Worried about your electric car running out of charge, or not charging quickly enough to get you where you need to be on time? The travel range of an electric car and the fear of running out of charge is still something that deters a lot of drivers from switching to an electric vehicle. This is what’s commonly known as ‘range anxiety’.
Charging time is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to run an electric car. When filling up a petrol or diesel car, the car is refueled immediately and ready to drive straight away.
With electric vehicles, it can be harder to tell how quickly your car will be ready to get going. However, it’s becoming increasingly quick to charge an electric car. Both on the road, at work, or at home with fast home EV chargers.
As a rapidly growing industry, EV charging companies are heavily invested in research and development into electric car charging technology. As a result, many UK drivers are quickly adapting to electric cars, thanks to the availability of faster EV charging technology.
But how long does it take to charge an electric car?
We’ve put together a full guide on everything you need to know about how much time it takes to charge an electric car. Including car models, battery types, and even a handy EV charging speed calculator.
Electric Car Charging Speeds Explained
Charging speed is one of the most commonly considered factors of owning an electric vehicle, especially for most first time buyers.
The good news is that EV charging technology has improved significantly in recent years. Now, electric cars can charge in as little as 15 minutes using some of the most advanced 350kW chargers.
Although EV charging speeds can vary depending on the size of the car’s battery, the charger’s power output and the type of charging pin used.
How long an EV charger takes to charge an electric car can vary depending on the car model, make and type of charger. Although there are many other factors to think about when considering EV charger speed, these can include:
- The maximum charging rate of the charge point. The maximum charge rate of the charger will mean that your vehicle will only be able to charge at the rate of the charge point, not the charge rate of the vehicle. For example, if your vehicle has a charge rate of 22kW and it is plugged into a 7kW charge point, the vehicle will only charge at 7kW.
- The maximum charging rate of the vehicle. Most vehicles have different maximum charging rates (kW), which means that even if they are plugged into a charger that has a higher kW than their max charge rate, it still won’t charge any quicker. For example, if you charge a vehicle with a max charging rate of 11kW into a 22kW charging point, the vehicle still won’t charge any quicker.
- If the vehicle’s battery is half full or empty. Very simply, if your car is empty it will take longer to charge than if it is just being topped up.
- Environmental factors. Weather and environmental factors such as it being a particularly cold day can cause slightly longer charge times.
EV Charging Speed Calculator
How long it takes to charge an electric car is dependent on a number of factors. But a general rule of thumb is that the larger the car’s battery, the longer it will take to charge.
In most cases, this means that the bigger the car, the longer it may take to charge your electric car battery. However, if your EV charger has a larger power output, this can speed up the charging process.
The simple way to calculate how long it takes an electric car to charge is to divide your vehicle’s battery size (kWh) by the charging power (kW):
Battery size divided by Charging power = Charging time
For example, a Nissan Leaf, with a 40kW battery, using a 7kW charger (40kWh divided by 7kW) will take just under 6 hours to fully charge from empty. Whereas a Jaguar I-Pace, with a 90kW battery, using a 22kW charger (90kWh divided by 22kW) will take just under 5 hours to charge.
Most standard chargers provide 7kW of charging power, which can typically give you 20-30 miles of range, per hour. Again though, the charge rate is subject to change due to the factors listed above. An electric car’s battery’s fully charged range is different from vehicle to vehicle but averages at 190miles.
EV Charging Speed Comparison
Charging power can differ drastically across different charge points. Charge point rates generally range between 3.7kW to 150kW, although it is less common to see charging powers as low as 3.7kW now.
All chargers are given a kW (kilowatt) rating based on their power output. The higher the kW rating and power output, the faster the charger is able to charge an electric car.
Take a look at this EV charging speed comparison table to get an idea of how long it might take to charge your electric vehicle:
How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?
Home EV charging points generally start with a base power rating of around 7kW. Although, if a three-phase charging plug is used, the charger’s power output can increase to 22kW.
A 7kW charger is most commonly used for at-home charging and can be one of the most convenient ways to charge your electric car. Averaging anywhere between 3-6 hours to fully charge your car at home.
It is generally faster to charge an electric car at home, as opposed to a public charging station. This is due to the availability of higher power output home chargers, ranging up to 150kW and beyond.
Additionally, investing in a home charger provides the convenience of overnight charging, with a home charge point available for use whenever it is needed. This means that your electric vehicle is always ready for the journey ahead, and with less reliance on public charging stations.
Types of EV Charging Speed
Based on the charger, car, and how much charge you need, there are different types of charging speeds available. Depending on your vehicle, lifestyle, and the amount of traveling you intend to do, certain EV charging speeds may be more suitable for you than others.
The most common way to charge an electric car is known as ‘top-up charging’. Instead of waiting for the car battery to run completely empty, most EV owners charge on the go and plug in wherever they are both during the day and overnight.
Instead of allowing the EV battery to run dry, top-up charging offers a quick and easy way to ensure your car is always ready to drive. This keeps your electric car battery cells topped up on the go, and should leave you with more than enough charge for your travels.
Top-up charging most commonly takes place at home or using public charging points available at supermarkets, gyms, or the workplace. These public charging points usually have a charging rate of 7kW to 22kW, which is more than ideal for top-up charging.
Rapid charging is the quickest way to charge your electric vehicle, particularly if you are on a long journey and need a quick boost of up to 200 miles in under half an hour. However, many vehicles can’t take this charge rate and amount of power.
In the UK a lot of rapid charge points which are often found on motorways, service stations and some public car parks, operate at 50kW. More expensive models of EV chargers such as the Tesla Model 3 and Model S can charge at a rate of 250kW, having access to Tesla’s supercharger network.
When using Rapid Chargers, you’ll generally only need to charge up to 80% of the battery’s charging capability due to the sheer power of these chargers. In a hurry? Use a rapid charger!
A power range between 7kW and 22kW is considered suitable for fast charging, and is used both at home and for public charging points. Most home chargers will be around 7kW because that is the most power a regular single-phase domestic power supply can manage, so it is the most that can be installed.
Finally, chargers with a power output of between 2kW and 5kW are considered suitable for slow charging. These chargers are plugged into a regular home plug, usually used by people charging smaller electrical vehicles overnight.
How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car? Summary
There are a range of different factors that can affect how long it takes to charge an electric car. From EV battery size, charger power output and even environmental factors, it’s important to consider exactly how you use, or intend to use your electric vehicle.
Not only can choosing the right charge point for your EV charging speed requirements save you time, it can also save you money. For instance, choosing an EV charger with a power output way beyond what is necessary for your vehicle can be more expensive than what’s required.
Equally so, choosing a charger with an insufficient charging output for your vehicle often results in having to buy a more suitable charger. Essentially, this means that finding the right balance and EV charging speed for your vehicle and lifestyle requirements is important.
The best way to work out how long an electric car will take to charge is to divide the car’s battery size by the charger power. With battery size varying from vehicle to vehicle, there is not one strict amount of time an electric car will take to charge, but on average, a full charge will take you anywhere between 3-6 hours.
For quicker charging, on the go, opt for rapid charging, for regular, fast charging, opt for a fast charger between 7kW and 22kW.
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