How long does an electric car take to charge?

Electric vehicles, or EVs, are incredibly popular and are claiming a larger share of the car market every year. 

They first began to become more widely available nearly ten years ago, when car manufacturers first added electric vehicles to their lineups. It was around this time that one of the biggest names in the EV business first started producing high-quality electric vehicles in high volume; Tesla.

Fast forward to today and nearly every carmaker has one or more EVs for sale, and a number of new companies have entered the market following the path that Tesla took by producing electric vehicles exclusively.

With the growing market for new electric vehicles and a preowned EV market just emerging, now looks like a good time to make the switch to an electric car. Many EV owners will tell you endlessly about the benefits of electric vehicles, but one of the biggest concerns is often left unanswered. How long does it take to fully charge an electric car? Here, we are going to find out!

Different chargers mean different charging speeds

There are a couple of ways to charge an electric car. You can charge it at home, or at one of the many charging stations that seem to be popping up everywhere.

Charging speed is one of the biggest factors that will decide how long an electric car takes to charge. This speed is determined by the level of kilowatts (kW) that the station can supply.

When you charge a vehicle from a standard 3-pin plug at home you will achieve around a 3kW supply in optimal conditions. This may only add 10 miles or perhaps less to your car’s range every sixty minutes. There are quicker charging options available, even at home. Fast electric vehicle chargers can be installed in a garage, for example, and supply up to 7kW of electricity which is more than double a standard 3-pin plug supply. 

At public charging stations, which you may find at a petrol station or motorway service station, you can find Rapid chargers that are capable of a 50kW supply. This is a huge jump and can charge up an EV with around 80% of its battery’s capacity in less than an hour. Tesla’s supercharger stations can supply up to 120kW, making it possible to fully charge its cars in as little as 45 minutes!

Bigger batteries take longer to charge

All fully electric vehicles rely on batteries to supply electricity when they are on the move. The larger the battery a car has, the greater its range. Large batteries also mean it takes longer to recharge them.

The range of an EV is a strong selling point when it comes to marketing electric vehicles. When electric cars first became available their owners noted experiencing ‘range anxiety’ when driving their cars, worrying that they may not make it to the next stop where they could charge up their batteries. This quickly made having a long-range available on a full charge an important selling point for any EV.

Bigger batteries need longer charging times, even at high charging speeds. Having a large battery in an electric vehicle can sometimes mean it can take over an hour to add over 80% of its capacity, and even longer to get it fully charged.

Should you fully charge an EV?

Even among the wealth of available electric vehicle information, this is a hotly debated topic on the lithium-ion batteries that store power for so many modern devices.

The more power you have stored in an EV’s battery, the further it can go. This means that every percentage of charge is important, perhaps even more important than the level of charge of your mobile phone! Every single percentage of charge represents more miles, and these can be crucial to your journey.

Some studies have shown that fully charging lithium-ion batteries can reduce their lifespan, however. Fully charging these batteries can also make them hot, which can affect their energy efficiency. 

You should consult the manual for your EV to check the manufacturer’s recommendations, but for the majority of electric vehicles available, you should not fully charge the battery and stop charging at around 90%. The same is often true for mobile phone batteries. By stopping the charge cycle at this point you can help your battery to work at peak performance for longer.

So, how long does an electric car take to charge?

There is no definitive answer to the question of how long does an electric car take to charge. This will depend greatly on the size and quality of the battery and the charging speed of your electricity supply. 

What is clear is that a standard 3-pin plug will struggle to give you enough range for a day of driving if left to charge overnight. With upgraded equipment, you can get a faster charge at home and add more range to overnight charging. Nothing compares to the speed of rapid charging at public charging stations, however. Here you can add hundreds of miles of range to your EV in less than an hour!

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