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ABCs of EV Charging in India

Before we jump into ABCs of EV Charging, let’s first look at why a new EV owner should try understanding the vehicle by driving under different temperature, conditions like city, highway.



Know Your EV(KYE)


Getting to know how to drive an EV under various conditions is crucial for new EV owners to optimize efficiency(mileage), understand the vehicle's range capabilities, and adapt their driving habits. Why familiarizing yourself with driving an EV under different conditions is important:

  • Efficiency Optimization: Driving an EV efficiently helps maximize its range and overall performance. By experimenting with different driving conditions, such as city driving, highway driving, and varying speeds, you can gain insights into how your EV responds to different scenarios. Understanding these nuances will help you adjust your driving style to improve efficiency.

  • Range Estimation: Range anxiety is a common concern for new EV owners. Becoming familiar with driving your EV under different conditions allows you to estimate its range more accurately. By monitoring energy consumption during different trips and conditions, you can gain a better understanding of how factors such as speed, terrain, weather conditions, and the use of accessories (e.g., air conditioning) affect your vehicle's range.

  • Regenerative Braking Utilization: Modern EVs are equipped with regenerative braking, a feature that recaptures energy during deceleration and braking, converting it back into usable electricity. Learning to utilize regenerative braking effectively can improve efficiency and extend your vehicle's range. Experiment with different regenerative braking levels, if adjustable, to find the setting that suits your driving style and maximizes energy recapture. Use of regen also reduces wear & tear of brake pads.

  • Adaptation to EV-Specific Features: Electric vehicles often come with unique features that can impact efficiency and range. These features may include eco-driving modes, energy-saving options, preconditioning (preheating or precooling the vehicle while it's still connected to the charger), and personalized charging schedules. Familiarizing yourself with these features and understanding how they affect your EV's performance will help you leverage them effectively to optimize range and efficiency.

  • Overall Ownership Experience: Exploring your EV's efficiency and range capabilities under different driving conditions enhances your overall ownership experience. By gaining insights into your vehicle's performance, you can make informed decisions about charging habits, plan routes effectively, and adjust your driving behavior to maximize efficiency. It also allows you to fully appreciate the benefits and advantages of owning an EV, such as reduced emissions, lower fuel costs, and a quieter driving experience.



ARAI Range is not Real Range, DTE is not always correct


Range calculated by ARAI is overestimated. You can remove 30% range from ARAI to get a idea for somewhat average realistic range. Your range in summer, winter, city, highway will differ.


DTE(Distance to Empty) is a calculated figure based on your driving pattern over the last 50-100 km. The EV shows you the range based on this, so only assume the number displayed as approximate. If you are looking at a low number, and drive conservatively, you will see it gradually compensate for better efficiency. The opposite holds good if you drive at higher speeds/accelerate hard.


But, this can differ from vehicle to vehicle based on automaker's software. Some vehicle also might have a linear scale instead of driving based(like MG). Distance To Empty shown by your vehicle might not be always correct. That's why it's important to understand your vehicle performance by driving under different conditions as we discussed above.


Factors affecting range can be varied right from your drive mode, regeneration levels, Ac / heater usage, environmental change such as the battery temperature, the battery SOC, the electric current pattern, the degree of deterioration, elevation of the road, your driving style etc. Optimal tire pressure also ensures higher range.


Efficiency (Mileage)

Efficiency refers to how effectively an EV converts electrical energy from its battery into mechanical energy to propel the vehicle and perform other functions. It is a measure of how well an EV utilizes the available energy to perform useful work.


Higher efficiency values indicate that the EV is converting a greater portion of the input energy into useful work, resulting in improved performance and reduced energy waste.


Efficiency is influenced by various factors, including the design and components of the EV, driving conditions, battery technology, regenerative braking systems, and aerodynamics. Here are a few key aspects related to EV efficiency:

  • Electric Motor Efficiency: The electric motor is responsible for converting electrical energy into mechanical energy to drive the wheels. Electric motors are known for their high efficiency, often exceeding 90%.

  • Battery Efficiency: The efficiency of the battery system, including the charging and discharging processes, affects overall EV efficiency. High-quality batteries and efficient charging systems help minimize these losses.

