What is the difference between slow, fast and Rapid EV chargers?
The latest stats from Zap-Map show the UK had 38,281 public electric car chargers at the end of February 2023. Of these, 9,645 are slow chargers, 21,911 are fast, and the remaining 7,426 are Rapid or ultra-Rapid.
Recent years have seen increased investment in fast and Rapid chargers, which is helping accelerate the growth of the electric car market. Plug-in vehicles represented 22.9 percent of the market in 2022, with EVs acounting for 16.6 percent of new cars registered.
So what is the difference between slow, fast and Rapid charging? Essentially, they all do the same thing – charge an electric car – but as the names suggest, the speed of charging varies according to the connector type.
Electric cars require a direct current (DC). If you charge using a domestic socket, the alternating current (AC) is converted to DC by the vehicle. Fast chargers do this conversion before the electricity reaches the car, speeding up the charging time. Rapid chargers (with one exception) also supply DC current straight to the car.
In the early days of EV adoption – until around 2012, let’s say – slow chargers dominated the public network. Today, you’re more likely to find them in home or workplace locations, where cars can be left on charge for longer periods.
The majority of slow charging points are rated at 3.6kW and will recharge an electric car in eight to 12 hours. This makes them suited to overnight charging, or when you’re in the office for a full day of work.
Although it’s possible to slow-charge an electric car using a domestic three-pin plug socket, we’d strongly recommend the installation of a wallbox. Not only is this safer, you’ll also see much faster charge times.
Alternatively, some lamp-post installations will charge at 6kW, which could be useful if you don’t have off-street parking at home.
There are four slow charger connector types:
- Three-pin domestic plug socket (3kW)
- Type 1 (3-6kW AC)
- Type 2 (3-6kW AC)
- Commando (3-6kW AC)
You can expect to pay around £800 for a 3.6kW home charger, although people who live in flats or rented properties can claim back 75 percent of the cost – up to a maximum of £350. Find out more about the government’s EV chargepoint grant here.
Fast chargers are the most common connectors in the UK, accounting for more than half of the charging network. The majority of fast chargers are rated at 7kW, but 22kW chargers are also available.
These tend to be found in locations where vehicles are parked for longer periods of time, such as car parks, supermarkets, leisure centres and retail outlets. A 7kW home charger will deliver charging speeds three times faster than a domestic plug, while a 22kW charger will be 10 times faster.
Charging times vary depending on the unit and electric car in question, but a 7kW charger should deliver a full charge in four to six hours. A 22kW unit will complete the task in between one and two hours. The network features both tethered (cable attached) and untethered (use your own cable) units.
Bank on spending about £1,000 on a 7kW unit, or £1,500 on a 22kW charger (including installation but excluding any chargepoint grant reduction).
There are three fast charger connector types:
Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge an electric car. You tend to find them at motorway service areas or locations close to major roads. They can deliver up to 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes, but an hour is a more realistic figure.
A Rapid charger will provide power at between 43kW and 50kW, while an ultra-Rapid charger delivers either 100kW, 150kW or 350kW. The most common Rapid charger in the UK is the 50kW device.
Car manufacturers often refer to an ‘80 percent’ charge time in sales material. The reason is that Rapid chargers have an automatic cut-off at this point to protect the life of the battery.
There are four types of Rapid charger connector types:
- Type 2 (43kW AC)
- CHAdeMO (50kW DC)
- CCS (50-350kW DC)
- Tesla Type 2 (150kW DC)
Click the link below to learn how to locate your nearest charging station.
Comparing Public Electric Vehicle Charging Networks
While most electric vehicle charging is done at home, having access to public charging, whether at a retail site, public garage, or other location, can make owning a battery powered car a far more practical proposition.
The good news is that the number of charging stations is growing at a Rapid clip. According to the Department of Energy, there are now over 22,000 stations across the U.S. with more than 68,800 connectors between them. About a third of them, 22,620 in all, can be found in California, which is the nation’s largest market for electric vehicles. Florida, Texas, and New York are the states with next highest number of public stations.
