The increasing number of rapid DC chargers means you’re unlikely to be stationary for as long as you think
For many potential EV buyers it’s range anxiety that often stops them from reaching for the wallet – that worry that you’ll be left stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat battery. Yet wrapped up in these concerns about how far you can travel is the issue of how long you’ll be waiting to top up a battery when you find a charger.
For many owners charging at home overnight means waiting for a full battery isn’t a problem, because you’re asleep and the car would be parked up anyway. Yet when you’re out on the road and tackling a long journey, kicking your heels for a few hours is both frustrating and extremely time-consuming.
However, the advent of increasingly rapid DC (Direct Current) chargers means you’re unlikely to be stationary for as long as you think. And while it’s going to be a while before EV charging is as quick and convenient as filling a tank with petrol or diesel, the likelihood of you being at a loose end for large chunks of time continues to diminish as car makers develop increasingly fast and efficient charging methods.
For our top 10 fastest charging cars we’ve used manufacturer-claimed figures for the maximum rate in kW (kilowatts) at which the battery will accept charge, as well as the time it takes to reach 80% capacity (few brands recommend rapid-charging to 100%, and to protect the battery the final 20% is added much more slowly).
Top 10 fastest charging EVs on sale
Lucid Air – 350kW
Due to hit UK shores later this year, the handsome Lucid Air has made plenty of headlines with its knockout 1096bhp power output as well as its impressive claimed range of 520 miles. However, these are not the only impressive numbers about the American executive saloon, which has been engineered by the same person behind the Tesla Model S. With an electrical architecture that’s rated at above 900V, the Lucid is able to take almost full advantage of the latest 350kW rapid chargers. The brand is cagey about exactly how much the Air can accept but states “over 300kW”, which means the large, 118kWh battery can be replenished from 10-80% in as little as 15 minutes.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 – 350kW
The first of a number of cars from Hyundai and its subsidiary brands Kia and Genesis, the Ioniq 5 turned the family EV market on its head when it arrived in 2021. It finishes ahead of its Korean cousins here because it was the first one to hit showrooms. Underpinning the Ioniq 5 is the firm’s clever E-GMP platform that includes powerful 800V electrics, a feature that had previously been reserved for the much pricier Porsche Taycan. According to Hyundai, this allows the car to be charged at a rate of up to 350kW, which is good for 10-80% in 18 minutes. However, experience suggests this figure is only achieved for the briefest of moments, and more often than not the angular hatchback accepts electricity at around 230kW.
Kia EV6 – 350kW
Under the skin, the eye-catching Kia EV6 is largely identical to the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which explains how it claims the same fairly brief 18-minute stop at rapid chargers to bump the capacity from 10-80%. Not only do the two cars share the same structure, 800V architecture and 77.4kWh lithium ion battery, they also share the optionally fully reclining driver’s set that allows you to take a nap if you can’t find a a 350kW charger and so need to spend a little longer topping up. Where the Kia scores is in the availability of its flagship GT model that offers a potent 577bhp for a kidney-crushing 0-62mph time of 3.5sec. It also gets a Drift mode, which looks good on paper but can deliver some pretty wild slides if you’re not fully awake.
Genesis GV60 – 350kW
The Genesis name is fairly new to Europe, but Hyundai’s luxury sub-brand has been doing good business both in its native Korea and the US for the best part of a decade now. The GV60 was the firm’s first all-electric offering and, unsurprisingly, it’s underpinned by the same E-GMP architecture as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. Like those two, there’s a choice of single- or dual-motor set-ups (for four-wheel drive), with the Performance model offering 482bhp. As with its close relations, the V2L (vehicle-to-load) system allows you to use the drive battery to charge larger devices, including other EVs. Given its identical 800V electrical gubbins, you get the same 350kW charging potential and up-to-18-minute 10-80% charging time.
