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Electric car fast charging: how does it work?

With the spread of electric vehicles, one of the main issues that is gaining ever more attention is their fast charging. In fact, one of the main challenges motorists face is the need for fast charging times to make the electric driving experience more convenient and viable.
Fast electric car charging is a crucial solution to overcome this challenge. While traditional charging stations require several hours to fully recharge a vehicle, fast charging stations are designed to deliver a high amount of energy in a much shorter time, significantly reducing charging times.
Electric car fast-charging technology relies on a combination of factors, including dedicated infrastructure, the energy management capabilities of the electric cars themselves, and advanced battery technology.

Charging speed: where do we stand?

The charging speed of electric cars is an evolving topic, with many innovations and rapid developments.
Fast charging of electric cars allows drivers to reduce waiting times during long journeys, making electric car use more convenient and comparable to traditional refueling.
One of the main challenges related to fast charging of the electric car is the need for adequate infrastructure, with enough strategically distributed fast-charging stations to allow drivers a better possibility to access them.
For a general estimation of charging times, it can be said that Type 2 charging stations – the most common – can provide up to 22 kW. Fully charging an electric car with an average capacity battery at a Type 2 station can take between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the actual charging power and the battery capacity of the car.
Rapid and ultra-rapid (DC) charging stations can provide much higher power and can deliver higher outputs, even up to 350 kW: in just 30 minutes, these could allow around 80 per cent of the battery to be recharged, but it should be emphasised that these estimates are indicative and may vary depending on various factors.
In all this, however, the practical choice of mobile fast charging should be considered, a service that allows you to recharge your vehicle wherever you are employing special vans that reach your car and deliver the recharge, subject to booking on the App.

Charging modes: what are the differences?

Charging speed mainly depends on two factors: the car battery’s capacity and the type of charging system used.
Electric car batteries are usually classified according to their energy storage capacity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The most common electric cars have batteries with capacities between 40 kWh and 100 kWh, although there are models with higher capacities.
Electric vehicle charging systems are typically classified into four modes:
• Mode 1 – AC charging without PWM
Charging mode 1 is not suitable for cars but only for motorbikes, e-bikes and scooters. It involves using a standard household charger with an electrical outlet, without charging management and control systems. This method requires a simple connection between the vehicle and the electrical socket via a charging cable. It is comparable to charging a mobile phone and achieves a maximum charging power of approximately 2 kW.
•Mode 2 – Domestic/industrial AC charging
Mode 2 charging of electric cars involves using a charger with a charging cable controlled by a device placed between the vehicle and the mains. This cable incorporates a charging management and control system and safety and protection elements against overloading or power leakage. The charger is connected to a domestic or industrial electrical outlet (single-phase or three-phase up to a maximum of 22 kW), thus offering more charging power than mode 1.
•Mode 3- Public AC charging
Mode 3 of electric car charging involves the installation of a wall-mounted device (wallbox) or other fixed infrastructure (charging post) running on AC power. The connection is made directly to the power grid, providing higher power than previous methods. It should be noted that Mode 3 charging can also be done on the move via the E-GAP Delivery Fast service.
• Mode 4 – DC Charging
Mode 4 charging of electric cars is characterised using high-power fast direct current (DC) chargers. Usually, these are installed at public charging stations or high-power charging points along motorways. They offer very high DC charging power, allowing the electric car to be recharged in just a few minutes. It should be noted that Mode 4 charging can also be done on the move via the E-GAP Delivery Fast service.

Batteries and technology

Battery technology for electric cars has made considerable progress in recent years, enabling a more extended range, faster charging, and improved overall durability.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the most used in electric cars. Li-ion batteries offer high energy density and a low self-discharge value compared to other battery types.
Another type of battery uses a lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry, which offers higher thermal stability and longer service life. These batteries are less prone to overheating or fire hazards, making electric cars using this type of battery safer.
Some developers are also exploring alternative battery technologies, such as solid-state batteries. Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes instead of the liquid electrolytes of conventional Li-ion batteries. These batteries offer several advantages, including better safety, higher energy density and faster charging times.
Another promising area of research concerns flow batteries, which use liquid electrolytes in external reservoirs. This approach allows batteries to be recharged quickly by just replacing the discharged electrolyte with a charged one. Flow batteries could be particularly suitable for large-scale use, e.g., for storing energy generated from renewable sources.
However, the recharging capacity of batteries has improved considerably over the years. There are now fast-charging networks that allow batteries to be nearly fully recharged in a matter of minutes. In addition, the increased spread of charging infrastructures and the development of mobile fast-charging services have made charging electric cars more accessible everywhere.

Fast charging at home: E-GAP Delivery Fast solves the problem

The territorial coverage of the charging infrastructure is the most sensitive point concerning e-mobility today.
In other words, fast charging stations have yet to be widely distributed, which can inconvenience electric car owners. However, to get around this problem, there is the opportunity to take advantage of the on-demand fast charging of electric cars at home. This is the innovative E-GAP Delivery Fast service, the first of its kind in Italy. What exactly does it consist of?
Basically, it is a brilliant example of “energy delivery” in support of electric mobility, complementary to existing solutions. The user can request recharging at any time, wherever the vehicle is located, which will be delivered on the move by a dedicated van with the same power as a fast-charging station (up to 90 kW).
The entire process, from booking to payment, is done via the App. You reserve the recharge directly from your smartphone, activating geolocation or indicating a future location where you will park your vehicle. Then you choose how soon you need the recharge. The E-GAP van reaches the car even if the owner is not physically present. The operator recharges in the required time. It is also possible to follow the progress of the recharge in real time via the App. When finished, the system automatically charges the recharge cost to the credit card.
Recharging your electric car with E-GAP Delivery Fast is also a 100% green choice because the vans are all Full Electric and use batteries that provide energy from certified renewable sources.
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