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Jul 14, 2023

How to Charge an Electric Car?

Last updated: Jul 14, 2023

Have an electric car? Then, when it comes to charging, you have several roads to take:

  • Charging with an emergency cable that has an in-cable control box, from a regular power socket. You’ll see it’s not great. Not only is it slow, but the lack of any smart features makes it impossible to control the charging process.  
  • Efficient AC charging with a smart wallbox, like our go-e Charger, offering 2-6 hours of charging time. This one is true magic. Make your charging experience financially rewarding and have full control over the entire process, adjust the charging power and schedule future charges for when electricity is cheapest. 
  • Public charging at AC or DC stations, with DC High Power Charging (HPC) stations often providing quick charging in 20-45 minutes. This option has pros and cons, we’re gonna show you both. 

In the end, it comes down to two main choices: you can either become a regular guest at public charging stations or buy yourself a wallbox, i. e., charge at home with comfort and save some cash. Combining those options is not a crime though. If you have a wallbox next to your house, but stop for public charging every now and then, it’s totally okay. 

Here, we show you step by step how to charge your electric car whichever charging opportunity you pick. 

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How to Charge an EV at a Public Charging Station?

Let's say you've just become an electric car owner and are driving to a public charging station. Maybe you plan to do it regularly in the future or just decided to give it a try. Either way, here's how it works:

1. Decide whether you want to use a DC or AC public charging station. The first one is normally faster, while the second one is more gentle to your battery. With an app like Next Plug, you can search for charging points located next to museums, restaurants, or supermarkets by simply selecting the category you need. Keep in mind, though, that in cities you find AC charging points more often than DC.

2. Find a parking spot adjacent to the charging station and turn off the engine. Position the car close to the charging station so that the distance between the station and the car's connection is short. This is crucial at DC charging stations where a cable is attached, or for AC charging if you have a short cable with you.

3. Depending on the charging station, there are different authentication methods available. No worries, they all are pretty straightforward:

App: Plenty of apps for finding and using charging stations exist and more are coming. For example, download EnBW mobility+ and you can use various charging tariffs with a basic monthly fee. This way, you save a pretty penny when using charging points from different providers.  
You can also use an app from a specific operator. For instance, the Kelag app (only for Austria) allows you to power up at Kelag charging stations, taking advantage of special tariffs. 

QR Code: Use your charging app to scan the QR code on the charging station so that the app can identify it. If you don’t have an app, you are likely to be redirected to the Google Play/Apple Store to download one or to the charging operator’s website to proceed with charging. 

Plug & Charge: This version uses the ISO 15118 standard to securely authenticate and bill your car at the charging station. With Plug & Charge, simply connect your car and the charging and payment process will start automatically. No charging card or app is needed.

AutoCharge: Providers like EnBW, Fastned, or NewMotion offer this nice feature. It simplifies the authentication and billing process a lot. Simply connect your car to the charging station, and the charging and billing will happen automatically. Again, no need for a charging card or mobile app.
But every rose has its thorns. AutoCharge's security relies solely on matching the MAC address of the vehicle, which leads to a potential vulnerability. On top of that, only vehicles with a CCS port are compatible with AutoCharge.

Bank Card Payment: Very few charging stations offer the option to pay with a credit card. But if you find one that does, you can charge with great convenience without the need for a contract or app. Keep in mind that tariffs could be higher compared to charging cards and apps.

RFID Card: You simply swipe it next to a charging station which makes it identify you for billing purposes. If you have a dedicated app, it also enables you to access details about the charging process. 
But how do you actually get such a card? Normally, you have to find a charging operator whose tariffs suit you best and order the card from them. 

Note: In some cases, you will probably have to pay around 15 EUR to cover the cost of the card and delivery.

All in all, you certainly need a charging contract, either a general one or from a particular operator, to charge conveniently and at a reasonable cost. An RFID card will make your charging easier once you know which charging provider you prefer. The QR code usually doesn’t play a significant role but spares you time finding the right app or website. We advise you not to rely on credit card payments, as this option is rarely found at the moment. But this could change in the future.

