Electric cars: how to recharge at the column

Electric cars: how to recharge at the column

Electric cars

For many people who buy an electric car and have to recharge them at a column for the first time, the charging process can be a moment of anxiety and uncertainty. However, the procedure for recharging your car is not complex at all: on the contrary, it is much simpler and safer to recharge your electric car rather than refueling your car with diesel or petrol.

Finding the column

The first concern for those who have to recharge their car is undoubtedly that of finding a column: although the public columns in operation are around twenty thousand units and an increasingly higher number is expected in the coming years, at the moment however finding a bollard can be complicated. In fact, the columns are not evenly distributed but are concentrated more in large cities and in greater numbers in Northern Italy than in the South.

To facilitate the search for a column, almost all electric cars are equipped with a system always connected navigation that helps plan stops and automatically identifies the charging stations closest to where we are. There are also various applications such as Plugshare, Nextshare, Juicepass and D-Mobility to name a few, which allow you to identify the charging stations through a detailed map.

These kinds of applications are not only important for finding charging points, but they are essential to be able to make the payment.

Payment Methods

In fact, there are only two payment methods to pay for the recharge of your car at a column: via the smartphone application of the column operator and via a a specific device equipped with an RFID chip which can be a card or a key ring. In fact, unlike petrol and diesel recharging stations, it is not possible to pay the recharge at the column with debit cards, credit cards or in cash since Italian law prohibits the sale of private energy at retail.

Although there are different applications for each operator, the basic operation is quite similar: first you need to register by creating your own profile, after registration you can directly connect the application to our current account by entering the IBAN code or you can connect it to ours credit card or paypal account. Given that at the moment there are columns managed by different operators, one might think that it is necessary to download the applications of each operator and register with all of them; in reality, roaming services are increasingly widespread to allow recharging at a column of a manager using the application of another operator.

KIA e-Niro Cards or key rings with RFID chips are generally associated with column operator: to obtain them, it is necessary to request their issue via a specific function on the operator's app. The issuance of the card is not always free and the costs vary according to the operator to whom the card is requested; it is also possible that the card may not be available for some operators or may be requested only after the subscription of a monthly subscription. There is also a second less common category of cards directly associated with your car: this is the case, for example, of BMW, Audi and Mercedes cards.

The use of cards or key fobs with RFID chips can guarantee greater peace of mind than use of applications since in order to pay at the column via the app it is necessary to use both mobile data and geolocation to identify our actual presence near the column: this could prevent us from recharging if our mobile phone should have connection problems. On the other hand, to pay using a device with an RFID chip it is only necessary to place the card or key fob on the RFID device reader on the column.

Prepare to recharge

While we are looking for the column where we want to stop and recharge, it is important to think about how much time we have available to recharge since the recharge time is shorter the higher the recharging power that can be supplied; however, it must be emphasized that frequent recharging at high power reduces the life of the batteries.

The recharging stations at which it is possible to recharge are divided into three categories: slow recharging, fast recharging and ultra-fast recharging. At slow charging stations, you can only charge your car with alternating current with a maximum power of 22 kW. At the fast charging stations, on the other hand, it can be recharged both in alternating current with powers up to 44 kW, and in direct current with powers up to 60 kW. Finally, at the ultra-fast charging stations it is possible to recharge exclusively in direct current with theoretical powers up to 350 kW.

Opel Corsa-e Once you have identified the column where we intend to recharge our car, it is necessary to park ours car with the charging door as close as possible to the charging column: in fact the cables have a limited length and it becomes difficult if not impossible to be able to recharge your car if it is too far from the charging column. It is necessary to underline that, unlike traditional cars with internal combustion engines, several cars have a hatch to access the charging socket on the front of the car: for example, cars like the Renault Zoe or the KIA e-Niro have a hatch to access the connector on the front, while for example the Opel Corsa-e or the Volkswagen ID.3 have the door on the side in the back.

