When it comes to charging, think of an electric vehicle (EV) like your smartphone. Most people do not need fast phone charging all the time, but instead charge at certain locations e.g. overnight at home or while at work. You might wait somewhere inconvenient to charge your phone occasionally, such as when you are away from home for instance, but these occasions occur less often. For EV owners, the good news is that there are different charging systems to match each driver’s needs.
As the owner or potential buyer of an EV, it’s worthwhile understanding which instances require slow or fast charging, how they each work, and where to find them. As leaders in EV infrastructure, we’re here to give you the low down on the differences between slow and fast charging, and the benefits that slow charging can bring.
What is the difference between slow (AC) and fast (DC) charging?
EVs can be charged by two types of ‘fuel’: alternating current (AC), or slow charging, and direct current (DC) power, which operates through a fast charger. Your EV’s battery can only store power as DC, just like your smartphone. Therefore if you charge with AC (a slow charger), a built-in converter will automatically switch the current type for you.
AC chargers are typically installed at a garage at home to charge your electric vehicles overnight or while you’re at work or shopping for the day. You might also notice AC power charging stations in car parks, where you can stop for long periods.
DC chargers, on the other hand, are often found at service stations or on highways – can be as quick as 30 minutes to 1.5 hours and will charge until your battery reaches 80%, depending on the weather, your battery, and the type of vehicle you own. This is best if you are planning a long road trip, and our tip is to map out where the charging stations are located along your journey before you set off. Choose charging points that have amenities close by; it’s a great time to top up on snacks while you wait!
How do people want to charge their cars?
Like phone users, given the option, EV drivers prefer to charge their cars within their daily routine when they can plug in and forget about it. This is borne out amongst those with access to home charging stations, who do over 80% of charging at home.
Although DC chargers can offer a much quicker top up on battery, unfortunately with few exceptions, these charge times do not mirror the periods of time people leave their cars parked. It is rare for people to park their car for the exact charge time they need as part of their daily routine. A one-hour charge forces them to wait, or return at a precise time in order to avoid extra charges. By contrast, if the car is going to be parked there anyway, an eight-hour charge with a slow charger requires less dedicated user time and effort than a one-hour charge, as the user simply arrives, plugs in and goes about their daily activities without further thought about charging.
Where does EVX Australia come in?
Fast chargers provide a short-term solution whilst EVs were in their infancy. However with the increasing uptake on electric vehicles in Australia, there is a need for more public charging infrastructure suited to mass EV ownership. This should be driven by dwell time, not speed of charging. Drivers want EVs to be charged when they leave their house or work. Occasionally they want to charge mid-journey, and they will want that to take a maximum of five to ten minutes – the time it takes to grab a coffee and visit the bathroom.
To help overcome the challenge, EVX Australia has been working with local councils on EV charger rollout plans to make EV ownership and charging more accessible to every Australian, specifically for those who live in an apartment or don’t have a garage. Our charging solutions use 100% renewable energy and are fully ready for the future. Whether your lifestyle suits slow or fast charging, we make it easier for you to top up your EV close to where you live, work, and play.