Level 3 EV chargers, or Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC), are the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle. Compared to level 1 and 2 charging, which takes several hours to reach full battery status, with ultra-fast charging, it takes between 60 and 90 minutes to get to 100%.
The increase in popularity of electric vehicles amid concerns for the planet’s welfare has seen a surge in demand for DC fast chargers. In this article, we explore what DCFCs are all about and mention how to locate DC fast charger locations for refilling an EV battery quickly. Read on.
What You Need To Know About Level 3 DC Fast Chargers
Level 3 charging is the most advanced EV charging option available today. Level 3 DC Fast chargers have an output ranging between 15kW and 350kW. It is worth noting that even with that impressive maximum output level, most EVs today only manage an average maximum of 50kW, significantly impacting the performance of level 3 DC fast chargers.
Electrly’s level 3 DC faster chargers, such as the Electrly Rocket FC120, have an output of 120kW, with a maximum efficiency of 95%. It can charge an EV battery to 80% in 45 minutes or less.
EVs can be charged in one of two ways; through AC (alternating current) as with level 1 and 2 chargers and through DC (direct current) with a level 3 charger. EV power is stored in the battery as DC, but the regular power supply from the national grid is in AC. In level 1 and 2 charging, this power conversion happens in the onboard converter inside the EV. The slow process limits how fast a car’s battery can be charged hence the longer charging times.
In level 3 charging, the conversion happens in the charger, and the power that flows into the EV is in DC, thus bypassing the onboard conversion leading to faster charging.
DC fast chargers come in two types; standalone DC chargers, which can charge only one EV at a time, and split chargers with more than one charging cable capable of charging multiple EVs simultaneously.
Electrly DC Fast Chargers – Best Level 3 Fast Chargers
Electrly is a distinguished level 3 charger manufacturer based in Shenzhen, China. The company is dedicated to powering the EV revolution currently taking over the world and touted as the solution to excessive carbon emissions.
The level 3 charging solutions offered by Electrly will help you set up your EV charging station and provide reliable fast charging solutions to all types of EVs. Electrly’s mission is to help your business run at maximum efficiency and allow you to serve your clients and company fleet with efficient DC fast chargers with a maximum output of up to 120kW.
Electrly offers three DC fast charger varieties to meet your business needs, whether it is serving just a few EVs a day or tens of them. The compact PD20 Series is designed for small charging stations and has a maximum output of 20kW. It supports CCS1 or 2 connectors, allowing you to charge your EV conveniently.
The Rocket FC120 has a 120kW output and is the most powerful DC fast charger in the Electrly line. It has a maximum efficiency of 95% and is compatible with AC & DC charging.
Electrly’s Turbo FC60 is a level 3 DC fast charger with intelligent features that help deliver optimum power to charge an EV to 100% within a few minutes. It supports ethernet, 4G, and Wi-Fi that, allow you to monitor the charger’s performance easily. Like the Rocket FC120, it also has a maximum efficiency of 95% and supports AC & DC currents.
The company allows businesses to brand the DC fast chargers to their brand colors with white-labeling service so your brand can stand out with each charging session.
Factors Affect DC Fast Charging
The following factors may affect how fast an EV charges using a DC fast charger.
Rate Of Charge
The charge rate refers to the maximum power output of a level 2 charger. Typically, these range between 15kW and 350kW on newer level 3 chargers. By default, the higher the rate of charge of a DCFC, the faster it will refill an EV battery.
EV Charge Acceptance Rate
Another crucial factor affecting the performance of a DC fast charger is how much power the EV can input at a given moment. Regardless of the charger’s rate of charge, an EV can only charge as fast as its acceptance rate limit. Most old EVs have a 50kW range meaning that even with a 350kW rate of charge, the electric car can only input 50kW.
DC Fast Charging Curve
Every EV model has its specified amount of power that it can take during the charging process. The charging curve starts rapidly and tapers off once it reaches the optimum level of 80%. The curve dips further from this point as the battery approaches 100%. Unplugging the EV from a DC fast charger is recommended once it hits 80%.
What Influences The Location Of DC Fast Charger?
