Electric vehicles are quickly becoming mainstream, but it’s still the Wild West when you compare them to each other.
Three years ago, automakers offered fewer than 10 electric vehicle models for sale in the United States.
These infrastructure challenges are fading. You can now easily find fast chargers outside shopping malls and offices in many metropolitan areas, and charger networks will begin to spread along highways as power companies realize that there is money for them.
Should you ever need a recharge, you will soon be able to order a remote charger delivered to your home with just a few taps on your phone. There will even be robots charging cars in parking lots.
With infrastructure growing, automakers are racing to produce more electric cars. By the end of 2023, no less than 100 new models could be available for sale. They will include at least one from almost every manufacturer, from Kia 000270,
at Rolls-Royce. RR,
There may also be 100 ways to calculate the charging time of electric cars.
We set out to find the five fastest electric cars and quickly found we’d gotten ourselves into a chaotic question with no simple answer.
How you charge is everything
All gas pumps are pretty much the same. But the same cannot be said for chargers.
Every electric car sold in the United States today comes with a Level 1 charger — not much more than an extension cord that you can plug into a standard 110-volt outlet. It’s not uncommon for an electric car to take all night to fully charge this way.
Functionally, it’s fine for most drivers on an average day. You probably rarely cover longer distances in a day than the average range of electric cars. Most of us settle down for the night somewhere where we can plug it in. Think of it like filling a swimming pool with a water gun.
Learn more: How much does it cost to charge an electric car? We do the math
However, many buyers will want to upgrade to a Level 2 charger. Typically installed by an electrician (although we know of one you can install yourself), these use a 240-volt outlet like an electric clothes dryer. They typically cut that charging time by more than half. For our pool analogy, a level 2 feeder is a garden hose.
Finally, there are Level 3 chargers, like Tesla’s TSLA,
Electrify America Boost Stations or Universal Charging Stations are built into some gas stations and shopping malls. These use direct current – up to 350kWh if your car can handle it – and will charge an electric car much faster than anything you can do at home. It’s like calling the fire department to fill your pool directly from an open fire hydrant.
However, not all electric cars can accept power at this rate. Electric cars manage how much power they will draw from a charger. They slow down what they receive from the most powerful level 3 loaders to avoid damage to their components.
Electric cars also do not charge at a constant rate. Testers often find that the first percent of charge enters the EV battery quickly, and the last percent can take much longer.
Battery size is an issue
Even if two electric cars can accept the same flow of energy, this does not mean that they will finish charging simultaneously. Electric vehicles offer batteries of different sizes. Sometimes different trim levels of identical electric cars carry different sized batteries. The Tesla Model S on the road today, for example, was sold with 60, 70, 75, 85, 90 and 100 kWh batteries.
In other words, sometimes you fill a kiddie pool and sometimes an Olympic pool.
Manufacturer claims: no one verifies them
A government agency checks the fuel economy of gasoline-powered cars. Another will verify that fuel pumps dispense an actual gallon for every gallon they charge for. But the charging times? Manufacturers can claim whatever they want. No one checks what they say.
And they all say something different.
Some manufacturers report the time it takes for an electric car to recharge from a 100% empty battery. Others say 80% time. At the same time, others report time from 10% to 80%. And virtually all report their numbers at best, using a Level 3 charger that buyers may not use or be able to access.
No one verifies these claims.
Technology is changing rapidly
Finally, charging speed calculations are tricky because they don’t last. Battery technology is one of the hottest research areas on the planet today. The company that creates better batteries will improve electric vehicles and enable power grids to store solar electricity for use overnight, build phones that can run in reserve for days and even facilitate human missions to Mars .
Therefore, new and improved batteries are released regularly. Automakers know this and sometimes change their setup on the fly (Tesla, for example, builds more efficient batteries into its cars as they become available, never waiting for the next model year to improve what they offer).
So any calculation involving the cars currently on the market can and will change at any time. Maybe even a radical change – Toyota, TM,
reports say, may unveil a solid-state battery with a range of 600 miles overnight.
5 of the fastest electric cars to charge
So how do electric car charging times compare? Given the wide disparity in data available, we have to choose one erroneous measurement over another and accept that we are using data from unverified manufacturers. With that in mind, we’ve calculated how fast each electric car’s battery can charge under peak conditions.
1. Lucid Air — 20 miles per minute
You may not have seen a Lucid Air LCID,
still on the road, but you probably will soon. The Californian startup has started delivering its luxury cars to customers.
With a starting price of $77,400, the Air has the longest EPA-certified range of any electric vehicle with a maximum range of 520 miles. Using DC fast charging, owners can get 300 miles of range in as little as 20 minutes.
2. Porsche Taycan — 15.5 miles per minute
POAHY from Porsche,
Taycan, which takes on the Tesla Model S, is capable of a rapid charge boost that the manufacturer claims will give you 62 miles of range in just four minutes. It won’t charge at this rate indefinitely, but if you find your battery is running low, the possibility of getting another hour of high-speed driving in the time it takes to order a cup of coffee is nice.
3. Tesla Model 3 — 15 miles per minute
America’s best-selling electric car is also capable of fast charging up to 80% of its battery capacity. The Model 3 holds the Guinness World Record for fastest charging – three drivers have driven across the UK in a Model 3, stopping only three times to charge for around half an hour each time.
4. Kia EV6 – 14.5 miles per minute
Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle is a sleek sedan with an EPA-certified range of up to 310 miles. It’s offered in several models, ranging from an ample 167 horsepower to a wait-I-thought-it-was-a-Kia 576 horsepower. Thanks to its 800-volt architecture, it charges faster than most competitors.
Read the review: Sleek 2022 Kia EV6 takes on Tesla with fast charging and 310-mile range
5. Hyundai Ioniq 5 — 13.4 miles per minute
and Kia are corporate cousins and often build cars with shared parts. The Ioniq 5 is Hyundai’s answer to the EV6. We like its inventive use of space – the seats fully recline and have legrests, and the center console can slide to the front or rear of the cabin. It’s a unique look too, with pixelated headlights and an eye-catching combination of curves and linear elements. It charges just a little slower than its Kia counterpart, but is still fast enough to crack the top five.
Methodology: The calculations above use “miles per minute” to measure the maximum mileage each vehicle can take in 1 minute from a Level 3 fast charger.
These cars won’t charge at a constant rate and each has a different size battery, so kilometers per minute won’t tell you how long each vehicle takes to reach a full charge. But miles per minute is a useful shorthand to help show what you’d be getting into if you were to buy one of these cars.
This story originally took place on KBB.com.