Recharge Car Battery
Before you recharge a car battery, you might like to check with your electricity provider that the voltage and circuit-breaking system of your household supply is suitable for recharging the battery you have.
Many EVs, like golf carts, bikes and scooters, can plug into the same electrical outlet you use for you coffee maker in the morning. (Okay, or your juicer if you are a Californian!) Others need a higher voltage outlet, like those suitable for an electric clothes dryer or stove. Many EVs are flexible, allowing you to choose either. You will get a much quicker recharge if you can use a higher voltage electrical circuit. A 120 volt outlet could take over ten hours to recharge a car battery. A 220 volt outlet can cut that time in half.
Custom-built electric cars usually recharge at 220 volts and have built-in systems that are compatible with a particular type of charger unit.
For conversions and other suitable EVs, I believe it is well worth getting an electrician to install a dedicated circuit and charger station with the most suitable circuit for recharging your car in the fastest possible time. Then you're set up for life. No more extension leads with the obvious safety worries, and shorter recharge times!
The Magna Charge system consists of two parts. One half is a special charger station which you install on the wall of your house, near where you park your car. The other half of the system is a unit that goes in your car.
The wall unit is hard-wired to a 240 volt supply. You insert a connecting "paddle" into a transformer unit inside your car. This can be accessed through a slot behind the license plate. This has the advantage of having no exposed electrical connections.
The Avcon plug works on a similar principle, by keeping the electrical supply covered and insulated during recharging.
Future Ways to Recharge a Car Battery
But what happens when you go on long journeys? This is the bit that won't really get sorted until more of us have electric cars. Then recharging stations will start to appear, just like petrol stations started popping up all over the place, way back in the last century! The technology is there to do this, it just needs the will of enough people.
In 2007, a visionary man called Shai Agassi, formed a company called Project Better Place, for the sole purpose of rolling out investment in a recharging grid structure to support electric cars across the world. He has convinced the Israeli government to support his plan and Israel is now the most innovative country in the world when it comes to electric transport. Within the next decade its entire private vehicle fleet will probably be all electric! The project will be rolled out in other countries also, as they come on board and decide to go electric.
Project Better Place has now partnered with Renault-Nissan in this enterprise, as both businesses are mutually interdependent. Without the cars, the grids will have no customers. Without the grids, cars will not sell as well as they could. So it's win win all round.
Finally, we are getting the type of far-seeing co-operation between businesses that has so far been lacking in the EV world! In the days of the first railways, we had gung-ho entrepreneurs, who saw the future and were willing to put money into getting the railways built. This is what we need again with an EV infrastructure, and it looks like Mr Agassi has stepped up to the plate. Well done!
On a less ambitious scale, some local and municipal authorities are beginning to provide recharging facilities for electric cars. I am lucky enough to live in an area where the influence of green politicians has brought about this facility!
But while recharging stations are going to be wonderful when they come about, we don't have to wait. The need for such stations is really only an issue if you go on a long journey. Most people are thinking of buying an electric car mainly for short commutes---zipping in and out of town to work, or doing the school run, the soccer run, the ballet run, the piano run….yada yada yada…etc.(Been there done that!)
In the U.S. the average distance driven by most drivers per day is 50 miles. It is possibly even less in Europe. These distances can easily be driven without the need to recharge your battery.
So recharging en route is not going to be a day-to-day issue for most electric car owners. They can get the job done at night, in their own driveway, just like they recharge their cell phones.
Meanwhile, back at the techie labs, FINALLY, engineers are working over hot workbenches to develop long-lasting batteries for your electric car, because they know the demand is growing and these gizmos will sell.
They're clean!They're green!