How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car?

Rowan Harris 8 minutes Published: 01/06/2021

Most of us agree that we need to do something about global warming - but debates about whether EVs are part of the solution remain highly charged (excuse the pun). 

The issue, for many of us, is trading the ease and convenience of refuelling at the petrol station for tediously long recharging times. 

How long does it take to charge an electric car, exactly? Well, there’s no straightforward answer. The top-of-the-range Teslas advertise an 80% recharge in 30 minutes - if you use their dedicated Supercharger Network.

In this post we explain why this is, and what the future of EV charging holds. 

How to calculate charging time

The time it takes to charge an electric car can be easily calculated using the following formula:

Battery size ÷ charging power = charge time

For example, if a Tesla Model 3 Long Range has a 75kwh battery pack and you decide to use a 50kw rapid charger, it would take approximately an hour and a half to reach a full battery:

75kwh ÷ 50kw = 1.5 hours

Estimated charging time by vehicle

To make things a little easier, we’ve provided a list of the EV charger types, expected ranges and charging times for some of the most popular BEVs and PHEVs on the market right now:

Nissan Leaf (2018-)

Connectors: Type 2, CHAdeMO

Battery Capacity: 40kwh

Maximum Charging Rate: 46kw

Range: 143 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 11hrs

7.4kw fast charging: 6hrs

50kw rapid DC charging*: 1hrs

Tesla Model S (2019)

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Battery Capacity: 75kwh

Maximum Charging Rate: 140kw

Range: 238 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 21hrs

7.4kw fast charging: 11hrs

50kw rapid DC charging*: 2hrs

150kw rapid DC charging*: 40 mins

Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV)

Connectors: Type 1, CHAdeMO

Battery Capacity: 13.8kwh

Maximum Charging Rate: 22kw

Range: 24 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 4hrs

7.4kw fast charging: 4hrs

50kw rapid DC charging*: 40mins

Jaguar I-Pace

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Battery Capacity: 90kwh

Maximum Charging Rate: 262kw

Range: 225 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 27hrs

7.4kw fast charging: 13hrs 30mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 75 mins

175kw rapid DC charging*: 24 mins

350kw rapid DC charging*: 19 mins

Porsche Taycan

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Battery Capacity: 79.2kwh

Maximum Charging Rate: 225kw

Range: 245 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 22hrs 45mins

7.4kw fast charging: 11hrs 30mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 63mins

150kw rapid DC charging*: 24mins

Audi e-tron 50 quattro

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Maximum Charging Rate: 120kw

Battery Capacity: 71kwh

Range: 175 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 20hrs 45mins

7.4kw fast charging: 10hrs 30mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 57mins

150kw rapid DC charging*: 25mins

BMW i3

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Maximum Charging Rate: 49kw

Battery Capacity: 42.2kwh

Range: 145 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 12hrs 15mins

7.4kw fast charging: 6hrs 15mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 36mins

Renault Zoe

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Maximum Charging Rate: 46kw

Battery Capacity: 54.7kwh

Range: 195 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 16hrs 45mins

7.4kw fast charging: 8hrs 30mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 56mins

Honda E

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Maximum Charging Rate: 50kw

Battery Capacity: 35.5kwh

Range: 105 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 9hrs 15mins

7.4kw fast charging: 5hrs 15mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 42mins

Kia Soul EV

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Maximum Charging Rate: 77kw

Battery Capacity: 67.5kwh

Range: 225 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 20hrs 30mins

7.4kw fast charging: 10hrs 30mins

50kw rapid DC charging*: 63mins

150kw rapid DC charging*: 44mins

Volkswagen e-Golf

Connectors: Type 2, CCS

Maximum Charging Rate: 50kw

Battery Capacity: 35.8kwh

Range: 186 miles

3.7kw slow charging: 12hrs

7.4kw fast charging: 5hrs

50kw rapid DC charging*: 35mins

* Rapid charging figures provide the time taken to charge from 10-80%

Data taken from ev-database.uk

Factors affecting charging speed

When it comes to refuelling, petrol and diesel cars are pretty predictable: you remove the fuel cap, insert the nozzle, pull the trigger and within a minute or two you’re ready to get back on the road. 

EVs are a little different. Sure, it’s not hard to work out how to charge an electric car. But the time it takes to recharge can vary from 30 minutes to well over 24 hours. The rate at which an EV recharges is determined by multiple factors:

Size of the battery

Just as you’d expect with a fuel tank. The bigger the battery capacity (measured in kwh), the longer it will take to recharge.

State of battery

If you’re charging from empty, it’s going to take longer to reach a full charge. Hardly surprising! However, the rate at which a battery recharges is often described as a ‘charge curve’. This means that the rate at which the battery accepts power is not constant throughout the charging cycle. We explain why this is the case later in this post.

