Electric vehicles have picked up momentum in the last decade, and the need for charging stations has become more apparent. However, electric car owners know that charging their vehicles at home or at a standard charging station takes several hours—sometimes up to eight hours or more. That is a considerable amount of time for an activity that takes mere minutes at a gas station. Fortunately, advancements in charging technology have led to the emergence of faster charging stations. In this post, we will focus on DC fast charging stations, their use, and what sets them apart from other charging options.
DC Fast Charging Stations, also known as level three charging stations, use direct current rather than alternating current to charge electric vehicles. Direct current electricity can travel faster and move greater amounts of energy than alternating current, allowing vehicles to be fully charged in less time. Instead of waiting hours to charge a vehicle, fast charging stations can provide up to 80% of a full charge in just 30 to 45 minutes. This speed has been a game-changer for electric vehicle owners, making road trips more feasible and giving drivers the ability to recharge on the go.
DC fast charging stations are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas and along major highways. Businesses such as shopping centers, restaurants, and hotels have also started installing DC fast charging stations to attract customers. In California alone, Tesla has built over 1,700 supercharger stations, and Electrify America aims to have 800 charging stations by the end of 2021. These charging stations can be found through various mobile apps and GPS systems, making it easy for electric vehicle owners to find the nearest charging station.
One of the main advantages of DC fast charging stations is their speed. However, there are other benefits to utilizing fast charging stations. DC fast charging stations are more versatile and can charge several types of electric vehicles, including electric cars, electric buses, and electric motorcycles. This flexibility allows charging stations to cater to a broader range of electric vehicles, making it easier for transportation industries to invest in electric vehicles. Furthermore, electric vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla and BMW have developed proprietary fast charging technologies that allow their electric vehicles to charge up to 100% in under an hour.
Although DC fast charging stations are incredibly fast and convenient, they do have some drawbacks. Fast charging can increase battery degradation and decrease the lifespan of a battery. Fast charging produces more heat and puts more pressure on the battery. It is why manufacturers limit usage and recommend using DC fast charging stations for emergencies or long-distance travel only. Due to the high-powered electricity they use, fast charging stations are also more expensive to install, making it harder for some businesses to invest in them.
The emergence of DC fast charging stations has revolutionized the electric vehicle industry, making it easier and more practical for electric vehicle owners to travel long distances. With quicker charging speeds, broader compatibility, and improved accessibility, electric vehicle manufacturers, the transportation industry, and EV charging station companies are taking full advantage of the development of DC fast charging technology. While there are drawbacks to fast charging that manufacturers are working to resolve, it’s evident that the use of DC fast charging stations will continue to grow in the years to come.