Whether it's due to 'range anxiety' or a genuine need, one of the most sought-after features in electric cars is long range. If maximising range is your preference, having fast charging, will give you the ability to replenish the available range in as little time as possible.
We've ranked from fastest to slowest, the charging speed of electric cars available in Australia as of June 2022.
Factors we took into account:
1. Maximum DC fast charging speed (75% of score);
2. Maximum onboard charger (AC) speed (25% of score); and
3. Energy efficiency (WLTP) - how efficiently does it get to 100 km.
Electric Car Charging 101
The grid and your home operate on alternating current (AC) electricity. The battery in your electric car only accepts direct current (DC) electricity. This means AC to DC conversion will occur via;
🚗 The onboard charger in the car; or
⛽ An external DC charger
When you are charging at home, power is fed from the power point/wall charger as AC and converted to DC using the car’s onboard charger so it can be accepted by the battery. The onboard charger needs to be compact and lightweight. It therefore has a much lower power output (7kW to 11kW typically) compared to DC charging (50 kW to 350 kW).
DC fast/rapid charger
When you are using DC chargers at any of the public charging networks, the AC to DC conversion is done on-site (by the large charger unit), allowing a much higher current to be sent directly to the car’s battery. This is the reason why the DC chargers are so much larger than the ones you see at home.
Level 1 Charging: Powerpoint and Portable Charger
Level 1 chargers, also known as 'granny' or 'trickle' chargers, typically describe the slowest way but most basic and cheapest charging setup. It comprises a portable charger (which often comes with the car) and an existing powerpoint.
If you are using an existing powerpoint then there is no need to hire an electrician. Just plug and charge.
Level 2 Charging: Dedicated Wall Mounted Charger
A Level 2 charger typically involves the installation of a fixed charging unit on the wall, connected to a dedicated power source. The installation of these units will need to be completed by a licensed electrician.
This is a popular option for those that own their property and have the autonomy to upgrade their electrical infrastructure as they wish.
About the author
Danny is a consultant and entrepreneur working at the cutting edge of the electric vehicle and energy transition. He is passionate about educating and helping consumers make better decisions through data. He is the founder of zecar and is currently the EV Innovation Manager at Endeavour Energy.
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