Charging an electric car – a beginner’s guide

Charging an electric car – a beginner’s guide

Electric cars are becoming an increasingly common sight on Polish roads, as indicated by the Electromobility Counter of the Polish Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (PSPA). In August 2023, there were nearly 85,000 registered electric vehicles in the country. However, the transition to electromobility raises many questions. What does the charging of an electric car look like? What factors influence charging time and power? Where and how to find charging stations? We explain all of this and much more in the following article.

Charging station for electric cars – map, official database:

Planning a route with an electric car is made easier by the fact that all charging stations are registered in one official database, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Registry (EIPA). This database is free and publicly accessible, providing information about the location of stations, types of supported sockets, and details about the operator handling the charging process. Additionally, the EIPA registry also provides real-time data on station availability and current prices. While this is the most comprehensive source of information, it is not the only one.

Among electric vehicle users, the PlugShare portal is highly popular. It offers a map marking public electric vehicle charging stations with essential information. Furthermore, the majority of stations, especially fast-charging stations, can be found on Google Maps, and they are increasingly being integrated into the built-in navigation systems of electric vehicles. Special road signs, similar to those indicating the location of gas stations, also make finding charging stations easier.

Where to find electric vehicle charging stations?

The charging station map is continually expanding, with chargers being installed not only in large cities but also in smaller towns. Fast-charging stations for electric vehicles are primarily located along major national roads, expressways, and highways, mainly at Rest Areas (MOP) and near fuel stations. Charging stations are also installed in shopping centers and other popular public places.

AC and DC charger – what is the difference?

Chargers for electric vehicles can be broadly divided into two groups: AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). AC represents “slow charging,” with a charging power limit of 22 kW, although most electric vehicles on the market have a limit of 11 kW. Notably, the e-Van, a Polish electric delivery vehicle, has a maximum AC charging power of 22 kW. The other type of chargers is DC chargers, which charge batteries with direct current, providing significantly faster charging compared to AC chargers, with power reaching up to 480 kW. It is important to note that such high-power charging may contribute to faster battery degradation, although manufacturers typically provide an 8-year warranty on batteries, regardless of the charging method.

It is worth adding that virtually every electric car (with a few exceptions) is equipped with a standard CCS charging socket, ensuring compatibility with almost all chargers and allowing charging with both DC and AC.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The charging time of an electric car primarily depends on two factors: the maximum charging power provided by the station and the power the charging car can accept. Naturally, higher power results in shorter charging times. In theory, estimating the charging time is straightforward – divide the battery capacity in kWh by the charging station’s power in kW, and the result is the charging time in hours. For example, a car with a 100 kWh battery on a 50 kW station will take 2 hours to charge, and on a 100 kW station, it will take 1 hour.

However, reality is not as simple. In the specifications of electric vehicles, the charging time is usually provided for the range of 10-80%. This is because within this range, the charging power is highest and remains relatively constant. At extreme values of the state of charge (almost fully charged or discharged battery), the charging power and rate significantly decrease, sometimes several times over. However, even taking this into account, modern electric vehicles can recharge a full battery in about half to one hour, provided they are connected to a sufficiently powerful station.

Home charging stations – how to charge an electric car from a standard outlet?

Every electric car can be charged at home by connecting it to a standard 230V/10A AC outlet. However, it is essential to be aware that fully charging the battery in such conditions will take several to tens of hours. Therefore, in private homes, if the power grid allows, it is advisable to invest in a more powerful outlet – a “force” or three-phase outlet with a power of up to 22 kW, which can reduce the charging time to a few hours. To manage more potent home charging, a wallbox is used – a device that allows users to set key charging parameters, such as duration or desired power. Home charging is also becoming more straightforward for apartment residents – developers are increasingly incorporating charging capabilities by installing outlets available to residents during building construction.

It is also important to emphasize that charging an electric car at home is safe and convenient. In this way, the battery’s health is also maintained, as alternating current leads to slower battery wear compared to high-power direct current.

Cost of charging electric cars

The prices for charging an electric car at public stations primarily depend on the power – the higher the power, the higher the price per kilowatt-hour. The pricing lists of all stations must be publicly available, and they can be reviewed before starting the charging process. Currently, most operators for fast charging propose rates in the range of 2.5/3 PLN per kWh, and on average, an electric car consumes several to twenty kWh per 100 kilometers. It may not be the cheapest solution, but it is the most convenient for further travel, as the car is ready for the road after a short stop. The cost of charging at home depends on the kilowatt-hour rates offered by the energy supplier. In any case, it is noticeably cheaper, especially since modern car software or wallboxes often allow cost optimization by utilizing temporarily available lower energy tariffs.

Regarding payment methods for public charging stations, most operators currently use their own applications. One-time card payments or linking our bank account to the operator’s account and paying with a key fob or RFID card are possible. This doesn’t mean we should be tied to just one operator – there are already cards on the market equivalent to fuel cards, allowing us to charge at most available stations.

Currently, only a few points offer the option to pay for charging with a credit card through a terminal, but this is expected to change soon. According to new EU regulations, modified regulations for the development of charging stations will come into effect in the first half of 2024. One of the significant changes will obligate operators to enable users to pay through terminals, QR codes, or in another form that does not require an operator-user agreement.


Charging electric cars is becoming more accessible – the number of charging stations is increasing, payment methods are finally catching up with modern trends, and there are also many tools available to help plan routes. Contrary to popular myths, there is no need to worry about safety. Our team at Ennovation Technology is actively advancing electromobility in the Polish and global markets, building technological progress in this field every day. Our solutions demonstrate that the electrification of transport brings real benefits in both the electric vehicle and commercial vehicle categories.