Whether you’re new to the world of electric vehicle charging or a seasoned pro, understanding the types of EV chargers available and how they differ is important for every electric vehicle owner so you know how to charge appropriately.
In this blog, we’re going to answer the question – are EV chargers AC or DC?
Read on to explore the differences between AC and DC charging for electric vehicles, where you can expect to find each type of charger and let you know which is better for your EV.
Electric vehicle chargers can be AC or DC; both currents are used in relation to electric vehicle charging. However, it depends on the type of electric car charger as to what current is used. As a general rule of thumb, home EV chargers and public electric vehicle charging points use AC, while chargers with high charging rates, such as rapid and ultra-rapid public charging points, use DC.
To start, it’s important to note that electric vehicle batteries can only store DC current, and current from the grid is always AC. So the key difference between AC and DC charging for electric vehicles is where the conversion from AC to DC takes place.
With DC charging, electricity is sent directly to the battery, having already converted AC into DC inside the charger. In comparison, AC charging requires an onboard charger inside your EV to convert the AC current from the grid into DC. Because of this, AC charging is typically slower than DC charging, and the charging rate is limited by the capacity of the onboard charger.
The process of converting AC to DC is not uncommon; it occurs in laptop and smartphone chargers, too, because the batteries require DC to charge.
DC charging is faster than AC because it sends power directly to the car battery without needing to convert the current via an onboard charger.
DC charging stations can therefore provide higher charging speeds, with capabilities of up to 350 kW, compared to AC charging rates of up to a maximum of 22 kW (with a three-phase electricity supply).
Home EV chargers are always AC, with the most common home EV chargers being rated at 7.4 kW. Dedicated home chargers come in both untethered and tethered forms, compared to DC, which are only tethered. Charging an electric car at home with a 7kW takes approximately 4-8 hours with AC – however, this depends on numerous factors.
While the answer is technically yes, you can have DC fast chargers installed at home; DC charging at home is not common by any means.
In fact, DC charging is typically only found at public charging stations and motorway services due to the high cost of the equipment and installation – typically named ‘ultra-rapid’ and ‘rapid’ chargers. Not only are DC chargers expensive, but a significant amount of power is required to operate them.
Instead, most EV owners opt for AC EV charging stations at home, typically at 7.4 kW. These are more affordable and easier to install than DC chargers and won’t negatively impact your EV battery when used daily. Home EV chargers also provide other benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise get with DC public chargers, including convenience and cost savings.
Higher-rated AC home chargers are also available in 11kW and 22kW if EV owners are interested in a higher-rated charger at home. But it’s important to note that they require a three-phase power supply, which is uncommon in UK households. Additionally, each EV has a maximum onboard charging capacity for AC, so your EV may not be able to take a higher rate of 22kW, making the higher charging rate redundant.
When it comes to AC vs DC EV charging, it’s important to consider your charging needs, your vehicle’s capabilities, and the charging infrastructure in your area.
AC charging is perfect for home charging due to the 7kW/22kW charging rate, and is vastly cheaper to have installed on your property. In comparison, DC charging is faster, making it ideal for when you need an urgent charge, but is better suited for public charging stations and long trips.
That being said, alternating current (AC) charging is better for your EV’s battery, as frequently charging at high DC rates can encourage premature battery degradation and decrease your electric car’s range.
We provide end-to-end AC and DC electric car charging solutions nationwide, ensuring simple, hassle-free installation for you. If you’re interested in an AC home charger for your electric car or DC charging for your commercial business – contact us today at 03333 44 96 99 or fill in the contact form below. Our expert advisors are open seven days a week, including bank holidays, to offer free, unbiased advice.
Enter your information below, and one of our expert advisors will be in touch shortly.
This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.
This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.
Spread over a 60 month period.
Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.
You decide the amount of months.
Minimum of £1000.
We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.
Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.
We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.
We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.
Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.
Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.
A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation.
What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.
If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.