New EV Owner's Guide

Congratulations on buying an electric vehicle (EV) & helping Ireland transition to cleaner transport. We created this guide to help you make the most of your new EV, & to make your ownership experience as smooth as possible. Please refer to our glossary (below) as needed.

 

Achievable Range

Your vehicle’s maximum range is a function of the size (kWh) of the battery & the efficiency of the vehicle itself. In Europe, a vehicle’s range (or fuel consumption in an ICE vehicle) is generally stated using that achieved in the WLTP Combined Cycle, e.g. a vehicle with a 75kWh useable battery that achieves 15kWh/100km in the test cycle will have a rated range of 500km (75 / 15 * 100). This will be displayed on your vehicle as either km (generally referred to as the GOM - guess-o-meter) or % (SoC - State of Charge).

While a useful metric, vehicles are not driven under test conditions - in the real world, achievable range will be impacted by speed, driving style, weather (both temperature & precipitation), & mix of city & motorway driving. Additionally, the manufacturer may not recommend charging to 100% for everyday use, nor would you want to drive to 0% before charging. Many drivers find a figure of 80% the WLTP Combined Cycle provides a more realistic range, allowing for temperature variance (i.e. expect higher range in Summer, lower range in Winter); GOM's will update while driving to give a better indication as to remaining range based on current conditions. With time, you’ll become accustomed to what your actual typical achievable range is.

 

Charging Connectors & Cables

With few exceptions, your vehicle will support both AC & DC charging:

  • AC utilises Type 2. This may be provided by either a:
    • Untethered cable, i.e. plug in your own cable to both the charge point & to your vehicle;
    • Tethered cable, i.e. cable’s built into the charge point & need only be plugged in to your vehicle.
  • DC utilises either CHAdeMO or CCS. Whichever your vehicle uses, this will always utilise a tethered cable.

 

Home Charging

While you can charge an EV from a regular socket using a granny cable, using a home charger is a lot faster (up to 7.4kW versus < 3kW) & safer - we recommend that you install one if possible. An SEAI grant is available to households for the installation of a home charger, with a tethered charge point offering the greatest convenience.

A home charger can provide charging at up to 7.4kW (i.e. 7.4kWh in an hour), or to the limit of your vehicle if lower (e.g. 24kWh Nissan Leaf charges at 3.3kW max). This means you can output 37kWh in 5 hours, or 74kWh in 10 hours (though as charging is not 100% efficient, the battery will be charged by a slightly lesser amount than that).

If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to consider the electric plan you’re on. Smart, or Day & Night, Plans will usually offer the greatest savings - providing several hours of discounted electric daily. An EV usually requires 15kWh (or more) of charging to travel 100km, which is more than a typical household consumes daily; schedule charging (whether in vehicle, or in charger) to ensure charging occurs within these discounted hours. Relatedly, check the time displayed on your electric meter *now*, & on daylight saving time changes - if it's off from the actual time you'll want set / adjust your charging schedule to ensure you aren't unintentionally charging during non-discounted periods.

 

Public charging

There are different types of public charge points:

  • Standard / slow charge points (SCP, aka destination chargers) are generally located on-street, in car parks, at hotels, & at other places where you probably will spend a lot of time. Charging speeds range from 3.7kW to 22kW, & more recently 24kW;
  • Fast / high power charge points (FCP / HPC) are generally located where you'll spend little time - service stations & motorway services. Charging speeds range from 50kW to 350kW.

 

Charging Speed

Wherever you charge, it’s not just the charger that sets the charging speed - your charging speed can also vary depending on several other factors:

  • Your vehicle’s charging capabilities. You can only charge to the maximum of what the vehicle supports, & that will generally be below what the charge point is capable of, e.g. majority of vehicles are capable of charging at up to either 7kW, or 11kW, on standard / slow charge points, not 22kW. Similarly, the maximum high power charging speed is likely to be < 200kW.
  • Your vehicle’s state of charge. Highest charging speeds are attained at lower states of charge.
  • Battery temperature. Cold batteries charge slower. A number of vehicles feature battery preconditioning which heat the battery for better charging speeds if navigating to a fast / high power charger.
  • Your vehicle’s charge curve. Fast / high power charging speeds naturally decline as state of charge increases.

The majority of public chargers require an account & an app (or a card / tag) to start, stop, & pay for charging. These can be downloaded & an account registered within a few minutes on your smartphone. Support for contactless payment may be available too, especially for fast / high power chargers, & availability of this will significantly expand in 2024.

 

Charging Accounts

Notwithstanding availability of contactless payment, charge point operators generally require an account to be set up. Accounts are typically available as:

  • PAYG (Pay as you go). Pay per use charging.
  • Subscription. Pay a monthly fee, but receive a discounted charging rate. Whether a subscription, where available, is worth it will depend on level of use. Most simplistically, divide the monthly subscription fee by the difference between the PAYG & subscription charging rates to determine how much charging you’ll need to do before subscribing becomes the less expensive option.

