This is a guide for the European market, but EV owners from across the globe will learn something from it.
Electric vehicle adoption varies from European country to country, but while some nations have more EVs than others, the options they have for charging are usually similar. The most common types of chargers you see in Europe are Type 1 and Type 2, both of which are AC chargers, although the latter is now the standard among newer cars.
Type 1 has a maximum charging rate of 7 kW, which isn’t very fast, but since most new cars in Europe now are Type 2 compatible, charging is taken care of at a rate of up to 22 kW (although not all Type 2 chargers offer this faster rate of charging; some still pump out just 7 kW).
This may not matter, though, since there are plenty of electric and electrified vehicles that can’t be charged any faster than 3.7 kW (although it’s usually PHEVs and older EVs such as the first-gen Nissan LEAF). One such example is the 2020 BMW 330e that we recently reviewed - at that rate, it took around 17 minutes to put 1 kWh back into the battery, so it takes a good few hours to top up its 12 kWh battery (of which 10.4 kWh is its usable capacity).
If you want to go into even more detail about how charging works, what the different charging rates are and how this translates into spending time waiting for your car to charge, then check out this Plug Life Television video because it’s quite insightful. Do keep in mind that it’s aimed at the European market, though, and if you want to learn about the types of fast chargers (CHAdeMO and CCS), they are detailed in the second part of the video.