4. For AC and DC charging, open the charging port on your car to access the type 2 or type 1 socket, depending on your vehicle model. 
Charging at a DC point? Look for another kind of charging port, either CHAdeMO or CCS. The latter one is the type 2 socket with two additional pin holes below. In this case, just open the car's cover below the type 2 connector to free up the pins, and you can connect the CCS cable to your car.

5. If the charging station has a charging cable attached, connect it directly to your car. If not, attach your own cable to the charging station and to your car.

6. Start charging by connecting the cable and locking it in place. Depending on the charging point, it might start automatically or you might have to do it yourself through the charging station interface or mobile app. To get things running smoothly, check out the instructions on the charging station or app and follow them to start the charging session.

7. Have a coffee or a snack if there's a good coffee place nearby, go shopping or find somewhere else to spend time while you wait for your car to charge.

Tip: Don't forget to keep an eye on the process to avoid paying a blocking fee which can be around €0.10 per minute. 

8. Stopping the charging process can vary greatly. At some charging stations, for example, you only have to press stop on a button directly on the charging station. At others, you may also have to hold the RFID card in front of it or stop charging via the app. In addition, the car may have preset when the charging process should end for AC and DC. This can be e.g. 80 %, but also 100 % or another value and can usually be changed. However, this does not work for all cars. With some cars, you either have to stop manually or simply wait until the battery is full.
9. If you used your own cable, disconnect it from your EV and then from the charger. If, for instance, you used a DC charging station with a cable attached to it, you need to put it back into the holder of the charging station. You may need to press a button to release the connector before pulling it out, depending on the type of plug.
10. Close the charging port on your electric car. 
11. Start the engine and continue your journey.

Note: To maximise the longevity of your battery and keep charging times as short as possible, you better avoid charging up to 100% when using DC chargers.

How to Charge an Electric Car at a Wallbox? 

Whether you acquire a wallbox with your electric car or later on, the process of charging is normally similar. We can’t give a tour of every charger, so we simply show how our smart go-e wallboxes work. Let's start from the beginning. 

1. Choose a suitable wallbox, such as the stationary go-e Charger Gemini or mobile go-e Charger Gemini flex, depending on your needs. 

2. If you opt for a stationary charger, ensure to hire an electrician for installation to connect it to the mains, whereas for a mobile charger, you plug it into a red CEE socket, or any other socket with an original go-e adapter.

3. If you just want to charge without taking advantage of smart charging, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you can adjust settings in the app. Once you've tailored the settings to your liking, the charger will remember them, eliminating the need for any future adjustments. 

If you bought a smart charger, such as our go-e Charger, there are going to be a lot of cool features to discover. Do it. These extras can really do magic to your charging experience and electricity bills. For instance, you can take advantage of flexible electricity tariffs, where your charger knows the electricity prices from your energy provider in advance and charges only when the electricity price falls below a level you specify.

4. Park in front of the wallbox and turn off your vehicle's engine.

5. Open the charging port cover on your electric car.

6. Connect the charging cable to the go-e Charger and then plug it into the charging port on your electric vehicle. Ensure it is securely plugged in. 

7. By default, the go-e Charger begins charging as soon as it is plugged in. That’s how you usually need it. Modified these settings? For example, to authorise charging processes or to charge only when the sun is shining or when electricity prices are favourable. Additionally, you have the flexibility to initiate charging manually using RFID or an app, or schedule it to start automatically at a later time based on your smart settings within the app. 

8. Vou can monitor the charging status and control the whole process on the go-e app (available in Google Play and App Store), and make adjustments as needed. For example, when not in a rush, lower the charging power to avoid overloading the power grid. 

