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Recharge Anxiety

Summary:
It’s not so much the range that’s the primary electric car gimp – it’s the time it takes to recharge. Which is a minimum of 30-45 minutes, assuming you have access to what is hilariously styled a “fast” charger. These are 240 volt rigs (twice the voltage of standard household outlets) that can reduce the time it takes to recharge an electric car from several hours to under a hour. But that isn’t very “fast” compared with the less-than-five-minutes it takes to refuel a non-electric car.  Especially given the non-electric car can be refueled to full in those five minutes at any gas station – while the not-so-fast-charging electric car can only recoup a partial charge – about 80 percent of its full-charge capacity – at a “fast”

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It’s not so much the range that’s the primary electric car gimp – it’s the time it takes to recharge.

Which is a minimum of 30-45 minutes, assuming you have access to what is hilariously styled a “fast” charger. These are 240 volt rigs (twice the voltage of standard household outlets) that can reduce the time it takes to recharge an electric car from several hours to under a hour.

But that isn’t very “fast” compared with the less-than-five-minutes it takes to refuel a non-electric car.

Especially given the non-electric car can be refueled to full in those five minutes at any gas station – while the not-so-fast-charging electric car can only recoup a partial charge – about 80 percent of its full-charge capacity – at a “fast” charger. This additional limitation is necessary for both fire-safety reasons (to avoid excessive heat build-up) and in order to preserve the useful life of the battery.

Electric car batteries – like the 12 volt starter battery in a non-electric car and any other battery yet devised – gradually lose their capacity to accept – and retain – a charge over time.

Hitting them with too much charge – too fast – causes that to happen faster.

But unlike a 12 volt starter battery – which costs about $100  to replace – an electric car battery costs thousands of dollars to replace. Which is why it’s very important in terms of electric car economics to make the battery last as long as possible.

Hence the partial – and not really very “fast” -recharge.

Which also amounts to a 20 percent reduction in whatever the electric car’s range on a fully recharged battery would have been. Which is another way of saying you’ll have to recharge sooner after you “fast” charge.

Or, wait longer – to get back to full charge – by plugging in to a standard 120 volt household outlet.

If you can find one.

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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