What is rapid and ultra-rapid charging?
EV charging speeds have developed over the years to be faster and faster. This means that on the public charging network, EV drivers can choose to charge from varying rates of power (kW) for different prices. Rapid and ultra-rapid charging are the speediest of these rates:
Rapid charging = 50 kW - 149 kW
Ultra-rapid charging = 150 kW+
In the UK, there are 10,423 connectors that deliver rapid charging speeds, and 4,545 connectors that deliver ultra-rapid speeds*.
(*Data accurate Jan 2022. Source: Electroverse EV Charging Statistics)
Are rapid and ultra-rapid chargers more expensive to use than fast chargers?
Yes - rapid and ultra-rapid chargers do cost more to use than slow chargers. With a higher rate of power demanded from the grid, rapid and ultra-rapid charging will cost more than a 7 kW charger used sustainedly overnight.
For example, let’s look at the Volkswagen ID.5. To charge the ID.5 from 0 - 80% using a 7 kW charger will take around 9.4 hours and cost approximately £15. The same session using a 50 kW charger will take around 1.3 hours and cost approximately £55 - for a 150 kW charger, your EV will have 80% in 26 mins, but this will cost in the region of £70.
(*The costs shown are provided as an average. Depending on which charging provider you access, rates will vary. It is also worth noting that charging speeds/length can vary due to external factors - to read more about this, please check out our blog: What affects your EV charging speed?)
Can any EV use a rapid or ultra-rapid charger?
Theoretically, yes, but not all electric vehicles can benefit from faster charging speeds. This depends on the maximum charge rate of the EV.
Every EV has a maximum rate of charge - and these are all different! The maximum charge rate is the EVs battery charging capacity; plugging into a charging station that exceeds this threshold will mean that the EV will only draw as much power as is safe.
For example, the Volkswagen ID.4 has a maximum rate of charge of 118 kW, meaning that despite being plugged into a 350 kW charger, it will never draw more than 118 kW. The ID.4 also has an onboard charger with a max rate of 7.2 kW, which means that when plugged into a 22 kW AC charger, the EV will never draw more than 7.2 kW.
How to find rapid and ultra-rapid chargers on the Electroverse map
Use the Electroverse charging speeds filter! We’ve created this function specifically for EV drivers to quickly locate their ideal charge. Watch the below video to get a quick demonstration of how this works:
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