  • Regenerative Braking: Regenerative braking systems capture and convert some of the energy that would otherwise be lost during braking into electrical energy, which is then used to recharge the battery.

  • Vehicle Weight and Aerodynamics: The weight of an EV and its aerodynamic design impact efficiency. Lighter vehicles require less energy to move, while streamlined shapes reduce air resistance, allowing for more efficient driving.


There are various ways to measure efficiency. But before that, let’s first look at some terms.


kW (kilowatt) and kWh (kilowatt-hour) are common units used to measure electric power and energy consumption.

  • kW: Kilowatt is a unit of power, representing the rate at which energy is consumed or supplied. In the context of EV charging, it indicates the charging speed. For instance, if an EV charger has a power rating of 7 kW, it can deliver energy at a rate of 7 kilowatts.

  • kWh: Kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy, measuring the total amount of electricity consumed or supplied over a specific period. In the context of EV charging, it represents the capacity of the battery. For example, if an EV has a battery capacity of 40 kWh, it means it can store up to 40 kilowatt-hours of energy. Or as we often say in India, simply ‘unit’(kitni unit bill aaya).






Measuring Efficiency


When it comes to measuring the efficiency of electric vehicles (EVs), two commonly used metrics are Wh/km (watt-hours per kilometer) and km/kWh (kilometers per kilowatt-hour).


  • Wh/km : Wh/km represents the energy consumption of an EV in terms of watt-hours per kilometer. It indicates the amount of energy required to propel the vehicle over a distance of one kilometer. Lower values of Wh/km indicate higher efficiency, meaning the vehicle consumes less energy to travel a given distance.

For example, if an EV consumes 200 Wh to travel one kilometer, the efficiency would be represented as 200 Wh/km. Lower values, such as 150 Wh/km, indicate better efficiency, as the vehicle can cover the same distance using less energy. Tata, Tesla vehicles use this method to show efficiency.



  • km/kWh : km/kWh represents the distance an EV can travel on a single kilowatt-hour of energy. It is the inverse of Wh/km and provides a different perspective on efficiency. Higher values of km/kWh indicate better efficiency, as the vehicle can cover more distance using the same amount of energy.

For example, if an EV can travel 5 kilometers on 1 kilowatt-hour of energy, the efficiency would be represented as 5 km/kWh. Higher values, such as 6 km/kWh, indicate better efficiency, as the vehicle can cover a greater distance with the same energy input.

Hyundai Group, MG EVs use this format to show you efficiency.




EV Charging


Now let’s move on to Charging. Biggest benefit of EVs is that you can charge at home or anywhere you have a plug. You can make your own electricity using Solar panels.


AC Charging:


AC (alternating current) charging is the most common method used for EV charging. AC charging utilizes the electricity from the grid, which is converted into the appropriate voltage and current levels required for charging the EV's battery. AC chargers are typically installed in residential areas, workplaces, malls and public charging stations.


Level 1 Charging: Level 1 charging refers to the basic charging option that uses a standard 3-pin plug connected to a regular household socket. This method provides a slow charging rate and is typically used for overnight charging. Level 1 chargers typically operate at a power rating of around 1-3 kW.




Level 2 Charging: Level 2 charging involves the use of an AC wall box charger. These chargers are installed with higher power ratings, typically ranging from 3 kW to 22 kW or even higher. Level 2 charging is faster than Level 1, making it suitable for daily charging needs. It can fully charge an EV battery in a matter of hours, depending on the battery capacity and charger power rating.

Both L1 & L2 can be utilized at home depending on your need. If you don’t drive too much daily, simply using plug(for eg Tata installs a 3kW one) is enough for overnight charging. If you need little bit of faster charging, you can install a wall box charger. But it will depend on the capability of your vehicle. NexonEV Prime- It has onboard charger of around 3kW. So if you were to plug it into a AC charger of above 3kW, it would be meaningless for you to get a wall box charger for home as it will only charge at ~3kW. NexonEV Max- It has onboard charger of around 7kW. This can utilize a wall box charger if you feel the need.


Hence it's important to know capability of your onboard charger too.


Note:- Generally for regular home charging, LFP vehicles are recommended to be charged to 100% regularly for cell balancing. If your vehicle has NMC chemistry battery, charge to a lower percentage depending on your daily need. It could be anything, 70, 80 or 90%. Full charge will also limit your regen capability until SoC drops to a certain level.


