Lyft’s guide to the transportation revolution

EV buying tip #4: 800V models can get you back on the road fast — if you can find the right charger

Bryan Gardiner - Apr 24, 2023
EV Buying Tip #4 Image Header
Illustration by Betsy Falco

The majority of EVs for sale today are equipped with 400V electrical systems. With a (Level 3) DC fast charging station, you can charge many of them from 10 percent to 80 in as little as 30 minutes. Not bad. (Heads up: Pay attention to your EV’s peak charging rate. If it’s only 125 kW, it will NOT charge any faster at a 250 kW or 350 kW Level 3 charger.)

Some vehicles, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Porsche Taycan, have moved to 800V systems. What’s the difference? By doubling the system’s voltage, the time it takes to charge an 800V vehicle can effectively be cut in half. So while these cars can still charge up using Level 1 and 2 chargers, they can do some really fast charging at compatible (Level 3) chargers. For example, that Ioniq 5 can go from a 10 to 80 percent charge in just 18 minutes using a 350-kW DC charger. 

Initially, it was only the luxury EVs that had 800V systems (Audi, Porsche, etc.). But Hyundai and Kia are now both making ultrafast charging much more affordable, with models starting at $39,950 and $48,700, respectively. Plus, most big EV manufacturers have committed to moving to 800V systems in the near future.

The main problem for now is that there just aren’t many charging stations that can offer 800V charging (and most DC fast chargers are currently concentrated on the coasts). But more compatible chargers are coming. Over 200 are expected to open this year, and the Biden administration announced in February that at least 2,000 new 350 kW DC fast chargers will be built along major freeways in the next few years. 

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