Charging speed is limited on the vehicle side

When purchasing charging hardware, keep in mind that each vehicle has its own limit on the rate of AC and DC charge that it can accept. For example, a Hyundai IONIQ 5 has an 11.5 kW charging capacity for Level 2 charging, while the Audi E-tron has a maximum 9.6 kW. The Ford F-150 Lightning extended-range has an onboard charger capable of 19.2 kW. And many EVs have a maximum DC charge capability of 115 kW. (All commercial charging hardware will self-adjust to the vehicle’s capacity.)

Charging speeds and electrical supply

In EVs, faster charging isn’t necessarily better. In fact, most manufacturers recommend you avoid the constant use of DC Fast Charging. When choosing hardware you’re considering the distance the vehicle will travel each day, the time available for it to be parked and plugged in, the charging speed of the equipment, the charging capacity of the vehicle and the electrical supply needed to power everything.

Here’s a chart that shows charging speeds with kW ratings and amps needed, along with sample times for charging the 68 kWh battery in a Ford E-Transit van. Note that your amperage at the panel will always need to have a buffer to supply the charging hardware for safety. For instance, to install an 80-amp, 19.2 kW charger, you will need a 100-amp breaker in your panel.

Charge speed in kilowatts (kW)AmpsBreaker size (Amps)Time to charge 68 kWh battery
DC Fast Chargefrom 10 to 80 per cent
350 kW (unlimited)2 x 231 A2 x 300 A10m
180 kW230 A300 A18m
120 kW153 A200 A27m
90 kW115 A150 A36m
50 kW64 A80 A1h 4m
24 kW40 A50 A2h 13m
Level 2from 0 to 100 per cent
19.2 kW80 A100 A4h 5m
11.52 kW48 A60 A6h 45m
9.6 kW40 A50 A8h 10m
7.68 kW32 A40 A~12h
Notes: 1) Sample electrical architecture – requirements may vary between specific appliances, 2)
Each vehicle has an internal limit on maximum Level 2 and DC Fast charging speed; 3) For example: the Ford E-Transit van has a battery capacity of 68 kWh and a stated range of 200 km, but a maximum charging rate of 115 kW. Sources: ABB; Ford

How to make your choice

Fleet operators will likely want to look to Level 2 charging as the primary energy source for light-duty vehicles. These chargers can be installed either at a central depot or at drivers’ homes, and allow fleets to charge during the overnight hours when, in many regions, electricity rates are lower, which reduces costs.

Image shows the Lion6 medium-duty electric truck.
A medium-duty electric truck like the Lion6 will require DC Fast Charge infrastructure in the depot in order to be fully charged for duty each morning. Photo: Lion Electric

For medium-duty vehicles, such as Class 5 or 6, or to prepare for future extended-range vehicles, some fleets may need to add some DC charging to their plans (DC chargers start at 24kW). “Fleet vehicles will often have larger batteries than typical passenger EVs, requiring even faster charging,” writes charging hardware maker ABB E-Mobility in a recent report. “Consider the math for a 200 kWh battery electric delivery truck. With a typical AC charger rated at 7.4 kW, it may take up to 24 hours to recharge that vehicle. A Destination DC charger brings that charge time down to a more realistic eight hours of overnight charging.” Your fleet vehicle provider may have a ready-made solution for charging to offer when you purchase or lease your new vehicles, but you should not feel obliged to use the manufacturer’s hardware, as long as what you choose is compliant.

Full up on charging knowledge? Try the Lesson 4 quiz before tackling Lesson 5: The business-boosting power of a data-driven fleet.

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