How Fast Chargers Work in EVs

Battery electric vehicles (“BEVs”) are slated to replace conventional petrol and diesel-powered vehicles over the next couple of decades. However, despite producing zero emissions at the tailpipe and making electric vehicles (“EVs”) the perfect vehicle for a net-zero economy, internal combustion engine vehicles are still superior in some regards. Not only are they much easier on the pocketbooks compared to EVs, but they can also be fully refueled in just a few minutes, a feature that eludes most electric vehicles.

Enter DC fast charging, an EV charging technology that allows electric vehicles to recharge their batteries up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes. There are three types of chargers: Level 1 chargers that can take hours to recharge an EV at five miles of range per hour of charging; Level 2 chargers, which are faster, adding 20 to 60 miles of range per hour; and Level 3 chargers. Also referred to as direct current (“DC”) fast chargers, Level 3 chargers are the fastest of the chargers, capable of cutting charging times from hours down to a half-hour.

Due to their size, complexity, price and higher voltages they require, Level 3 chargers are usually installed at public charging stations as well as commercial properties. So how does fast charging technology work, and why does it allow EVs to take in all that power in such a short time?

Electric vehicle batteries require direct current (“DC”) to charge and discharge, but since most power grids use alternating current (“AC”), a converter is needed to convert the AC to EV-compatible DC. This converter can either be in the vehicle or the charger itself, with the faster converters being larger, heavier and more complex. Most EVs have an onboard charger that handles the conversion, but it is usually too small to handle the conversion swiftly, leading to slower charging speeds.

With fast-charging technology, however, a DC fast charger can bypass the onboard charger entirely and send power directly to the battery. With the middleman eliminated, EV owners are looking at charging rates that are 15 times faster compared to other chargers. Although it would be convenient, installing a Level 3 charger in homes isn’t feasible. A single unit can cost around $50,000 on average, and utility bills would probably go through the roof due to the higher voltages a DC fast charger needs.

The next best thing would be a Level 2 charger if space is available. On average, EV drivers pay around $1,200 to install a Level 2 charger at home, and depending on the electricity chargers in the various states, drivers probably have to break the bank to keep their EVs charged.

The emergence of companies such as Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) in the electric vehicle space, and especially the provision of cutting-edge charging mechanisms, will result in the rapid transformation of how EVs are charged. As that happens, motorists will no longer be apprehensive about running out of juice without access to charging facilities.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/IDEX

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