DC Charging:


DC (direct current) charging, also known as fast charging or rapid charging, offers the fastest charging speeds for EVs. Unlike AC charging, which converts AC power to DC power within the vehicle, DC charging directly supplies DC power to the vehicle's battery.


Level 3 Charging: Level 3 charging, also referred to as DC fast charging, is the highest level of charging available. These chargers operate at significantly higher power ratings, usually above 50 kW and can even reach up to 350 kW in some cases. But in India we can even find DCFC of 15kW. Most famous ones you might know are from Tata Power of 25kW.




DCFC Stations are commonly found along highways and major routes, providing quick top-ups for long journeys.

Why it is necessary to know the DCFC capability of your vehicle?

Understanding the peak DC charging capability of your electric vehicle (EV) is crucial for maximizing charging efficiency and planning your charging sessions effectively. Here's why knowing this capability is important and how you can choose the right DC charger based on your vehicle's specifications:



  • Optimal Charging Speed and Time: The peak DC charging capability of your EV indicates the maximum charging power it can accept from a DC charger. This knowledge allows you to identify the charging stations that can provide the optimal charging speed for your vehicle. Also if a higher charger is also available, you won’t be blocking it thus allowing other EV drivers, who might need it, to charge.

  • Efficient Utilization of Charging Infrastructure: Different DC chargers offer varying power levels, and choosing the right charger can ensure efficient utilization of the available charging infrastructure. If you select a charger with a lower power output than your vehicle's peak DC charging capability, you may not be able to charge at the fastest rate your EV is capable of. Conversely, choosing a charger with a higher power output won't harm your vehicle but also won’t reduce charging time if your EV's peak capability is lower. You will just be blocking it for potential use by others.

  • Compatibility: By knowing your EV's peak DC charging capability, you can ensure compatibility with different charging stations. This knowledge helps you plan your charging needs during long trips or when using charging infrastructure from various providers.

  • Balancing Cost and Convenience: Charging infrastructure providers may have different pricing structures based on the power level provided by their DC chargers. By understanding your EV's peak DC charging capability, you can choose a charger that balances cost and convenience. If your vehicle has a lower peak capability, it may be more cost-effective to use chargers with lower power outputs, as they may offer cheaper charging rates.


When selecting a DC charger, consider the following steps:

  • Determine your EV's peak DC charging capability

  • Research available DC chargers

  • Match charger power with your EV's capability

  • Consider other factors: While matching the power capabilities is crucial, also consider factors such as charger availability, pricing, location, and additional amenities provided by the charging station. These factors can impact your overall charging experience.


By understanding your EV's peak DC charging capability and choosing the appropriate DC charger, you can optimize your charging experience, reduce charging time, and make the most efficient use of the available charging infrastructure.


For example, this station below has 3 charging guns supporting 30kW, 150kW & 60kW respectively.


If you are in a TiagoEV/NexonEV Prime/eC3, you should choose 30kW gun provided it’s not occupied. As these vehicles can’t even take full 30kW. NexonEV Max has capability of around 32kW too. MG ZSEV/Kona EV can choose the 60kW gun.



Cost for 30kW & 60kW is 18 + gst while for 150kW is 24 + gst. So there's that point we explained above.


Charging Standard for Personal EVs


Personal 4w EVs in India use CCS2 charging standard & protocol. We wrote this article sometime ago regarding it, you can refer here.


Type 2 Connector (Mennekes):

The Type 2 connector, also known as the Mennekes connector, is a widely adopted charging standard in Europe/Australia/India. It is designed to handle AC, making it versatile and compatible with a range of charging options.

The Type 2 connector features multiple pins and can support single-phase or three-phase charging, depending on the capabilities of the charging station and the EV. It allows for charging at various power levels, typically up to 22 kW for AC charging.


This connector is predominantly used for Level 1/2 charging, which is commonly found in homes, workplaces, and public charging stations. It is basically upper part of CCS2.




CCS2 Connector (Combined Charging System):

The CCS2 connector, or Combined Charging System, is an extension of the Type 2 connector. It incorporates additional pins and features to enable DC fast charging capabilities.


