One of the reasons that discourages many interested parties from switching to electromobility is precisely charging. If you are used to filling the tank of your internal combustion engine until the blink of a “hungry eye”, then just stop for a while at the nearest gas station (or drive a short distance to the cheapest one), fill it up in a few minutes and drive merrily on again, you will into the electric car for some time to get used to new arrangements and learn new skills.

Even if you have the advantage of charging at home or at work, which will make your life with an electric car much simpler and cheaper, you will still have to plan a little for each longer trip. Which involves using several mobile apps and owning several chips, organizational talent and a certain amount of patience are also prerequisites. But things are changing fast…

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

If you are new to electromobility, know that there are more chargers than you think, and the process itself is faster than you fear.

From the Hyundai car company to the new Ioniq (the same applies to other manufacturers), you will receive a magical Charge myHyundai card, which brings together most providers in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe, whose chargers you have not only in the mobile application, but also directly in the car’s navigation system – just enter the destination of your trip and the car will automatically plan the route for you, including optimal charging, if necessary. At the charger, you just connect the cable, identify yourself with the card (or even without it, because electric Hyundais with some operators can do this automatically after connecting the cable thanks to the plug&charge function) and charge. In the meantime, you can go to the toilet and drink a coffee in peace, or check your e-mails comfortably seated in the reclining seat – you will have plenty of time for that. Although probably less than you think…

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

Just connect the cable, log in to the charger with a card/chip (this happens automatically with some chargers) and you’re charging.

How to charge an electric car

There are basically two types of charging: slower and gentler AC (alternating current) charging, or fast DC (direct current) charging. Slow charging is useful at home, at work or when you go on a long shopping trip or to the cinema and you don’t mind letting the car charge for several hours. On the way, when you don’t want to stay too long, you can use fast and ultra-fast charging, which only takes a few (dozens) of minutes.

How long exactly? This depends on the specific car – each has a battery with a different capacity and a clearly defined maximum charging power. In the case of charging an Ioniq with a battery capacity of 77 kWh and an on-board AC charger with a capacity of 11 kW, you can easily calculate that a full charge would take 7 hours (but you will probably never have a completely empty battery and charging to 100% is also not recommended), so at home overnight or in one shift at work.

Foto: Hyundai

Charging at home is the most convenient and cheapest, but not everyone has that option. In public space, however, chargers grow like mushrooms after the rain, their performance also rises comfortably. So charging will be even more convenient and faster in the future.

The highest output for DC fast charging is 239 kW, but this does not mean that the Ioniq 6 will be fully charged in 20 minutes. The fast charging curve is not linear, but degressive (for physical reasons), i.e. that the more charged the battery, the slower the charging speed. Therefore, the effective charging time is most often given from 10% (you should not run the battery all the way to zero) to 80% (above this value, the charging performance decreases) – this recharge of the Ioniq 6 takes only 18 minutes. You may have to finish the coffee while driving. External conditions (mainly air temperature) also come into play, but the Ioniq resists them by preheating/cooling the battery so that charging is always under conditions close to ideal, and thus as fast as possible.

“Refueling” the Nexo is a more familiar and significantly faster process. You arrive at the filling station, connect the hose (although it will take a bit of fiddling at first), start pumping and in a few minutes you have a full one. Almost like a gas station…

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The hydrogen station resembles a gas station, and the filling process itself is similar.

The biggest problem is that you will have to drive a bit to get to the filling station. Actually, there is probably a lot to cover – there are currently three in operation in the Czech Republic (Prague, Ostrava, Litvínov and Mstětice near Prahy), there should be 12 within three years, and even 40 by 2030. But further development depends primarily on the utilization of the current ones and the number of FCEV vehicles (not only cars, but also vans, trucks and buses) on Czech roads. At the same time, the estimates of the Ministry of Transport speak of 50,000 vehicles by 2030, but we would be more cautious in our enthusiasm, which is why we do not believe much in such an intensive development of filling infrastructure (although we are partially obliged to do so by EU requirements).

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

Connecting the hydrogen hose is similar to the gas station, the filling process also takes just a few minutes.

Electric chargers are literally growing like mushrooms after the rain – there are currently 1,400 stations with almost three thousand charging points available in the Czech Republic. This number is growing literally every day, slower AC chargers as well as high-performance DC hyperchargers are being built. Energy companies, which most often build and operate them, feel the business potential in it. And for those interested in electric cars, it gives them the confidence that they will be able to recharge wherever they live or wherever they go.

Shops, hotels or even restaurants are quickly catching on to the trend of developing charging stations, chargers will also be near administrative buildings and apartment buildings, so that a charging cable will always be at hand. In this way, the fear of a limited range will completely disappear, in fact even the maximum range will become a purely virtual value – because you will continuously recharge during the week and on the road you will stop more often to visit the toilet or to stretch your back / take the children out than just to charge. By this time, most electric cars will support high-power charging, so waiting at the charger won’t delay you much. And this is not a utopian vision of the distant year 2030, but a vision of reality of a significantly earlier date.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

Building a new filling station is a matter of one to two million euros. So don’t expect it to stand on every corner. Especially when there are so few hydrogen cars. And there won’t be more if there aren’t more filling stations. I guess you already understand the problem…

So “refueling” a hydrogen car is really faster than charging the battery and probably always will be, but when you add the time loss of a detour to a filling station tens of kilometers away, it doesn’t look so advantageous anymore.

For that, charging battery electric cars should always be faster (better battery technology, higher charging performance of chargers), simpler (constant development of the infrastructure) and more convenient (no card will be needed in the future, you just connect the cable and the car will solve everything automatically). It is therefore quite likely that no one will miss visits to “smelly” and “dirty” gas stations in the future.