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4 things to know before you buy an electric vehicle

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

2. How DC fast chargers work, how to find one

About 80% of miles driven in EVs are powered by electricity that was charged at home, but you’ll need to charge elsewhere occasionally. That’s when charging time becomes a big deal.

You can fill a gas tank in 5-10 minutes, with time left over to wash the windows and get a Coke in the gas station. Charging a battery takes longer, but how long depends on a couple of factors.

First, voltage from the charger. Getting 250 miles of range in seven hours from a 240v charger is fine when you’re charging overnight at home, but it’s a deal breaker if you’re going 300 miles from Detroit to Chicago for a weekend getaway.

In that case, you’ll want to look for a 400v DC fast charger. They’re not as common as 240v public chargers yet, but they’re becoming more widespread. You can find the nearest DC fast charger from the Department of Energy. Companies like EVgo and Electrify America that build charging stations also have apps showing their networks.

Charging at 400v, a Ford Mustang Mach-E’s range goes from 5% to 80% in 45 minutes. That’s about 216 miles for an AWD Mach-E with the 270-mile extended-range battery.

 

Why stop at 80%, you ask? We all fill to the brim when we stop for gas on a road trip.

Because batteries are different from fuel tanks.

A fuel tank is like a bucket of water, a single container.

An EV battery is more like an ice tray.

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