DC charging stations enable the fast charging of electric vehicles (EVs) and are a fundamental prerequisite for the success of e-mobility.
While a 22 kW standard AC charging station can fill up on average two or three vehicles daily, up to 60 EVs could be fully charged at a 150 kW DC fast charging station daily. We have compiled all the information about costs, delivery times and the ideal location for DC charging stations into this blog post.
WHAT IS A DC CHARGING STATION?
Direct current (DC) is stored in a vehicle battery, as with any battery. A standard AC charging station charges with an alternative current (AC) with an output of up to 22 kilowatts (kW). The alternative current is only converted into direct current (DC) inside the vehicle by a converter, also called an ‘on-board charger’, so it can be of any use to the vehicle. That’s why AC charging takes longer.
A DC or direct current charging station bypasses this step by supplying the vehicle directly with direct current, leading to higher efficiency and faster charging times. The conversion from AC to DC takes place already in the charging station. This also eliminates load losses that usually occur during conversion inside the vehicle.
The main advantage of a DC charging station is its significantly higher performance compared to an AC charging station. While AC charging stations usually offer power in the range of 3.7 kW to 22 kW, DC charging stations can reach charging capacities up to 600 kW. DC chargers can fully charge an EV in a matter of minutes instead of several hours.
DC EV chargers with an output of 600 kW are currently ready for the market, and the first models that scratch the megawatt (MW) limit are already in development. The Megawatt Charging System (MCS) was presented in 2022 and will be used for the first time in research projects in 2023. MCS will mainly serve electric trucks and buses to help further support heavy-duty electrification.
|Good to know: All charging over 150 kW falls under the ultra-fast or high-power charging (HPC) category. More about HPC here.|
HOW MUCH DOES A DC CHARGING STATION COST?
The cost of a DC charging station can vary greatly depending on the model, performance, technical specifications and equipment. A simple DC wall box with a charging power of 25 kW is already available for a few thousand EUR. With a higher power, the prices also increase, and for a DC wall box with 50 kW power output, one should already estimate up to 10 000 EUR.
DC charging stations in the higher power range (from 50 kW up) have more technology on board, which is reflected in their size. These are usually only available as free-standing charging stations. For standard DC models with 150 kW output, you can expect up to 30 000 EUR, models with a power range of 200 kW to 400 kW cost at least 40 000 EUR.
|💡 Simply put, you should calculate approximately 200 EUR per kW of charging power for DC charging stations.|
In addition, there are costs for charging cables and cable mounts, as well as extra equipment, such as a payment terminal. And not to forget, there are also the costs for grid connection, installation, on-site cabling to the distribution box and more. These costs vary greatly depending on the location, but still prolong the list of things you have to worry about.
At Virta, we support and advise you when choosing the right DC charging station for your business needs and we’re there for you through the whole process to installation and beyond. We’ll offer our technical support, maintenance and repair work, and support for your EV driver customers. We take care of the whole hardware process on your behalf!
Although the initial investment into DC charging stations is higher than with AC chargers, they guarantee higher efficiency and better utilisation rates, which means faster ROI.
IDEAL LOCATIONs FOR DC CHARGING STATIONs
Standard AC charging stations can usually only fully charge two vehicles daily due to long charging times. In addition, vehicles generally stay connected longer than the charging process takes. For example, drivers usually don’t move their cars for 8 to 10 hours if a vehicle is charged during work hours or overnight.
A DC charging station can often fully charge an EV in less than 30 minutes, and that’s why it’s perfectly suitable for locations that are heavily frequented and have a high traffic volume: along major roads and highways, at service stations and at petrol stations. Sites where drivers spend about 30 to 60 minutes, like supermarkets and shopping centres, are also suitable for DC chargers.
DC charging stations also present as an interesting option for commercial fleet operators who use their vehicles around the clock and for charging heavy-duty commercial vehicles such as electric trucks or construction site vehicles.
Whether a DC charging station is publicly available or only set up for private use is up to the charging point operator. With Virta’s charging solution, both options are possible. At the beginning of the project, we’ll be happy to support you with location analysis and ROI calculations, so that you can find the best location for your DC charging stations.
DELIVERY TIMES FOR DC CHARGING STATIONs
DC charging stations’ delivery times depend on many factors, such as the manufacturer, the model and the equipment wishes.
Due to high demand and the aftermath of the chip shortage, delivery times of several months to one year can still result.
Virta has its own DC charging station stock, so that we can guarantee shorter delivery times for many models. We can deliver your DC charging stations to your site as soon as preparation work and cabling have been completed. This saves you resources and logistics costs and makes interim storage unnecessary. More importantly, it saves you all the unnecessary stress.