Most public chargers are still 240-volt Level 2 units, however, which can take eight hours or more to fully replenish a battery pack. That makes them best for adding some extra range while shopping or dining. Many hotels have installed Level 2 chargers that EV-owning guests can use for overnight charging. Unfortunately, only 16 percent of public stations so far are Level 3 DC Fast Charging units that can bring a given EV up to a 75 percent state of charge in around a half hour.
This is where EV owners can expect the most growth in the coming years. The Electrify America charging network recently installed more than 120 fast-charging stations in Walmart parking lots in 34 states, most of which are off major highways to help facilitate interstate EV travel. General Motors is teaming up with construction company Bechtel to build thousands of fast-charging stations, with many located in densely populated areas where apartment and condominium dwellers would not otherwise have access to home charging. Porsche is planning to create a network of 500 Rapid charging stations in North America to support its new Taycan EV that can give the electric sports car around 180 miles of range in as little as nine minutes.
The fact is, if you own an electric car and anticipate using a public charger you’ll want to join a network. Some Level 2 public chargers, are free, though most providers charge a fee for the service. Note that in some states the fee is based upon the number of kilowatts used, while in others it’s according to charging time. Being a member will help facilitate payment, which can be either on a pay-as-you-go basis or a discounted subscription plan for frequent chargers. You’ll be able to use a network’s smartphone app to locate a nearby station, check which type of charging it supports, whether or not it’s operating and if it’s in use. You can also initiate a session via your phone.
But which network should you join? The answer depends on where you live, where you want to go, and what type of connector your car supports, either CHAdeMO (favored by Asian automakers) or the SAE Combo plug (used by German and domestic companies); many Level 3 chargers support both types. ChargePoint is the nation’s largest network with chargers in most states, though smaller networks only operate in select areas. You may want to register with multiple providers if you rely heavily on public charging, or intend to take an extended road trip with a route based on where fast chargers are located. To make this decision easier, ChargePoint recently forged alliances with the EVgo and Electrify America networks to allow access to either company’s chargers without having to establish multiple accounts.
You can identify where stations are situated on the Internet and what type of connectors they support via ChargeHub.com, PlugShare.com, or PlugInAmerica.org, as well as the individual networks’ websites and phone apps.
Here’s how some of the major EV charging networks in the U.S. stack up:
The Blink network is owned by Car Charging Group, Inc and operates 3,275 Level 2 and Level 3 public chargers in the U.S. You don’t need to be a member to use a Blink charger, but if you do join it could save some money depending on your membership status. The basic cost for Level 2 charging ranges from 0.39 to 0.79 per kWh or 0.04 to 0.06 per minute. It’s 0.49 to 0.69 per kWh for Level 3 fast charging or from 6.99 to 9.99 per session.
Headquartered in California, ChargePoint is the nation’s largest charging network with more than 68,000 charging spots, with 1,500 of them being Level 3 DC Fast Charging units. Pricing is unique in that the company allows the property owner where the charger is located to set charging rates. Many of their stations are free to use, with the owner (a retailer, for example) absorbing the cost. Registration is free and charging can be enabled via a ChargePoint card, the company’s smartphone app, or a tap to charge-enabled phone. The first time a member uses a station that charges a fee the company charges 10 to a specified credit card as a balance and deducts the cost from it. Every time the balance goes below 5 another 10 is charged to the payment method on file.
Electrify America is owned by automaker Volkswagen and was established as part of its settlement with the government over the diesel emissions scandal. It plans to have 480 fast charging stations installed in 17 metropolitan areas in 42 states by year’s end, with each station no more than 70 miles apart. Membership is not required, though joining the company’s Pass plan warrants a discount. Charging costs are by the minute and are based upon location and the maximum power level the vehicle can accept. For example, in California the basic cost is 0.99 per minute for a 350-kilowatt power capacity, 0.69 for 125 kilowatts, and 0.25 for 75 kilowatts, each with a 1.00 session fee. The Pass plan has a 4.00 monthly fee with 350-kilowatt charging at 0.70 per minute, 125 kilowatts at 0.50, and 75 kilowatts at 0.18. A 0.40 per minute idle fee is applied if the vehicle remains connected to the charger 10 minutes or more after a session has ended.
