“Give the battery a quick charge, please!”
Sounds absurd – but it isn’t.
Still, charging remains a stumbling block for many people interested in electric cars.
But in reality, there are now many more ways to charge a battery than there are to fill up a fuel tank.
Whether we like to admit it or not, charging batteries has become part of our everyday existence, just like the morning coffee or brushing your teeth at night.
Take mobile phones, for example. We plug them in every night, and chances are they haven’t been completely depleted in a long time.
The same goes for laptops, razors, and power drills.
We blindly trust that there is sufficient power left in them.
And very soon, we will do the same with regard to electro-mobility.
After all, an electric car gets a full charge overnight through a conventional outlet.
And no one will be driving it till the battery is dead anyway.
Instead the battery gets charged when it is convenient along the way.
Just as we do with our mobile phones.
Using permanently installed charging stations, the charging time at home can be shortened dramatically.
These so-called “wall boxes” are connected to high-power current outlets, just like your electric stove, and can charge your car’s battery with up to 11 kilowatts of electricity, making them five times more powerful, and quicker, than a normal outlet capable of delivering only two kilowatts on a continuous basis.
The new e-Golf, for example, with its impressive battery capacity of 35.8 kWh, can be completely charged within five hours using a wall box.
That is, if the battery is completely depleted at the outset.
Once charged, the car is ready for up to 300 kilometers of emission-free driving.
The number of charging stations is growing rapidly
Charging is even faster at one of the 7,500 public charging stations.
They are springing up in large numbers across urban centers, today.
You will find them in front of hotels or supermarkets, in downtown streets and parking garages.
Their number keeps growing every day, not least because shops and malls use them to attract buyers.
Whole cities are now competing for the best and most environmentally friendly charging infrastructure, for example by using their own solar power charging stations.
Whether Munich, Essen or Berlin – public charging points usually provide 22 kilowatts of power and can recharge a depleted Golf battery in about two hours.
Its little brother, the VW e-up! with its 18.7 kWh battery can be recharged on a lunch break.
You can check the charging status of your car with an app on your phone.
In addition, there is time for another espresso before getting back into a perfectly air-conditioned car.
As a little bonus for those running errands in the city, many towns with high traffic volume and few parking opportunities now offer free parking at charging stations.
When was the last time you were able to park for free at a downtown gas station?
High performance charging stations for longer distances
Critics are left with the long-distance argument, which can now be refuted with the existence of a tightly-knit network of fast charging stations, mostly located at motorway rest stops, exit roads and busy state routes.
Thanks to 50 kilowatts of DC power, these high-performance charging points can fully charge your car while you are having coffee.
Many of these government-subsidized stations provide power free of charge.
5,000 more will be added over the next two years, bringing their total up to roughly the number of regular gas stations now operating in Germany.
Five manufacturers offer high-voltage
The newly installed charging stations will include highly sophisticated HPC charging points.
HPC stands for “High Power Charging” and signifies a new high-performance charging standard – the result of a joint venture of German carmakers.
By 2020, the project called IONITY plans to install 400 multi-point charging stations at major thoroughfares across Europe.
This way it will be possible to charge cars with up to 350 kW of power, in almost no time at all.
Using the combined charging system (CCS), IONITY is set to guarantee compatibility with most electric vehicles of the current and future generation, across all brands.
At this time, the first charging points are being installed in Germany, Austria and Norway.
And all it takes to fully charge your car at one of those stations is a short bathroom break.
Afterwards, your car will be ready for more emission-free driving.
So, you could really use the phrase, “Give the battery a quick charge, please!”