Having new, big numbers to crow about your particular car is always fun, and boy have our test-happy pals at Edmunds provided us with those. Thanks to their incredibly comprehensive charging test of 43 EVs, Porsche Taycan owners can now taunt Tesla Model S Plaid owners because their cars can do 690 mph, while those slow-ass Teslas are stuck at 523 mph. And everyone can jeer at the ’22 Chevy Bolt EUV, lumbering along at a glacial 172 mph. Of course, while all of these numbers are technically speeds, they all happen while the cars are stationary, because these are charging speeds. And, really, these are probably much more important numbers than actual driving speeds, when you think about it.
Charging speed is, of course, a big deal, as it will always be compared to the current default standard of the five-minute gas fill-up, where you can blast in a dozen or so gallons into your tank, giving you a range of likely over 300 miles or so. EVs have long been saddled with long charge times, but advances in fast charging hardware are changing things dramatically – provided you have access to a charging station equipped to deliver electrons that fast.
Really, none of this is simple: charging speed depends on a large number of factors, including the type of charger (these tests were done only with Level 3 DC fast charging chargers), the peak charging power of the car (that’s the highest rate the EV can take charge from the charging station), the battery management systems of the car, thermal and otherwise (because those affect how long the battery is able to take charge at the peak power), and there’s probably factors affected by weather and your zodiac sign, just because. The point is, it’s a far cry from pumping gas into a tank.
Also, these tests were done to get the battery from 10% to 80% of charge, because after 80%, charging slows down significantly, and it’s generally accepted that for good battery life, stopping at 80% most of the time is beneficial.
This Edmunds test is great because it’s really difficult to rely on just manufacturer information to say how quickly the car can charge – this is the same test, under the same circumstances, for all the cars. Here’s how Edmunds describes how they got their numbers:
We teamed up with EV-testing specialists at P3 to get the most detailed charging data. P3 utilizes a device that monitors and records electricity use while an EV is connected to a fast-charging station as well as power request communication between the EV and the station. We then combine P3’s data with Edmunds data on how much electricity a car uses per mile of driving to tell you actual miles per charging hour.
The electricity the car uses per mile is a good metric to note as well, as it’s the closest analog to miles per gallon, which is still how a lot of us think.
The test also has a chart that shows how long it takes each car to add 100 miles of range, which is a good quick-stop-on-a-road-trip metric. In that test, the Kia EV6 Wind RWD came in first taking 7:48 to get 100 miles of charge, with other notables like the Tesla Model 3 Long Range taking 11:25 to add 100 miles, and a VW ID.4 taking a bit over 16 minutes, a Ford Lightning taking 18, and oh, you can look at the whole huge chart here.
Edmunds was nice enough to let us reproduce their charge-miles-per-hour chart right here, though, so check this out:
This is all interesting because it’s an entirely new metric to consider when buying a car. In the combustion-car world, this just wasn’t a thing to even consider: it takes about as much time to put ten gallons of gas into a Geo Metro as it does to put ten gallons into a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost or a Lamborghini Aventador or a Zaporozhets 965 or whatever. Car buying just got a little more complicated! Yay?
Thankfully, there are organizations like Edmunds that have the resources and time to pull off these large-scale tests. Independent testing is really important here, because do you really want to trust the manufacturers for all of this data? I wouldn’t. Real world, electric apples-to-electric-apple testing is all you can count on.