Consumer Reports Tested DC Fast Charging Stations With Popular Electric Vehicles

Buying an EV can have a slight learning curve, especially concerning public electric vehicle charging stations. Consumer Reports took some of the most popular electric cars on the market and headed to some DC fast charging stations. The experts tested these chargers using a Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Volkswagen ID.4.

Testing public DC Fast Charging stations with Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports looked into the idea that electric vehicle drivers shouldn’t rely solely on DC Fast Charging stations. The Department of Energy says that around 80% of EV owners usually charge at home, but that doesn’t work for travel. Utilizing public charging stations is a part of EV ownership, but what did this experiment find out?

In most situations, drivers can add 150 miles of range in under 30 minutes. Electric cars charge faster when the battery is low, and charging slows from there. Consumer Reports testing found that the maximum charge acceptance rate was seen at the start of the session but tapered off after that.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ford Mustang Mach-E stood out for charging closest to the max charge rate. Hyundai and Tesla were the fastest-charging EVs in the bunch, and the Mach-E and Model Y added the most range per charging session.

DC fast charging stations are also known as Level 3 chargers

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Public chargers come in two varieties: Level 2 and DC fast charging. A Level 2 charger is similar to the kind you might install in a home. These 240-volt chargers add between 20 and 35 miles per hour of charge. If you stop at a store or hotel with a charger, this is likely a Level 2 destination charger. The electric car takes longer to charge while the driver is off shopping, dining, or even visiting a state park.

You wouldn’t want to use Level 2 chargers for a long trip. A DC fast charger is sometimes called a Level 3 charger. This type of charging adds more miles of range in a shorter amount of time. The DC in DC fast charging stands for direct current, while the kind you would find at home is alternating current (AC).

Consumer Reports monitored the charge session of the four vehicles from 30% State of Charge (SoC) to 80% SoC. Research conducted by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, also helped.

This experiment shows how much charging sessions can vary

Testing DC Fast Charging stations with Consumer Reports
A set of DC fast chargers | Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Ioniq 5 and Model Y added the most charge for every minute of charging. Hyundai says the 5 has a 235 kW maximum acceptance rate, while this experiment found a 236 kW acceptance rate. Tesla says the MY has a max charging rate of 250 kW, but Consumer Reports only saw 230 kW during testing. Either way, these numbers are an advantage for those looking to get the maximum amount of miles from a quick stop.

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E claims a 115 kW rate, but the highest these observed sessions saw was 114 kW. The ID.4 saw a 91 kW peak. These speeds can vary from charger to charger and from location to location. Either way, the best way to find out how your EV performs is by taking it to a local DC fast charging station. You can monitor the session and get information after your charge is complete.

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