW Group brands including Audi and Porsche, its first UK charging station located in Maidstone, Kent. The question is, which cars are capable of ultra-rapid charging, whether through CSS or CHAdeMO, in genuinely swift time courtesy of three-figure power outputs?
Ingolstadt’s luxury SUV is equipped for 150kW public charging taking it to a reported 80% in under 30 minutes and to a full 100% in less than an hour.
The 100kW electric compact crossover from Citroen’s luxury spinoff takes just 30 minutes to recuperate its battery from one fifth to four-fifths when plugged in to a rapid charger.
A beautiful feline crossover with a stunning interior and a battery range of up to 292 miles, it’s equipped with 100kW rapid charging preparation, taking 40 minutes to boost capacity to that magical 80% figure.
Indeed, another prestige German SUV, but this time one with a 110kW charge rating, equating to a 40-minute recharge time to achieve 80%.
France’s new all-electric hatchback exudes typical design flair on the outside and will be able to benefit from the UK’s rapid charger roll-out, with a time of 30 minutes.
The relatively affordable Model 3, recently introduced to tempt drivers away from the likes of the BMW 3 Series, has already had its firmware updated to benefit from 200kW public CSS charging, making it the fastest-charging car currently on the scene. It’s anticipated to soon receive an upgrade to 250kW. As a side note, Tesla has proudly revealed that all Model S and Model X cars produced after May 1st 2019 can be charged at CCS Combo 2 charging sites by using an adapter.
Britain’s all-new hatchback favourite will soon be appearing on UK roads and is available to order now for leasing in electric guise, with a 30-minute 15-80% top-up time cited, perfect for grabbing a coffee.
VW’s forthcoming electric hatchback will be a hugely important and no doubt extremely popular EV and will initially be offered in 45kWh, 58kWh and 77kWh battery sizes with respective zero-emissions ranges of 205, 260 and 341 miles, the mid-range model equipped for 100kW rapid charging while the range-topper will take 125kW so is the pick if the budget allows.
The all-electric ‘Recharge’ version of this highly attractive compact SUV sets off on the right foot with 150kW DC recharging capability, 40 minutes taking it from 10 to 80% - ample time for devouring some equally Swedish meatballs from that well-known furniture retailer.
With electric cars becoming ever more affordable to buy and lease, their battery ranges continuously increasing to make them very much a mainstream proposition, and with forecourts, charging networks and others regularly announcing power and speed upgrades for their rapid charge points, it’s no surprise that EVs are proliferating, the latest breed of ultra-rapid models set to accelerate uptake to a whole new level.
If you’re unsure which electric car lease would suit your lifestyle, get in touch with CarLeasingPeople’s friendly team for some suggestions.