← Back to Blog
June 1, 2023

AC vs DC Charging – What's The Difference?

AC charging is the most common type of charging for electric vehicles and uses the same type of electrical current that is used in homes and businesses. Level 2 AC chargers require a 240-volt electrical source, much like an oven range or clothes dryer. Level 3 DC chargers require a 480-volt electrical source, which is also used to power industrial motors and heating applications. For comparison, a standard wall outlet delivers 120 volts.

Level 2 AC charging stations are most commonly found in locations of longer dwell times, like multifamily communities and office buildings. Level 3 DC charging stations are often found along busy transportation corridors and used by drivers who are on the go and looking to get back on the road as quickly as possible.

The time required to fully charge an electric vehicle on a Level 2 AC charger can range from a few hours to overnight. In contrast, some Level 3 DC charging stations are capable of adding over 200 miles of range in just 30 minutes. This is because AC charging requires the vehicle’s on board charger to convert the AC current from the power grid to the DC current that is used to charge the vehicle’s battery. DC charging, on the other hand, uses a charging station that directly supplies the battery with DC current, bypassing the need for a conversion from AC.

While the faster charge time provided by a Level 3 DC charger is certainly a benefit in some cases, there are several key things to consider about this kind of station. Level 3 DC charging stations can cost upwards of 200 times more than a Level 2 AC charger. They are also much larger, take up more space to install, and require more available power to safely operate.

Ultimately, the choice between AC and DC charging will depend on the needs and preferences of drivers. If you need to charge your EV quickly or plan to take long road trips, DC charging may be a better option. However, if you mainly charge your EV at home or work and have more time to wait for a full charge, AC charging is likely more than sufficient.

Partnering with Chargie

Successfully navigating these differences will help property owners and managers determine which EV charging station works best for their building. In some cases, the right solution may be a combination of Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC chargers. Partnering with an expert provider like Chargie streamlines the process from beginning to end – we help properties design the most effective charger layout, take advantage of all rebates and incentives, handle all installation work, and manage and monitor the system 24/7. Reach out to learn more.