Charging isn’t rocket science

Charging isn’t rocket science

eMOBILITY

You can charge an electric car in any weather – there’s nothing to fear. What’s more, there are lots of ways to make charging easier and faster, while improving battery life. Check out some advice from an expert.

22. 9. 2022

All you have to do is drive up to the charger, plug the connector into the socket and that’s it. That’s how simple charging electric cars already is. Still, it’s a good idea to follow a few tips and practices that can extend battery life or reduce charging times.

An increasingly common sight - an electric car charging in front of a house.

Modern, high-capacity batteries provide sufficient electric vehicle range. But the way the car is used, and especially how it is charged, can have a significant impact on its lifetimes. “ŠKODA and other brands in Volkswagen Group guarantee that the battery capacity will not fall below 70% for at least eight years or 160,000 kilometres,” says David Pekárek, battery expert at the Czech carmaker. 

“We know from experience that battery health is actually much better at those intervals. But it all depends on how the car is used,” he adds. According to Pekárek, for example, the battery does not benefit from long periods of non-use when fully charged or, conversely, fully discharged.

A well-charged battery

The basic rule of thumb is to keep the battery between 10% and 80% of its capacity. “We recommend charging to 100% only before a longer journey. Ideally, you should set the desired departure time in the car’s system and set off as soon as possible after charging the car to 100%,” says Pekárek. The battery care mode feature, where you can tell the battery to stop charging when it reaches 80% capacity, and deferred charging will help keep the battery in the ideal capacity range.

Modern infotainment systems help with charging by finding the closest charging station and informing the driver about its parameters.

For longer journeys, it’s preferable to schedule more stops with the option of faster charging rather than charging the battery to full. You’ll spend less time charging because charging slows down significantly when you hit 80% capacity, especially with fast chargers. At the same time, ŠKODA’s high-voltage charging systems expert Michal Hora recommends that DC charging with higher outputs should only be used on the road and when absolutely necessary. Battery health benefits most from AC charging, for example in the home environment. The reason is that fast charging generates heat, which is not good for the battery, even though it is actively cooled. Lower-power home charging generates minimal heat. (What’s more, electricity prices in the home tend to be lower than in public places.)

Smart interior cooling or heating

When it comes to charging in freezing weather, the ideal scenario for longer journeys is as follows: in the car’s system, enable an exception to charge the car to 100% and, when you set the departure time, also set the temperature the occupants want the interior heated to. The car will not only charge, but also preheat the car’s interior using electricity from the grid and the vehicle’s battery. It is then a good idea to use fast charging on the road when the car is warm and the battery is therefore also at operating temperature: charging will then be as quick as possible. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to leave charging, say, till the next morning, for example, and going to the fast charger before you leave, when the battery will be cold and charging slow.

Preheating the interior, or cooling it in summer, will extend the car’s range: it will take less energy to maintain the set temperature than if the interior is heated or cooled after the journey has started. It’s also more comfortable, as the occupants’ teeth won’t be chattering or they won’t be soaked in sweat for the first few kilometres in the car. “In extreme temperatures, you always have to take into account that charging may be slightly slower than in normal situations. In winter the battery needs to be heated, on hot summer days it needs to be cooled,” says Michal Hora, adding that everything works ideally from about room temperature upwards and that ŠKODA electric cars manage the battery cooling or heating system completely by themselves: the user doesn’t have to worry about anything (except setting up the interior heating or cooling before the journey).

Charging is safe even in the rain

Both at home and on the road, charging really can be as simple as driving up, parking and plugging in. To charge an electric car as efficiently as possible at home, experts recommend getting a wallbox that allows the car to be charged with AC power of up to 11 kW. “A wallbox is the simplest and most practical solution, and in the future it will also be possible to connect it to the house’s energy management system and link it to the generation of electricity using solar panels on the house,” says Hora. 

ŠKODA offers its own wallboxes for convenient home charging.

He also assures us that there is no need to fear charging in any weather as long as basic safety instructions are followed. “It’s no problem to charge in the rain or even storms. The charging system is separate from the car body and it is grounded while charging. The charging connector is then designed so that water can’t get into it, so it can be used outdoors even in the rain,” explains Hora, adding that the occupants can either stay in the car or go elsewhere during charging. “The status of the charging process can be easily monitored via a mobile app.

michal_hora Michal Hora
ŠKODA’s high-voltage charging systems expert

If they choose to stay in the car, they can make use of the car’s conveniences without any problems: listening to the radio, charging a mobile phone or tablet etc. “These devices’ consumption is minimal and they can be used without any impact on charging,” Hora explains. Interior heating or cooling is not a problem either on the fast chargers.

746_22_SKODA_enyaq_serial_banner_desktop_1000x1000_EN

“I know from my own experience that running an electric car is very comfortable and more cost-effective than a car with an internal combustion engine. Servicing is also less of a hassle. I’ve been using my ŠKODA electric car every day for two years now and I wouldn’t go back to an internal combustion engine,” says Michal Hora. And even though the practical experience is already good, he concedes that the aim is to keep improving things, of course: future electric cars should offer faster charging options, be more affordable and have a longer battery life. “There’s always room for improvement,” concludes Hora.

Did you know:

You can charge an electric car in the rain or in storms – both the electrical system and the charging connector are designed for it
While you’re charging, you can stay in the car and even listen to the radio if you want, or you can leave the car, checking the charging status using a mobile app
It doesn’t do the battery good when it’s either discharged or fully charged for long periods. Keeping the battery charged between 10% and 80% is ideal

Next up in Future Mobility series

Show more Show less