For many prospective electric car owners, the question, “how long does it take for an electric car to charge?” is a hot topic. With the advancements in EV technology and the introduction of many electric and hybrid vehicles into the mainstream car manufacturing market, it’s never been easier to become an electric car owner.
Often, ideas of electric vehicle ownership can conjure up visions of waiting for hours on end for your EV to charge, while petrol and diesel cars are back on the road in minutes - but, that’s just not the case. Ahead of purchasing an electric car, it’s understandable to have concerns about charging times.
In order to understand how long it takes for an electric car to charge, we need to look at the different types of charging options available for EV owners to use. With electric vehicle ownership increasing rapidly in popularity over the last few years, there are more charging options than ever before.
There are currently three types of EV charging options available to electric car owners: rapid charging, fast charging and slow charging. Depending on which option you choose, the time it takes to fully charge your car will differ.
Public EV charging stations were once a rare sight, found on occasion at some motorway services and at environmentally-conscious offices. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, and EV charging stations are now frequently found up and down the country. In fact, there are now more than 35,000 charging stations in around 13,000 locations across the UK, with around 7,000 of those added in 2020 alone.
Public charging stations are split into two types, fast charging and rapid charging. The main difference between the two charging options is how long it takes for an electric car to charge using them.
Fast chargers work between 7kW and 22kW, while rapid chargers work between 43kW and 50kW for even faster charging on the go. Read our guide on EV fast charging for an in-depth look at how fast charging can benefit your electric car.
Fast and rapid charging is designed for when you’re on the move. Depending on the type of electric car and battery capability you have, a fast charger can provide up to 200 miles of range in around half an hour of charging.
Ideal for when you need to boost your range quickly, fast charging provides a top-up to your EV’s range, and while it isn’t always the most cost-effective route for EV charging, it can save time, and often be a convenient option if you’re in a hurry. For tips on how to calculate your EV charging costs, read our guide.
When researching how long it takes for an electric car to charge, you’ll also find rapid charging as an option. Rapid charging, on paper, is the fastest way to charge your electric car. Some rapid chargers can provide a significant battery boost within just 20 minutes of charge. With a rate of between 50kW to up to 350kW, the charging points are found at motorway service stations and dedicated charging hubs.
Be wary when it comes to relying on rapid charging, as you’ll need a car that can handle DC charging. For the optimum result, you would use rapid charging to charge your electric vehicle to 80 percent of the battery’s capacity, as beyond this point, the rate of charge slows significantly to protect the battery cells. This is because there are high temperatures involved in charging at such a high rate from electrical currents.
To give you a rough idea of the time it takes to charge an electric car using rapid charging here’s a quick example:
A 40kW Nissan Leaf using a 50kW charger can be charged at 80 percent of its capacity in just an hour, which is a similar time to charge a 75kWh Tesla using a 150kW charger.
Remember that regardless of the power of the charger itself, your car will only be able to charge at the maximum rate of its onboard system, so a Nissan Leaf with a 50kW charging capability will receive current at this rate even when plugged into a 350kW charger.
Charging your EV at home is by far the most convenient and simple way to add range to your vehicle. How long does it take for an electric car to charge at home? Well, this is dependent on two factors, the amount of power you need and the speed of the charging unit.
Currently, in the UK, the maximum current from a standard plug is 3kW, which you’ll note is smaller than a public charging point. While charging at home is slightly slower than public charging, there are several benefits to installing a home EV charger.
Not only will you have the convenience of being able to leave your electric car to charge overnight, or while you’re at home in the day, you also won’t have to spend time locating, and driving to a charging point. Convenience often outweighs time when charging your electric vehicle.
Due to the power outlet from home sockets, many EV owners choose to install a faster home charging unit. These are usually around 7kW in power, which is the same as a smaller power public charge point.
Home charging points will roughly give around 15-30 miles of range per hour of charge, depending on the electric car. Using a 7kW home charging unit, most small electric cars can be charged to full in less than seven hours.
When researching electric car charging time, your vehicle will rarely need to be fully charged. You can plan journeys similarly to how you would in a fuel vehicle, as you’ll only need to take into account top-up charging and your car’s range.
As you may expect, the answer depends on what type of electric vehicle you are driving, and what type of charging you choose. Most EV owners will undertake a mixture of home and public charging, in order to get the best range from their EV.
As a guide to range per hour, you can expect a standard 3kW slow charger to add 10 miles of range per hour. A faster charger with a delivery of 7kW, which is the standard rate for most wallbox chargers, will give you roughly 30 miles after 60 minutes of charging.
Compare this to a 50kW rapid charger, which can add roughly 175 miles of range in the same time frame, although you’ll need a large EV battery to achieve this. This is a similar case in the instance of 150kW chargers, but to show how effective they are, you can add 100 miles of range in as short a time as 10 minutes.
Factors that affect charging time
When you need to know how long it takes for an electric car to charge, you need to look at factors that can impact the charging time. The first of these factors would be the size of your EV battery. The bigger capacity your car has, the longer it will take to charge, but the charge will hold for longer.
Siilarly, the battery state will affect electric car charging time. If you’re charging from near empty, this will take longer than if you are just topping up from 60%.
Your EV will also have a maximum charging rate. You can only charge your electric car at the maximum rate your vehicle will accept. This means your car will not charge any faster by using a more powerful charging point. For example, if your car’s maximum charge rate is 7kW, the car will not charge any quicker by using a 22kW charging unit.
The charging rate also applies to the maximum charging rate of the power source. Even if your EV can charge at a higher rate than the charging point, it will only charge as quickly as the power source it is plugged into.
Finally, there are some environmental factors that impact electric car charging time. Colder weather can lead to an increase in charging time, particularly when using a rapid charger.
If you’re ready to start your home EV charging journey, check out our range of EV charging units today, or get in touch with a member of our team today.
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