DC Fast Chargers: Everything You Need to Know

Accessible DC fast chargers play a key role in reducing charge anxiety among electric vehicle (EV) owners. These stations prioritize charging speed, allowing drivers to quickly top off on the go when they don’t have time to use a level 1 or level 2 charger. At the end of the day, the best chargers should integrate seamlessly with your daily routine.

In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about level 3 DC fast chargers, including: 

  • What Are DC Fast Chargers, 
  • How Fast Can a DC Fast Charger Charge an EV
  • Benefits of Using a DC Fast Chargers
  • Is It Safe to Use a DC Fast Charger?

Ready to explore Level 3 DC fast chargers? Browse our selection at ChargeSmart EV!

What Are DC Fast Chargers?

DC fast chargers, or level 3 chargers, are EV charging stations that use direct current (DC) electricity to rapidly charge electric vehicles. They help tide drivers over between normal charging periods when on the go. That makes DC fast chargers essential for long-distance driving and businesses operating with large vehicle fleets.

Currently, there are three types of DC fast chargers in the U.S. market: 

  • Combined Charging System (CCS) – The most common charger type, CCS combines the benefits of single-phase AC, three-phase AC, and DC fast charging into one system. EVs following the CCS system have one universal charging port.
  • CHAdeMO – The CHAdeMO system is specific to DC fast chargers. EVs following this standard will have separate charging ports dedicated to DC and AC charging.
  • Tesla Supercharger – These are exclusive to Tesla EVs, though Teslas can use other charging stations through adaptors.

Given the public need for DC fast chargers, municipalities benefit the most from installing level 3 chargers in locations where drivers need to quickly recharge before continuing. You can likely find DC fast chargers at charging points near interstate highways.

How Fast Can a DC Fast Charger Charge an EV?

Most DC fast chargers can power a standard EV to 80% capacity within 15–45 minutes thanks to their higher voltage output (about 50kW to 350kW). Charging for an hour can add upwards of 200 miles to your range. As EV batteries continue to improve in charge capacity and efficiency, charging times will continue to decrease.

Benefits of Using DC Fast Chargers

1. Fast Charging

The most obvious advantage of DC fast chargers is their speed. In just 30 minutes or less, you can go from a partially depleted battery to a nearly full charge. This is a game-changer for EV drivers who don’t want to spend hours waiting for their vehicle to recharge.

2. Convenience

The growing prevalence of DC fast chargers in public charging stations, businesses, and hotels makes them incredibly convenient. You can easily incorporate a quick charging session into your daily routine, which is especially handy if you’re on the go.

3. Versatility

DC fast chargers are compatible with all types of electric vehicles, regardless of their battery capacity. Whether you drive a compact EV or a larger, long-range model, you can count on a DC fast charger to accommodate your charging needs.

Is it Safe to Use a DC Fast Charger?

DC fast chargers are safe to use for EVs, but they aren’t needed for everyday use. Frequent use of DC fast chargers can potentially degrade your battery’s charge capacity [link to previous blog] over time due to thermal stress from the higher voltage and amperage. 

Wondering how to extend the lifespan of your EV’s battery when using a DC fast charger? Make the most of your EV battery by following these precautions:

  • Only use DC fast chargers when necessary.
  • Start charging at a lower power level and gradually increase it as the battery charges.
  • Avoid charging your battery past 80%.
  • Take breaks every 30 minutes or so to let the battery cool down.
  • Make sure the DC fast charger is compatible with your EV model (refer to manual).

Finally, EV chargers and EVs do not have to have the same power rating to work. EVs have battery management systems that prevent the vehicle from taking in more energy than it can handle.

Where to Find DC Fast Chargers (Conclusion)

DC fast chargers are typically found in public charging points near interstate highways. But the EV charging landscape is always growing, and it’s becoming increasingly common to find EV charging stations near commercial businesses and even hotels. To stay updated on public DC fast charger locations, download an EV charging station locator app!
 If you need to install DC fast chargers at your home or business, contact ChargeSmart EV today!