Lexus explains… is a new series designed to explain features, technologies and user questions related to modern vehicles. Each article provides clear, jargon-free answers, helpful tips and resources, as well as Lexus products or services that can help along the way. This article aims to demystify some of the questions surrounding electric vehicle charging.
Electric vehicles: context
Lexus has pioneered the electrification of luxury vehicle powertrains since 2005. During that time we have continued to improve the technologies and components associated with electrification. And by expanding this concept from hybrid to plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles (BEVs or simply EVs) such as the all-new Lexus RZ, we are shifting reliance from fossil-fuelled internal combustion engines to zero emission electric motors for our mobility.
This shift is now guaranteed in legislation, because from 2030 you will only be able to buy electrified new vehicles that offer a significant EV range. And then from 2035 it will not be possible to buy anything other than a zero emission new vehicle in the UK.
However the market is already ahead of the curve. Sales of pure BEVs are growing rapidly and it is evident from the ever-increasing volume of internet searches related to electric vehicles that many more are heading in that direction too.
Consumers have lots of questions about electric cars. Which suggests that many are either overwhelmed by the technology or unsure of how an electric vehicle can be conveniently integrated into their lives. So to help allay people’s concerns and ease their transition to zero emission mobility, we have put together a series of articles that address the following key areas of concern: charging, range and costs.
Lexus explains: electric vehicle charging
As the name suggests, a BEV is powered by electricity that is stored in an on-board battery pack. But that pack needs to receive its power from some form of electrical supply – a private charging point at home or a shared public charging point. This has prompted many to ask the following questions –
Question: How do I charge my car when on the go?
⦁ There are thousands of public charging options throughout the UK – more than 32,000 charging points across almost 20,000 locations at the last count. It is an infrastructure that is growing at a rate of more than 30% a year. By way of comparison, there are a little more than 8,300 traditional fuel stations in the UK
⦁ Some satellite navigation systems will be able to display a list of the nearest public charging stations and how far they are from your location. Alternatively, helpful smartphone apps such as Zap-Map will allow you to search for public charging points, plan longer journeys, pay on participating networks and share updates with fellow EV drivers
⦁ Lexus has also developed its own system for identifying and accessing more than 150,000 public charging points throughout Europe. Integrated into the Lexus Link app, the subscription-based Lexus Public Charging Network manages all of your EV information in one place
Question: Is it expensive to get a home charging system?
⦁ Lexus has partnered with British Gas to offer UK customers a complete home charger installation service. Prices begin at £939 and includes the recommended charger, installation and VAT
⦁ Homeowners living in flats and customers in rented accommodation (flats and single-use properties) can receive government funded financial support to install a home charging point. This grant will provide a 75% contribution to the cost, up to the value of £350
⦁ BEVs can also be charged using any domestic three-pin socket. Although this method has no additional set-up cost, it is the slowest means of charging
⦁ Real-life example: click this link to see Michelin-star chef Angela Hartnett explaining how she charges her Lexus UX 300e without a home charging point
Question: Does it take long to charge an electric vehicle?
⦁ The length of time it takes to charge an electric vehicle primarily depends on three factors: the size of the battery pack, the power of the electrical supply and the capability of the vehicle’s on-board charger. Other factors such as ambient temperatures and battery temperature will also affect charging times
⦁ Charging devices generally fall into one of four speed categories: slow (3-6kW), fast (7-22kW), rapid (25-99kW) and ultra-rapid (100+kW). The Lexus UX 300e can handle charge speeds from slow to rapid, while the forthcoming Lexus RZ will be able to accommodate ultra-rapid charging speeds up to 150kW
⦁ For reference, the Lexus UX 300e has a 54.3kW battery pack. A 50kW rapid DC charger will take the battery from 10-80% charge in as little as 46 minutes, whereas a 6.6kW AC home charger will fully charge the battery from empty in as little as eight hours 15 minutes. Charging from empty to full using a 13A domestic socket with a 2.2kW charging rate will take around 25 hours
Electric vehicle charging: conclusion
Every vehicle needs some kind of fuelling either before or during a journey; it’s just that an electric vehicle requires a different sort of replenishment. The bonus is that electric vehicles can be charged at home or on the move, while the list of public charging locations already far outweighs the number of traditional fuel stations. And if the length of your journey means that it is necessary to top-up your battery along the way, the possibility of ultra-rapid charging means that those breaks need not be very long.
Learn more: Lexus explains – electric vehicle range
Coming soon: Lexus explains – electric vehicle costs
Coming soon: Lexus explains – electric vehicles and the environment