- There are typically two types of EV charging methods – AC and DC.
- AC is typically found in homes and is a relatively slow charger.
- DC is generally found in public places that are fast chargers.
The most common question among EV owners is whether charging electric cars at public DC fast charging stations is bad for the battery’s health. With the exponential rise in EV sales, particularly over the last couple of years, there are tons of questions about the technology. Charging techniques are critical to electric cars which is where this question stems from.
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DC Fast Charging Stations
EV owners mostly approach a DC fast charging station when they are on a highway. That is where the need to charge the EV at the fastest rate arises. DC fast charging (or Level 3 charging) could be anywhere between 50 kW to 350 kW. High-end cars support charging capacities up to 350 kW typically topping up the battery healthy to 80% within 20-30 mins. This is because the DC directly charges the battery while AC needs to be converted to DC first. DC charging is a bit expensive.
AC charging (Level 1 and Level 2 charging) is mostly found in homes, shopping malls and parking lots. It could be between 3 kW to 11 kW. Depending on the model and manufacturer, AC power tops up the battery in 6 to 15 hours. That is the most common way of charging EVs where one could plug them in during the night. Also, that is the cheapest way to charge EVs.
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Types of DC Chargers
Depending on the country you live in, there are three main types of DC fast chargers – CHAdeMO, CCS (Combined Charging System) and Tesla Superchargers. CHAdeMO is mainly found in Asian cars in the USA, while CCS is common in Europe. Tesla Superchargers are exclusive to Tesla EVs. However, they can also use the other two types of chargers using an auxiliary adapter.
Coming to whether charging via DC fast charger regularly could impact the health of the battery, the simple answer is YES. Lithium-ion batteries get degraded faster when charged using a DC fast charger for prolonged periods. But it must be mentioned that the rate of degradation is not significantly high compared to using an AC charger. That is because one would normally still use AC power at home. The instances of using DC power are not that frequent.
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In conclusion, we would like to suggest that the best way to charge the EV is via AC power at home. The next best option is at your workplace using AC power, if possible. Charging using DC power must be strictly restricted to emergency scenarios only. For instance, while planning a long trip on a highway, DC charging makes sense as you would need to quickly recharge the battery and get a move on. Needless to say, it is a more expensive option owing to the convenience it offers.