06/05/19 • Andrew Antwi, EZ-EV Customer Success Advisor & Marketing Analyst
Electric vehicle owners have a few options when it comes to charging on the road. Level 2 and DC Quick Charge (DCQC) stations are the most common on-the-go chargers. These are the stations you see at shopping centers, grocery stores, offices, and rest stops. Fast Chargers are great when you want to get back on the road quickly. Understanding the options available for your vehicle is essential for a successful EV road trip.
DC Quick (or Fast) Charging provides a fast, convenient method of recharging your car’s battery. Fast charging will add about 60-80 miles of range in twenty minutes. Installation costs are high and can range from $50,000 - $100,000, so they are generally meant for commercial and public use and are typically installed in urban areas and along highways. You’ll also find them in major shopping districts and malls, in the parking lot of your local grocery store, near restaurants and hotels, and even at your workplace.
Types of DC Quick Chargers
Besides your typical level 1 and 2 chargers, there are three main types of DC Quick Charging systems, which depend on the charging port of the vehicle.
CHAdeMO was established in 2010 by a group of Japanese multinational auto manufacturers including Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsubishi. The CHAdeMO Association has since grown to include numerous other manufacturers and industry partners across the globe.
Most CHAdeMO chargers will supply your car with 40-60 kW of power and it is the most widely used electrical standard both globally and in the United States. According to the CHAdeMo Association, there are 2,204 CHAdeMo chargers installed in the United States.
The following cars support CHAdeMO fast charging:
- Kia Soul EV
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Nissan LEAF
- Tesla Model S (via adapter)
- Tesla Model X (via adapter)
Combined Charging System (CCS) was introduced in 2011 and built on top of the existing infrastructure for AC Level 1/2 chargers to allow for charging at all three speeds from a single port. While existing CCS chargers typically provide the same amount of power as CHAdeMO, it can currently provide up to 200 kW of power, with room for growth to a maximum of 350 kW.
The following cars support CCS fast charging:
- BMW i3
- Chevrolet Bolt
- Fiat 500e
- Ford Focus Electric
- Jaguar I-PACE
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Volkswagen e-Golf
Tesla Superchargers, specific to Tesla vehicles and owners, are able to supply upwards of 150 kW of power, charging only Teslas to 50% in just over 20 minutes. Like the CCS standard, Tesla has one single charging port for use across all of their charging platforms. Tesla also offers a CHAdeMO adapter to allow owners to charge their vehicles at non-Tesla chargers.
Tesla Superchargers allow Tesla vehicles to be fast-charged on the network within an hour. There are 12,888 superchargers strategically distributed around the United States to allow owners to drive between major cities, and across the country.
(Image Courtesy of electrek.co)
Why Not Just One Charger?
Every EV owner has asked this question, and honestly, we don’t have an answer. On the DC Fast Charging Network, the gap between CHAdeMO and CCS chargers is shrinking as there is a growing trend to incorporate both types of charger in one charging station. On the other hand, Tesla Superchargers exist on their own network. This means that there are two distinct networks: the Tesla Supercharger network and the CHAdeMO/CCS network available to all other EVs on the road.
CHAdeMO and CCS are supplied by many individual vendors - this complicates matters, especially for vendors with subscription-based models. Since subscription-based pricing is the industry standard, this can be frustrating for many EV drivers as they must balance various different subscriptions, engage in more comprehensive planning, and could end up paying more overall.
Unless you own a Tesla, you’ll likely end up with multiple payment cards on your keychain or charging network apps on your phone. Luckily, station locations can be easily found through the Plugshare interactive map and will show details like cost, provider, and accessibility.