Owning and driving an electric automobile may be a fairly painless experience if properly set up. You never have to worry about charging if you have a charger at home; simply put it in and your car will always have enough energy to carry you through the day.
When you embark on a road trip, though, that familiarity might crumble. Whether it’s a small trip out of town or a cross-country journey, you’ll need to keep an eye out for local charging stations and give enough time to charge your car. On a vehicle like the Kia EV6 or Ioniq 5, that may be a reasonably quick stay, especially if you can find a 350-kilowatt charging station that can charge your vehicle in 15 or 20 minutes.
However, some vehicles do not support anything close to this loading speed. The Chevrolet Bolt EUV, for example, only offers a 50kW charging speed, which was painfully visible on a recent three-day trip I did with it.
How awful is it really?
In most cases, charging with 50kW is sufficient. After all, your home charger isn’t charging at anything close to that rate; it’s designed to charge slowly over time. That is, in fact, a good thing. Constant quick charging is bad for the battery, and you should avoid it most of the time if you want to extend the life of your vehicle. Use a home charger or a charger at your workplace. However, if you just use a fast charger on occasion, it will have minimal effect on your battery – and you shouldn’t be concerned about using one when you need to.
So, what exactly does a maximum charging speed of 50 kW imply? During my time with the Bolt, I was unable to fully charge the vehicle during a 30-minute lunch break on a drive, forcing me to stroll aimlessly while waiting. It also meant that I made a concerted effort to charge whenever possible, including checking to see whether my hotel had a charger. When I realized that wasn’t the case, I connected the car into an outlet at the motel and left it there overnight.
To be fair, they aren’t life-altering difficulties. However, there are drawbacks, and if buyers are hesitant to purchase an EV due to the bother of charging, these are concerns that might stymie EV adoption.
To avoid car
If you’re in the market for a new electric vehicle, charging speed should be one of your top priorities. Even if you don’t want to charge very rapidly, I promise you’ll have to at some point – and if you do, you don’t want to wait any longer than necessary.
Digital Trends / Christian de Looper
Thankfully, most new electric vehicles enable charging speeds of at least 150kW, which is adequate for most uses and should charge you to 80% in 30 minutes or less.
Some vehicles, however, do not achieve such heights, and the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are at the top of that list. I’ve had a great time driving the Bolt EUV over the last week; it’s great value for money and has more room than the smaller Bolt EV. However, the slower charging ruined the experience.
There are other culprits as well. The Mazda MX-30, for example, can only charge at up to 50kW, but with a 100-mile range, it’s even less of a car to take outside of town. This is comparable to the Mini Cooper SE Electric, which charges with 50 kW as well. There’s also the Hyundai Kona Electric, which offers a still-not-great charging speed of 75kW.
So, what should you be on the lookout for? If you’re looking to buy a car for the road, I recommend getting one that can charge at 150kW or more. Some automobiles fall short of that mark, and the majority of them are on the low end. As a result, finding one that charges at 150kW within your budget may be tough. Even if you can’t, remember that loading speed is one of your most crucial concerns when making your buy.