Quick Charging for Electric Vehicles

When you go to a gas station, things tend to be pretty simple—no, not deciding whether you want a pizza, gyro, sub sandwich, etc., but at the pump.

When you go to a gas station, things tend to be pretty simple—no, not deciding whether you want a pizza, gyro, sub sandwich, etc., but at the pump. Generally it is nothing more than regular, midgrade or premium. If you have a flex fuel vehicle, then you might think about buying ethanol (if it is available, and chances are good that it isn’t). Finally, there is diesel, but again, unless you are at, say, a truck stop, you wouldn’t even have the opportunity to make that mistake.

One of the big concerns vis-à-vis electric vehicles (EVs) is their charging. What you may not know is that there are, as in the aforementioned gasoline selection, three grades, or levels.

Level 1 chargers are the slow ones, 120-volt outlets that require as long as eight hours or more to recharge an EV’s battery.

Then there are Level 2 chargers, which provide 240-volts and, perhaps not surprisingly, can get the job done in about half the time: an 8- to 10-kilowatt battery can be juiced up in three to four hours.

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Still, pretty slow.

So enter Car Charging Group, and owner and provider of electric car charging stations. It will be rolling out charging stations designed by Coulomb Technologies, in partnership with Aker-Wade Power Technologies, that will be capable of comparatively quick charges: With its 480-volt, 125-amp circuits, this Level 3 unit is said to be capable of getting the job done in about 15 minutes.

One thing does puzzle us, though. In making the announcement of the plans to roll out these Level 3 charging stations later this year, Car Charging Group president Andy Kinard said, “Fifteen minutes is only slightly longer than it takes to fill up a tank with gasoline.” Either he goes to a gas station with awfully slow pumps, or he has an awfully big fuel tank.