The emergence of Electric cars within the past decade caused a good deal of market friction in the Auto industry, challenging and inherently altering the dynamics of that industry.
With this, the carbon emission cut issue became more prominent, as Electric and Hybrid cars which are cleaner offered a way out when it comes to carbon cut. Ultimately too, the arrival of both Hybrid and full Electric Vehicles offered numerous customers an option away from the old and almost boring hydrocarbon fuel-powered conventional cars.
But are we really for electric cars in Nigeria? And what are the things you need to know about charging electric cars in Nigeria?
What Makes Electric Vehicles (EV) different
Clearly, most of us have become just too familiar with the conventional internal combustion engine which is basically what powers most cars we have today. Some of us had to spend years in universities studying how to design and build these engines and the cars they power. Generally, these engines are mainly big steel blocks with several compartments and jackets for the cylinder and other intricate elements that help in generating the power that drives our cars. So the engines generate the power that is then sent to the wheels of a car through an intelligent set of gear trains, either Manual or Automatic. These gear trains are what we call the Transmission (Manual or Automatic).
However, Electric Vehicles do not need an internal combustion engine to generate the power it needs to drive itself and as well do not require gear train transmission systems to send power to the wheels, rather a set of the high-performance battery systems and Electric Motors is utilized to accomplish these jobs. The battery system which is mostly high-performance Lithium batteries generates the power the vehicles need while Electric Motors take the power or electrical energy generated in these battery cells to power itself and drive the cars.
>>> Learn about the Most common Electric Vehicle EV Terminologies
Remember, our conventional internal-combustion-engine-powered cars require hydrocarbon fuel to generate power. In contrast to electric cars, they do not require petrol or diesel but the electrical energy from the batteries is used to do the same job. However, battery cells lose charge when they are put to use and will definitely run out of charge after a period of sustained usage, which brings up the issue of refilling the battery charge or recharging it.
Electric Vehicles and Hybrid Cars Batteries have to be recharged
What about Hybrid Cars
So hybrid cars are those vehicles that fall between conventional fuel cars and full Electric Vehicles. These types of cars utilize both Internal Combustion Engines (ICE), as well as battery systems to generate power utilized by the vehicle. The ICE is the primary power generating system in these hybrid cars while the battery system serves as complementary power options that improve the energy efficiency of these kinds of cars and ultimately improve their fuel economy rating.
Charging Electric Car and Hybrid Car Batteries
At the moment, the Nigerian Government seems not to be a big fan of electric cars, but in no time electric cars will become legal in Nigeria. In fact, at the moment hybrid cars are all over the country and some car dealerships are even offering battery charging services for the hybrid cars they deal on. So because most Nigerians who use some of the electric cars, in this case, hybrid cars (these are cars that utilize both petrol/diesel engine and battery systems for power generation) and most of these hybrid car owners will only replace these batteries when they run out of charge (or the battery dies as we say it). The more need there is to highlight the various EV battery charging options, The more beneficial it is is for the Nigerian owners of Hybrid cars and even full Electric vehicles.
Charging Options for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
So there are a number of options available for charging electric car batteries, some of these options will be discussed in this section. But it's worth noting that full-electric vehicles and even hybrids cars might appear much more expensive initially compared to the conventional cars we know, however, the long-run cost of owning and operating these cars seems to be better than those of conventional cars.
Now there are about three EV battery charging options available and the first two are very much applicable to Nigeria while the other option is gradually taking shape and will be here in a short while.
- Charging using the standard 3-Pin connector or Type G socket
Charge Time: (6 - 12) hours
This is the most common and most cost-efficient charging options you can easily utilize considering Nigerian space. This option involves you making use of the standard 3-point electric connector and your standard 240V type G electric socket. This is actually the slowest charging option as it takes about 6 to 12 hours of charge time to reach 80% charge on the batteries using the 3kW standard outlet.
We advise that you consult a certified EV technician closest to you to help in installing a standard charging point using the specification supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. This charging option will be very enticing if you live in an area where there is steady power supply through the night, such that in the comfort of your home all you need do is plug-in your car and go to sleep and when you wake in the morning your car's battery is at full charge.
It takes between 3-4 hours of charge time with a dedicated charging system
Please Note: Nigeria officially utilizes either the D or G plug and socket type. So depending on the plug type of the vehicle charge cable, you can utilize an auxiliary socket with the specific connector port the vehicle charging cable comes with. Please make sure to consult your Electrician or the EV technician on this.
- Charging using a Dedicated Connector Cable
Charge Time: (3 - 4) hours
This charging option is a clear upgrade to the standard slow charge option. This utilizes a dedicated connector cable supplied by the vehicle manufacturer or one from a cable manufacturer with requirements that meet the vehicle standard and specification. This option makes use of fast connectors with power ratings ranging from 7 kW to 22 kW and is able to boost the battery's charge from (0 - 100)% in about 3 to 4 hours. However, this option will require that you install specific electrical components, as well as purchase the dedicated connectors supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. So the additional investment is required if you must have this charging option installed in your home. Please make sure to consult your EV manufacturer for a price quote for the dedicated connector cable and have a qualified technician assist you with the installation.
- AC/DC Rapid Charge
Charge Time: 45 minutes to one hour
This option offers the fastest charge time ranging from a low as 45 minutes to one hour. This option utilizes rapid charges with a power rating of 50kW for the DC rapid chargers and 43kW for the AC rapid chargers. This charging option is what you find at dedicated public charging stations which we don't have in the country at the moment except for a few dealerships that have the technology installed in their property for their hybrid car customers.
Public charging stations utilize AC/DC Rapid charging system
So we've discussed the three options for charging up your EV and Hybrid car battery. The speed of charge of each option depends on the type of connector, type of default vehicle charging system, type of battery, and the power rating of the electrical system in place.
Some cars like Tesla brand of cars come with Rapid Charge function enabled while others don't, so make sure to confirm the default charging system your EV or Hybrid car comes with before you choose which charging option to buy.
Every Electric Vehicle and Hybrid car comes with their specific charging guide. Make sure to read through each guide before going ahead with the charging job and if in doubt please have a qualified and certified electrical technician assist you with the process or have him/her show you how it should be done.
Video: Charging Basics | Kona Electric | Hyundai
>>> Read also: Electric cars in Nigeria, are we ready?
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