How Fast Can You Charge An EV?


EV charging rate and times depends on how depleted the battery is, how big the battery is, the vehicle's internal charger speed, and the type of charging equipment used (e.g., charging level, charger power output, and electrical specifications). 

Charging time can range from an entire day or more when using Level 1 charging, to as little as 15 minutes on DC fast chargers. Level 1 charging is the slowest and simplest form of charging - simply plug your car into any normal 120V outlet. At most, you’ll receive a bit over 1 kWh per hour of charge.

Level 2 charging, which is done at home or on-the-go with a 240V plug, ranges from 3kW to 19.2kW.

Both Level 1 and Level 2 charging take AC power from the grid and convert it to DC power for the battery. To do this, your car uses its onboard charger (OBC), which generally range in speed from 7.2 kW to 11 kW. However, older cars may have slower onboard chargers and some newer ones may be faster. 

DC fast charging, or Level 3 charging. ranges from 15kW all the way up to 350kW. Although not available to the public, industry experts and scientists are currently working on new systems that may facilitate rates up to 500kW, specifically to accommodate medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Each EV has it’s own unique acceptance rate, the limiting factor determining the max power an EV can accept during a charge. Entry level EVs, such as the Chevrolet Bolt, often have relatively low acceptance rates, with speeds capping around 50kW. On the other hand, EVs such as the Lucid Air Pure, Hyundais, and Kias, can receive up to 350kW.

Several factors determine the acceptance rate, including battery size, how depleted it is, and external temperature. It is important to note that advertised DC charge rates are maximum charge speeds, and will only be observed for brief periods of time.

Increasing average and peak charging speeds requires advancements in battery technology, infrastructure improvements, thermal management, and vehicle communication protocols. Similarly, the grid support and architecture of the charging stations must allow for continuous high power output.

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