Easier than refuelling? This is how you charge your e-car.

  - •  

  - •  

Reading time: 6 Minutes
Contribution picture Electricity refuelling made easy

How do I charge an e-car? Perhaps you have already asked yourself this question or a similar one. Whether on the road or at home: charging an electric car is not difficult and only takes a few minutes at a fast charging station with the right vehicle. Our trainees Lydia and Chris show in the video how a charging process works.

Operating a charging station is usually simple and intuitive. In their new video, our trainees show which steps you should follow during a charging process. In our article, we answer the most frequently asked questions about charging an e-car.


Our trainees show in the video how charging at a DREWAG charging station works.


For the question "How do I charge an e-car", one must first distinguish between normal charging and fast charging. The blog "goingelectric.de" currently lists 37 purely electric vehicle models, without claiming to be complete, of course. Even though some of these will not be launched on the market until 2019, they are striking: 27 e-models can already be connected to fast-charging stations. Because in order to further promote the change in transport, we need not only a denser charging network, but also faster charging processes.

If the electric cars are charged with a charging power of up to 22 kW, this is referred to as normal charging. This is the case when an electric car is charged at a normal charging station or at home at the socket. Since electric cars are powered by a direct current battery, the alternating current available in the public electricity grid must be converted into direct current. This requires so-called rectifiers, which are built into the electric car. In order to minimise the costs and the weight of the electric car, rectifiers with lower power ratings are installed. As a result, the charging processes take longer. Since about 80 percent of charging takes place at home, longer charging times are acceptable. The following plug types are used for normal charging.

How to charge an e-car: Infographic for plug types for normal charging

On longer journeys, it may be necessary to refuel en route. Public charging stations are available for this purpose. Of course, e-drivers do not want to have to wait for hours to refuel their car. That is why fast chargers are often used at public charging points. Unlike normal chargers, these charge the electric battery with direct current. The necessary rectifiers are built into the charging pole. Since the weight and cost of the rectifier play a subordinate role in this case, higher charging capacities from 50 kW upwards are usually provided. However, not all electric cars can currently be charged with direct current. Special charging plugs are required for this. The American and European manufacturers have agreed on the CCS (Combined Charging System). The Asian manufacturers use the CHAdeMO plug.

How to charge an e-car: Infographic for plug types for fast charging

Most electric cars can currently be charged with approx. 40 kW direct current. It is assumed that much higher charging capacities will be possible in the future. To be prepared for the future, so-called High Power Chargers (HPC) are being installed in Dresden.

There is already a High Power Charger at the MOBIpunkt on Pirnaischer Platz in Dresden. The future generation of electric cars can then charge the battery with 150 kW. With this technology, an 80 per cent charge of a BMW i3 with a 42 kWh battery takes just about 15 minutes.

Charging power of only 3.7 kW is usually used for e-bikes; the garage socket connection with 2.3 kW is also usually completely sufficient here. If you want to charge your e-car at home or in a company fleet, the easiest way is with a wallbox with either 11 or 22 kW charging power. Since the car is usually parked overnight, a charging process can take longer without having to accept any loss of time.




When asked "How do I charge an e-car?" many people are intimidated by the different types of plugs. The Schuko plug is familiar to many. This normal household socket can handle a maximum of 10 amps of current and allows a power output of 2.3 kW. This is too little for modern e-cars, charging takes too long and you risk breakdowns and damage to your home's power grid. For this reason, new charging connections specially designed for electric vehicles have been developed. European manufacturers currently prefer Type 2 for alternating current and the further development CCS for direct current. Only with direct current is a charging capacity of over 22 kW possible.

You will find a type 2 plug at many normal charging stations as well as at the wallboxes that you can install at home. A CCS plug is used by the fast charging stations so that e-cars can be charged quickly when they stop. Asian manufacturers in particular also use Type 1 and the CHAdeMO connector. When buying or renting a car, pay attention to the manufacturer: although most charging stations in Germany offer all four common types, this is not the case without exception. According to the charging station ordinance, the type 1 connection in particular is no longer installed at new charging stations. However, older charging stations may still have Type 1 connections. Tesla, by the way, is breaking ranks with its own Tesla Supercharger plug. This is based on a Type 2 connection and enables a charging power of 135 kW at Tesla charging stations. However, charging stations with "normal" type 2 plugs can also be used.


In the Saxony area in particular, the SachsenEnergie StromTanken app, the SachsenEnergie charging card and charging cards from other providers are suitable via e-roaming.

The payment process itself is quite simple. You have the choice between different verification and billing systems.

Numerous e-car drivers use charging cards from providers in the e-roaming network, including, for example, The New Motion or Plugsurfing. The regional energy provider SachsenEnergie AG offers charging cards with regional advantage prices. Payment here works particularly intuitively:


  1. Register with one of the e-roaming providers.
  2. You will receive a charging card issued to you personally.
  3. Hold your charging card up to the corresponding reading field of the station.
  4. Now charge your e-car.
  5. To exit, hold the card up to the charging pole's reading field again.

With the SachsenEnergie StromTanken app, charging stations can be found quickly and easily, and the charging process can be paid for simply via PayPal, credit card, SEPA or mobile phone bill. This is how charging with the app works:


  1. Download the "SachsenEnergie StromTanken" app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app when you arrive at the charging station.
  3. Scan the QR code of the charging point with the app or search for it on the interactive map
  4. Get started by clicking on "Start charging" in your app.
  5. The charging point indicates the start of the process. Now connect your charging cable.
  6. The charging process is stopped with "Exit". Charging takes place according to your settings.

All systems score with a simple payment process and numerous connected charging stations. We recommend that you register with at least one of the services. 

OUR CONCLUSION: How do I charge an e-car? It's actually quite simple!

Admittedly: The different plug systems, the incompatibility of some models with the fast charging stations and the variety of payment systems require e-car drivers to deal with the topic of "charging electricity" before buying and before the first drive. It is not yet quite as simple as "drive to the petrol station and pay". But even at the advent of the internal combustion engine, there was not yet such a convenient network of filling stations as we know it today. People grow with their tasks. One thing is clear: it will take some time before certain standards and systems become established. But even today, you can travel easily and comfortably with an e-car if you check which systems are available near your work or home, for example, before making your purchase decision. If you are a homeowner, fleet manager or entrepreneur, it is also worthwhile to install a wallbox to charge your electric car cheaply and easily overnight. Energy providers such as SachsenEnergie AG will provide you with information free of charge, advise you on choosing the right box and install your charging station on request.

Are you unsure which electric car or which charging system is right for you? Then we will be happy to help you under frag@umschalten.

It takes a bit of adjustment to charge the e-car. But as Chris and Lydia show in their video: It's actually quite simple. And with a little practice and getting used to it, "filling up with electricity" will soon become just as routine as filling up with fuel. Do you already have experience with charging an e-car? Share your stories or tips with us and comment with us on Facebook.

A contribution by Holger Theis

Share post

Guide to switching

Our guide

to switch

Everything you need to know about funding,
costs, best practice and more ...

Our guide

to switch

Everything you need to know about funding,
costs, best practice and more ...

Guide to switching


Data protection