Slow Chargers Save Time

Interesting thoughts by someone realizing their whole life improved when they quit orienting their life around gasoline.

Every side of the EV industry is focused on fast charging, and making it faster. It should be—on a road trip or otherwise needing to minimize downtime, it’s crucial to plug in somewhere that can charge as rapidly as the Ioniq 5 allows. But the odd thing about fast chargers is that they can inflict wasted time. A roughly half-hour session adding 200-plus miles of range is impressive, but that’s a period I need to stay in or near the Ioniq 5, lest I incur idle fees or the ire of another EV driver. But it’s also not necessarily enough time to get anything meaningful done.

In certain situations, so-called “slow” Level 2 chargers provide more flexibility, as I’ve found with the Flo network’s 7-kW charger, located two blocks from my apartment. I must retract my earlier cruel descriptors of it: “too slow to be worthwhile” and a “worst case scenario.” It’s proven to be neither.

Driving home late one evening, I found myself on the brink: With the Ioniq 5’s battery at just 4 percent, I’d left barely enough to reach a fast charger the next day—if it would be enough at all. But that neighborhood plug sat unoccupied, so I decided to see what it could do for me overnight. Turns out, a lot. Getting to 80 percent took nearly 10 hours, but it was all time I spent asleep and getting work done at home the next morning. That is, exactly what I’d do regardless.

Another useful instance occurred on a Saturday afternoon, when there was nothing on my schedule but chores and a bike ride. With the Ioniq 5’s battery at 45 percent I didn’t strictly need to charge, but with the Flo charger free, I figured I might as well. My activities took slightly more than 5 hours, enough time for the battery to reach 90 percent.

Of course they were driving an electric car brand other than a Tesla, otherwise the story would simply be about them being burned to death.

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