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Best and worst times to charge an electric car over May bank holidays to avoid queue chaos


May will see three bank holidays, including May 8 in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III, with many drivers looking to get away for the long weekends. But experts are warning drivers, especially electric car owners, of the difficulties they may face when on the roads this upcoming May.

Over Christmas, public charging stations across the UK were inundated with drivers looking to refuel as they travelled for the holiday period.

This led to many people waiting in long queues to charge, with many calling the current infrastructure inadequate for the demand there already is.

According to EV charging specialists Gridserve, electric car drivers should prepare in advance and ensure they don’t get stuck waiting at a charging station.

Using data from its Electric Super Hubs across the UK over the recent busy Easter weekend, it found that 20,000 vehicles were charged.

READ MORE: New driving law unveiled today will crack down on dangerous drivers

The research found that charging stations will be busiest between 10am and midday during Coronation weekend.

By comparison, times like 9am and after 3pm were almost one-fifth quieter than at peak times during the same period.

Naturally, drivers are likely to see the fewest queues before 8am and after 6pm, when demand drops dramatically.

In what is becoming a more common occurrence, drivers should avoid “ICEing” at all costs.

This is when a car, either an electric or internal combustion engine vehicle, parks in a designated charging area when they don’t need to.

Electric car owners have the benefit of being able to recharge their batteries in these areas, which can usually be found at shopping centres and supermarkets.

People should also be mindful of how long they are staying in that space. If they are charging their car, they should leave once they have enough charge needed and not stay until they are at 100 percent.

This can prevent other people, who may be in a more desperate situation, from parking and refuelling in these areas.

READ MORE: ‘Future classics’ and electric cars win big at 2023 Autocar Awards

This was one of the reasons for the queues seen over Christmas, with drivers insisting on staying plugged in until they are fully charged.

When charging, the status of the battery will appear on the infotainment screen or on the dashboard, letting drivers know the current battery level and range.

A spokesperson for Gridserve added: “Also, be aware that the charging speed will start to slow as your battery reaches 80 percent.

“This happens because the battery is protecting itself. It’s called a charging curve and by trying to add those few extra miles you could be stopping someone else from connecting.”

They said it was better to head off and recharge at a later point, when they will be able to top up faster.

Drivers can use apps like Waze and Google Maps to check ahead for the availability of their nearest charging stations.

In the settings of these apps, drivers can choose their preferences including vehicle type, preferred fuel type and which charging port they have on their vehicle.

The UK versions of these apps, which recently updated to include this information, carriers the most popular chargers like Type 1 and 2, CHAdeMO, CCS rapid charger and Tesla Supercharger.



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