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Busting electric car charging myths

Whether you’re a beginner or just need a quick reminder, here are your top charging tips

Two people high fiving in a car while driving

The whole notion of charging your electric vehicle (EV) can be a very confusing process to someone who’s completely new to the idea – and who’s used to sticking a nozzle in their car instead.

Whether it’s charging in the rain or fears of overcharging your electric vehicle, we’ve got the answers below:

Can you overcharge an electric car?

In short, no – you can’t overcharge an electric car’s battery because the battery management system attached to the battery pack won’t allow it to happen.

Electric cars are clever enough to stop charging at a certain point and start trickle-charging the battery to make sure it isn’t overcharging itself.

Another feature that many electric cars have is programming when you want it to fully charge by. For example, if you know you need to leave the house at 6am the next day, you tell the car and it will make sure to begin charging at the right time in order to stop charging at your chosen battery percentage before you need to leave.

Not only is this convenient for you, but it also ensures the battery isn’t charging unnecessarily and therefore preserving the longevity of the battery pack.

Is it safe to charge my electric car in the rain?

As a rule of thumb, all of us as children were always told never to mix water with electricity, and as we grow older, we realise why that is – and if you haven’t then you will very soon, no doubt.

This is why it’s such a popular question when it comes to EV ownership, because we have to charge our car and it often rains in the UK, but the outcome is very straightforward.

The simple answer is yes, of course you can charge your electric car in the rain. In fact, you can charge them in all weather conditions. This is because EVs are built to withstand water from getting in anywhere it shouldn’t, like the battery pack or motor.

This is why, in theory, you could drive an electric car through a lake or river (but we wouldn’t recommend it).

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Why is EV charging terminology so confusing?

When experts speak about electric cars, it can be confusing. They talk about all these DCs and ACs and kWhs, but what do they mean?

Because there are countless different terms, you’re better off reading our full guide to EV terms, but here are the main five we find occur daily:

  • DC = Direct Current – used when describing fast charging

  • H3: AC = Alternating Current – used to refer to an electric current that continuously changes direction

  • kW = Kilowatts – Basic measurement of an EVs power

  • kWh = Kilowatt-Hour – How much power a Kilowatt can supply

Is charging an electric car actually cheaper than petrol or diesel?

Fuel and electricity prices are changing all the time. When it comes to electric vehicles, there are so many factors that determine the cost of your charge such as where you live, what charger you use, and which electric car you have.

With fuel prices constantly changing, however, it’s hard to gauge which is cheaper, so make sure to keep an eye on our fuel cost guides.

When it comes to the cost of charging motoring editor Sam Sheehan says that powering your electric car is more cost-effective than refuelling its petrol and diesel siblings.

Sam says: “It’s tricky to determine exactly how much you’ll pay per charge.

“As it depends on a number of factors, from your car model and battery capacity to the charger you use.

“Generally speaking, recharging your EV from your driveway can be very affordable. You may even be able to fully charge your car at home for as little as £6.

“If you’re out and about and need to charge your car, bear in mind that there are some spots that allow you to do it for free.

“For example, supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury’s provide their customers with free charging points, meaning you can do your food shopping as your car recharges.”

Is range anxiety really a thing?

People who have never owned an EV before are often sceptical because of ‘range anxiety’, but the reality is that most users won’t even be phased by the remaining range whatsoever.

This is because the average UK commuter travels around 20 miles a day to get to work, so even the lowest-range EVs that get 100 miles would happily do you for a week on a single charge.

As for those who do longer journeys, you shouldn’t need to worry because the charging infrastructure is improving by the day, and therefore making a thousand-mile trip across the UK or Europe wouldn’t be all that difficult – so long as you plan out your route carefully.

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