Based in Tennessee, EVgo maintains more than 1,200 DC fast chargers in 34 states. No subscription is required, though signing up affords discounted Level 3 charging. Sessions are limited to 45 minutes for pay-as-you-go sessions, with members able to go for up to 60 minutes between 8 pm and 6 am. Rates for fast charging vary by region. For example, in the Los Angeles, California area it’s 0.27 per minute for non-members and 0.23 a minute for members. Signing up requires a 7.99 monthly fee, but includes 34 minutes of fast charging. Level 2 charging is 1.50 per hour either way.
Electric vehicle maker Tesla owns and operates its own network of what it calls Superchargers. The company maintains 1,604 charging stations globally with 14,081 Superchargers, both in public spaces and at Tesla dealerships. No membership is required, but use is restricted to Tesla vehicles, which come with a proprietary type of connector. Teslas can otherwise use SAE chargers via an adapter. The cost varies depending on the location and other factors, but it’s typically 0.28 per kWh. Where costs are computed according to time spent it’s 13 cents per minute under 60 kWh and 26 cents per minute over 60 kWh. Tesla recently reinstated its policy of offering free unlimited Supercharger access to new Model S and Model X purchasers.
This San Francisco-based operation operates more than 700 stations across 10 states, and stands out in that charging at a Volta unit is free, with no membership required. Volta pays to have Level 2 charging units installed adjacent to retailers like Whole Foods, Macy’s, and Saks. While the company pays the cost of electricity, it makes money by selling sponsored ads that are displayed on charging unit-mounted displays.
Sponsored by GET Electric, this is a guide to charging your electric vehicle at home or on the road – including an explainer on plug types and charging levels
One of the challenges for buyers considering an electric car is the breaking of old habits.
For most people, adding driving range to your vehicle has been as simple as visiting a fuel station for a quick refill and getting back on the road within minutes.
If you’re transitioning to an electric vehicle, it’s going to take time to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of topping up your car. Charging is still slower than pouring liquid fuel into the tank, but it’s improving over time.
While charging an electric vehicle is simple, there are several ways to do it that involve different charging times and costs.
One of the first things you’ll hear about when it comes to plugging in an EV is the different levels of charging. This can be broken down into three categories – Levels 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1: AC trickle charging
This is the most basic home or destination charging option, where you plug the car into a standard 240V AC (alternating current) socket.
While convenient, this is the slowest method, offering only about 2.0kW of power through a normal 10A socket. This means it can take from four to 50 hours to charge your car, depending on the battery size.
How to work out Level 1 charging time for battery capacity
Calculating this is quite simple – just divide the battery capacity (kWh) by the charging rate to gain an approximate time. For a Level 1 charger, this rate is typically 2.0kW. For example:
- The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a 20kWh battery. divide that by two and you get about ten hours.
- The Tesla Model 3’s 57.5kWh usable battery takes about 29 hours.
- The Mercedes EQC 400’s 80kWh usable battery will take about 40 hours.
There’s also a more accurate formula: divide the battery capacity (kWh) by the charging power speed (kW).
Of course, these times will be less if the battery is already partially charged – a 50 per cent charge will require half the time, which is why it’s a good idea to top up whenever possible.
How to work out EV charging times for distance
If you want to know how long you’ll need to charge your car to travel a certain distance, the charging power in kW is the same value as the kilometres you’ll get from 10 minutes of charging.
For example, if you are using a 2.0kW Level 1 charger you will get around two kilometres for every 10 minutes of charging.
Level 2. AC fast charging
While Level 1 charging will usually be convenient for plug-in-hybrids that can be fully topped up overnight, you might need something faster for a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) with a much bigger battery – if you need to utilise the full driving range capabilities every day (200 to 700km depending on model).