Genesis Electrified GV70 – 350kW
Another entry, another Genesis. The upmarket Korean brand is making a big push into electrification, and all its recent additions use parent firm Hyundai’s 800V electrical hardware. Like the GV60, the GV70 uses the familiar 77.4kWh battery and is capable in optimum conditions of charging at up to 350kW, which means an 18-minute pause to get the cells from 10-80%. However, like the Electrified G80, the GV70 is based on an existing internal-combustion-engined design, which means it doesn’t get the same futuristic looks as its smaller SUV sibling, or the option of a cheaper single-motor model. As with the G80, the driving experience is geared towards comfort and refinement rather than driver fun, although with 482bhp it’s no slouch.
Hyundai Ioniq 6 – 350kW
The latest model to benefit from Hyundai’s E-GMP structure is the Ioniq 6 streamliner saloon. As you’d expect, the oily (wirey?) bits are familiar, with an 800V system powered by a 77.4kWh lithium ion battery that can theoretically charge at up to 350kW, so the 10-80% charge can take as little as, you guessed it, 18 minutes. There’s also a similar choice of 226bhp single- and 329bhp dual-motor layouts as the Ioniq 5. However, the four-door machine’s slippery teardrop shape serves up a remarkable drag coefficient of 0.21, which means the Ioniq 6 claims up to 382 miles on a charge – a 67-mile increase over the mechanically identical Ioniq 5. Either way, it’s a quiet and easy-going companion that makes up for in style what it lacks in driver engagement.
Genesis Electrified G80 – 350kW
While the imposing Electrified G80 saloon doesn’t share the same structure as the GV60 SUV, it does pack the same 800V wiring. That means a charging speed of up to 350kW is possible, but with a larger, 87.2kWh battery, you’ll have to twiddle your thumbs for 22 minutes while you wait for the lithium ion cells to be taken from 10-80%. On the plus side, that larger battery means a longer range of 323 miles, so you’re less likely to need to stop on the road anyway. The G80 also features the neat option of a solar roof panel that can effectively trickle charge the battery using the sun’s rays. Genesis claims this feature can add up to 700 miles of extra range over the course of a year – weather permitting, of course.
Maserati Granturismo Folgore – 270kW
After years in the doldrums working with hand-me-down platforms and parts, Maserati has been given a new lease of life under new parent company Stellantis. The marvellous MC20 signalled the Italians’ intent, but it’s the new Granturismo that really showcases the sports car firm’s ambition. All-new from the ground up, the head-turning high-performance four-seat coupé has been designed from the outset with EV and ICE powertrains. Not only that, the all-electric version (called the Folgore) gets a powerful 800V architecture. That means DC charging at up to 270kW, with 20-80% battery capacity possible in as little as 18 minutes. More importantly, the Maserati gets a 751bhp tri-motor layout that delivers stunning performance (0-62mph in 2.7sec) and handling agility enhanced by genuine torque vectoring from the twin rear motors.
Porsche Taycan – 270kW
While Hyundai has flooded the EV market with advanced 800V electrics, it was Porsche that beat it to the punch. The Taycan was the first battery-powered son of Zuffenhausen, and as you’d expect it set new standards when it first hit the road in 2020. Despite a kerb weight the wrong side of two tonnes, the fleet-footed four-door handles with all the poise, polish and panache you’d expect from Porsche, while performance is strong whether it’s the 397bhp entry-level model or the monstrously powerful 751bhp Turbo S. Crucially, all get the same high-voltage electrical system, which Porsche claims can charge at speeds of up to 270kW and can replenish both the 79.2kWh and 93.4kWh battery options from 5-80% in 21-and-a-half minutes.
Audi E-tron GT – 270kW
Much like the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis models, the Audi shares its DNA with another car – in this case the Porsche Taycan. As we’ve seen, these aren’t bad genes to have for an EV, with the E-tron GT benefiting from the same 800V underpinnings that allow 270kW rapid charging where available – although curiously Audi claims 23 minutes to zap the battery, and its figure is from 10-80% rather than 5-80%. Unlike the Porsche, the E-tron is only available with the larger, 93kWh battery, while in keeping with its all-wheel-drive heritage, there’s no single-motor option. At the top of the GT tree is the RS model that pumps out a handy 637bhp, yet neither it nor the standard versions are as sharp and involving to drive as the tauter Taycan.