Electric Vehicle Charger Types. Slow, Fast, Faster.
Electric utilities, oil and gas companies, automakers and pure-play operators are entering the EV charging infrastructure arena.
These players can maximize their business opportunities by supplying solutions to various charging behaviors; charging at home, work and on the road. Slow AC, Fast DC, Rapid, and Ultrafast charging reflect the speeds and power outputs available to charging electric vehicles.
Transitioning to electrified transportation will require a shift in behavior for drivers from refilling their fuel tank every week or two, to “topping up” a charge instead – many of them on a daily basis. This shift means that EV charging can happen anywhere and at any time, so any charging station becomes a refueling station.
Electric vehicle charger types
Slow AC charging
Is generally used in homes, multidwelling units, and fleet charging locations where the vehicles have plenty of time to charge. It generally takes 5-8 hours to fully charge the vehicle. A converter transforms the AC into DC and feeds it directly into the battery.
DC fast, Rapid, and Ultrafast charging are used to charge electric vehicles “on the road.”
DC Fast Charging
DC fast charging is the “first” of three quicker ways to charge an electric vehicle, bringing the car battery back to 80 percent of its capacity within 30 minutes – allowing the vehicle to travel up to 120 km. EVgo, America’s largest public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging network has more than 800 fast charging sites across the United States, for example.
DC fast charging uses an AC/DC inverter, bypassing grid power, with charge “injected” directly into the battery. DC Level 1 supplies a maximum of 80kW at 50-1000vDC and DC Level 2 supplies a maximum of 400kW at 50-1000vDC.
Each new EV charging technology claims to be the fastest. Rapid charging is faster than DC fast charging but slower than ultrafast charging. Rapid charging will add a range of around 200km/ 15 min. It will charge the vehicle up to 80 percent to preserve the car’s battery life. Rapid charging is used for charging for “on the go” and comes in two versions. AC offers more power – 43kW – but must be converted to DC to charge the battery. DC allows the vehicle to be charged more quickly, as it goes directly to the battery.
With AC rapid charging, the vehicle needs to have a type 2 connector, and with DC charging, it requires CCS or CHAdeMO connectors, so compatibility must be addressed.
Ultrafast charging for EVs takes minutes – the EV equivalent of filling up an internal combustion engine tank. Around 400km added by 15 min. charging. To “accept” ultrafast charging, the battery must be specially tuned to receive the charge. Ultrafast charging fills the battery only part way; the rest of the battery is then charged at a slower pace.
Ultrafast charging hardware must be paired with software that automatically adjusts charge time based on the “least stressful” charge on the battery for the time allowed.
Wrapping It Up
e-Mobility service providers must ensure they have the flexibility to serve all users with the right charging options for maximum customer satisfaction and profitability.