What do you need to know about AC/DC.
In the early days of electrification, Direct Current (DC) – where the power flows in one direction like it does through a water hose – was the standard for delivering electrical power. Nowadays, Alternating Current (AC) – where the power flow is constantly switching direction – is the standard. We switched from DC to AC because AC delivers electrical charge more efficiently over long distances.
Batteries require DC.
While most of our household appliances are powered with AC, any device with a built-in battery – like a mobile phone or a laptop – can only be charged with DC. Electric cars also fall into this category. This is why it helps to know about AC and DC if you’re planning to drive an electric car.
Converting AC to DC.
Since DC is the only type of current that can be stored in a battery, there needs to be a way of converting the AC from the grid into DC. This is done by a rectifier – which for small devices such as smartphones is generally located in the plug of the charging cable, and for larger devices such as laptops it is located in a box attached to the cable.
How charging an electric car works.
When charging an electric vehicle from a normal AC household socket, AC is converted to DC inside the vehicle – but this takes time. You can speed things up by installing an AC Wallbox. This is faster than a normal household socket because it has a higher energy transfer rate (kW/h). If you charge in public, you can find even faster AC chargers. The fastest option, however, is a DC charger. This is because AC from the grid has already been transformed into DC which can be fed directly into the battery. DC chargers are not yet available for private use, but are a super convenient and easy way to top up when you’re on the go.
Charging solutions for your needs.
By keeping these power basics in mind, you’ll find it much easier to work out the best solution for charging your electric vehicle – whether at home, on the go or on longer trips.