Hier klicken für deutschen Text. In our three-part series, we clarify all questions about electric cars. In part 1, we reported on the acquisition costs and funding options and which e-models will be on the market in 2021. We have also shown which decision criteria lead to the right electric car.

In our second part, we report on the range and the various charging options for an e-car.

 

Part 1:

1. Which electric car is right for me?

2. What funding is currently available in Germany and how can it be applied for?

  • Calculation model for the new electric car
  • Calculation model of a used electric car
  • Tax benefits for electric cars

3. Which cars up to € 40,000 will be on the market in 2021?

  • Which e-cars have all-wheel drive?


Part 2:

4. What is the range of an electric car?

  • What is the actual range?
  • How does the range change?
  • Tricks to extend your reach

5. How does charging work?

  • Are there enough charging stations? What is the planning and infrastructure in Germany?
  • How long does it take to charge an electric car?
  • How much does it cost to top up?
  • Should an electric car be charged from a normal socket?
  • Can an e-car be charged from a CEE socket (heavy current)?
  • What is a wallbox?
  • Which wallbox for which car?
  • What are the costs and what funding is there for a wallbox?
  • What should be considered when purchasing a wallbox?
  • As a tenant and apartment owner, can I have a wallbox installed?


Part 3:

6. Is switching to an electric car worth it?

7. Am I helping the environment when I switch from a combustion engine to a battery-powered car?

  • Can old batteries from e-cars be recycled?

8. What should I look out for when buying an e-car?

 

With so many different statements about electric cars, it is important that drivers know the full facts before ruling out switching to an electric car.

Many people say: “E-cars are only for people with money” or “I want to travel spontaneously and need a car that drives for a long time without waiting”. Many also stress the thought of not finding a charging station and standing in nowhere. Some also wonder whether there are also e-cars without gears. The answer: E-cars are only available without a gear shift.

4. What is the range of an electric car?

Thanks to improved battery technology, real ranges of more than 300 km and more are now possible; this range is only slightly different from cars with internal combustion engines.

What is the actual range?

Many end-users are already familiar with the problem from conventionally powered cars – the manufacturers’ fuel consumption figures are usually higher in reality.

It is therefore understandable that the question of how the manufacturer’s specification WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure) corresponds to the actual range is also being asked for e-cars.

How does the range change?

With electric vehicles, in particular, the use of heating and air conditioning leads to changed ranges.

A study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) came to the result that an average of 17 percent of range is lost during the warmer seasons and as much as 41 percent in the cold months. If they are switched off, this has an enormous effect on the battery capacity: instead of 41, electric cars lose an average of only twelve percent of range in winter, and in summer it is only four instead of 17 percent.

Tricks to extend your reach

With a forward-looking driving style and the following tricks, the range can be increased and also makes sense in terms of environmental protection:

Speed: A higher speed consumes more power and requires more frequent charging, while a defensive driving style increases the range. In this point, an electric car does not differ in its behavior from a vehicle with a combustion engine.

Temperature fluctuations: Use heating and air conditioning as sparingly as possible: In contrast to a combustion engine, an electric motor hardly generates any waste heat. That in itself is an advantage and a reason for the much higher efficiency of the electric motor. However, it also means that heating power must be drawn directly from the battery. The consumption for this is by no means negligible and has a corresponding impact on the range. The same effect occurs in the warm season if you use air conditioning. It is advisable to turn on the heating and air conditioning when the car is connected to a charging station. The power is then drawn directly from the power grid and does not burden the battery. In this way, you can keep your car at a comfortable temperature for the onward journey.

Brake with the engine: This advice also applies to internal combustion engines, but in this case only for reasons of road safety. In contrast to internal combustion engines, an electric motor can also be used as a generator. This process is known as “recuperation” when operating an electric car. When the electric car moves and the motor remains connected to the wheels without power, part of the kinetic energy is converted back into electricity and the battery is charged. The more you brake with the engine, the greater the range of your electric car.

Correct charging cycle: For a long-range, the battery of the electric car must remain as powerful as possible. As such, the storage capacity of the battery slowly decreases with use. You can slow down this waste significantly if you do not fully charge the battery, but also do not completely empty it. It is best for the charge in the battery to be between 10 and 90 percent of the capacity.

Tire pressure: Optimal tire pressure generates low rolling resistance and thus contributes to low fuel consumption.

There are already technical solutions, like the one from Bareways, who are developing a tool that will summarize intelligent data such as battery level, road conditions, weather, the weight of the car, the use of heating and air conditioning, the way you drive and tire pressure, to calculate the perfect route for the e-car with any necessary stops at charging stations. In this way, drivers of electric cars get to their destination safely and relaxed and receive feedback on the route and the status of the battery throughout the journey. Suitable charging stations in the area are displayed in good time for charging if the current charge is not sufficient for the route.