By the way, you can also automate this process if you have the go-e Controller with a go-e Charger. Simply activate dynamic load balancing to make sure your car doesn’t draw more power than your house electric can handle. 

go-e Charger Gemini flex 11 kW
go-e Charger Gemini flex 11 kW

The intelligent wallbox can be used both stationary in the wall bracket and mobile.

go-e Controller
go-e Controller

Maximise self-consumption of your PV system. Control your EV charging with dynamic load balancing to avoid overloading your power connection.

go-e Charger Gemini flex 22 kW
go-e Charger Gemini flex 22 kW

The intelligent wallbox can be used both stationary in the wall bracket and mobile.

go-e Charger Gemini 11 kW
go-e Charger Gemini 11 kW

The compact wallbox for stationary use, at home or at the workplace. Simple installation, intuitive operation and smart comfort functions.

go-e Charger Gemini 22 kW
go-e Charger Gemini 22 kW

The compact wallbox for stationary use, at home or at the workplace. Simple installation, intuitive operation and smart comfort functions.

9. Unplug the charging cable from your electric vehicle's charging port after it has finished charging, or at the latest, when you are ready to leave.

10. Disconnect the charging cable from the go-e Charger and place it back in your car. If you're not planning to hit the road anytime soon, leave it connected to the charger. If the charging station is outdoors, you can also use the app to securely lock the cable in the type 2 socket to prevent theft. 
If you want to stop the charging process because you need to leave or the battery is full enough, simply press the large circle in the go-e app or hold your RFID card close to the charger. Once charging has stopped, you can safely disconnect the cable. 

11. Don’t forget to close the charging port cover on your car.

12. Your vehicle is ready to take you to new destinations now. 

How Long Does it Take to Charge Your EV? 

We doubt you will be in a rush every single time you decide to top up your battery. But, well, life is full of surprises, and you never know when a quick charge will be all you need. So, let's explore the charging speed possibilities you can expect at different locations.

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Charging at public charging stations

We have to narrow it down even more to give you some meaningful estimates. Public charging can be divided into: 

  • AC (Alternating Current) - charging power up to 22/43 kW
  • DC (Direct Current) - charging power up to 50 kW
  • HPC (High Power Charging) with DC - charging power up to 350 kW

Imagine you're driving a Renault ZOE equipped with a 52.0 kWh battery. It's already halfway charged, showing 30 kWh on display. But you want a full battery, so 22 kWh more. You spot two AC public charging stations with a max power of 22 and 43 kW. Regardless of the station's capacity, your car will charge at 22 kW, as it’s a limit predefined by the ZOE manufacturer. So you can choose any of them, as it won't make the slightest difference. We do simple maths and see that with this option, you will get a full battery in about one hour. Keep in mind, though, that charging slows down when the battery is nearly full (90%+), so it might take longer. 

In the scenario of finding a DC public charging station, it's worth noting that not all Renault ZOEs come with a DC socket. You normally have to select this option during purchasing the car. If your model does have one, you can charge it at 50 kW the fastest with direct current. So you plug in the cable in your CCS port and wait for about 25 min until the battery is full. If you found an HPC station with 300 kW power, 50 kW and around 25 min of charging time is still all you can get. 

Note: The power limits are different for every car model. Make sure you know how fast your electric vehicle can charge. 

Charging with your own wallbox 

First, you need to know how quickly your car can charge. It may be 22 kW, like the Renault Zoe we have already mentioned, or 11 kW, like the Tesla Model 3. To charge at the highest speed, you'll need a wallbox that matches or exceeds this power. If, on the other hand, you have a car that can charge at 22 kW but your wallbox only has a maximum output of 11 kW, you will not be able to charge at a higher speed than 11 kW. 

You can find AC wallboxes with charging rates between 1.4 kW and 22 kW. For instance, our go-e Chargers can charge at up to 11 kW or 22 kW, depending on the model you choose.


Charging an electric car is complex only in theory; once you try it, you see it’s a breeze. Whether you find yourself at a public charging station or opt to use your own or someone else's wallbox, our step-by-step guides will be your best companion. We advise you to read them before your battery hits zero for the first time. After you’ve done it at least once, you'll be able to effortlessly power up your electric vehicle wherever you are.

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