EV Charging Guide – Choose Pay By kWh Or Minutes?

There is no doubt that many EV owners charge the vehicle at home which may be easier because there is no need to calculate anything, and only pay the electricity bill every month. And maybe because of the energy consumption just to go back to the office, without having to go further. But starting this month, Gentari and JomCharge have started using kWh-based charging counts and this is slightly different from using charging by the minute.

Through this article, we will somewhat share a guide for everyone regarding the difference in EV charging fees, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of charging based on the calculation method, whether by kWh or by the minute. Roughly speaking, EV owners need to know the type of charging, the charging speed and also the charging speed that their EV can accept because all of these have differences that can be said to be quite complicated to understand compared to filling with gasoline.

Charging by kWh – Same as refueling

Charging according to kWh capacity can be assumed to be equivalent to refueling. For example if you need to fill up with 20 liters of petrol at a price of 1 liter equal to RM 1.90, then you need to pay RM 38. So the same with EV cars, that is if the charger charges RM 1.10 for each kWh, for an EV with a battery capacity of 20 kWh , it is equivalent to RM 22.

When charging is calculated based on kWh, it will not calculate how long it will take. For example, if an EV user has a battery capacity of 60kWh, it takes 1 hour to charge from 0-100% with a charge of RM 1.05 per kWh. then the total payment is only RM 63. If the user finishes charging and only charges 30 kWh, then the fee charged is RM 31.50. If within 15 minutes the user has charged 17kW, then the fee charged is RM 17.85.

Charging by the minute – Same as using a parking space

Payment based on the minute has been popular since the beginning of EVs in Malaysia because the power is provided quickly, only needing a few minutes to charge. In terms of count, it is subject to the charging provider, and each has its own value.

Taking the example of AC charging which is usually as cheap as RM 0.10 for a minute, EV users who charge for an hour will have to pay RM6. Regardless of how much energy is charged, the payment is according to the time period used and is seen almost the same as the form of payment according to parking. There are also locations that charge by fraction of time, such as Gentari Sunway University AC 7kW which charges RM 1 for every 15 minutes or ChargEV Mines which charges RM 1.50 for every 20 minutes.

Interestingly, TNB Electron through the Go To-U application in some selected locations charges by the minute, and has a difference according to the time of use. In the picture above, for TNB Electron Kawasan Rehat Paka, the charging rate is RM 1.75 per minute from 10pm to 8am, and RM 2.20 per minute from 8am to 10pm.

If EV users choose minute-based charging, users will reap savings if the charger provided is fast, and the EV can also receive high energy capacity in a short time. Thus for a car with 22kW, and a 22kW AC charger available, can fill almost a third of the capacity within an hour.

But if the EV does not have fast charging, and the charger provided is also unable to provide fast charging speed, every time it takes to charge will add to the charging bill. As an example of charging per hour with a payment of RM 0.10 per minute for BMW CE04 with 1-phase (1-phase) can only fulfill about 25%, in contrast to BMW CE 04 which has 3-phase (3-phase) can charge until almost full around 90 %. So for the RM 6 to be paid, there is a difference in charging capacity depending on the capacity of the EV charging unit itself.

Which one is better? Calculate kWh or minutes?

Roughly speaking, calculating in kWh is easier to cheat, and more fair and equitable because it is the same as filling up with gasoline. Irrespective of the charging capacity of the EV, and the charging speed provided, each battery capacity regardless of the EV will have the same price. For example Smart #1 and Mercedes EQB 350 which have almost the same battery capacity (66 kWh / 66.5 kWh) can be said to have the same charging charge if per kWh, which is RM 69.30.

But if the Smart #1 and the Mercedes EQB E50 go to a charger that pays by the minute, there will be a significant difference in charging duration and fees. This is because the Smart #1 supports AC 22kW DC 150 kW charging but the Mercedes EQB 350 is only limited to AC 11kW & DC 100kW so for the same payment period, the amount of energy charged is different. As shown in the picture above, although the charging does not require any payment due to the annual subscription of ChargEV, the amount of energy charged with a difference of 9 minutes is very different. Smart #1 Premium charged for 43 minutes can charge 13.96 kW / about 21% ( ~ 92km travel distance) compared to Mercedes EQB 350 charged for 52 minutes can charge 9.64 kW / about 14% (61.6km travel distance).

So for places that calculate charging by the minute, it is better to set a time that is not too long. Although your car may support fast charging, we will never know if the charger can provide the maximum speed. The video above is a situation when I went around the peninsula and stopped to charge in Kuantan. Since the Starbucks Indera Mahkota ChargEV failed to work, I headed to Gentari Pesat CTM, Kuantan, Pahang where the payment is RM 1.40 per minute with a charger capacity of up to 120 kW, but I have never seen the charger charge above 60kW, making the charging cost more expensive.

And for comparison, I also charged at Gentari Hetian Sebelah Sg Buloh for approximately the same period as Gentari Pesat CTM, Kuantan. The picture above shows the count per minute with a duration of around 16 minutes, with a different fee and amount of energy ie Sg Buloh charges RM 2.20 per minute can charge 22.8 kWh (~100km travel distance) amounting to RM 37.40 before discount, compared to Pesat CTM which charges RM 1.40 per minute can charge only 17.06 kWh (~75km travel distance) amounting to RM 23.80. Although charging in Kuantan is cheap, but not much power is obtained compared to Sg Buloh.

One more thing about the minute, for EV charging, there is the term 'Charging Curve'. In this term, most EVs on the market also state the DC charging speed from 20-80% in just around 30 minutes. There are EVs such as Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 that can charge from 10%-80% as fast as 18 minutes if using a 350kW charger. However for EV charging from 80%-100% will take longer. So most users will charge only up to 80%, and will go on their way. In the graph above, you can see that the charging speed reaches over 100 kW around the 10th minute, then drops gradually from the 13th minute.

And the picture above shows the current price difference of Gentari Stop next to Sg Buloh using the count by the minute, and also the latest Gentari count according to kWh. I have been using their charger which costs RM 2.20 per minute, and now it only charges RM 1.50 per kWh. If before I might have to pay RM 37.40, with a per kWh charge I only have to pay RM 34.20 for a power of 22.8 kW.

Depending on the situation, in my experience if going to a minute-based charger, the user needs to make sure that the charger can provide the maximum level of charging but since there are various variables that can have an effect, such as the condition of the battery if it is too hot which can limit the speed of the charger, or we ourselves do not sure if the charger is reliable, it is good to choose charging based on kWh count. In this regard, the charger provider that uses Kempower charging should be commended because the charger also provides full information about the charging status such as charging is limited because energy is being shared between vehicles, or energy grid limits.

No wonder there are EV owners who say that since JomCharge and Gentari changed the charging calculation from minutes to kWh for most chargers, maybe before the charging for an hour period of RM 6 can charge 22kWh, it becomes RM 22 because it has been changed to kWh-based calculation. I myself who use BMW CE 04 (1-phase) are more happy with this kind of count because it is more based on energy consumption even if I have to charge longer. So when ChargeSini changed the calculation method to kWh, I started charging my motorcycle at a few selected locations.

It is hoped that this guide will shed some light on the difference between charging calculations based on kWh usage and minute usage. And if it is calculated from the time factor, it is good when choosing an EV, if expenses are not an issue, then choose an EV that has high AC & DC charging specifications.

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