Electric car owners warned to stop charging their EV at 80 percent

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Electric cars are quickly becoming more common on UK roads, with thousands switching their old petrol and diesel vehicles for EVs. December saw battery electric vehicles (BEVs) claim their largest-ever monthly market share, of an impressive 32.9 percent.

For 2022 as a whole, they comprised 16.6 percent of registrations, surpassing diesel for the first time to become the second most popular powertrain after petrol.

However, with the growth of eclectic cars, drivers are being warned to brush up on their knowledge of their vehicle and how to optimise them.

One key charging tip is to ensure they are keeping an eye on their re-charging speed at public charging units.

Rapid and ultra-rapid public chargers are designed to operate most efficiently when a vehicle’s state of charge is between 10 to 20 percent and 80 percent. 

If they remain plugged in once the EV has hit 80 percent, they’ll notice that the rate at which the charger is sending power to their vehicle reduces.

At this point, it will reduce quickly, sometimes to rates lower than using a 7kW home charger.

This is a common design feature aimed at prolonging the life of vehicle batteries. 

Therefore when it hits 80 percent or they notice the rate of charge is dramatically reduced, that is their cue to finish charging and allow another driver to use the charger.

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Mike Potter, CEO at DriveElectric, says: “With electric vehicles becoming the norm, lots of drivers new to electric cars are hitting the road and charging stations. 

“There are a few dos and don’ts that everyone should keep in mind when using a public EV charger, this is why we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know.

“Most electric vehicle drivers will need to use the public network, even if they do so infrequently, so adhering to these simple, friendly guidelines will prevent any unnecessary confrontations and ensure that driving an EV remains stress-free and enjoyable.”

At the end of December 2022, there were 37,261 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 22,049 charging locations. 

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This represents a 31 percent increase in the total number of charging devices since December 2021, data from Zap-Map has shown.

Drivers should also avoid charging when they don’t need to, especially in public where another motorist may be waiting to charge.

Trying to use a rapid DC charger when the battery is above 80 percent results in longer wait times, as both electric vehicles will only accept a lower rate of charge. 

A much better idea is to carry on with their journey when they’ve hit 80 percent and use another rapid charger for a quick top-up when closer to their destination.

Data from Zap-Map’s annual EV charging survey found that 84 percent of survey respondents have a home charger. Despite this, the vast majority of EV drivers (90 percent) continue to use the UK’s public charging networks on a regular basis.

In fact, the findings of the survey show that most use the public network on a more or less monthly basis, with some using it much more frequently and others less so.

The survey also found a significant increase in usage of EV charging hubs, partly due to the number of longer-range EVs now available. 

Indeed, hubs such as these are now the third most popular location type after supermarket car parks and motorway service stations, which continue to be the two most popular charging locations.

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