What is an On-Board Charger (OBC) and why does it matter?
Every EV has an On-Board Charger (OBC). It is an interface that manages the communication between your EV and the charging unit. EV batteries require DC to charge, so if you are using an AC charger (primarily the standard Level 1 or Level 2 Home charging unit), you’ll need a converter or regulator between the charging socket and the battery – this is primarily what the OBC does! It serves as a regulator, receiving the AC charge from the charging unit, and converting it to DC voltage (needed by the EV’s battery) at the required level.
Considering the role that the OBC plays in the EV, when purchasing a charging unit you will need to consider how much charging times really matter to you. To assess this better, understanding the interplay between the maximum charge rate that an EV is able to consume (based on the EV’s OBC) and the maximum output the charging unit can supply, is beneficial to your understanding of charging times. If your EV has an OBC charge rate of 7kw and you are using a 22kw charging unit, your EV will not charge any faster than 7kw. Equally, if your vehicle has an OBC of 10kw (therefore able to consume a maximum charge rate of 10kw), however, you are using a 7kw ChargePoint – your EV will charge at 7kw regardless. So in this instance, it is recommended that you choose a charging unit that corresponds to your property’s power capacity.
Other factors to consider when assessing charging times include:
- Battery capacity: The larger the capacity of the battery, the longer it will take to charge. This also applies to the level of depletion of the battery (eg. an empty battery will take longer to fully charge than a half-full battery).
- State of Charge: It is recommended to keep your EV battery charging status between 20-80% full. When charging outside of this range, it is known to cause charging to slow down.
EV Powerhouse has taken the guesswork out of deciphering how long a specific charging unit will take to charge your EV! Through the creation of our online, personalised Car Guide tool, our clients can get an approximation of how long each of our products will take to charge their EV. Try it today!