How to Use a DC Fast EV Charger
With several territories around the world set on replacing fossil fuel cars on their roads with electric vehicles (“EVs”) over the next few decades, we’re going to see a lot more public electric vehicle charging stations. EVs are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs, and unlike conventional vehicles that can be fully fueled in just a couple of minutes, recharging an electric vehicle to 100% can take quite a while, depending on the type of charger used. Of the nearly 50,000 public chargers that make up America’s charging infrastructure, only 5,000 are Level 1 fast chargers that can charge an EV to 80% in less than an hour.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) currently runs the largest network of fast chargers in the world, consisting of more than 25,000 superchargers in several countries. If you’re driving a Tesla, all you have to do is pull up to a station and plug your car in using the connector at a Supercharge post, which is capable of adding up to 200 miles of range in only 15 minutes. Although the Tesla CEO has said that the EV maker will open its network up to non-Tesla electric vehicles in the near future, only Tesla drivers can use the Supercharger network at the moment.
So can EV owners who do not drive Teslas fast-charge their vehicles?
Electrify America has spent the past few years developing a fast-charging network in America. The company has already installed 647 live stations with an additional 121 stations planned. In Europe, IONITY hasmore than 400 stations across the European Union while UK-based provider Gridserve has opened a forecourt with several DC rapid chargers.
But before you drive to a fast charger, you should first confirm that your vehicle is even capable of receiving electricity at such fast rates. The latest superchargers can achieve charging peaks of well over 200kW, and not every EV model can handle such speeds. Some EVs, especially the early models, have a maximum charging speed of 50kW, and even if they were plugged into a 200kW fast charger, they wouldn’t be able to charge in only 30 minutes.
But if your electric car is designed to allow fast charging, you can indeed take advantage of fast-charge infrastructure. However, unlike Tesla drivers, you most likely won’t be able to simply plug in your car and wait. You will need either an app that can “talk” to the charger and initiate the charging process or an RFID card that was topped up in advance.
In the case of the RFID card, you would have to swipe the card before the charging begins. Fortunately, operators are increasingly installing “tap and go” chargers that allow drivers to tap and use their credit cards to pay their charging bills, eliminating the need for mobile apps, subscriptions and RFID cards.
As the issue of how fast an EV can be charged is addressed, electric vehicle sector players such as Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are working to convince motorists to make the switch to this ecofriendly form of vehicular transport.
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