Electric Vehicles Are Taking Charging To The Next Level
Slow charging times have been one of the main barriers to EV adoption. But soon, they’ll be able to refuel in just a few minutes.
One of the greatest barriers to the mass adoption of electric cars is lengthy charging times. Gas cars have multiple drawbacks, but their ability to refuel in just a few minutes is an advantage consumers are hesitant to lose. In the 2020 Consumer Reports survey of potential electric car buyers, more than one-fifth of people cited long charging times as holding them back from purchasing an electric car.
Unlike gas cars, electric vehicles (EVs) have different charging options for different situations. Level 1 charging can be accomplished by plugging the car into any standard 120V household outlet. However, this option is very slow; adding just 100 miles of range would take many hours.
Level 2 chargers, commonly found in garages and apartment complexes as well as some public chargers, require a special installation but are still quite affordable. They are also able to charge several times faster than Level 1. Still, a full charge would require several hours in most EVs.
Level 3 chargers (also referred to as “fast chargers”) are those designed to give a large amount of power in as little time as possible. Commonly positioned along major highways, those taking long trips will rely on Level 3 chargers to make them possible. Since these stations are expensive to build — around $140,000 per charger for the most capable hardware— they usually cost much more to use. Due to this, every-day use is usually reserved for Level 2 chargers, while Level 3 chargers handle those on long trips.
Fast charging has evolved over time. When the Nissan Leaf was first released at the end of 2010, they bragged about the ability to charge 80% of the battery in just 30 minutes. Unfortunately, since the car had a range of just 73 miles (118 km), this meant adding only 54 miles (94 km) over that timespan.
Also unlike gas cars, the rate at which an EV charges depends both on the capability of the charging infrastructure as well as the EV themselves. Since the early days of EVs, both charging infrastructure and EVs have…