How Do I Fast Charge My Electric Vehicle?

Electric vehicles bring many improvements to the daily commute. Less maintenance costs, better for the environment and our health. Cool new technology but how exactly do you charge them fast? Unlike the good old days of putting the nozzle in the gas tank. EV’s have a plethora of charging connectors and charging levels 1, 2 and 3. How do you make sense of it all? I set out to help you easily understand the options for your EV whichever brand you choose.

The fastest possible charge will be at a commercially installed level 3 or DC fast charging location. The current version 3 Tesla Supercharger has the capability to charge at 250kW which equates to 200 miles charged in just 15 minutes. The second largest charging network in the US Electrify America has the capability to charge as fast as 350kW. While most EVs do not have the ability to accept a 350kW charge rate. If yours did it could fill up 300 miles in just 15 minutes.

lets take a look at Charging Levels

There are 3 levels of EV charging. Level 1 is your standard household power outlet and this will be the slowest typically only charging 3 to 4 miles per hour of charge. Level 2 is another option that can be installed at your home typically the garage. This requires a dedicated 240v circuit up to 60 amps and can provide up to 44 miles per hour in charge. Finally Level 3 or DC fast charging requires expensive commercial equipment and is installed in public locations such as off freeway exits, gas stations, or parking lots. These will vary in speed but the fastest possible charge rate will be 350kW which works out to 20 miles per minute.

What kinds of charging connectors are there?

The 2 most common EV charging connectors are the Tesla NACS short for North American Charging Standard and the CCS short for the Combined Charging System. A third less common charge connector is called the CHAdeMO connector.

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As far as speed goes. Currently the Tesla NACS charge rate is 250kW and the CCS chargers provide the fastest available speeds up to a 350kW charge rate. The CHAdeMO charger on the other hand can only charge at a max 50kW rate.

Until November 2022 the Tesla charger was a proprietary connector only available to Tesla. They made the decision to open source the connector in 2022 and rename it the NACS with the hopes of it becoming a standard among EV manufacturers in North America. In May 2023 Ford announced it would switch all EVs to the NACS connector starting 2025.

The European Union was pushing EV manufacturers to standardize charging connectors thus the CCS became the defacto standard and is by far the most popular plug in Europe. Meanwhile the CHAdeMO connector is used primarily by Japanese car manufacturers. The most high profile vehicle to use it is the Nissan Leaf. However it has fallen out of favor in recent years because of it being inferior technology and the popularity of the CCS.

What is the fastest at home charging option by brand?

For the fastest at home charging you will want to install a Level 2 charger. Tesla’s level 2 charger can accept up to a 60amp circuit and the Chevy level 2 charger can accept up to an 80amp circuit. Check with your manufacturer for the highest amperage circuit they accept for your install. Work with a qualified professional electrician to make sure your outlet gets installed correctly and that your panel is capable of providing that amount of electricity to your vehicle safely.

Level 2 Chargers by Brand

Tesla: Wall Connector Hardwired Electric Vehicle

Ford: Connected Charger

Chevy: PowerUP 11.5kW Wall Charger

  • Charges as fast as 39 miles per hour
  • Cost $599
  • Can only be purchased from the dealer.

Best Third Party Charger: The ChargePoint® Home Flex EV charger

How Much does Level 3 Cost?

The Tesla Supercharger cost varies but location and time of day. You can expect it to cost any where from $0.25 per kWh all the way up to $0.50 per kWh with California being the most expensive in the $0.50 range. For example adding 200 miles to a Model 3 would cost between $13.75 and $27.50 depending on your state and time of day. Lets compare that to the gas equivalent. Lets use an Audi A4 as a similar class vehicle to the Tesla Model 3. The A4 gets 31mpg combined, using an average gas price of $3.59 it would cost $23.19 to add 200 miles to an Audi A4h

Electrify America for most states costs $0.48 kWh. Some states are cheaper, to view your states rate check out this site. Electrify America also offers a subscription service called Pass+. For $4 per month you can save 25% on your charging cost. So for the $0.48 kWh rate it would cost $24 to add 200 miles to an EV. If you are a Electrify America Pass+ member it would cost you $18 to add 20 miles to your EV.

EVgo is another charging company. They offer 4 levels of charging. Starting with no subscription to 3 subscription levels. They are called Pay As You Go (No Subscription), EVgo Basic (1-2x month charging) $0.99/month, EVgo Plus (3-5x month charging) $6.99/month, EVgo Plus Max (6x + monthly charging) $12.99 month. Charging rates vary by location view this site for your state. Using the Los Angeles rates it would cost the following to add 200 miles to your EV. Pay As You Go level $21, EVgo Basic level $20, EVgo Plus level $13.50, EVgo Plus Max level $11.50

How Much does Level 2 at home cost?

On average you would need 82.35 kWh of power to a Level 2 charger to add 200 miles to a vehicle. The national average for electricity is $0.13 kWh. Also be aware that in a lot of places there is time of use pricing so overnight rates will be the cheapest. But using $0.13 kWh to add 200 miles would cost on average $10.70

Can I Charge My EV At Any Public Charging Location?

Starting with Tesla. You can charge your Tesla at any Tesla Supercharger or public Tesla level 2 charger such as at hotels or parking lots. Your Tesla comes with a Level 2 CCS adapter so that you can charge at any public level 2 CCS location. This adapter is called the J1772 Charging Adapter. If you want to charge a Tesla at a public level 3 charging location you will need to purchase the CCS Combo 1 Adapter from Tesla and it costs $175.

If you have an EV equipped with a CCS port then you should be able to charge almost anywhere with no restrictions. Up until now the only place you couldn’t charge was at a Tesla Supercharger but that is starting to change. Tesla is opening up the Superchargers to other manufacturers. Formerly Tesla and Ford have announced an agreement to bring support to Ford vehicles in 2024.

EVs with Chademo will have the most trouble finding a place to charge. A lot of public locations support both CCS and CHAdeMO such as Electrify America. There is no CHAdeMO to CCS adapter available so you will need to find a charging station that supports CHAdeMO.

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