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Is fast-charging bad for electric cars or EV?

Yes, it can be harmful to fast-charge electric cars. But only if you do so very frequently and many times in a row.

Lithium-Ion batteries are not designed for extremely low nor high temperatures. They work best in a specific temperature range and with certain conditions.

Fast-chargers today, such as Teslas superchargers, do everything they can to meet these conditions together with the battery itself. When you use the super/fast-charger you’ll hear fans starting to spin up really fast and you might see the kWh rise a fall depending on the inside and outside temperature. This is just the technology trying to meet the correct conditions for the battery to function optimally, and trying to limit the wear and tear.

Fast-chargers are getting really good at this, especially Teslas supercharger stations, they are far ahead of the competition. But I would not fear using third-party fast-chargers, they are getting up to speed as well.

Using super or fast-charging I would follow these guidelines:
Charge between 30% and 80%, maybe even go as low as 60%.
– Don’t do it in extreme conditions such as really warm weather or really cold. Cold weather is not that hard on the battery but will slow down the charging significantly.
– Keep a good charging schedule, where you make sure to charge at home at least 50% of the time.
– Related to the above, switch between level 1, 2, and 3 chargers.

Different levels of chargers:

What is a level 1 charger?

A level 1 charging station is actually just a normal outlet, found in almost every household. So no extra costs associated with installing a higher voltage source. The downside to a level 1 charging station is the slow charge time. A Tesla Model 3 with the lowest battery package, can take up to 3 days to charge fully! Of course, rarely, you should even charge it from 0% – 100% because it introduces more wear and tear to the battery. So from a day’s commute where you have to spend 20-30%, it can be fine to just charge overnight.

L11.9kW (120v at 16 amps)36 kW (200-450v at 80 amps)
Level 1 charger technical specification.

What is a level 2 charger?

A level 2 charging station is a station that plugs directly into a dedicated circuit with 80 amps. This will normally require an electrician to get installed properly. If you are lucky and maybe are living in a newer building, you may already have it all ready for installation. A lot of newer homes are 240-volt ready, especially in European countries where this is a standard. A level 2 charger can significantly improve your charging times, actually by up to 6 times better. So you’ll go from 3 days to 12 hours charging from 0% – 100% on the same Model 3.

L219.2kW (240v at 80 amps)90 kW (200-450v at 200 amps)
Level 3 charger technical specification.

What is a level 3 charger?

A level 3 charging station is commonly known today as a super or fast charger. It’s the next step up from a level 2 charger and significantly reduces the charging time of any fast-charge enabled EVs. Right now you can’t easily get a level 3 charger installed at home, but this might also not be the best idea. As explained above, it’s not good for the battery to be charged only from a level 3 charger. The best thing you could do is to have a level 2 charger at home, use that for regular day-to-day use, and then use fast charging for longer trips or quick fills from time to time.

L3>20kW (>240v at >80 amps)>400 kW (200-600v at 400 amps)
Level 3 charger technical specification.

What is the fastest charging EV?

The current fastest charging EV is the Tesla Model 3, charging at 250 kW which is a charging rate of about 900 KM/H or 600 MPH.
Porche says they have a prototype ready with 450 kW at 800v charging, which will almost double what Tesla can do at the moment.

So definitely the technology is moving at a lightning speed forward. A year from now, these charging speeds will be a standard in most new EVs. I don’t see it just keep getting better and better, at least not on lithium-ion batteries, because these are very limited in their charging capabilities due to high temperatures. It’s not feasible to just keep cooling the batteries more and more while charging faster and faster, because cooling will also require exponentially more and more power the faster you are charging.

What I do think will happen in 5-10 years is other battery technologies will start to appear, like the solid-state battery. These batteries can handle much much higher and lower temperatures. For example, they cannot even burn. You can literally cut them in half and nothing will happen, they will even still work. When these come to market I think we’ll easily see 200-300 kW cars that charge in less than 5 minutes.

Top list of fastest charging EVs

ModelSize (kWh)Max charge capacity (DC kW)Max charge speed (KM/H)
1. Tesla Model 3752509002. Polestar 278150670
3. Audi e-Tron 55 Quattro95155600
5. Tesla Model S100145520
6. Tesla Model X100145460
7. Peugeot e-200850100440
8. Mercedes EQC 85112430Top 8 of the fastest charging EVs 2020.

Author: Morten Pradsgaard

Morten has been working with technology, IoT, and electronics for over a decade. His passion for technology is reflected in this blog to give you relevant and correct information.