The good news
- There’s a quicker home option by installing a Level 2 (wall-box) charger, which increases the single-phase charging power to 7.2kW.
A Level 2 unit brings charging times down considerably, with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gaining a full charge from empty in 6.5 hours, and the Tesla Model 3 and Mercedes-Benz EQC at around 8 and 11 hours respectively.
And you’ll get a 7.2km travel range for every 10 minutes, meaning about 43km after an hour’s charging – which is enough for the average Aussie commute.
A 7.2kW Level 2 charging unit works off standard 240V single-phase wiring with the wall-box costing around 1000 to 1500 dollars plus installation, which is pretty good value considering what you pay for a full set of tyres or new car options such as a sunroof.
Level 2 charging can also increase to 11kW or up to 22kW capacity if you have 415V three-phase power available.
Since most EVs are limited to charging a maximum of 11kW AC only (via the ‘onboard charger’ inverter), you can get 11km for every 10 minutes of charging, so an hour on the plug will yield about 66km of range. A limited number of models are capable of 22kW, such as the BMW iX1 as standard, and available on the Mercedes-Benz EQE and Porsche Taycan.
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You’ll also find many public charging points are Level 2 (7.2kW, 11kW or 22kW), so be sure you know what capacity they are before you drive to them if time is important.
They may also require your own Type 2 to Type 2 (Mode 3) portable charging cable, which is usually a separate accessory purchase for around 200 to 500.
It’s worth noting that most PHEV models, because of their smaller battery capacity and battery management systems, will only charge at a maximum rate of 3.6kW or 7.6kW even when using a 22kW AC charger.
GET Electric has also opened its own hub of 22kW chargers in Port Melbourne, giving nearby EV owners an option for a top-up – particularly those living in the area’s high-density apartment towers.
Level 3. DC Rapid charging
Charging capacity ranges from 50kW on a Rapid charger up to 350kW on an ultra-Rapid unit.
These are the public DC chargers (480V/direct current), including Tesla Superchargers, that are crucial in making EVs viable for driving long distances with little downtime for charging.
It’s worth noting that lower-capacity EVs, such as plug-in hybrids and the Nissan Leaf, MG ZS EV and Lexus UX300e can use 350kW chargers, but will still only charge at a rate of about 50kW. Similarly, the BYD Atto 3, MG ZS EV, and GWM Ora are limited to between 60 to 90kW DC.
Higher-capacity models such as the standard range Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y RWD and Mercedes-Benz EQA, have a maximum charging capacity of around 100 to 150kW – which brings more than 100km every 10 minutes.
New-generation 800V architectures allow even faster charging, with models like the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-Tron GT, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 capable – in the right circumstances – of charging from 10 to 80 per cent in under 30 minutes.
Most PHEV models can only connect to AC chargers, but the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV, Outlander PHEV, Mercedes-Benz A-Class PHEV (optionally), and Range Rover PHEV line-up can charge via either AC and DC power.
⏱️ 0-80 per cent charge time
You may have noticed carmakers often provide a DC charging time based on a battery being charged up to 80 per cent instead of 100 per cent.
This is because the internal resistance of a battery rises as the state of charge increases. In other words, the more the battery is charged the slower and less efficient it is to keep charging it. Charging past 80 per cent also isn’t healthy for typical lithium-ion batteries.
As a result, charging is quickest when the battery is flat. After an initial burst, the charger settles into a constant rate until the battery reaches about 80 per cent full.
After that, the charging slows again – partly due to the decreased efficiency and to prevent the battery from being damaged by overheating or overcharging.
The time it takes to charge between 80 and 100 per cent can vary based on a number of factors, such as battery heat. This is why carmakers can calculate how quickly the battery will reach 80 per cent, but can’t provide a definitive time for a full charge.
EV charging plugs and sockets
As we’ve seen with mobile phones, there are different kinds of EV plugs and sockets, which threatened to make the rolling out of charging networks quite complicated.
