What is Fast Charging for electric cars?

If you’re new to the world of electric vehicles, this is one of the most popular question one would ask: How to charge my electric car? There is no standard naming convention, but most of the electric vehicles owners can often be heard using terms like Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3.

We’ve put together a guide on how to charge your electric car, but today’s topic will focus on the fastest way to charge your electric vehicle.

DC vs. AC

Fast Charging or Rapid Charging is synonymous with Level 3 Charging or DC Fast Charge, more technical terms. DC fast charge stations are high-powered commercial stations that are only found in public places.

Batteries have to be charged with Direct Current (DC). Your plug at home to charge your electric car uses Alternating Current (AC). To convert AC to DC, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have a built-in convertor, or rectifier.

The extent of the convertor’s capability to turn AC into DC electricity partly determines the charging speed.

How Fast Can I Charge My Electric Car?

Because of the high power demand and cost, they aren’t available for home use. DC fast charge stations can charge an EV at a rate of 3 to 20 miles per minute.

DC fast charge stations are used to long distance traveling, when recharging speed is critical. The new ultra high-speed charging stations just now beginning to be deployed can deliver 250+ miles of range to an EV in under 15 minutes.

Electric cars like the Porsche Taycan have a maximum DC charging capacity of 270 kW, enough to deliver an 80 percent charge in just 22.5 minutes. The Audi e-tron touts a charging capacity of 150 kW and a charging time to 80 percent in 30 minutes.

Tesla’s Supercharger network is also known as a DC rapid-charging unit with a120kW power.

If your workplace, shopping mall or grocery store offers DC Fast Charging, then that would be the best choice to charge your electric vehicle.

Yet, keep in mind that the last 20 percent of charging is just as fast on the Level 2 as it is on DCFC (Level 3). We often plugin our BMW i3 at a grocery store, only to continue with Level 2 charging at home. In many cases, Level 3 charging is also more expensive than Level 2.