Driving and Charging an Electric Car (EV):
Three Observations from Kempower’s CTO
Electric cars are quite different from cars with internal combustion engines (ICE). This means that the driving experience and everything around it is also very different. Kempower’s CTO Mikko Veikkolainen hits the road to understand how driving and charging electric cars works in practice. Here are some of his observations from the driver’s point of view.
1. Having to Charge Mid-Way Your Trip Is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing
When going on a trip beyond the driving range of the electric car, it is important to plan a route that enables you to stop and charge your electric car along the way to your destination.
Having to plan a break is not necessarily a bad thing. While you wait for the car’s battery to charge, you and your family can go for breakfast or lunch, for instance.
Selecting the right car to buy is a choice for the whole family, especially when buying an electric car. If one family member is optimistic about the reliability of the charging technology and one is not, an electric car might not be for you. Longer trips might be an even more difficult journey for the pessimist.
2. Intuitive User Experience Makes Electric Cars A Lot Easier to Charge
Obviously no one reads the car manual before hitting the road. Having to read the manual at the charging station is not even an option!
Unfortunately, soon after my first fast-charging experience I felt like I needed a manual: the user interface gave a lot of unnecessary information and all the essential and useful information was nowhere to be found.
That’s why the user interface of fast chargers should be intuitive, guiding the user along the way of how to use the charger, so that it would be easy for anyone.
3. Longer Charging Cables Make EV Charging Easier
At the charging station, it was apparent that the charging cables were very short. This is a significant problem in two ways. Firstly, the cable might not be long enough to reach the charging port, especially if it is on the side of the car. Secondly, one must park very precisely for the car to be within reach of the charging cable.
Therefore, charging cables should be longer to make it easier to charge any electric car, no matter where the charging port is. Also, it is important for the charging stations and devices to be visible – even in the dark.
These are some observations I made while driving EV with my family over one weekend in the middle of the Finnish winter. Practical experiences like these are key in developing fast chargers with ultimate reliability. We need to test and drive to be able to offer you the best possible charging experience.