The good news for Australian drivers is there is now a standard for AC charging; but it’s a different matter when it comes to DC Rapid charging.
1️⃣ Type 1 AC
Also referred to as J1772 or SAE J1772, this is the standard AC-plug in North America and Japan, and is found in Australia on pre-2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs, first-generation Nissan Leafs, and older BMW i3s.
It has a five-pin design. The two small pins connect data between the car and charger to determine the maximum current available to the vehicle – which prevents the car from moving while still connected.
The three larger pins are for the 110/240V AC power connection, including the earth. Because there are few public chargers with Type 1 plugs, a Type 2 adapter accessory is available to purchase.
2️⃣ Type 2 AC
Also referred to as the IEC 62196 or Mennekes plug, this is the standard port in Australia and Europe for AC charging and is used by all car manufacturers selling a new EV here today.
The Type 2 plug has a seven-pin design, with five power pins to support three-phase charging.
While older Tesla Model S and Model X EVs sold here use a Type 2 plug, it has modified the connector with a notch at the top to ensure only they can access the Tesla Supercharging network (although trials are underway to open it up to all EV models).
All plug-in hybrid models in Australia are equipped with Type 2 charging ports. EVs with CCS2 sockets (see below) can accept Type 2 plugs.
AUSTRALIAN STANDARD: CCS2
Short for Combined Charging System, CCS can be used for AC and DC chargers.
This is the most common charging port type in Australia, as nearly all models sold here adopt this standard and all DC fast chargers have a CCS2 connector.
CCS2 extends the bottom of Type 2 with two pins in order to DC fast-charge.
This is an abbreviation for Charge de Move, which is French for ‘move using charge’. It is a rare DC port standard found in most Japanese-built EVs and PHEVs, such as the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV and Lexus UX300e. However, the latest Nissan Ariya EV has shifted to CCS2 and older Tesla models can use a CHAdeMO via an adapter.
Public charging stations in Australia still mostly offer a CHAdeMO cable since any that are co-founded by the Federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) need to follow guidelines set by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) back in 2017. But, some other fast charging providers have emerged only offering CCS2 plugs.
Most vehicles with CHAdeMO sockets also come equipped with the standard Type 2 socket for AC charging.
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Charging has gone public.
Juice up on the go by tapping into a network of public charging stations.
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Finding a station has never been easier.
With currently over 30,000 public stations supporting Level 2 and DC Fast Charging, charging on the go is more convenient than ever. Just pull up, plug in, and charge up. And Toyota is working with ChargePoint and EVgo to help make tapping into their networks even easier.
Customers who purchase or lease a new 2023 Toyota bZ4X will get one year of unlimited complimentary charging at all EVgo-owned and operated public charging stations nationwide.
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% of charging energy matched with renewable energy.
Clean Assist allows eligible All-Electric Vehicle owners nationwide and Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle owners in California to offset their vehicle charging with 100% renewable energy—no matter where the vehicles are plugged in. And there’s no cost to participate in the program.
How it Works
Owners of eligible vehicles can opt into the Toyota Clean Assist program through the Toyota App. Active Remote Connect Trial or Subscription required.
The Toyota App then tracks the amount of the electricity used during charging and calculates the net emissions produced by charging.
Toyota then generates, or buys, an equivalent amount of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), ensuring that all charging activity is matched with zero-carbon electricity.
Feel the smooth acceleration, instant torque delivery and quiet drive—all advantages of the electric motor over an internal combustion engine.
Reducing CO2 emissions by going fully electric is one way we can lessen our impact on the environment.
All-Electric and Plug-In Hybrid vehicles can bring about potential state incentives. Preliminary expectations include a lower cost of ownership, including overall service and maintenance costs.
What are the different types of electrified vehicles?
Electrified vehicles come in four flavors: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, and all-electric (referred to as Battery EVs, BEVs, or simply EVs).
Toyota offers a wide range of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, as well as the fuel cell Mirai in California, and the all-electric bZ4X. Discover this growing lineup at toyota.com/electrified.
