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EV Power Up: AC vs. DC. Explained

Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transportation, but the world of charging can be a confusing one. One of the most common questions new EV owners have is: “Are EV chargers AC or DC?”

Both AC and DC play a role in powering your electric chariot, but they do so in different ways. Let’s dive into the electrifying world of EV charging to clear things up!

AC: The Familiar Friend

Most home EV chargers and many public charging stations use AC, or alternating current. This is the same type of electricity that powers your home appliances. AC is readily available and relatively inexpensive, making it a popular choice for everyday charging.

However, there’s a catch. AC electricity needs to be converted to DC before it can be stored in an EV battery. This conversion happens inside your car’s onboard charger, which adds some time to the charging process.

DC: The Speedy Savior

For those who need a quick jolt, DC, or direct current, comes to the rescue. DC fast chargers deliver electricity directly to the battery, bypassing the onboard conversion step. This means you can charge your EV in a fraction of the time it takes with AC.

The downside? DC fast chargers are more expensive and less common than AC chargers. You’ll typically find them at highway rest stops and dedicated charging stations.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • AC charging: used for home charging, slower than DC chargers due to two current conversions and perfect for everyday use.

  • DC charging: Found near highways or at public charging stations, fast and powerful, and great for occasional top-ups on long trips

Beyond the Basics

As EV technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more charging options emerge. Wireless charging pads are already being tested, and some automakers are experimenting with solid-state batteries that could charge even faster than current lithium-ion batteries.

The future of EV charging is bright, and understanding the basics of AC and DC will help you navigate the ever-changing landscape with confidence. So, plug in, power up, and enjoy the ride!