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What is the difference between AC charging and DC charging?
DC – Direct current (= rapid charging): To charge a car with direct current (DC), a transformer station is needed to convert alternating current (AC) from the mains supply to direct current. This is a costly affair that requires a considerable amount of power from the mains network (approx. 125 A).
With direct current charging, the charger that is always in the car is not used. A battery is always direct current (DC), so the current is connected directly to the battery. This charging must occur carefully. If a battery cell gets too hot, it risks irreparable damage.
AC – Alternating current (= slow charging): In Europe, we use alternating current (AC) for user connections and have a three-phase network available. This is fine for charging electric vehicles. In most locations, we can get 32 A (22 kW) and sometimes even 63 A (43 kW) for charging. If your car’s charger can handle it, a 20-kW battery (average car) is 80% charged within 25 minutes.
AC (alternating current) charging is preferred due to the high cost of purchase, installation, and use. This will continue to be the most popular charging method in the future. DC (direct current) charging will only be efficient when travelling long distances without (longer) stopovers.