What’s the difference between AC and DC EV charging?

If you are considering making the leap to an Electric Vehicle you’re probably undertaking some research. And  there are a wide range of options to consider. When it comes to Electric Vehicle chargers there are an ever growing number of manufacturers out there producing EV chargers. Most are fairly similar but they will have unique features to set them apart. There are also a couple of different types of charging types available. These are AC charging and DC charging. So what’s the difference between AC and DC EV charging?

AC and DC charging explained

When discussing the difference between AC and DC EV charging we need to discuss electric current. In simple terms, AC (or alternating current) and DC (or direct current) are two different forms of electric current. Both of these methods are utilised in the various EV chargers available today. Both types of current can be used to charge an electric vehicle. It’s important to note, however, that your electric vehicle battery can only ever store DC energy.

So how can I use an AC charger you cry. Well the answer is that the electric vehicle itself contains a converter that converts the AC electric current into DC current. This can then be stored by the battery. The observant ones among you may have noticed that DC charging needs no converting, and is therefore generally a faster means of charging than AC. 

What's the difference between AC and DC EV charging?

AC Charging

As mentioned AC Electric Vehicle chargers rely on the converter in the vehicle to convert AC current to DC current. So for this reasons they are normally less rapid than their DC counterparts. AC chargers make up the majority of home electric vehicle chargers. They are generally a cheaper option to purchase and, because of the cheaper overnight costs of home charging, don’t need to be ultra fast at charging. Charging your vehicle overnight with an AC charger, between 7kW and 22kW capacity, is suitable for most domestic EV drivers.

And as current from the grid is always AC, these chargers are easy to fit as they should be fully compatible with your electricity network. AC chargers are often referred to as Level 2 charging.

Approved Electric Vehicle Charger Installer for Simpson & Partners

AC Chargers we install

All of the domestic electric vehicle chargers we install are AC chargers. These include the following manufacturers:

DC charging

DC charging is commonly associated with rapid and ultra rapid charging. As discussed, the energy doesn’t need to be converted and so goes straight into the vehicle battery. This means faster charging speeds. Chargers typically range between 20kW and 300kW units that can deliver charging speeds of up to 30 minutes for a full charge. As with AC charging, the speeds that you can achieve are entirely dependant on the vehicle, type of charger and battery type that you’re using.

DC chargers are most commonly found on the public charging network and are common at Motorway Services, supermarkets and car parks. 

DC Chargers we install

DC charging is increasingly more popular with businesses and companies that run fleet vehicles. The high mileage that fleets typically cover means that rapid and ultra rapid charging is critical to keep vehicles on the move. With charging speeds of up to 30 minutes, drivers can fully charge their vehicle on a lunch break.

DC chargers are often referred to as Level 3 charging. There are currently four types of fast charging connectors used worldwide. In Europe we mostly use CCS2 (or combined charging system). Most vehicles are capable of connecting to these chargers and it is even becoming more commonly adopted across the globe.

MP Walden are approved installers for Project EV who offer a range of DC chargers, from 20kW right through to their 300kW range. We primarily install these units at commercial and business premises due to the costs of the units and the capacity they can handle. 

For more information on this manufacturer please our Project EV page.

DC Range

As the UK continues to embrace electric vehicles, the range of EV chargers offered by manufacturers will undoubtedly evolve and increase. With ongoing advancements in technology and growing environmental awareness, the landscape of EV charging is likely to evolve further, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future for the UK and the planet as a whole.

As experienced EV Charger installers MP Walden Ltd are here to help you with any questions you may have with regards to equipment, grants or specifications. Why not get in contact?