Let’s Look At Fast Charging Curves For Popular Electric Cars
How fast is fast? Depends on the car.
Fastned provided a very interesting comparison of DC fast charging curves of several popular electric car models, including the BMW i3, Hyundai IONIQ Electric, Nissan LEAF, Opel Ampera-e and Volkswagen e-Golf.
Let’s take a look at the results, which in general shows that various models and battery pack versions have widely varied charging characteristics.
The BMW i3 was offered in two battery versions – of around 22 and 33 kWh. The higher capacity cells/pack allow it to charge a little quicker (peak of almost 50 kW) and for an extended state-of-charge frame:
- 22 kWh edition: fast charging until 65%, charging will go slower above this
- 33 kWh edition: fast charging until 85%, charging will go slower above this
- If the vehicle is switched off for longer than about 5 minutes before a charge session is started, it could be that the vehicle no longer responds to the fast charger. The solution is to switch on the car briefly to ‘wake up’ the vehicle. After that, can you start the charge session again.
- In case the CCS-plug remains locked in the car, unlock the car with the key. Is the CCS-plug still locked? Then wait a bit until the car releases the plug; this may take a few minutes.
- While charging you can switch on the car without problems to make use of the climate control.
The Hyundai IONIQ Electric (28 kWh usable) is an interesting example, because it’s a rare affordable BEV that is capable of charging at up to 70 kW when connected to a higher-power charger (typical CCS Combo DC chargers were up to 50 kW – below the IONIQ’s potential).
You can replenish 100 km (62 miles) of range in just 15-25 minutes. The charging power significantly decreases above 75% of state-of-charge.
The first generation of Nissan LEAF was available with two battery pack versions – 24 kWh and 30 kWh. The 30 kWh was quite an improvement in terms of charging power capability.
However, the second generation Nissan LEAF with its 40 kWh battery was affected by surprisingly low fast-charging capability, about which you can find under our RapidGate topic. In fact, Fastned shows that the 40 kWh barely exceeds 40 kW of DC power and then power quickly fades after 60% SOC.
- 24 kWh edition: fast charging until 25%, charging will gradually go slower after this
- 30 kWh edition: fast charging until 80%, charging will go slower after this
- 40 kWh edition: fast charging until 60%, charging will go slower after this
The Opel Ampera-e (Chevrolet Bolt EV in North America) has quite special DC fast charging curve as the BMS limits the power of charging in steps. Overall, the power of up to 45 kW is disappointing for the battery size of 60 kWh.
“The charge speed is up to 50 kW at all of our chargers. In the charge curve below you can see the charge speed of the Ampera-e. On average the Ampera-e charges 100 km of range in 20 – 25 minutes. The Ampera-e charges fastest until about 55%. At this point the car will gradually reduce charge speed and as of 70% the car will start charging slowly.”
In some cases the car does not release the connector. On the car’s remote control you can press an ‘unlock’ button, hold this button for some seconds. This way your car will release the connector. “
The Volkswagen e-Golf was equipped with 24.2 kWh and later with 35.8 kwh battery packs, which like in the case of Nissan LEAF, doesn’t have a liquid cooling system. The switch to higher-capacity cells didn’t bring any improvement in charging power – the results are in fact slightly worse (only the fading part above 80% SOC is better, but it’s also the least important part of the charge).
- 26 kWh edition: fast charging until 75%, charging will go slower after this
- 36 kWh edition: fast charging until 80%, charging will go slower after this
“Tip: If the connector remains locked when charging is finished, you can unlock the connector by using the car keys to lock and unlock the doors. The car will then unlock the connector as well.”