Whichever you opt for, it will be possible to switch at a later date should you choose to. ​​Furthermore, many manufacturers provide, or offer, discount memberships with their vehicles.

 

Apps

Apps broadly fall into one of two categories:

  • Charge point use. Charge point operators will typically provide an app enabling use of their own charge points, & is generally in addition to other means of use (account tags / cards, or contactless payment cards). Apps have the benefit of providing real-time status, pricing, support, notifications, & other useful information - of particular use are notifications which may notify you as to time remaining before imposition of overstay fees. These apps can also be used for charge point discovery, however it is important to note that they will likely be limited to displaying only those charge point operators which they are compatible with. That’s where the next category of app comes into use;
  • Charge point discovery & route planning. These apps enable discovery of all charge points available, & unlike the previous category of app they are not limited to those charge points they are compatible with. Their route planning features will highlight or suggest locations along routes at which to charge. Your vehicle’s navigation system may assist with this process too.

You’ll find many of these listed on our Apps page; you won't require all of them, but you will require some. We suggest PlugShare, ESB ecars, EasyGo, Ionity, & Plugsurfing as a useful starting point.

 

Charging Etiquette

  • Charging spaces are not parking spaces - park elsewhere if your vehicle is not, or has ceased, charging. This is particularly important at fast / high power charge points as others will be waiting to use it. That said, with destination chargers this may not always be practical, e.g. having parked & plugged in at a hotel it’d be unreasonable to expect you to unplug & re-park at 3AM.
  • Read notices. Charging EVs may, or may not, be exempt from parking fees & other restrictions, e.g. Dublin City on-street parking requires payment regardless & is limited to 3hrs.
  • Be mindful that others need to use the charge point after you. Return the cable to its holster, & don’t litter.
  • If queuing, assume first come - first served; as operated elsewhere, e.g. barbers, you’d best wait with your vehicle to ensure order is maintained & no-one skips ahead of you. Note however, that where an AC connection is available someone queuing may also be using that while waiting for the DC connection to become available.
  • Report faults. Beyond calling support, faults can usually be reported within the respective charge point operators app.
  • Unless instructed otherwise, charge sessions should be ended in the same manner as they were started, e.g. if started with an app, cease it with that app.
  • Emergency stop buttons are for emergency use only. Improper use can cause problems with the charge point & / or for connected vehicles.
  • Do not attempt to unplug another’s EV; cables will typically be locked to both vehicle & charge point once charging commences.
  • Need a 100% charge while at a fast / high power charge point? Where possible, at a sufficiently high SoC consider moving from DC to AC, as DC charging speed decreases as SoC increases, & it may therefore be no slower to charge on AC at that point yet will free the DC for someone else.
  • Where a charger is ICEd, or an EV not plugged in, if leaving a note assume they didn’t know better - new EV drivers may be unaware charging spaces are not parking spaces.

 

Other Tips

  • Charging & climate controls can be scheduled, or activated remotely. This can be used to enable home charging to occur only during discounted times, & / or to precondition a vehicle prior to its use, e.g. ensuring a defrosted vehicle prior to commute.
  • Charge before your battery gets too low. Otherwise, if you’ve too low an SoC, & the charge point you intended to use is unavailable (for whatever reason), you may need to queue, or find it necessary to use an SCP instead.
  • Be aware of overstay fees. These times (which will vary greatly between DC & AC charging) & fees will generally be stated in-app, or on-screen on the charge point if no app is available, e.g. EasyGo levies an overstay fee after 60 minutes on a DC charger, while ESB ecars’ overstay fee on an AC charger is after 10 hours. Apps may provide a reminder notification several minutes before this applies, providing sufficient time to cease charging & move on.
  • More generally, avoid overstaying at fast / high power charge points as not only may the charge point operator levy an overstay fee, but charging speed decreases as SoC increases, i.e. multiple short charging stops can be both faster & cheaper than a lower number of prolonged charging sessions.
  • Regenerative braking is weaker at high SoC, typically 90%+. Be mindful of the greater necessity to use the brake pedal at such SoC.
  • Optimal range can be maintained by maintaining the recommended tyre pressure. This value, or values, will typically be printed on the body of the car, visible when the driver door is open. Tyre pressure is subject to temperature variance (i.e. expect it to increase in Summer, decrease in Winter; de/inflate accordingly).
  • Enabling heated seat(s) & / or steering wheel can achieve similar results to enabling full climate control, but at a lower energy cost.

 

Maintenance: General

Although there are far fewer moving parts in an EV, regular maintenance remains important (& is generally required to maintain manufacturer’s warranty). Various fluids (e.g. windscreen washer, brake fluid) will need to be checked & refilled. Pollen filters, windscreen wipers, & tyres will need to be replaced too (ideally opting for something at least matching the specifications of those fit by default). Owing to regenerative braking versus traditional braking, brake pads will generally last far longer than a typical ICE vehicle’s, though burnishing / cleaning will help maintain longevity.