CCS2 connectors combine the AC charging capability of Type 2 connectors with the high-power DC charging capabilities required for fast charging.


The CCS2 connector is equipped with two additional DC charging pins, enabling a separate power supply for fast DC charging. This allows EVs to charge quickly, providing a significant amount of range in a relatively short time, particularly at Level 3 DC fast charging stations.




EV Charging Etiquettes


Some of the following points are from a ChargePoint Blog.


Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is a little bit different from driving a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE). For the most part, it’s much more fun, because your vehicle is quieter, more powerful and easier to maintain. Plus, you can save a ton on fuel. But there are a couple of things you should know when it comes to EV etiquette, especially at charging stations.


  • Move along (and don't squat): When you’re done AC/DC charging in public, try to move your car as soon as you’re able, so others can charge up their EVs. Taking up a spot for longer than you needed is inconsiderate to other EV drivers because it prevents them from getting a charge. And don't be the EV driver who treats charging spots as a personal all-day parking spot—EV charging spots are for charging, not parking!

EV charging spots are for charging, not parking!

Someday there will be idle fees too. Tesla for their Superchargers charge $1/min if you don't move after charging and station is 50% occupied.

  • Don’t unplug others: It’s really not polite to unplug other EV drivers from charging stations. Try to avoid it unless you’re sure someone is charged and you’re absolutely desperate to fill up, or if someone left a note saying it’s fine to unplug them.

  • Don’t always aim for 100%: Topping off to 100% is frankly waste of time, unless you absolutely need it to reach your next destination. Over 80% DC charging becomes slow. As SOC reaches higher, it will become slower. Move as soon as you have charged as much as you need. Then onto your next destination. DCFC are there for you to enable you to reach your destination. If you just need 10% charge, charge only that and move. This way you will be saving your time as well as allowing other users to charge.

  • Be nice when ICEd: Drivers of ICE vehicles sometimes park in spots designated for clean air vehicles or EV charging. It’s common enough that there’s a term for it: getting ICEd. We know this can be stressful. But please don’t retaliate with a mean message that gives EV drivers a bad name. Instead, leave a friendly note educating ICE drivers and encouraging them not to take an EV spot again. Here’s an example of what you could write:

Hey driver, you’re parked in a spot designated for electric vehicle charging. EV drivers like me depend on being able to charge our cars at stations like this. I hope you’ll leave the spot open next time. Thanks for helping EV drivers stay charged!
  • Share your experience: Make sure you checkin on Plugshare app about your experience. You can also tweet and tag us. This will help others as well as CPOs know about the condition & experience at the station.

Following points are from GRIDSERVE

  • Do look after the connector: When you have finished charging, always be sure to return the connector back to its port. Aside from damaging the device and the potential health and safety issues, a connector left dangling or dropped will hinder the next driver who comes along.

  • Do communicate with fellow EV drivers: A generally considerate bunch, EV drivers often leave notes on their windshields to pass on information to other drivers on how long they plan to charge. If a site is particularly busy then speak to other drivers to understand who’s next and avoid jumping the queue.

  • Don’t press the emergency stop button: Unless you have a problem, please don’t use the emergency stop button to finish your charging session. Doing so will cause the charger to go offline for the next user & in app as well. Simply use the app/charger screen to finish your session.

  • Choose your charger wisely: We have already discussed this above in the blog. When you first pull up to a charge point, remember to choose a charger that will accommodate your specific vehicle’s charging needs. However if such charger is already occupied, you are free to use other higher powered one.

Locating EV Chargers


How does one go about locating EV Chargers?


The simplest way to do that today is to check the chargers on PlugShare. PlugShare is available on the web as well as Android and iOS app stores. You can download the app to see a plethora of charging options near you.


On the app, the green icons indicate L1 / L2 - Type 2 AC charging, whereas the orange icons indicate DC Fast charging options. When identifying the chargers for your trip on PlugShare, always pay attention to the charger rating as well as reviews left behind by fellow users. Also always leave your review as well.




Once you’ve identified a couple of chargers on your route, you should download the individual CPO apps (Charge Point Operators) to check the live status of the charger, location, charging speed and payments. Plugshare usually doesn’t provide the live status of the charger nor can you pay via the app. Always rely on CPO’s app for the charger’s location. The information available on PlugShare is crowd sourced, thereby may not always be accurate. It is always best to reverify with the CPO’s app.