If we have already decided where to stop to recharge and it is just a short while to reach the destination, through the manager's application it is possible to book the column for 15 minutes so that no one can recharge in our place while we reach the recharging station; the various applications also indicate whether the column is being used at that moment or not.

Fast recharge

After we have parked the car near the column, we must make the payment: in the case in to which we booked the column via the application, we will need to press recharge on the screen of our smartphone and at this point we can select the recharging connector suitable for our car. If, on the other hand, we have not booked the column, to pay via smartphone we must access the application and select the column where we are located from a map: once we have been identified we can select the connector. Otherwise, if we want to pay using a device with an RFID chip, we will have to bring our device close to the reader on the column: once the card has been recognized, we can select the connector from the screen on the column.

If we are recharging at an ultra-fast station they will be only the connectors for direct current charging CCS Combo 2 and CHAdeMO are available, but the latter is absent in the Ionity stations. If we are charging at a fast charging station instead, in addition to the two connectors for direct current charging, there will also be a type 2 connector for fast alternating current charging.

Once we have selected the connector correct we will have 60 to 90 seconds, depending on the operators, to connect the charging cable to our car; if we fail to complete the transaction on time, we simply need to repeat the payment transaction. However, inserting the charging plug into the car socket is a simple operation: in order not to make a mistake, simply compare the shape of the socket on your car with the shape of the connectors. To save time, it is still suggested to open the door and remove the plugs from the socket before paying.

Connect the sockets, the charging begins: we can check that this is actually the case both on the screen of the column and on the screen of the app we are using. If safety is one of your biggest dilemmas, you can rest assured: the cable remains fixed to the socket until the charging is complete; it is therefore possible to get away from your car without fearing that someone might stop charging and take our place. Charging can only be interrupted if we pass the device with the RFID chip on the appropriate reader or if we decide to stop charging from the application on our smartphone. Once the charging is finished, either because it is complete or because we have decided to stop it, in order to remove the charging cable from the socket, simply unlock the car locks with the remote control.

Slow charging

If you want to recharge at a slow charging station, you need to know that in this case there are no charging cables, but only the column: you must therefore have a suitable charging cable with type 2 connectors with you. both terminals. This charging cable, unlike the domestic charging cable with type 2 socket and schuko socket, is generally not sold together with the car, except as an option, and it is therefore necessary to buy it separately: the cost of a recharging with both type 2 terminals that can withstand powers up to 22 kW is around € 200.

When we need to recharge at a slow-charging alternating current column, it is recommended to prepare the cable and plug it into the socket of the car before making the payment, even if it is possible to do it even after paying, because when recharging is authorized there is also a limited time in this case to be able to hook the cable both to the socket of the column and to your car. br>
Energica Eva EsseEsse9 RS To connect the type 2 cable to the car socket it is necessary to open the door and remove the plug from the connector and insert the correct plug: the two connectors are different, therefore a quick comparison between the shape of the connectors and that of the car socket should be enough to choose the correct end.

After having made the payment, through the same methods used in the case of fast recharging, it will be necessary to connect the charging socket on the column. While connecting the cable to the car socket is a trivial operation, hooking the connector to the pillar can be complicated the first few times: you have to insert the plug vertically and rotate it until it is arranged horizontally and hooked to the socket of the pillar.

To stop recharging, the methods are the same as in the case of fast or ultra-fast recharging; once the charging is complete, we will have to remove the charging cable first from the socket of the column and then from the socket of the car.

Last suggestions

In case we have to move away from the car while we recharge, it is good to monitor how the recharge progress is progressing through the application: in fact, if the recharge has been completed and we do not intervene to move the car within an hour, we will be charged an additional cost based on how long we have kept the column occupied beyond the hourly limit. However, this occupancy rate is not valid during the night.

It must also be remembered that recharging the car at the columns is always cheaper than charging at home: in fact the minimum charging prices at the columns are around 0.30 € / kWh, while charging at home costs around 0.20 € / kWh.

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