 

Maintenance: Battery

Batteries are designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle. The vehicle owner’s manual will provide guidelines on optimal battery use. Typical recommendations can include:

  • limiting SoC to 80% unless undertaking a lengthy journey;
  • charging when low (< 20%);
  • favour use of standard / slow chargers over fast / high power chargers where possible, e.g. an 800km drive from Limerick to collect someone at Belfast Airport & take them back to Limerick would necessitate a fast / high charge or two… however, were you staying overnight in Belfast, using your hotel’s, or a nearby, destination charger ought suffice;
  • not leaving the vehicle for extended periods at very low, or very high, SoC, i.e. if taking a 3 week holiday, leave your vehicle at 50% - 80%, not 5% or 100%.

However, these are guidelines - they vary with battery composition, e.g. LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries are recommended to be routinely charged to a 100% SoC, & routine fast / high power charging may not be particularly detrimental either.

 

Community & Membership

IEVA’s a Facebook group with over 20,000 members which we also encourage you to join.

Becoming a full association member enables access to a private Slack group, voting rights for EGMs & AGMs, monthly newsletter, & other benefits.

 

Glossary of Terms

AC (Alternating Current): The type of electricity you have at home, which you can use to charge your car. It is converted to DC (direct current) by your car.

CCS (Combined Charging System): A charging standard which can use Combo 1 (CCS1) or Combo 2 (CCS2) connectors to provide power at up to 350kW.

CHAdeMO (Charge de move). A fast-charging system most commonly found on the Nissan Leaf.

DC (Direct Current): This type of electricity is typically used to charge an EV fast.

EV (Electric Vehicle): A vehicle propelled by an electric motor. There are three types:

  • BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle). Powered entirely by a battery, &;
  • PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle). Powered by a small battery, & an engine.
  • REX (Range extender). Powered by a large battery, & an engine which recharges the battery while driving, e.g. variant of BMW i3.

FCP (Fast Charge Point): Capable of charging a vehicle at 50kW - 99kW.

Frunk (Front trunk): Some EVs, e.g. Teslas have a storage area under the bonnet.

GOM (Guess-o-meter): The displayed range in your EV, which isn’t always accurate & depends on several factors, as mentioned in the “Achievable Range” section.

Granny cable: A cable that has a charger built-in which can be used to charge your car slowly from any three-pin socket. One end’s a three-pin plug, the other a Type 2 socket.

HPC (High Power Charger): Capable of charging a vehicle at 100kW or more.

ICE (Internal combustion engine): The engine that powers a petrol / diesel car (& also self-charging hybrids & plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) when they’re not running purely on the battery).

ICEd / ICEing: When an ICE vehicle is parked at a charge point.

kW (kilowatt): Used to measure how fast you charge, & also the power of the electric motor(s) driving an EV. For instance, a 7.2kW home charger can therefore deliver 7.2kWh per hour, which means you will get 72kWh in 10 hours. (Please note that charging is never 100% efficient, so in reality you will get slightly less.)

kWh (kilowatt hour): Battery capacity is usually measured in kWh, which is a measure of energy. If you look at your electricity bill, one unit equals 1kWh, so your electricity price per kWh can be used to calculate how much it would cost to charge your battery to 100% by multiplying your cost per unit (kWh) by the size of your battery, e.g. €0.40 * 64kWh = €25.60 for a 64kWh battery if you pay €0.40 per unit of electricity.

Regenerative braking (aka regen): An energy recovery mechanism that slows down your car & returns some of the energy that is generated when you brake or lift your foot off the accelerator back to your battery (unless it’s full).

SCP (Standard (or slow) charge point): 22kW or less.

SoC (State of Charge): How full your battery is, measured in percent.

SoH (State of Health): Describes the battery’s current maximum charge capacity versus its original maximum charge capacity, i.e. level of degradation.

Supercharger: Tesla’s high power charger which, until recently, could only be used by Teslas. Please see the “Charge Your Non-Tesla” section of the Tesla app to see which Superchargers are now available to non-Tesla vehicles with a CCS connector.

Type 2: The connector used in home chargers, & SCPs.

WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure): A global standard for determining the range of fully EVs (as well as the levels of pollutants, CO2 emissions & fuel consumption of ICE & hybrid vehicles). It gives you a good idea of the range you may achieve with an EV, but as with litre values for petrol & diesel vehicles, your actual range depends on many factors, as mentioned in the “Range & Efficiency” section.

V2L (Vehicle to Load): A vehicle which can be used to provide power to external appliances, e.g. Hyundai Ioniq 5 & 6 feature both an internal & (with an adapter) an external three pin socket for appliances to connect to.

V2H / V2G (Vehicle to Home / Grid): A vehicle which can be connected to a bidirectional charger to provide power to the home or grid, e.g. Nissan Leaf connected to a Wallbox Quasar. However, unlike V2L, V2H & V2G are currently only available via pilot schemes in Ireland.

V2X: A catch-all term for V2L, V2H, or V2G.