In India, there are two apps, namely InstaCharge(PulseEnergy) and Ionage. These apps are aggregating some chargers (not necessarily all) from other CPOs and showing them on their app. They are also allowing payments for certain brands of CPOs, but doesn’t cover all chargers or CPOs.




Charging Curve


When you plug in at a DCFC of let’s say 30kW, your EV won’t be charging all the time at peak capacity. DCFC are designed for quick stop and most EVs charge fast upto 80% also. That’s why it’s best to arrive at around 10-20% and plugin and move as soon as you are upto comfortable level for the next stop. However limitation of charging infra at some places, can indeed be a problem in this concept, but still best to keep in mind as infra increases. Now, Osprey Charging UK Explains Charging Curve as below.


A charging curve represents the variation in the speed at which your EV charges during a session. When you arrive at a public charger with low battery, your EV’s battery will initially pull power at a slower rate. Then, when the battery is around 20% the charge rate will sharply increase until it reaches the charger’s peak power output or your car’s ‘max charge rate’. It is important to note here that there is a window during which your EV battery will reach its maximum charging speed during the charging session, this varies between the make and models of cars. As the battery gets progressively fuller, the rate at which the battery is charged will begin to slow down as the car pulls less power from the charger in order to protect the battery. This behaviour across a charge results in the charging curve.


A common misconception is that a car should charge at its peak rate for the duration of the charge, however, this is not the case. The battery will likely reach its peak charge rate at some point if there are no limiting factors at play, and the car will subsequently slow it down. The point at which this happens varies from model to model, and some car models step down the rate gradually rather than a steep drop off, but it is typically around 80% state of charge (SoC).


Why is a charging curve important?

To put it simply, a charging curve will indicate the maximum charge you can expect to pull at any given time. Understanding this for your car can help you plan your charge times and help you get back on the road as quickly as possible, rather than perhaps wasting time waiting for the final 10%.


In an ideal world, the shape of the graph should be very similar when arriving with the same SoC, however, there are various factors that cause the charging rate to change and therefore produce a different charge curve, from battery temperature to weather conditions. "


While peak capability of your EV is indeed important, equally important is a good curve. If your EV stays at peak for only few % and then goes steep down, it doesn’t do us any good. Flatter curve is preferred. LFP vehicles are better at this than NMC ones.


Here’s TiagoEV Curve. Its peak for 24kWh battery version is around 19kW



BYD Atto3 peaks at ~88kW, but curve here we have for is 50kW Charger



MGZS LFP version at 50kW charger, however its peak is reported to be around 70kW.



Hyundai Kona seems to peak at about 45kW



Tata NexonEV Max peaks around ~31kW



Tata NexonEV Prime peaks at about 22kW



Mahindra XUV400 peaks at around ~46kW



Hyundai Ioniq5 Charging Curve

Charging Curve for Kia EV6

Conclusion

In conclusion, as EVs gain popularity in India, understanding the basics of EV charging becomes essential for both current and future EV owners. We have explored various aspects of EV charging, from the different power units (kW and kWh) to the types of charging (AC and DC) and the levels of charging (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3).


We have also discussed the importance of knowing the peak DC charging capability of your EV and how it influences the choice of DC chargers when multiple options are available. Additionally, we highlighted the significance of getting to know your EV's performance under different driving conditions to optimize efficiency and range.


Efficiency measurements such as Wh/km and km/kWh were explained to understand how effectively an EV converts electrical energy into mechanical work. Maximizing efficiency is crucial for achieving longer ranges and reducing energy consumption.


Moreover, we emphasized the importance of following EV charging etiquettes to ensure a positive and considerate charging experience for all users. Being mindful of charging time, avoiding blocking charging stations, and reporting malfunctions are among the key etiquettes to foster a cooperative EV charging environment.


As India continues to expand its EV charging network and infrastructure, being well-informed about EV charging will empower EV owners to make informed decisions, maximize their driving experience, and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable transportation future.


Remember, the world of EVs is evolving rapidly, so staying up-to-date with the latest advancements and developments will be crucial for a smooth and efficient charging experience. Happy EV driving and charging in India!


Thank You Team Tesla Club India Building a Community for the Future

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