DC fast chargers have massive power requirements, which make them unsuitable to be installed in homes and residential areas. Most level 3 chargers are found at fuel stations, commercial car parks, interstate highways, shopping centers, service stations, and EV charging hubs.
The factors influencing level 3 DC fast charger location include;
Accessibility And Convenience
A significant factor influencing the location of level 3 DC fast chargers is how conveniently EV drivers can access them. Major transportation hubs such as airports, train stations, and bus stations make an ideal fit.
The latest level 3 EV chargers use Wi-Fi connectivity to power their operations and allow EV drivers to monitor battery level status from their mobile phones. An area with a reliable internet connection is ideal for hosting a DC fast charger.
The most critical factor affecting where an EV charging operator locates their ultra-fast charging station is the availability of appropriate power infrastructure. Level 3 EV charging uses commercial-grade three-phase connections only available in specific locations.
Installing a level 3 charging station can range from $40,000 to $200,000, including the cost of the charger. Because of this exorbitant cost, DC fast chargers must be installed where their investment can be feasibly recouped within a reasonable time.
How Much Does Level 3 Charging Cost?
DC fast charging is highly coveted for its impressive charging speeds. But the exceptional range they offer comes at a cost that you need to be aware of as an EV owner looking to utilize these charging stations.
One may be billed per minute or kWh, depending on the charging station. The per kWh billing method is the best as it allows the driver to pay for only the power that goes into their EV and nothing more. Per-minute billing charges for how much time one spends at the EV charging station, which may be discriminatory, especially if the EV’s acceptance rate is low.
Despite per kWh billing being much better, it is outlawed in some US states, and therefore it’s best to prepare to pay per minute when you are using a level 3 DC fast charging.
The charging network and or site host determine the EV’s charging costs at a level 3 DC fast charger. The rates range from $0.10/kWh to over $1.00/kWh. The average power costs in the US are $0.35/kWh. Using the average power rate, charging an EV to 100% at a level 3 charging station will set a customer back $10.00 to $30.00, depending on the battery size.
How To Locate Level 3 DC Fast Charger Location Near Me
Locating a level 3 DC fast charger near you can be done through a combination of methods that we recommend below.
i) Electrly EV Charging Station Locator
Electrly features a robust EV charger locator that you can use to search for level 3 DC fast chargers by location, connector cable type (CHAdeMO, CCS, and Tesla Superchargers), network, charging speed, and payment method.
ii) Google Maps – More level 3 chargers are now available on Google Maps.
iii) EV Navigation System – When configured correctly, your EV’s navigation system can point you to available DC fast charging stations near you.
iv) Department of Energy – The DOE regularly updates the location of level 3 chargers on its websites and can be a reliable directory for locating charging stations in your vicinity.
v) PlugShare App – This free-to-install Android and iOS app allows EV drivers to conveniently locate charging stations near them from their mobile devices.
Why Do I Need A DC Fast Charger?
DC Fast chargers are an excellent option for many reasons, including;
Enables Long Distance Travelling
Level 3 DC fast charging stations located along interstate highways, malls, hotels, and fuel stations allow EV drivers to overcome range anxiety and top up their batteries within a considerably short time.
Offers Quick And Efficient Charging
Ultra-fast level 3 charging powers EV batteries to 80% in 20-40 mins. You can get up to 100% in 1.5 hours. With a level 3 charging station around, you never have to worry about range anxiety or forgetting to charge your EV overnight with a level 1 or 2 chargers.
Allows Growing EV Fleet
For companies running EV fleets, installing DC fast charging facilities at their commercial properties can help keep the charging costs low and allow for sustainable growth of the fleet.
Offers A Reliable Alternative For Homes Without Charging Support
EV owners in locations with insufficient level 1 and 2 charging infrastructure may find it difficult or impossible to charge their vehicles every night in time for the morning commute. For such EV owners, DC fast charging locations are a reliable alternative that improves their driving experience.
Knowing where to find a level 3 DC fast charger is vital for all EV owners looking to charge their automobiles quickly and efficiently. Going a step further to understand how level 3 chargers work will help you know how frequently to use them to avoid high charging costs and maintain the health of your EV battery. For EV charging station owners, the knowledge of DC fast chargers allows you to offer efficient charging services to your clients.