Avoid Precipitation

5. How does charging work?

To charge an electric car, a special charging cable (in-cable control box / ICCB) with a control and protection device, which is included in the delivery of most electric cars, is required.

There are two types of current and different charging cables to charge an electric car:

  • AC stands for Alternating Current and is the type of electricity that is available in your own home or in cities. It is alternating currents with charging speeds of 3, 7, 11, 22 or 43.6 kW. Anyone charging their electric car at an AC charging station is using normal charging.
  • DC charging: DC stands for Direct Current. Charging at a DC charging station saves you a lot of time because fast charging takes place here. You can usually find such charging stations on motorways, and to a small extent even in city centers. The power throughput here is up to 150 kW.
Avoid Precipitation

When the German charging station regulation came into force on March 17, 2016, the Combined Charging System (CCS) was made the standard for all charging stations in public spaces in Europe. Some car manufacturers have announced in advance that they will produce all models with CCS in the future. The combined charging system guarantees both chargings at normal charging columns with alternating current (AC charging columns) and fast charging with direct current (DC charging columns). This means that all applications can be covered. The CHAdeMO charging system favored by Japanese manufacturers and the Chinese system based on GB Standard 20234 competes with CCS.

Are there enough charging stations? What is the planning and infrastructure in Germany?

According to the Bundesnetzagentur figures from June 1, 2021, 37,705 normal charging points and 6,395 fast-charging points have been reported that are publicly accessible and in operation.

In its 15-point plan for the expansion of electromobility in Germany, the Association of the Automotive Industry calls for charging stations to be expanded to more than 1 million charging points by 2030. To do this, more than 2,000 new charging points have to be set up every week. However, only about 300 are currently being built on public spaces per week. A nationwide high-speed program with specific targets for the federal states and municipalities is needed to catch up. The same is necessary for the EU as a whole.

The tasks for the expansion of the charging infrastructure and the funding programs are distributed among several federal ministries, the federal states and municipalities and the European Union.

Charging stations with an output of up to 350 kW are planned for the future so that the car would be charged in just a few minutes. Charging options are mainly to be found in cities because there they are more profitable than in rural areas due to the higher volume. To help pass the waiting time, the stations are often located near restaurants, shopping centers, cafes, parking garages, or municipal facilities.

There are various directories in which charging stations can be found:

Ladesäulenregister: Germany

Ladesäulenkarte der Bundesnetzagentur: Germany

IONITY: Europe

EnBW: Europe

ZAP MAP: UK

 

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The charging time of an e-car depends primarily on the battery capacity and the charging power. A larger battery needs more time until its full capacity is available again. But then it also depends on whether you charge at a quick charging station, a wallbox, or the socket at home. The duration of the charging process varies greatly depending on this.

Here is an example: The Hyundai Kona Elektro is available with a 39.2 kWh battery and a 64 kWh battery. The charging time at a household socket is approx. 14 hours for the smaller battery, and even approx. 23 hours for the larger one.

If a wallbox with 11 kW is used for charging, the 39.2 kWh battery is fit again in approx. 8 hours, with the 64 kWh battery it is only approx. 6 hours. Both batteries are fully recharged in just 54 minutes via a 100 kW fast-charging station.

You can roughly calculate the loading time yourself using the following formula:

Charging time = battery capacity (kWh) ÷ charging power (kWh)

A table of the charging times of the current electric cars can be viewed here.

How much does it cost to top up?

According to the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW), the average price for one kilowatt-hour of electricity in Germany in 2021 will be 31.89 cents.

On average, € 4 per 100 kilometers can be expected. In contrast, a charge costs an average of € 6-9.

The prices for charging e-cars at public charging stations are quite different. Often, bills are charged per charge and charging capacity. If the battery of your e-car has long-range and it can be charged quickly, you can get away much cheaper in the long run than with a small lithium battery.

In addition, large shopping chains are starting to set up charging stations in their customer parking lots. Since these serve to attract customers, various special conditions can be expected.

There are now many providers of special car electricity tariffs that are tailored to charging at home. It’s worth making a comparison!

If the consumption of the electric car is known, the cost of electricity for 100 kilometers can easily be calculated:

Costs per 100 km = electricity price (€) x consumption (kWh / 100 km)

Example: The Nissan Leaf consumes approx. 15 kW per 100 km: 31.89 € x 15 kW / 100 = 4.78 €

Should an electric car be charged from a normal socket?

