Chevrolet Equinox EV Early Fast-Charging Test: ‘Not Bad’

After a lot of headaches for General Motors on the electric vehicle front, the Chevrolet Equinox EV is where everything feels like it’s coming together. It’s not only one of the cheapest ways to get an EV with more than 300 miles of range—even more so when the $35,000 LT base model debuts later this year—it’s an attractive, capable package that’s pretty great to drive. 

But getting down to the Equinox EV’s price while offering up to 319 miles of range meant a few sacrifices. Arguably the car’s biggest drawback is its maximum 150 kW DC fast-charging speed, which isn’t bad, necessarily, but trails behind rivals like the Tesla Model Y and Hyundai Ioniq 5. And while public DC fast chargers over 150 kW are less common on America’s roadways, they are steadily increasing. In other words, the Equinox EV is fairly “average” right now, but could be outpaced by other options in the near future. 

The Equinox EV is meant to be a volume-seller

Since discontinuing the Chevy Bolt (which is due back next year as well) GM has primarily dabbled in more expensive, higher-end EVs. The Equinox EV is its first truly affordable modern electric car, and after getting positive reviews it could be successful at selling in volume. 

Of course, that all depends on how an EV actually performs in real-world situations—something that can be pretty far afield of what an automaker claims it can do. So how does the Equinox EV hold up in that department?

Our friends at Out of Spec Reviews gave Chevy’s affordable electric crossover a quick charging test right outside of GM’s headquarters, and the early results are in: “Not bad.”

First, let’s talk about some caveats here. I was on the same press launch drive in Detroit as Kyle Conner here, but due to my travel schedule, I did not get a chance to DC fast-charge the cars I was driving. That’s not always easy on some of these early media drives.

It can be tricky to run a car down to 10% or 20% in the time we’re allotted, and sometimes the cars we test are “pre-production prototypes” that look just like the cars you might end up buying but don’t have finalized software or hardware specs. Case in point: when InsideEVs‘ Deputy Editor Mack Hogan tried to fast-charge the new Mustang Mach-E Rally at another launch event, he ran into some unusual connectivity issues that may or may not have been related to the car’s early build status. In other words, we often get the most realistic and representative results when we get a production-spec EV and have some proper time to do it right. 

Having said that, kudos to Kyle and Jordan for giving the Equinox EV a proper go here—especially since that car is on sale right now. So how did it do?

You can see the results in the embedded video above about 42 minutes in, when they roll up to a 350 kW EVGo station right outside GM’s Renaissance Center HQ in downtown Detroit with a 58% state of charge. (Normally, very few drivers would probably fast-charge with so much battery power unless they absolutely had to on some kind of long trip with few options until the destination; again, it’s hard to replicate real-world driving at these first-drive events.) 

When the guys plug the Equinox EV into “Barb” the fast charger, they get an error on their first try and have to plug it in again. (Okay, maybe it is like the real-world experience after all.) The second time’s the charm, with the Equinox EV jumping to 101 kW pretty much right away and then settling in at a steady 93 kW. They note that’s around on par with the Model Y, but also that the Equinox EV’s charging voltage—akin to the “water pressure” in your household pipes—is quite low at around 300 volts. That means more current is needed with more efficiency losses during charging, which is not ideal.  

For now, that’s all she wrote. GM says the Equinox EV can add approximately 77 miles of range in 10 minutes, but it does not publish a standard 10% or 20% to 80% time estimate as many competitors do. Hence, we don’t know how it will really perform until we—or some owners—can run that battery down and try it for themselves.

In any case, the Equinox EV certainly acquitted itself better than that poor Blazer EV that left writer Kevin Williams stranded in rural Virginia late last year, so that’s a plus. 

Would the Equinox EV’s lower charging speed than some rivals put you off buying one, or are its specs fine enough for your needs? Let us know in the comments. 

Contact the author: patrick.george@insideevs.com