Rapid charging

  • 50 kW DC charging on one of two connector types
  • 43 kW AC charging on one connector type
  • 100+ kW DC ultra-rapid charging on one of two connector types
  • All rapid units have tethered cables

Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge an EV, often found at motorway services or locations close to main routes. Rapid devices supply high power direct or alternating current – DC or AC – to recharge a car as fast as possible.

Depending on the model, EVs can be recharged in as little as 20 minutes, though an average new EV would take around an hour on standard 50 kW rapid charge point. Power from a unit represents the maximum charging speed available, and times are quoted for a charge to 80%. This maximises charging efficiency and helps protect the battery.

All rapid devices have charging cables tethered to the unit, and rapid charging can only be used on vehicles with rapid-charging capability. Given the easily recognisable connector profiles – see images below – the specification for your model is easy to check from the vehicle manual or inspecting the on-board inlet.

Rapid DC chargers provide power at 50 kW (125A), use either the CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards, and are indicated by purple icons on Zap-Map. These are the most common type of rapid EV charge points currently, has been the standard for the best part of a decade. Both connectors typically charge an EV to 80% in 20 minutes to an hour depending on battery capacity and starting state of charge.

Ultra-Rapid DC chargers provide power at 100 kW or more. These are typically either 100 kW, 150 kW, or 350 kW – though other maximum speeds are possible. These are the next-generation of rapid charge point, able to keep recharging times down despite battery capacities increasing in newer EVs.

For those EVs capable of accepting 100 kW or more, charging times are kept down to 20-40 minutes for a typical charge, even for models with large battery capacity. Even if an EV is only able to accept a maximum of 50 kW DC, they can still use ultra-rapid charge points, as the power will be restricted to whatever the vehicle can deal with. As with 50 kW rapid devices, cables are tethered to the unit and provide charging via either CCS or CHAdeMO connectors.

Tesla’s Supercharger network also provides rapid DC charging to drivers of its cars, but use either a Tesla Type 2 connector or a Tesla CCS connector – depending on the model. These can charge at up to 150 kW. While all Tesla models are designed for use with Supercharger units, many Tesla owners use adaptors which enable them to use general public rapid points, with CCS and CHAdeMO adaptors available. The roll-out of CCS charging on the Model 3 and subsequent upgrading of older models allows drivers to access a greater proportion of the UK’s rapid charging infrastructure.

Model S and Model X drivers are able to use the Tesla Type 2 connector fitted to all Supercharger units. Tesla Model 3 drivers must use the Tesla CCS connector, which is being phased in across all Supercharger units.

Rapid AC chargers provide power at 43 kW (three-phase, 63A) and use the Type 2 charging standard. Rapid AC units are typically able to charge an EV to 80% in 20-40 minutes depending the model’s battery capacity and starting state of charge

EV models that use CHAdeMO rapid charging include the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. CCS compatible models include the BMW i3, Kia e-Niro, and Jaguar I-Pace. Tesla’s Model 3, Model S, and Model X are exclusively able to use the Supercharger network, while the only model able to make maximum use of Rapid AC charging is the Renault Zoe.

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