All electric cars can be charged with alternating current from a normal household socket. This requires a charging cable with a so-called in-cable control box (ICCB), which is included with most vehicles. However, charging at a household socket takes a relatively long time because only a comparatively low amount of power can be transmitted. The socket used and its connection cable are heavily loaded for many hours. Therefore, the socket and the connection installation should be carefully checked before charging. It is recommended to use a separate and extra secured connection line in the house without additional consumers. For security reasons, it is not advisable to load on unknown installations.

Can an e-car be charged from a CEE socket (heavy current)?

CEE sockets are also known as industrial sockets, high-voltage, power or three-phase sockets. With CEE connections, up to 22 kW alternating current (AC) charging capacities can be achieved. If the electric car to be charged can process this charging power, the charging time is reduced to 1–3 hours, depending on the size of the battery. A mobile charging box is required for charging at these CEE sockets. This ensures communication with the connected electric vehicle and regulates the corresponding charging power.

Mobile charging boxes are available from various manufacturers. Industrial sockets are available in several variants depending on the power range (red or blue, 32 A or 16 A, three- or single-phase). With the appropriate adapters, a mobile charging box can be connected to all of these variants. For the CEE connection, it is advisable to use a separate supply line that is specially protected by a residual current circuit breaker (FI / RCD). The charging power set on the charging box must not exceed the connected load of the CEE socket used, otherwise, the fuses will trip.

What is a wallbox?

A wallbox is a special socket for the wall that charges the battery of the electric car up to ten times faster than a household socket; instead of 2.3 kW, up to 22 kW are possible. It is the safest and fastest way to charge a Stromer at home, it has an FI circuit breaker and protects against electric shocks or overheating.

Wallboxes, no matter what type, are connected to a separately secured supply line of the house installation. The differences for the customer are in the charging capacity and the ease of use of the respective wallbox. The ADAC has tested 18 wallboxes that are freely available in stores.

Which wallbox for which car?

The wallbox and the vehicle to be charged must match. This should be considered when choosing a wallbox. The onboard charger integrated in the e-car is crucial. Depending on the manufacturer and model, the onboard chargers are either single-phase, two- or even three-phase. A three-phase wallbox is of no advantage if the car can only draw single-phase electricity due to the onboard charger. But it costs only slightly more and is sustainable if the next electric car should have several current phases.

In some cases, e-car manufacturers offer onboard chargers with higher charging capacities for a surcharge. These options are just as recommended in terms of more flexible use and better resale value, as is the direct current fast-charging connection, which is not always standard.

What are the costs and what funding is there for a wallbox?

There are now hundreds of providers of charging stations. The price ranges from around € 500 to around € 2000 (excluding installation). There are sometimes big differences, even with models at the same price level. The advantages and disadvantages in detail can only be revealed through special investigations. The ADAC has therefore tested various wall boxes. The test winner is the Kostad TX-1000. However, the Kostad is no longer available. However, it is based on the “Terra AC wall charging station from ABB”, which is still available. According to ADAC, the test results can probably be transferred to this wallbox. It is currently available for 1177 euros plus installation costs of around € 800-1200 and, according to the provider, has a delivery time of around 3-4 weeks.

A good compromise – and therefore the ADAC recommendation – is an 11 kW wallbox. It can charge single-phase as well as two- and three-phase and is usually sufficient for overnight charging, even with larger batteries. Especially since the battery is rarely completely empty.

Since autumn 2020, the federal government has been supporting tenants, homeowners and landlords financially in the installation of private charging stations.

Grant 440 has been financed by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and was topped up again on July 15, 2021 with 300 million euros. Applications can be submitted here.

It makes sense to regularly monitor the information on funding and to inquire about funding options in your own federal state because these are constantly changing.

What should be considered when purchasing a wallbox?

  • A wallbox may only be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Funding opportunities must usually be applied for prior to installation.
  • The wallbox and the vehicle to be charged must match.
  • Charging devices for electric vehicles must be registered with the network operator and approval is required for more than 11 kW.
  • A well thought-out cable management (winding) and connector garage make everyday use of the charging cable easier.
  • A DC fault current detection integrated in the wallbox reduces the costs of house installation. However, this must also function in accordance with the standards.
  • Before purchasing, precisely define the equipment requirements for the wallbox. These are heavily dependent on the domestic environment (e.g. integration in a photovoltaic system, control options, energy meters, etc.).

As a tenant and apartment owner, can I have a wallbox installed?

With the entry into force of the Apartment Modernization Act on December 1st, 2020, apartment owners and tenants will be entitled to install a charging station in the underground car park or on the property of the house. The law generally makes it easier for apartment owners and tenants to make structural changes.

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