Rapid chargers should be reserved for pure-EVs says RAC report

Rapid electric vehicle charge points should be reserved exclusively for use by pure-EVs, according to a new report by the RAC Foundation.

The Development of the UK Public Chargepoint Network report by Harold Dermott argues that, because no PHEV is able to be rapid charged, the confusion caused to the public and the potential for 'blocked' charge points for drivers of pure-EVs, warrants restrictions on which plug-in models can use them.

The report recommends that because PHEVs have a far greater range, and the capability to run on petrol or diesel power, those models where charging is the only 'refuelling' option should have sole access to these rapid units.

One of the issues outlined in the report is the lack of understanding in drivers as to the charging capabilities for plug-in models. Many think that the electric vehicle can accept the rate of charge available from the charge point, no matter which model or charger speed.

In fact the majority of PHEVs can only accept up to around 3 kW from a charge point, and will draw that amount whether the unit is rated at 3 kW, 7 kW, or even more. A PHEV, on a 43 kW AC rapid charge point, will still only draw around 3 kW of power, taking 2-4 hours to recharge depending on model.

A handful of PHEVs offer a higher-power on-board charger - usually up to around 7 kW - and BMW's i3 REX for example is an EV with a petrol engine that can accept rapid charging, but these scenarios are isolated cases.

Even Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV, with a CHAdeMO inlet specifically for use with rapid charge points, can't accept the full 50 kW of power offered by most rapid units.

The report says that more rapid charging hubs should be created, to offer the services and facilities wanted by EV drivers while they wait for their EV to recharge. This particularly tackles issues such as protection from the weather, food and drink options, toilet facilities, and good lighting.

Some reports are stating that PHEVs will be able to be plugged into the ultra-fast charge points starting to be rolled out in the UK, with speeds of 100 kW, 150 kW, or 350 kW already available or on their way. However, these report highlight the lack of understanding in EV charging around at this time, since a 350 kW CCS charging cable will not physically connect to a BMW 330e for example, or any other PHEV with a Type 2 inlet.

The RAC Foundation report makes it clear that PHEVs shouldn't be banned from public charging points, rather those rapid units that pure-EV drivers are so reliant on for long-distance driving, and which they can't make good use of themselves.

You can read the full report here.

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:10th Dec 2018

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