Charging an electric car faster: tips for e-car drivers

Kay Nordenbrock

Kay Nordenbrock 10.12.2021 13.01.2022 0

If you want to charge your electric car faster, the charging pole and the car must support the high kW number. For this, the battery needs the right temperature and charge level.

Charging an electric car faster: Tips for e-car drivers

The charging times of different electric cars vary greatly in some cases. Where you need two to four hours to charge some e-small cars, other models charge in as little as 20 minutes. The actual charging time basically depends on three factors: the car, the charging station and the cable used. We show you how to charge your electric car quickly and what you should look out for even before you buy it.

For the fastest charging experience, these requirements should be met:

  • A DC charging pole with a high kW output (150 – 350 kW)
  • The car must support this kW power and have a CCS connection or CHAdeMO connection have.
  • The battery must suitable temperature have (20 to 40 degrees).
  • The battery should be less than 40 percent be filled.

If you meet these requirements, you will charge the e-car at the fastest possible speed and be back on the road quickly.

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At the charging station: normal, fast or ultra-fast charging?

The first decisive factor for the speed of the charging process is the charging station itself. With public chargers you can usually find anything between 22 kW up to 350 kW charging speed. That sounds like a big range and it is. The more kW the pillar offers, the faster you can potentially charge.

The first big difference here is in the charging connections: AC or DC, that is, alternating current or direct current. AC (alternating current) charging stations are often many times slower than DC charging stations, which directly provide the direct current required for electric cars.

AC-pumps often manage 22 kW. But more and more often you can find some that can charge your car with up to 43 kW. In Europe, you can use a Type 2 cable at these charging points, which is included with most cars when they are purchased – if they have a Type 2 connection. AC charging stations can often be found in cities or villages.

DC charging stations, on the other hand, use direct current, which charges your car many times faster, which is why you usually find these stations along highways. Here the speeds vary strongly. It starts at 50 kW and goes up to 350 kW. To use this, your car needs either a CCS connection or a CHAdeMO connection. The cables for these charging technologies are permanently installed on the charging station.

The CCS connection is the standard in Europe and you will find this type of fast charging station at most locations. The CHAdeMO connection was used in early Asian e-cars such as the Nissan Leaf and is becoming less and less important here in Europe. If you have such a connection, you can still charge at many stations.

The car: What you should keep in mind

To be able to use such enormously fast charging speeds, the car has to play along. If your car only supports fast charging with 30 kW, you will only be able to charge with 30 kW at a 350 kW fast charging station. Therefore, before buying you should look at how fast the desired car can charge maximum, as this is a limiting factor.

It should also be noted that the e-car has two different upper limits for the charging speed. The Dacia Spring, for example, charges with a maximum of 6.6 kW with the Type 2 plug, so it doesn’t matter whether the charger is capable of 22 kW or 42 kW.

The car must also have the appropriate connection to be able to use CCS or CHAdeMO chargers. You would think that a fast charging port would be part of the basic equipment, but especially with some electric micro cars this is not the case. Here you get the fast connection only as an optional extra. But it is worth it in any case, because the car is fit for the long haul. Even city cars with a CCS connection are suitable for longer trips.

In fact, the charging speed also depends on the weather conditions. The car battery has a comfortable temperature at which it charges faster. Some electric cars have a system that keeps the battery at the right temperature for fast charging. In winter, when it is cold, charging usually takes longer, especially if the car does not have a battery heater. Because here the battery first has to warm up. The optimal temperature is between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius.

In addition, the charging speed depends on the battery status. Since slow charging is good for the battery, your battery will rarely charge at full power. The ADAC has tested the charging curve randomly with five e-cars and found out that the performance decreases increasingly at about 40 percent battery level. This preserves the battery and ensures that you charge the first kilometers the fastest.

How fast do I charge now?

How quickly your electric runabout is charged at the various speeds also depends on how large your battery is. A small battery is logically charged faster than a large one at the same speed. If you charge with 22 kW, a charge will take about 2 to 4 hours, with a DC fast charger you can expect 10 to 60 minutes, depending on battery size, car and speed of the charger. The ultrafast chargers are even said to give you up to 100 kilometers of range in five minutes.

You can usually get more detailed information for the different models from the car manufacturers themselves.

How to find the fastest charging station?

Before you can charge quickly, you need to find the right charging station. Fortunately, this is relatively easy and possible via various methods. The easiest way for many electric car owners is certainly the navigation system in the car itself. With many models, it plans the charging stops independently and shows you information about the corresponding charging station. To do this, you can usually search for the pillars independently and add them to the route or go directly to them.

Charging station with electric car

If your car doesn’t have this feature or you are not satisfied with it, that’s no problem either. Many third-party apps offer similar functionality. With the app Chargemap, for example, you can also search for charging stations and display important information about them. With Electric Routes you can also plan a route including charging stops. You specify your car model and which payment service providers and charging networks you would like to use. To do this, you select the speed of the charging stations so that you can always find the right station for you.

Alternative: Charging at home

If you are not in a hurry, you can also charge your electric car at home. You basically have two options for this: a wallbox or with a Schuko cable via the household socket. The wallbox is the safer and faster method. You can usually get the boxes with either 11 kW or 22 kW. They use a type-2 connector and charge your e-car comfortably while you sleep.

Of course, you can charge faster with the 22 kW version, but slower charging is easier on the battery, which is why the 11 kW box is better for the car itself in the long run. For this you should inform yourself in advance how fast your car can be charged with type 2. If the on-board charger of the electric car only manages 6.6 kW, for example, you won’t charge any faster with a 22-kW wallbox. After all, at home you are usually in no rush. If you are looking for a suitable wallbox, you can find it directly at EURONICS. Conveniently, you can also use the installation service.

The second alternative for home use is charging with an earthed cable at the household socket. However, we do not recommend this, as it can be dangerous. The sockets are not made to call up their full power over many hours. The electrical resistors can heat up over time and, in the worst case, lead to a fire.

This can be a problem, especially with older lines. That’s why you should have your power lines checked by a professional before you charge your electric car with the Schuko cable. In addition, at 2.3 KW, this is the slowest method of charging the car, which can take 24 hours or even longer, depending on the other technology installed. Therefore we advise to use a wallbox or public charging stations.

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