Car Care

How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Vehicle?

The charging times for electric vehicles (EVs) vary widely – from 40-60 minutes to 12-24 hours. Generally, the bigger the car, the longer the car will take to charge, but there’s more to it than that. It all depends on the battery capacity and charging capacity of the make and model of the car as well as the charging point capability.

So, if you…

  • have recently acquired an electric vehicle;
  • are considering buying an electric vehicle and searching for charging options;
  • or have an electric vehicle and are researching the options to charge it at home…

Then, read on!

Slow charging – 3kW

Most slow charging points are rated at 3kW and are one of the most common in the electric vehicles market. They draw alternating current (AC) from the grid and your car then turns that into direct current (DC). The 3kW charging point will charge cars in 8 to 16 hours, depending on your electric vehicle so they’re not the quickest, but are perfect for overnight charging.

Slow charging generates less heat in your car’s battery, so it’s good for prolonging the life of the battery. They’re most commonly used for another great reason too – they don’t need any alterations or improvements to the existing electrical system of any house.

There are still 3kW chargers found at public charging points but they’re more suited to home charging points. You can also use a three-pin plug for domestic use, but a three-pin charge will take significantly longer than eight to 12 hours to charge a car and will not be powerful enough to charge powerful cars like Tesla or Porsche. For example, an MG ZS EV will take 20 hours to charge from empty to full, using a 3-pin plug, but it’ll take just 12 hours using a 3.6kW charger. An important thing to say is that charging an electric car on a three-pin wall socket is provided by the manufacturers only as an emergency charging option and should only be used as a last resort when visiting friends or family and not for everyday charging.

Fast charging – 7kW / 22kW

Fast charging points are rated either 7kW or 22KW and will charge your car quicker than a 3kW charging point.

So, how long does it take to charge an electric car using 7kW? Well, using the MG ZS EV as an example again, it takes just 7 hours to charge from empty to full. That’s 5 hours quicker than the 3kW charger. If you’re keen on buying an electric vehicle and those charge times are still a little too long for you, there’s the option of a hybrid EV. The BMW 330e was released in 2015 and soon became one of the most popular plug-in hybrids on the market. If you were to charge it using the least powerful method, the three-pin plug, it would take 5 hours to charge it from empty to full. If you were using the powerful 22kW charging point it would take just 3 hours. The only issue is that a lot of EV cars, including the BMW 330e, don’t support a 22kW charging and upwards, so you don’t have that at-home-charging convenience. So the type of home charger that you need is also dependent on the make and model of the electric vehicle that you own.

Note: The 22kW charger will need a three-phase electricity supply which means that alterations to the existing home electric system would be needed as well as a different energy plan from the service provider.

Rapid charging – 50kW / 350kW

Rapid charging points are on the rise in the UK with more than 9000 in the country and are usually found at motorway service stations and dedicated charging hubs, making EVs convenient for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road. Rapid charging is rated between 50kW and 350 kW, providing really quick charge times for EVs.

Remember the MG ZS EV we spoke about earlier? So, it would take 20 hours to charge using a 3-pin plug, but with a 50kW rapid charger, it’ll take just 40 minutes, and just 30 minutes with a 150kW. Rapid chargers, however, don’t charge EVs to 100%. They stop at 80% because fully charging them with DC to 100% tends to overheat the battery, so that has to be taken into consideration as well as the cost per kWh of rapid charging which is more expensive than the fast chargers.

When purchasing an entry-level EV, there are options for upgrades to premium models that will accept DC charging and therefore give you access to rapid charge, but because rapid charging uses only DC and not AC, not all EV cars are compatible. Premium cars, however, such as Tesla have models that come with a rapid charge rate of 250kW as standard.

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What range could you get per hour of charging?

When it comes to EVs, there are several factors that affect how much range you’ll get per hour of charging. The status of your battery, ie full or half full and how it’s been charged, can affect the charge range, but also the way in which you use your car can affect the range, for example turning on the heaters and heated seats in the winter, using the AC in the summer and also using the wiper blades.

Let’s see on average how much range an EV will get with one hour’s charge. If we’re to use the MG ZS EV as our example, you’d get 8 miles in one hour if fully charged using a 3-pin plug, and if 80% charged using rapid charging at 150kW, you’d get a huge 131 miles in just 30 minutes. That’s a big difference in charging methods, and a major factor to consider when buying your first or next EV.

Different factors that could affect the speed of charging

When your car needs charging there are a number of things that can affect how long your car takes to charge, so there’s no guaranteed time for a full or partial charge. Here’s what can affect an electric car charging time:

  • The size of the battery – the bigger the battery in terms of kWh, the longer it’ll take to charge.
  • The battery level – if the battery is empty it’ll take longer to charge as opposed to charging it from 50% full.
  • Your car’s charge rate – Rapid charge points sound great but if your car’s maximum charge rate is 7kW, a 22kW charge point won’t charge it any quicker.
  • The charge rate of the charge point – Similar to the above, even if your car can be charged with a rapid charge point, your car will only charge at 7kW, if being charged with a 7kW charge point.
  • Temperatures – Cold temperatures can make charging times slower, particularly when using rapid chargers.

Do you need a professional home charger installed?

Whilst most EVs could charge with a domestic three-pin it’s not advisable for everyday charging. It’s clear to see that when it comes to charging times, there are advantages to having a home charger installed. The installation process involves wall mounting the charge point on an exterior wall or garage, near to where you park your car and connecting it to the mains electricity supply. It’s important your home charge point is installed by a certified professional. Fantastic Services works with electric car charger experts who deliver EV charger installation service that meet BS7671 regulations and the IET code of practice for electric car charger installations.

Takeaways

Here are the main takeaways when considering buying an EV:

  • If you cover a lot of miles, it may be beneficial to purchase an EV that’s compatible with rapid charging.
  • Domestic three-pin charging is an emergency option.
  • EVs have maximum charge levels so even if there are multiple public rapid charge points available, your car will only charge to its max level.

***

Do you own an EV? When and for how long do you charge your car? Share your experiences in the comments!

Img Source: Shutterstock / Desizned

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