The power of a charging station, i.e. the quantity of energy (in watts) that it provides in a certain time, most often expressed in hours, of an electric car determines the speed of reloading it.
The more powerful a charging station, the more time the owner of an electric vehicle will save to recharge the battery of his car. Once this main principle has been stated, it is necessary to specify that the choice of the power of the charging station of one’s electric car must meet certain criteria such as in particular the type of vehicle to be recharged, the use made of it, or the configuration of his domestic electrical installation.
Take into account the type of your electric car
The majority of owners of an electric vehicle choose to equip their home, or their private parking space for those who live in a condominium, with a charging station.
This equipment is a small box very easy to install on a wall inside (most often in a garage), as well as outside, depending on the configuration of your house. A charging station, or wallbox, then simply plugs into the electrical network. It is used using a specific cable, generally supplied by the manufacturer of the electric vehicle, which connects it to the car battery.
The power of a charging station determines the charging time of an electric car, and more precisely of its battery. Wallbox-type charging stations for individuals can be of several different powers: 3.7 kW, 7 kW, 11 kW and 22 kW.
To note : individuals also have the possibility of recharging their electric car using a simple household socket. However, this is a solution that does not offer great performance in terms of charging time and safety. They can also choose to buy a so-called “reinforced” socket, a charging system halfway between the standard socket and the least powerful wallbox. A reinforced socket indeed delivers a power of the order of 3.2 kW to 3.7 kW.
But the desired charging time is not the only criterion to take into account when choosing the power of your electric car charging station. The latter must in fact be adapted first of all to the storage capacity of the vehicle’s battery, that is to say its level of autonomy, which differs according to the types of electric vehicle.
For example, a plug-in hybrid car, which is not 100% electric since it also has a heat engine which takes over when its electric battery is discharged, does not require a very powerful charging station given the low battery capacity. And its charging time is not extended.
On the contrary, even if the storage capacity of their battery varies from one model to another, 100% electric vehicles necessarily require a fairly powerful charging station if their owners need to recharge their car in a minimum of time.
In any case, to choose the right power for the charging station of your electric car, you must refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Indeed, each type of electric vehicle has a maximum charging power (from 3.7 kW to 22 kW depending on the model) which must be respected.
Choose the power of your charging station according to the use of your electric car
Another criterion to consider when choosing the power of the charging station for your electric car: the type of use of your vehicle.
Motorists who travel a few kilometers with their electric car can choose a charging station with a minimum power of 3.7 kW, for example. This power is in fact sufficient to meet the autonomy needs of their vehicle given the use they make of it.
On the other hand, those who drive a lot must turn to more powerful wallboxes, 7 kW or 11 kW for example, to benefit from a limited but efficient charging time.
Adapt the power of the charging station of your electric car to your electric meter
All wallbox-type charging stations cannot necessarily equip a home if the latter’s electricity meter is not suitable. Indeed, each power of these charging systems corresponds to specific criteria in terms of the conformity of its electrical installation.
Thus, the charging stations with a power of 3.7 kW or 7 kW operate on alternating current on a single-phase electricity network, the type of electricity meter with which French households are nevertheless most commonly equipped. On the other hand, the charging stations with a power of 11 kW and 22 kW use three-phase electrical networks.
Two solutions are then available to owners of an electric car: choose the power of their charging station according to the type of their electrical network, and therefore their meter, or prefer to modify their electrical installation to be able to equip their home with a more powerful charging station, which also generally involves changing the subscription taken out with their electricity supplier.