Max charging rate of vehicle

All EVs have a maximum charge rate. If your vehicle's maximum charge rate is 7kw, it won’t be able to charge any faster using a 22kw chargepoint. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and smaller battery electric vehicles (BEV) usually have slower maximum charging rates.

Max charging rate of chargepoint

Not all charging units are created equally! If you’ve bagged yourself a stylish new Tesla Model S then you will also have access to the UK’s Tesla Supercharger network. Tesla Superchargers can be found at most motorway service stations and provide some of the fastest charging speeds currently available, with peak rates of up to 250kw. You could recover up to 200 miles of range in as little as 15 minutes. 

Charging stations with a lower power rating, such as your standard home wallbox (7kw) will only provide charge at 7kw, even if your car can charge at higher rates. It could take upwards of 12 hours to achieve a full charge this way. 

By far the slowest way to recharge is by using a ‘granny cable’ and a three-pin plug. 

The weather

EVs do not like the cold. A colder battery cannot be charged as quickly as a warmer one - even with a rapid charger. Cold weather can also lead to reductions in range.

Chargepoints and charging speeds

Public chargers and home chargers are classified according to three different charging speeds: slow, fast and rapid. 

All batteries store DC power. Slow and fast chargers supply an alternating current (AC) directly to the car. The car’s onboard converter then turns this into a direct current (DC) for storage in the battery. Because of the small size of the car’s converter, it can take a lot longer to charge the car using AC power.

Rapid charging stations supply DC power directly to the car’s battery, bypassing the onboard converter. Rapid charging stations use a much larger converter to provide a faster charge.

Why does Rapid EV charging slow down after 80%?

Why do manufacturers choose to advertise the time it takes to reach 80% battery capacity as opposed to a full charge? 

Much like ‘rapid charging’ smartphones, EVs charging via DC rapid chargers will slow down around the 80% mark to protect the battery. As a result, we see two very different charging curves when we compare AC charging with DC charging, with the benefits of DC charging becoming less obvious as the battery approaches a full charge. 

Batteries are usually rated for a number of discharge ‘cycles’. For instance, Tesla Model S batteries are rated for between 1,000 and 2,000 cycles. One cycle is completed when you’ve discharged an amount equal to 100% of the battery’s capacity - but this doesn’t have to be from one charge (i.e. 100% to 0%). 

If you get impatient and decide to unplug before you reach 100% - don’t worry, it won’t damage the battery. Most manufacturers actually recommend keeping your EV battery charged between 20% and 80%. Batteries are under the greatest strain when they are either completely full or completely empty. Keeping within the 20-80% range makes for faster charging and increased longevity.

Should I get an electric car if I can’t charge it at home?

EV charging can seem like a hassle compared to refuelling at a petrol station - but it doesn’t have to be. Electric car charging at home can even save you time. You’ll never have to queue for a petrol station again! Electric car charging at home with no driveway is a little trickier - in most cases, it’s simply impractical. However, there are plenty of things you can do to either reduce the time you spend at public charging points or use it more productively:

Workplace charging

“Working 9 to 5 - what a way to get a charge in!”. Not exactly what Dolly had in mind, but if overnight home charging isn’t possible then you could top up while you’re in the office. If your boss isn’t already aware, the Government’s workplace charging scheme provides generous grants towards the installation of electric car charging points for business. Better still, if your company allows you to charge for free, it won’t be classed as a taxable benefit in kind. 

Coffee break

Electric vehicles aren’t the only ones that need to stop and recharge. The highway code recommends that drivers take a break of at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving - but only 1 in 10 actually do so! Why not grab a cup of coffee while you’re at it? 

In-car entertainment

If you’ve ever sat inside a Tesla perhaps the first thing that struck you was the enormous display on the centre console. This is great for satellite navigation, but it also comes packed with arcade games to keep you entertained. 

Most new cars come with a couple of USB C ports or a wireless charging pad to keep your smartphone topped up on a long journey. The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 is one of the first EVs to incorporate Vehicle To Load (V2L) technology. This allows you to power pretty much any electrical appliance you can think of, from laptops to hairdryers, and more.  

Will EV charging times always be this long?

EV batteries and charging technology has already come a long way since the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the original Nissan Leaf a little over 10 years ago. In 2011, ‘range anxiety’ was very real. 

At Tesla’s recent ‘battery day’, the first 500-mile battery was revealed. The arrival of more energy dense and longer lasting batteries within the next few years should address the concerns of drivers about how often you have to charge an electric car. 

Earlier this year we also got a glimpse of StoreDot’s ‘extreme fast charging’ batteries which could see an EV recharge in as little as 5 minutes. If these hit the market, the benefits of internal combustion engines over electric cars would be negligible.

Conclusion

Electric car charging can put a lot of people off. But with a home wallbox, workplace charging, and dedicated EV charging bays appearing in almost every car park, you’ll barely notice the difference. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our best electric car lease deals and make the switch!