Electric car dictionary: It's not just the engine that has kilowatts

The Audi E-Tron is a fast charger

Not every car can handle full power. Those interested in electric cars should therefore pay attention to the maximum possible charging capacity of their vehicle.

When it comes to diesel and petrol, when you think of “power” you usually think of the engine. In the case of an electric vehicle, it is almost as important in another area: when refueling. It is expressed in units of kilowatts. 

The charging power of one is the most important criterion for how quickly the e-car can fill its batteries. Usual values ​​today are 4,6 to 11 kilowatts for direct current charging and 50 to 100 kW for alternating current charging, individual models also reach 200 kW and more. The values ​​depend on the technical equipment of the car and tend to be higher for more expensive models than for cheaper ones. 

How much power a model can handle can usually be found in the technical data sheets. The value given there results in the charging time by dividing the battery capacity by the charging power. A car with 50 kW charging power needs roughly twice as long as one with 100 kW to fill a battery of the same size. Assuming the power storage has a capacity of 100 kWh, filling up takes two hours in the first case, while the second car could leave the column after an hour. 

However, this is a rough guide. The charging power specified by the manufacturer is only a maximum value and is not available over the entire refueling process. As the battery level increases and the temperature increases, the charging speed usually decreases significantly.

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