High growth rate of 4H-SiC epitaxial layers can be reached with the introduction of HCl in the deposition chamber. The effect of the Cl/Si ratio on this epitaxial growth process has been studied by optical and electrical measurements. Optical microscopy shows an improvement of the surface morphology and luminescence measurements reveal a decrease of epitaxial layer defects with increasing the Cl/Si ratio in the range 0.05–2.0. The leakage current measured on the diodes realized on these wafers is reduced of an order of magnitude and DLTS measurements show a decrease of the EH6,7 level concentration in the same range of Cl/Si ratio. The value Cl/Si=2.0 allows to grow epitaxial layers with the lowest defect concentration.