To fast charge lithium ion batteries while achieving higher capacity and limiting temperature rise, a constant current plus pulse current (CCPC) charging protocol is proposed. Parametric study for the CCPC design parameters including the current level, cut-off voltage, and pulse duration is performed experimentally. Taguchi method is adopted to search an optimal charging pattern. Experimental results show that the pulse charge current has the greatest effect on the charging time and temperature rise, while the pulse discharge current has the least effect on both. The optimal pattern from the Taguchi method is able to charge the cylindrical cell 15.6% faster than the traditional constant current constant voltage (CCCV) charging protocol. An electrochemical and thermal coupled model is developed to reveal the working principle of the CCPC. The modeling results show that the CCPC charging protocol reduces the concentration polarization with more uniform lithium ion distribution than the CCCV, thus accelerating the charging process.