min read

AC Charging vs. DC Charging

Published on
August 1, 2022
AC Charging vs. DC Charging

There are two types of 'fuels' that may be utilised in electric vehicles. These are known as AC which is alternating current and DC which stands for direct current power. The power that is drawn from the grid is always alternating current. However, batteries, such as the one in your EV, can only store electricity as direct current (DC).

What’s the difference between AC and DC?

The place where the AC electricity is converted (inside or outside the vehicle) distinguishes AC charging from DC charging. In the case of electric cars, the converter is incorporated into the vehicle. It's labelled an "onboard charger," but it's actually a converter. It converts electricity from Alternating Current to Direct Current before feeding it into the car's battery. Most chargerpoints use AC power, which is the most prevalent charging method for electric vehicles today.

In contrast to AC chargers, DC chargers house the converter within the charger itself. That means it can supply power directly to the vehicle's battery, bypassing the onboard charger. When it comes to EVs, DC chargers are bigger, quicker, and an amazing development for the future.

What defines AC charging?

AC is the most frequent charging option for plug-in electric vehicles ( ev. When an electric vehicle is plugged into a standard charging station, the electricity is converted within the vehicle and then transferred to the car battery. Charging speeds are determined on the chargepoint's output power as well as the convertor's ability to convert electricity to DC.

AC chargers require between 16A (3.7 kWh) and 63A (43 kWh) of electricity. This charging option is best for parking areas where the vehicle will be parked for at least 20 minutes. These are the most prevalent chargepoints due to their cheaper costs (manufacturing, installation, and operation) making them more popular for typical day-to-day charging.

AC Charging Summary:

  • Stands for Alternating Current
  • Used for charging of electric vehicles at various speeds (slower than DC Charging).
  • Available on power grid
  • Can be transmitted economically over long distances
  • Converted to DC by the car

What defines DC charging?

DC charging is used by fast chargers for electric vehicles; they convert the electricity before it enters the vehicle. The electricity is sent straight into the ev’s battery after conversion, bypassing the car's converter.

A DC system needs a significant amount of grid electricity (around 125 A). As a result, its operating expenses (manufacturing, installation, and operation) are incredibly costly, resulting in higher pricing rates. However, because it typically allows for significantly faster charging, it is the favoured charging option for long-distance excursions (for cars that support DC charging). This sort of charger is more commonly encountered along roads and public charging stations than in homes or businesses.

DC Charging Summary:

  • Stands for Direct Current
  • Typically used for fast charging of electric vehicles.
  • Bypasses the vehicles onboard converter
  • Stored in batteries of portable electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, electric vehicles)

Does converting power from AC to DC vary depending on the device?

A converter is commonly built into the plug of everyday portable electrical devices (such as mobile phones). However, as mentioned earlier, the converter is located within the vehicle in the case of electric vehicles.

In the case of DC chargers (used for rapid charging), the converter is housed within the charger and therefore, in this situation, the conversion is handled by the converter included within the charger. As a result, DC chargers are often bigger than AC chargers (and more expensive).

Which one is better for my situation?

The majority of charging stations available today use AC power. Depending on the vehicle you possess and the electricity available to the charging infrastructure, the typical charging speed is 22 kW. Since it takes longer to load, it's best for charging your car at home or at work. DC charging, on the other hand, is more popular near roads or at public charging stations where there isn't much time to recharge. Nonetheless, DC charging is finding its way into home charging, providing customers with additional options because it permits not just rapid charging but also bidirectional charging.

Essentially, what is better depends entirely on the application situation. If you require a speedy charge to continue your long-distance excursion, you'll normally choose for DC charging (if your car supports it). In all other cases, AC charging will be the preferred method of charging your vehicle. Take a look at some of Manta Power’s EV Charger picks - they are all 7kW chargers and we believe they look the part too!

Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or just want to chat!

General Tip: match the charging capacity of your car with that of the charge point.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.