AC vs DC


In the early days of electrification, Direct Current (DC) – where the power flows in one direction like a water hose – was the standard for delivering electrical power. Now, Alternating Current (AC) – where the power flow is constantly alternating direction – is the standard. It was changed because AC delivers electrical power more efficiently over long distances.


So, while most of our household appliances can be 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’s important for you to learn 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 can be done by a rectifier – generally located either in the plug of the charging cable for smaller devices like smartphones or for larger devices like laptops 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 wall-box. This is faster than a normal household socket because it has a higher energy transfer rate (kW). 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 a great and easy way to top up on the go.

Charging Solution 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 – at home, on the go or even on longer trips. If you drive the Ampera-e, it will be even easier as Opel has developed a versatile charging strategy to meet all your needs.  Learn more


The days when electric cars were just for short trips are over:


  • With 520 km* range on a single charge
  • From 0 - 100 km/h in just 7.3 sec.
  • Plenty of room for 5 passengers