We’ll take a look at the different fast charging systems and networks to 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. (Jul-2023 update)
Fast Charging Systems
Tesla created the NACS (North American Charging System) and operates a large network of Superchargers that use the NACS connectors. Older Superchargers support up to 150 kW, version 3 supports up to 250 kW, and version 4 supports 615-750 kW. Tesla also uses some 72 kW dedicated stalls in metro areas. Over 50% of the locations offer 250 kW or greater charging rates. The 2021+ Model S/X 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. The Semi supports 750+ kW charging.
The Combined Charging System (CCS) offers slow AC charging and fast DC charging. For the rest of this article, we only consider the DC fast-charging version for the USA. Europe uses CCS2, a different standard and a different incompatible connector with the USA CCS. CCS DC fast charge system can theoretically support up to 500 kW at 1000V. No current available EV can accept more than 300 kW. Some high-end models of the Lucid can accept 300 kW at 925V for a portion of its charging session. Were are not aware of any public CCS chargers that support more than 350 kW today. Tesla offers a CCS adapter that supports up to 250 kW charging depending on the vehicle and the charger’s capabilities. Tesla is offering Magic Dock to allow non-Tesla EVs with CCS to connect to select Superchargers.
CHAdeMO also offers fast DC charging and has been used by some Japanese carmakers. The first version supports up to 62.5 kW at 500V. 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 2023 Leaf can accept up to 62.5 kW. Tesla used to offer a CHAdeMo adapter that can convert CHAdeMO to the Tesla connector up to 50 kW. It was discontinued in 2021 but is available on the used market.
DC fast Charging Network Sizes
The reported counts are for the USA as of 12-Jun-2023.
|Tesla||750, 615, 250, 150, 120, and 72 kW||1,788||19,542||CCS (limited) & NACS|
|Blink Charging||360, 175, 75, and 50 kW||~50||~150||CCS & CHAdeMO, NACS***|
|ChargePoint||125, 62.5, and 50 kW||350||unstated||CCS & CHAdeMO, NACS***|
|Electrify America||350, 150, 125, and 75 kW||806||3503||CCS & CHAdeMO, NACS***|
|EVgo||100 and 50 kW||860**||unstated||CCS, CHAdeMO & NACS (limited)|
* For most networks with multiple types, the number of specific types is not available. Some stalls may offer multiple connection types.
** Includes some L2 chargers
*** Planed to be added in late 2023 or 2024
- Tesla’s Superchargers are mostly 250 kW with older installations using 150, 120, or 72 kW. The newest Superchargers offer the choice of NACS and CCS connections at the same stall.
- Blink is a large L2 network that offers a few DC fast-charging sites.
- ChargePoint also offers a large L2 network. ChargePoint offers no information about the number of stalls for DC fast charging.
- Electrify America’s most common installations appear to be 150 kW with more CCS than CHAdeMO.
- EVgo mostly offers DC charging, with a few L2 stalls. EVgo offers Tesla connectors in select locations.
Voltages and Power
Most stalls provide voltages up to 500 volts, with all three standards. All three newest standards allow for up to 1000 volts, but few stalls yet support these higher voltages. When both the vehicle and the stall support higher voltages, it may speed charging for that vehicle. Conversely, vehicles that are designed for 800+v charging may have dramatically slower charging on a more common 500v limited stall. Voltages alone tell you very little since it is the multiplicity of voltage and amperage that provides the power.
For example, the 2023 Hummer offers options for 800v and 400v charging. Assuming the stall is not limited, at the maximum charging level, 800 volts can provide 358 amps for charging at 287 kW. At 400 volts, it may be limited to that same 358 amps, so the charging speed drops in half to 143 kW.
A Lucid Dream Edition has a different design. It offers very fast charging at 925 volts, charging at 300 kW. Should you find yourself at a more common 500-volt stall, the design switches to a dismal 50 kW charging, even if the stall can supply close to 300 kW.
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 VW’s Dieselgate settlement money. The expansion could completely stop when the money runs out.
Charging costs usually vary by location and time of day and can change at any time (and often does). Some companies also charge more for a faster charge. We no longer provide a chart of pricing as it’s too variable. Tesla owners prior to 17-Jan-2017 get unlimited free Supercharging. There have been other deals from Tesla and other automakers to offer discounts or free DC charging for a limited time.
Be aware that some regulatory agencies require charging by time, and not the energy used. This makes DC chargers with low power limits quite a bit slower and more costly.
With Tesla, owners plugin and charge. With CCS and CHAdeMO you must navigate a terminal, and 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 are 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.
Fast Charging DC Connectors
No system is perfect 100% of the time, but Tesla has been diligent at keeping the Superchargers working smoothly with a record 99.95% uptime. With so many stalls at each location, a single-stall failure is not much of a concern either. We hear of 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. Part of the problem for CCS is the handle latch design is easily broken if the heavy connector is dropped. This failure can not be automatically detected, so the vendor may not know about the problem for months.
We don’t know why the CCS and CHAdeMO are so poorly designed. Perhaps carmakers who support these systems want to make them 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. Car makers who are serious about EVs are now using NACS or are switching from CCS to NACS. This includes Aptera, Ford, GM, Polestar, Rivian, and Volvo as of July -2023. Most fast DC charger manufacturers have now announced they will be offering NACS connectors in the near future.
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 direct data on the number of fast chargers. We counted those we found using the Blink map.
- ChargePoint data on fast charging
- Electrify America’s map includes the latest counts.
- Vgo Fast Charging Plans