PORTLAND, Maine — What’s the range, and how long does it take to charge?
Those are the two most common questions when it comes to electric vehicles.
Range on new EV models is consistently within 250 to 350 miles, and the time needed to charge has decreased as well.
We set out to test one of the fastest-charging new models: a Kia EV6. The manufacturer claims we should be able to charge from 10 percent battery to 80 percent battery in 18 minutes.
The first step to testing a fast-charging car is to find a charger that can actually put enough electricity. For example, many DC fast chargers put out 100 to 150 kilowatts. But since the EV 6 can charge up to 225 kilowatts, we wouldn’t be able to test the max speed on a charger like that.
For today’s experiment we are plugged into a 350 kilowatt charger at a Walmart in Scarborough.
The first charger we plugged into doesn’t deliver as much power as it claims it can. We max out at 97 kilowatts and immediately realize something is wrong. After a few minutes, we move one parking bay over to another charger and viola -- it starts charging at nearly 200 kilowatts.
So now the clock is ticking. Can we get from 10 percent to 80 percent in the claimed 18 minutes?
Even with the short delay from the first charger, we were able to charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes. We added over 200 miles of range during that time.
Just to put the speed of charging in perspective, my 2020 Kia EV charges at a max rate of 77 kilowatts, which means this newer version can charge at nearly three times the speed of my car.