Rapid charger effect

To use the i3 outside your home town an infrastructure of rapid chargers along major highways is required. These rapid chargers can fill the battery to 80% in about 30 minutes an let you continue your electric journey.The development of CCS chargers in Sweden is slow but has now reached a level where it is possible to travel between major cities in southern Sweden. In most places there is only one alternative (one charger) and the risk of being stranded is high (especially if you drive without a range extender like us). More about the infrastructure available in the post Lack of rapid chargers slows down car sales

Rapid chargers have shifting quality and stability. One of the large utility companies in Sweden has had some problems with their chargers and it seems that they now swap supplier and invest in more stable chargers from ABB. That the rapid chargers operate flawlessly is obviously important since the alternative for an EV owner in front of a malfunctioning rapid charger is often a significantly slower charging station where a battery at best takes several hours to charge.

The time it takes to fast charge varies and three charges in the Stockholm area have been tested. An i3 was charged at different rapid chargers at approximately the same conditions (initial battery level around 10% and the temperature about 5 degrees Celsius). All chargers were from ABB.

Normally, you can fill the battery quickly in the beginning and in 10 minutes charge over 6 kWh. After 20 minutes, a total of 11 kWh was charged, but then the effect is decreased and after 30 minutes, only an additional 2 kWh is charged to a total of 13 kWh.


Note that one of the charges took longer and charged at a lower effect in the beginning. Maybe it was because the charger at Roslagstull was brand new and not fully optimized. Still interesting to see that this charger took 31 minutes instead of 23 minutes to charge 12 kWh.

Translated into effect the normal charger is peaking after 5 to 10 minutes at about 45 kW. After the peak the performance drops steeply and is more than halved after about 20 minutes. After 35 minutes the effect is only 10 kW.


It is also interesting that most new rapid charges are equipped to handle CCS EU (e.g. BMW) and CHAdeMO (e.g. Nissan). However, the stations do not appear to be able to charge multiple vehicles simultaneously – it cannot charge a BMW i3 and a Nissan Leaf side by side. The charger from ABB seem to be programmed to interrupt the charging over CCS when the level reaches 70% and then start charging the car connected to CHAdeMO.


Overall the rapid chargers work well – I just wish there were more of them along major highways.

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23 thoughts on “Rapid charger effect

  1. Thank goodness they’re not using DBT rapid chargers! They’re hopeless in the UK and the company was propped up by Nissan hence why everyone usedth here. Shame as ABB far more reliable and reduced maintenance.

  2. Just curious, what is the cost of an ABB charger in Sweden (or elsewhere) compared to, say, a gasoline or for example a more complex natural gas station ?

    1. Hi Alex
      I have heard the figure 250 000 SEK (about 27 000 EUR) for a rapid charger, but that includes infrastructure like power cables to the station and other construction work around the parking lot. I would think any kind of gas station is considerably more expensive.

  3. An other question : fast charger are usually more efficient than slower ones, have you ever mesured the kWh to fully charge the 18,8 kWh battery from near flat (or anyway from x% to y %) ?

  4. Jag har en REX men ingen extra snabbladdningsmockapär. vad är det bästa/snabbaste man kan ladda bilen på utefter vägen?
    Men efter 2 veckor har allt gått bra, skitkul trots viss räckvidsångest

  5. Hi!

    Do you know about Uppsala and Gävle fast chargers? I’m about to rent a BMW i3 from Stockholm, and I’m about to drive through those cities. According to uppladdning.nu there’s chargers at both cities, but are they generally available? Do I need a RFID card or something?

    1. Hi
      Chargers are usually available and most still free to use. The charger in Uppsala is from Vattenfall and from what I understand they will charge 3 SEK/minute starting in Feb and you will need a Vattenfall card – read more here. The charger in Gävle looks like a local car dealer – probably free to use.

      1. One of the three fast charger in Gävle is located at Gävle Energi.
        This is a CHAdeMO charger and not available for an i3. Gävle Taxi has time slot on the charger. Outside this slots it is free for use (without fee)
        BilMetro (local VW-dealer) has a CCS fast charger. I don’t know if they let others than VW-owner use the station. But a call to Mats Öhman at BilMetro will give you the answer.
        The third is a Tesla fast charger att Gävle Bro (E4) outside Gävle.
        Then we have two regular charger type 3 (for i3) at Konserthuset and one at Slottstorget. I’m not sure, but I think this is 3,7kWh charger (for free). Shopping Circle Project also installed 220V loadplaces for EV at ICA Maxi Hemlingby and Teknikparken Gävle, but there you need your own charger.

    1. There are three standards for rapid chargers: CCS, CHAdeMO and Tesla. These are not compatible and hence it is not possible to charge an i3 using Teslas Supercharger. Many stations have combined CCS and CHAdeMO (they have two outlets) but I have not seen any combinations with Tesla.

      1. ok, I have seen a I3 be charge by a 230v tesla home chager. I have got the Idee that tesla are using CCS here in EU.

  6. Forgive me if I bother with my previous question : have you ever measured the kWh need to fully charge the battery in different cases , for example, slow charging at home, fast charging from public rapid chargers, etc…? I would be very interested to know the actual figures for all those different cases, if possible

  7. I’ll receive my i3 two weeks from now. And I am trying to find out the best solution to charge at home. I can buy a wallbox with 3.7 kW (230V), but the company also offers chargers with 11 kW and 22kW (400V) that also can charge an i3. Have anyone here tried a 11 or 22 kW charger at home. And will such charging damage the battery?


    1. Hi Ahmad
      Welcome to the owners club!
      If you have 230V in your normal sockets, my recommendation is still to start with the standard charger. I believe most users will find that this is more than enough. If you have not already read Standard charger enough at home I think you will find it interesting.

      1. Thanks BMWi3Owner. This forum is great!

        I think I will do that. I dont have a power plug in my carport, so I have do hire an electrician to install one. I hope it wont cost me that much.

        Is it ok to charge the battery daily, even though the battery capacity is more that 40-50%?

        1. I think it is ok. I have done that now for more than a year. I always plug in the car during the night and I have usually only used less than half of the battery capacity.

          1. Hi, thats the solution i have, too. Since January 2015 I have charged the car only a few times outside my home, normally it is enough to do that overnight (for my needs). 10000 kms so far, 5 litres of petrol!

  8. Has any i3 owners experienced poor home 230v charging immediately after using rapid CCS charge? – I believe the i3 becomes desensitised and calculates charge to departure time based on the rapid CCS charging rate instead of the home rate. The result is virtually no charge the next morning.

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