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.