Introduction: EV Charging Speed Fundamentals
Buying an electric vehicle allows you to benefit from better fuel economy, lower emissions, and reduced fuel costs. There are, however, many factors that you should consider when you’re searching for your ideal EV make and model. One oft-overlooked factor involves the EV charging speed. With high-speed EV charging, it’s possible to gain anywhere from 40-200 miles of travel with just 30 minutes of charging.
Faster charging is highly beneficial for electric vehicle owners who don’t have time to wait hours just to leave their homes. Along with the type of EV you purchase, there are several additional elements that impact EV charging times. In this guide, you’ll discover how to obtain high-speed EV charging and how to choose EV chargers for the workplace.
Charging Infrastructure’s Role in EV Charging Speed
You can charge your electric vehicle with electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) that operates at various charging speeds. Residential EV charging solutions are available as level one or level two equipment. Level one equipment delivers charging via a standard 120V AC outlet. If you have a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), this vehicle has a charge time of five to six hours with level one equipment. For battery electric vehicles (BEV), you can expect a charge time of 40-50 hours for the vehicle to go from empty to 80%.
Level two equipment gets you closer to high-speed EV charging. This type of equipment uses AC charging via 240V or 208V outlets. Level two equipment is part of residential, public, or workplace EV charging systems. You can get BEV vehicles from empty to an 80% charge in around four to 10 hours. A PHEV can be fully charged in just one to two hours.
EV charging solution providers have also created a form of technology known as direct current fast charging (DCFC), which delivers extremely quick charging at certain stations. It’s possible for a BEV to be charged to 80% in anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. However, the majority of plug-in hybrids don’t accommodate fast chargers. In recent years, DCFC and level two equipment have been installed in public settings, which include coffee shops, grocery stores, and movie theaters.
As the country shifts to electric vehicles, grid load balancing may need to be taken into account to ensure the electrical load is always distributed properly. For now, the country’s electric grid supports electric vehicles, even during high-demand times. Keep in mind that charging speed is measured in kilowatts (kW). A higher kW results in a quicker charging time.
Environmental and Battery Factors Affecting EV Charging Speed
While the existing infrastructure plays a large role in dictating what your EV charging times are, many environmental and battery variables make an impact. These variables include the following:
- Ambient temperature
- Extreme conditions
- Altitude and humidity
- Battery chemistry: Lithium-ion vs. solid-state
- Advances in battery technology
When it comes to ambient temperature, the Idaho National Laboratory found that EV batteries took in much less energy when charging at 32 degrees Fahrenheit than they did at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Batteries need more time to charge when the weather is colder.
Extreme conditions can also dictate what your charge time is. If there’s heavy snow or ice in your area, you can expect slower charge times because of the low temperature. However, if the weather is too hot, your vehicle’s battery could have a reduced lifespan.
Altitude is known to have a negative impact on internal combustion engines. The impact is less significant when it comes to electric vehicles. In general, every aspect of your EV will be less efficient in altitude, which is mainly caused by the lower temperatures that occur in higher altitudes. High humidity can also reduce your battery’s charging speed.
The two types of batteries that are commonly used in electric vehicles include solid-state batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Depending on your charger’s power output, a lithium-ion battery can take anywhere from one to 16 hours to charge. In comparison, solid-state batteries are able to get to an 80% charge in around 15 minutes. They’re also strained considerably less by numerous charging cycles. In the coming years, new advancements in battery technology should be made, which will likely result in quicker charging times.
Protocols, Behavior in EV Charging Speed
Several additional factors that can impact EV charging times include charging protocols, user behaviors, and vehicle software/updates. There are numerous charging protocols that you can use. For instance, CHAdeMO and CCS are fast-charging systems that can get to an 80% charge in just 30 minutes. If you have a Tesla and use the Tesla Supercharger standard, a 15-minute charge powers the vehicle to drive for 200 miles.
Keep in mind that your charging habits might determine how quickly your battery charges. Usually, charging time is quicker when your battery is almost empty. If it’s nearly full, the charging time will be slower.
When looking at software, WAE Technologies states that their latest software can reduce charging times by up to 25% if installed in vehicles while they’re in the factory. Even minor updates to existing software can subtly improve charging times.
Best Practices for Maximizing Charging Speed
If you have an electric vehicle and want to maximize its charging speed, there are some best practices you should adhere to.
Tips for Faster Charging
To obtain faster charging, it’s highly recommended that you:
- Avoid extreme cold or hot temperatures when charging
- Select a charging station that advertises fast charging speeds
- Charge your battery only when it’s relatively low
- Choose a charging station that matches your vehicle’s charging specifications
- Use your vehicle’s regenerative braking system to recover lost energy
- Only charge your battery to 80% to prolong its lifespan
Planning Charging Stops
When you’re going on a trip or driving a relatively lengthy distance, you should optimize your routes for speed and convenience. For example, plan ahead by checking the charging points that are close to the route you’re taking. Make sure you identify the various charging options before beginning your journey.
If you intend on driving short distances, you’ll likely do fine with a level one charger. However, a fast-charging station is necessary when traveling lengthy distances. You should always plan your charging stops to reduce the amount of time you spend at EV charging stations.
Future Trends and Innovations in EV Charging Speed
Charging technology is constantly improving. While electric vehicles currently support 400V batteries, many EV manufacturers are attempting to transition to 800V batteries, which would allow for much faster charging times.
In 2023, ultra-fast charging stations have been increasing in popularity. For example, many charging stations across Germany have upgraded to ultra-fast technology. These stations are capable of providing as much as 350 kW of power. No one expects the global electric vehicle industry to slow down any time soon. EV charging solution providers are currently working on lightning-fast charging that will deliver at least 400 kW of power.
Because of how quickly the EV market is growing, EV charging times will continue to improve. Here at EN+, we are constantly developing sustainable EV charging solutions. Contact us today to request a quote or learn more about the services we provide.