Getting your hands on your first ever electric car is so exciting, but it can also be daunting when it comes to getting used to all the new features. One of the most common questions or concerns new Electric Vehicle owners have is will my electric cars charge whilst driving? So, without further ado, let’s explore the matter! 🕵️
Can Electric Cars Charge When Driving?
Let’s cut to the chase: no, at the moment, unlike some hybrid vehicles, full electric cars are not capable of driving and charging at the same time. That’s because an electric car needs to be plugged into a charging station in order to charge. Though the technology is absolutely impressive, it’s not yet at a point where it offers the option of charging at the same time as driving. However, some electric vehicles recharge slightly when you use the brakes.
But right now you’re probably wondering, don’t electric cars have alternators? Don’t they get powered up like normal cars do when you drive? Well, electric cars don’t quite work like that. Cars that run on gas have alternators that charge the batteries when driven - a current is created and sent back to the battery to make it run.
However, electric cars don’t actually have an engine per se, therefore they don’t have any mechanical energy they can use. That’s why the only way to charge an electric car, for now, is to plug it into a charging station or a plug in your home. It can take EVs anywhere from half an hour to a few hours to charge up fully depending on their battery size.
Can Electric Cars Charge While Braking?
As we previously mentioned and stated in our article about the best EV facts, some electric cars charge when they brake. The first people to create this technology was the American Motor Car company, in 1967, with the Amitron model. Then, Toyota started using the technology for their own Prius models.
This works by using kinetic energy to create a charge and is widely used in different types of electric and hybrid vehicles nowadays. There’s a battery in these EVs that powers the motor, which then generates a rotational force which in turn makes the wheels go round. The energy from that force is reserved and sent back into the battery - the only thing the driver needs to do is to brake or even lift their foot off the accelerator.
How to Charge Your Electric Car
Charge Your Electric Car at Home
If you want to charge your electric vehicle at home, so that you can wake up with a full tank in the morning, there are two ways you could proceed. You can totally use a normal plug, but you’ll find that using a special home EV charger is best.
That’s because these dedicated charges will deliver around 7kW of power, whereas domestic plug sockets only give out 2.3kW. As a result, you will be able to charge your electric car at home without any special equipment, but you’ll definitely have to wait much longer before you get a full battery charge. In fact, it will be three times faster to use a dedicated EV charger than a normal plug at home.
It costs around £800 to set up a home charge point, but you can currently get a grant from the OLEV (the Office for Low Emission Vehicles) under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme for a maximum amount of £350. You might also be eligible if you own an electric car and have off-street parking.
Charge Your Electric Car While You’re at Work
Many commuters who live far from their workplace use work charging stations to make up for the trip. If you find that your place of work doesn’t yet have an EV charging point set up, you could suggest they use the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS). It offers a contribution towards the costs of buying and installing EV charge points, for a maximum of 20 sockets and capping the amount at £300 per socket. Your employer can apply for a voucher online.
Charging Your Electric Car in the Street
Fun fact: there are more electric vehicle charging points than petrol stations in the UK. You can find them anywhere from car parks to shopping centres, supermarkets, petrol stations, and random streets throughout the country. In fact, in May 2020, there were a total of 31,737 charging points throughout 11,377 different locations in the UK.
There are also many public EV networks for charging around the country. Polar is the largest, and you can access charge through their app or membership card with a pay-as-you-go subscription. There is also Ecotricity which uses an app to control the charge and of course Tesla with their Superchargers.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?
It will cost you around £5 if you want to fully charge your electric car at home. However, if you want to do so at a rapid charger, it will cost you anywhere from £7 to £10. Of course, this will vary depending on energy cost, your car’s battery capacity, charging speed, and more. What we can say for sure is that charging an electric car is incredibly cheaper than filling up the tank on a petrol or diesel car - especially at the moment…
The Bottom Line
Having an electric car is an amazing experience. First of all, it’s better for the environment. You also won’t have to worry about congestion charges if you want to drive in London, for example. They cost unbelievably less to run, and you’ll be able to benefit from renewable energy tariffs when charging your car. You may be able to get government subsidies, and free parking, as well as much less noise pollution and more money when you sell.
Here at Carmoola, we’re passionate about helping people get their dream car. So, if an electric vehicle is what floats your boat, get in touch with us and we’ll do anything we can to help! We have a regularly updated blog brimming with resources about car finance and EVs, plus a handy app you can use to get an instant decision on your car finance. Cheers! 🚗😊