The advantages of fast charging over slow charging

Should I be fast charging or slow charging, or both? What’s the difference exactly? Fastned electric driving expert Chanan Bos explains all.

There are many ways to charge your electric car. You can hook it up to a slow charging box at home or go to a public roadside charging station on your way to work, for instance. Fast charging is currently only available at special fast charging stations, such as those operated by Fastned. At Fastned, you can charge your electric car for up to 300 kilometres in just 15 minutes depending on your car’s battery setup. Both slow charging and fast charging play an important role in making electric driving accessible to everyone but fast charging offers a number of significant advantages that make it especially convenient and reliable. Here’s a rundown of the most important advantages of fast charging over slow charging.

24/7 access for everyone

Not everyone has a driveway or the space for home charging. And as the number of electric cars grows, there will be too little space and too few chargers in public places, such as roadside car parks. Fast charging stations on the other hand offer 24/7 access for everyone. Fastned stations, for instance, are always situated at high traffic locations, ideal for charging during daily commutes. What makes Fastned stations especially inclusive is their design. Visitors are protected by our beautiful canopy, and because we’ve made the surface completely level and accessible for our latest stations, anyone can roll up and charge their car regardless of any physical limitations.

Yes, it’s faster. Much faster.

As the name implies, fast charging is faster than slow charging at home, on the street, or at the supermarket. Just how much faster? Well, it’s actually so fast that you might not even have enough time to go to the bathroom and eat a snack before your car is ready to go again. In ideal conditions, fast charging at 400 kW will add up to 300 km of range in just 10 minutes. In reality, however, the charging speed varies according to the condition of the battery, the model EV you’re driving, and the temperature, among other factors. Luckily, the EV market is advancing so rapidly that in a few years, 300 km in 10 minutes might already be outdated.

What a difference 20 minutes make

Slow charging, also known as AC charging (AC = alternate current), is typically charging from home (3-22kw) or public AC (22KW). The difference in charging speed is incredible:  for some cars it takes you 24 hours to charge at home, 8 hours at a public AC slow charger and only 20 minutes at a DC fast charger (DC = direct current).  

No, it’s not bad for your battery

Sometimes people still think that fast charging is bad for their car battery, but studies show that the battery wear from fast charging is really negligible. In a few old pre-2012 model EVs, that could not actively cool the battery, we’ve seen some deterioration. Though even in the worst case only less than 5% of batteries needed replacement. Also, don’t forget that new EVs are specifically being designed for fast charging. Battery technology and charging technology are developing hand in hand toward a fully seamless connection.

All energy goes into driving

At home and at many public charging spots you charge with AC (alternating current) electricity that your car then converts into DC (direct current) electricity. Having your car power this conversion normally will cost you 10% of the electricity you charge. That’s already 10% energy loss before you’ve even driven a centimeter! At Fastned, we do the conversion for you so that all the energy you charge - and pay for! - translates directly into more fossil free kilometres driven. 

If you really want to get into the technical aspects of AC/DC charging, read this great explanation by our colleague Luc Bronk.

Extraordinary charging experience

Imagine, you’re about to drive home after a day’s work and you need to charge but you don’t want to spend hours at a slow charging location. You’ve already downloaded the Fastned app so with just two taps of your thumb you’ve found the nearest Fastned fast charging station. Even better, it’s conveniently located on the highway you were taking home anyway. Driving there takes only ten minutes and because you’ve activated Autocharge, all you have to do when you get there is plug in your car and charging starts automatically. Even payment is taken care of.

You stretch your legs, enjoy the view, and then you notice that you're actually standing under a tree. That’s right, a Solar Tree. It has a stem and branches and a transparent canopy with dozens of tiny solar panels collecting the sun’s energy. You’re protected from the elements and there’s no sound except for some whizzing cars in the background. You’re simply there, reflecting on the day, or finally getting around to emailing those meeting notes. Before you know it, you get a notification from the app saying that your battery is recharged and wishing you happy driving. Fifteen minutes have passed but it feels like a good thirty minute break. 

With our nature inspired stations, 24/7 customer service crewed by real people, and our seamless user experience, we want to make fast charging into an extraordinary charging experience. Not only faster than slow charging but more reliable, smooth, convenient and inspiring.

Here’s a quick overview of all the advantages of fast charging:

  • Fast charging is much faster. Think: up to 300 km in about 15 minutes.
  • 24/7 accessible
  • Live customer support
  • Nature inspired stations
  • Great for when you don’t have a driveway or charging place nearby
  • Fast charging enables long distance travel
  • Fastned guarantees that you will be able to charge. We have the best uptime of any charging provider.