Accounting for 10% of new car sales in 2022, electric vehicles are becoming a common sight on roads and highways across the globe. Experts predict that by 2030, EVs will account for nearly half of all new car sales, which means it won’t be long before electric vehicles become the standard while traditional gas-powered designs go the way of the dodo.
In the meantime, consumers are doing their best to learn everything there is to know about owning electric vehicles. It doesn’t take long to realize EVs are superior in terms of experience, maintenance, and value. However, there’s one thing everyone who wants to own EVs wonders about sooner or later: how will the charging process compare to the refueling process?
Generally speaking, charging an electric vehicle is no different from charging an iPhone. There’s a charging port in lieu of a filler neck, in which a plug is inserted instead of a nozzle. Instead of filling a gas tank, you’re recharging a battery.
With that said, there are more EV charging options than most people think. With several solutions already available and more on the way, it’s important for folks to know their options before going forward with buying an electric vehicle.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at six different EV charging solutions:
Slow charging stations
Also known as Level 2 charging stations or AC charging stations, slow EV charging stations are designed to charge an electric vehicle within the confines of a residential power supply. These stations typically provide 3.3 kW to 22 kW charging power and can charge an EV in a few hours. Slow charging stations are commonly found in homes, workplaces, and public areas.
Fast charging stations
Fast charging stations, also known as Level 3 charging stations or DC fast chargers, are designed to charge an electric vehicle (EV) quickly. These charging stations typically provide 50 kW or higher charging power and can charge an EV to 80% of its battery capacity in less than 30 minutes.
Portable charging solutions
As the name suggests, portable charging stations are small, lightweight charging units that can be carried in the trunk of an electric vehicle. These options are designed for emergency situations and can provide a slow charge to the EV. They are typically equipped with a Level 1 charging cable that can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet. They’re meant to help EV motorists get to the nearest charging station rather than provide enough power for long-distance travel.
Wireless charging solutions
Wireless charging stations, also known as inductive charging stations, use electromagnetic fields to transfer energy wirelessly from a charging pad to an electric vehicle. These stations typically provide 7.2 kW charging power and require the EV to be equipped with a wireless charging receiver. The technology behind wireless charging – and the infrastructure required to make it happen – are still being developed, but experts predict wireless charging to become widely available by the end of the decade.
Solar-powered charging stations
While the charging time is unlikely to exceed level 1 speeds, solar-powered charging stations are an obvious way to achieve clean energy. The design is easy to understand: canopies topped with solar panels are connected to charging stations below, taking solar power and making it available for EV charging. The downside is that such charging solutions can only be used in the daytime when the sun is out.
Battery swapping solutions
Another EV charging solution on the horizon, battery swapping is what it sounds like: rather than wait for the battery to charge, it’s swapped out for a fully charged one. The depleted battery is recharged, and the process starts over again. While not currently practical due to the wide variety of EV designs, battery swapping could be a viable solution in the event EV designs become more standardized across various makes and models.
The future of automobiles is fully-electric. But in order to get there, the world is going to need a lot more charging stations. Fortunately, there are many options available, with more charging solutions on the way. For those thinking about buying an EV in 2023, the promise of so many charging options brings peace of mind and reassurance that such a purchase will be the right move going forward.
Sean Dalton is a freelance writer from California. He enjoys writing about cars, real estate, and technology.