We’ll take a look at the different fast charging systems and USA networks and compare what each offers the EV owner. Note that the maximum charging power is limited by each EV model and variant, the state-of-charge, and the battery temperature. (Sep-2020 update)
Tesla created and operates the Supercharger network, which is exclusive to Tesla vehicles. Older Superchargers support up to 150 kW and the new Version 3 supports up to 250 kW. Tesla also uses some 72 kW dedicated stalls in metro areas. The 2020 mid-year Model S/X LR+ supports up to 250 kW charging, and the Model 3 and Y LR support 250 kW charging. The Model 3 and Y SR+ support 170 kW charging.
Combined Charging System (CCS) offers slow AC charging and the newest version offers fast DC charging. For the rest of this article, we only consider the DC fast charging version for the USA. Europe also uses CCS but has a different standard and different incompatible connector with the USA CCS. CCS DC fast charge system can support up to 350 kW at 1000V. No current EV can accept 350 kW, but the Porsche Taycan can accept 270 kW at 800V for a portion of its charging session.
CHAdeMO also offers fast DC charging and has been mostly used by Japanese carmakers. The first version supports up to 62.5 kW at 500V. There are no EVs that can use this rate and are really limited to 50 kW or less due to the battery voltage. Version 2 goes to 400 kW at 1000 volts. We are not aware of any EV that can accept anything close to this. The latest 2020 Leaf can accept up to 100 kW. Tesla offers a CHAdeMo adapter that can convert CHAdeMO to the Tesla connector up to 50 kW.
These are the reported counts in the USA as of June-2020. Some networks are somewhat vague as to network size at a specific date.
|Tesla||250, 150 kW, 120 kW, and 72 kW||824||7895||Tesla specific|
|Blink Charging||54 kW||Few||Few||CHAdeMO|
|ChargePoint||62.5 kW and 50 kW||unstated||350||CCS & CHAdeMO|
|Electrify America||350 kW, 150 kW, 125 kW, 75 kW||429||1905||CCS & CHAdeMO|
|EVgo||50 kW||unstated||800||CCS, CHAdeMO & Tesla|
* For most networks with multiple types, they do not specify the number of specific types. Some stalls may offer multiple connection types.
- Tesla’s Superchargers are mostly 150 kW with new installations using 250 kW. There are some older 120 kW stations, but Tesla is in the process of upgrading these. Some metro locations have 72 kW unpaired stalls.
- Blink is a large L2 network but offers very few fast-charging sites, and those are limited to 54 kW.
- Electrify America’s most common new installations appear to be 150 kW with more CCS than CHAdeMO.
- EVgo is the first independent network that offers Tesla connectors in select locations.
Charge locations offer a mix of key travel routes and in-town charging for those that don’t have home charging. A number of CCS and CHAdeMO charge sites are at car dealers. These sites are rarely convent to owners. Dealer charging stalls are often occupied by dealer cars, or worse blocked with the dealer’s ICE cars. Access to these stalls can be further limited to business hours and are inaccessible after hours.
All networks are actively growing the locations and number of stalls. Some companies like ChargePoint and Blink are mostly expanding in company parking lots with restricted access. Electrify America’s network is funded with Dieselgate settlement money. The expansion could completely stop when the money runs out next year.
Many Tesla owners get Supercharger access for free. Newer owners do have to pay for Supercharging. This chart covers the pricing of DC charging as of June-2020 for the major networks in California. Pricing may vary in other areas.
|Network||Connection Cost||Cost||Cost of 50 kWh||Maximum Power*|
|Tesla||0||$0.28 per kWh||$14.00||250 kW|
|Blink Charging||0||$0.49 per kWh**||$24.50||54 kW|
|ChargePoint||0||$0.20 per kWh***||$10.00||62.5 kW|
|Electrify America||0||$0.43 per kWh****||$21.50||350 kW|
|EVgo||0||$0.30 per minute||$18.00||50 kW|
* Maximum Power is at the best location – there can be locations with less power and other than Tesla, it can become more costly on per-minute plans or may become cheaper on per kWh plans. Usable maximum power depends on vehicle limitations, the state-of-charge, and battery temperature.
** With an account. No account cost is $0.59 per kWh or $29.50 for 50 kWh.
*** Rates from 6 pm to noon. Noon to 6 pm rate increases to $0.25 per kWh, or $12.50 for 50 kWh.
**** New rates as of Sep-2020 and varies by location. With a $4 per month fee, price drops to $0.31 per kWh
With Tesla, owners plugin and charge. With CCS and CHAdeMO you must navigate a terminal, use a credit card or pre-authorized network card. There is a variety of charging pedestals, each with different interfaces. There is no standardization in the industry. There are plans to try and duplicate Tesla’s plug-and-play system, but it may be years away from being implemented across all the different networks and EVs.
A teenager can easily lift and connect a Tesla charge connector. Tesla’s connector and cable is about one quarter the volume and less than half the weight of the CHAdeMO connector and cable. The CCS connector is even larger than the CHAdeMO connector! The CCS and CHAdeMO bulky connectors can be a struggle for even an average adult to manhandle into place. It can be done, but it’s not always easy.
No system is perfect 100% of the time, but Tesla has been diligent at keeping the Superchargers working smoothly. With so many stalls at each location, a single stall failure is not much of a concern. We hear far more complaints of broken CCS and CHAdeMO stalls, ones that remain broken for long periods of time. With few CCS/CHAdeMO stalls at most locations, it can make for a stressful hunt trying to find an alternative location.
I don’t know why the CCS and CHAdeMO are so poorly designed. One thought that keeps appearing is the carmakers who support these systems want to make it as undesirable as possible. This helps to keep EV sales limited and steer users to ICE. When you lose money on every EV sold, the goal is to only sell enough cars to meet the compliance minimums.
Oddly, networks do not make finding the current network sizes easy. Here are the sources we used for key data.
- For Tesla locations and stalls we counted from source data provided by Supercharge.info for the USA only.
- Blink Charging – We could find no data on the number of fast chargers, and a spot check on the Blink map showed very few fast DC chargers. They appear to be mostly focused on L2 AC charging.
- ChargePoint data on fast charging
- Electrify America’s map includes the latest counts.
- EVgo Fast Charging Plans