Why drive an all-electric vehicle?
Three words: convenience, fun and savings.
All-electric vehicles can be conveniently charged at home, overnight and on-demand, as well as at public charging stations when out and about. No more trips to the gas station needed.
They’re also fun to drive, thanks to the immediate torque response from the electric motors, as well as the smooth acceleration and quiet cabin.
Drivers won’t just save money by avoiding the gas pump, either—they may also be able to enjoy state incentives, as well as the potential long-term maintenance savings typical of an all-electric powertrain.
And as icing on the cake, driving an all-electric vehicle can also help the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.
What is the all-electric vehicle driving experience like?
Thanks to the use of electric motors instead of internal combustion engines, all-electric vehicles provide smooth acceleration, immediate torque response and a surprisingly quiet ride experience.
How far will an all-electric vehicle go?
The driving range of an all-electric vehicle will vary depending on how/where you drive, charging habits, accessory use, outside temperature and other factors. Battery capacity also decreases with time and use, which will reduce range.
What can impact driving range?
All-electric driving range may decrease significantly depending on speed, outside temperature, accessory use, how/where you drive, charging habits, and other factors. Battery capacity also decreases with time and use which will reduce range.
Where can I charge an all-electric vehicle?
All-electric vehicles can be charged at home with Level 1 or Level 2 charging solutions, or at public charging stations with Level 2 and Level 3.
Many public charging networks, like ChargePoint and EVgo, further simplify the charging process by providing app-based charger access and payment.
What are the different charging levels?
There are three different all-electric vehicle charging levels.
Level 1 is the basic charging solution. Primarily for home use, Level 1 charging cables plug directly into a standard wall outlet. They are usually included with the vehicle and are totally portable, so they can go where you and your vehicle go. This is the slowest option, however, with all-electric vehicles requiring days to reach a full charge. Because of this charging time, Level 1 is best used with plug-in hybrids.
Level 2 is a more powerful AC charging solution that is commonly found both at home and at public charging stations. Level 2 chargers are ideal for charging all-electric vehicles overnight, but for home use, the equipment must be purchased and installed by a licensed electrician.
Level 3 is also known as “DC Fast Charging,” and usually can be the quickest charging solution. This is partially because it outputs DC electricity, which means the vehicle doesn’t need to convert incoming AC first. Level 3 is not practical for residential use and is only found at select public charging stations. Charge time will vary widely depending on outside temperature and other factors. DC Fast Charging is only available for bZ4X at this time.
How do I charge an all-electric vehicle?
The actual fill-up process is similar to that of a gasoline vehicle—simply insert the connector into the vehicle and charging will begin. In fact, most all-electric vehicles will also allow you to set a charging schedule to take advantage of varying electricity rates throughout the day.
This charging process can vary depending on equipment and location. Watch the how-to video on this page to learn more.
How do I monitor and manage my charging?
For Toyota vehicles with active Connected Services trials or subscriptions, the Toyota app is the best resource for home-charging management. It offers great tools and insights, including vehicle range, charging scheduling, tracking charging status and costs, and more.
The Toyota app can also be used to find public charging locations, as well as handle charging and payment at select network stations.
You can also monitor your charging—including battery level and estimated range—through the Multi-Information Display (MID) and central touchscreen in your vehicle.
It’s important to note that any estimated vehicle range calculations shown are based on previous usage patterns and may not accurately predict the vehicle range.
Where can I find out more information about Toyota’s electrified vehicles?
You can learn more about Toyota’s current and future electrified lineup by visiting toyota.com/electrified.
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We turn lampposts into electric vehicle charge points
We know that at-home or near-home charging is the most desired charging location for EV drivers. However, in many towns and cities, convenient off-street charging is largely unavailable to residents. Using existing street light infrastructure, ubitricity can help local authorities in the Rapid expansion of public charging infrastructure.
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UK, May 10th 2023: This milestone comes off the back of a number of recent contract awards including the Cities of Westminster and Liverpool, North Lincolnshire and West Suffolk.