Understanding how long electric cars take to charge can be confusing, especially if you’re used to driving petrol or diesel vehicles.
This guide provides a clear explanation of the charging speed and charging times for electric vehicles (EVs).
At Rightcharge, we’re here to simplify the switch to an EV. We’ll walk you through how long it takes to charge an electric car and the factors which affect the charging time of an EV. We always recommend installing a home charger with an EV-friendly tariff, which will help you save money on your car charging costs.
By the end, you’ll know everything you need about how long an electric vehicle takes to charge.
How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?
Fully charging an EV can take less than an hour or longer than 12 hours, depending on when and where you charge. This rough equation can be used to figure the average charging time out for electric vehicles:
For example, a Nissan Leaf with a battery size of 40 kWh using a home EV charger with a charging speed of 7 kWh would take just over five and a half hours to charge from completely empty to full. However, remember it is rare that you will be charging an EV battery from completely empty.
However, different factors can affect an electric car’s charging time. Let’s take a look.
What affects the charging time of an electric car?
Charging speeds vary depending on multiple factors. For example, your charge will be more effective overnight than top-ups on a rapid charger throughout the day. It will also be more or less affordable depending on when and where you’re charging.
So, what are the main factors to consider?
- Electric vehicle model
- Car battery capacity
- Car charger type
- When and where you charge
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these…
🚗 EV type and model
The onboard charging capacity of an electric vehicle varies depending on the model and type.
The onboard charger determines the vehicle’s maximum charging rate and the power your car can receive. Consequently, this affects the top speed at which your electric car can charge.
If you have a high-capacity onboard charger, you can use car chargers with a higher power output, which means you can charge an EV faster.
🔋 Car battery size
An electric vehicle’s battery type and size is a key factor affecting charging time.
Electric car batteries are measured by Kilowatt-hours (kWh). There are two main types of car batteries. You will find a lithium-ion battery in a pure electric car and a nickel-metal hydride battery often used in hybrid vehicles.
The bigger the electric car battery capacity, the more miles of driving range you get, but the longer it will take to recharge the car battery from empty to full.
🔌 Charger type
The higher the power output of an EV charger, the faster it will recharge your car.
There are three types of chargers: slow, fast, and ultra-rapid chargers.
Slow chargers, such as a standard three-pin plug in your home, provide around 2.3kW of power. We do not recommend charging with a slow charger, as it is the slowest way to charge your electric vehicle. For example, it would take over 17 hours to fully charge a Nissan Leaf with a small battery with an electric standard three-pin plug.
Fast chargers such as a 7kW home charger are three times faster than a standard three-pin plug. Therefore, a 7kW EV charger is ideal for charging your electric vehicle at home. Using a 7kW electric car charger is also the best way to look after the overall health of your electric car battery.
You can also find fast and rapid chargers at most public charge points, which provide a power output of 22kW or 50kW. Rapid charging is one of the most common ways electric car drivers top up when on a longer journey. However, frequent use of a rapid charger can have a negative effect on the health of an electric car battery. Additionally, rapid chargers are connected to a three-phase electricity supply, so installing them at your home is often not possible.
Use our comparison tool to find the right charger for you.
🔌 When and where you charge
Home EV chargers are typically slightly slower than the rapid public charging points. However, home chargers provide the most convenient way to charge your car, so you are not waiting around at a public charging point. A typical 7kW home charger will give your electric car a decent charge over 6 hours, which is ideal for overnight charging at home.
Furthermore, depending on where you charge your car it will affect your overall car charging costs. Using the right charging station can significantly affect your charging expenses. A home charging point will cost much less per mile than plugging in using public charging stations at motorway service stations. You can also avoid running out of charge at the wrong time by conveniently charging your car at home.
Which electric car is best for charging?
Choosing the best electric vehicle for you is a decision that ultimately depends on your personal preferences, needs and budget.
If you’re regularly making longer journeys, you’ll want a car with a bigger battery, such as a pure-electric vehicle, that’ll give you a bigger driving range. However, if you usually make shorter journeys, a plug-in hybrid car with a smaller battery may be right.
What is the best way to charge my EV?
If you’re away from home and your battery is running low, we recommend you use the public charging network. To learn about the various tools to help you with your public car charging, visit our dedicated webpage.
However, we always recommend that you install a home EV charger. Home EV chargers provide a convenient way to charge your car at home and help you save money on your car charging costs. Use our charger comparison tool to find the best EV charger for you! We will also provide a commitment-free quote for your EV charger and installation.
Frequently asked questions on EV charging
Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions on EV car charging
1. Does charging an electric car take longer at home?
Short answer: yes. It takes longer to charge an electric car at home. The time it takes to charge at home depends on the factors we’ve run over above. However, it is also a healthier, more convenient and often cheaper way to charge your car battery.
2. Can I charge my car through a regular plug socket?
Yes, you can charge an electric car through a standard domestic socket. However, charging an electric vehicle through a standard socket will take much longer than using an EV charging point. You should use an EV charge point when charging your electric car for faster and safer charging.
3. How can I save money with a home EV charger?
Firstly, if you are eligible for the OZEV EV chargepoint grant, you can save money on your EV charger installation.
In addition, scheduling your EV charging and EV-friendly tariffs can also help reduce the costs of charging your EV from home.
4. What are the costs of a home charge point?
Home charge-point and a standard installation typically cost upwards of £850. During the home survey process, you will be made aware of any additional costs if you need home modifications. Some examples of home modifications include a cable route longer than 10m, a higher power output charger or a charger that needs to be mounted somewhere other than your home.
Choosing an electric car over a petrol or diesel car has many advantages. It is better for the environment and will save money, especially if you’re clever about where and when to charge your car. How long your electric car takes to charge depends on many factors covered in the guide above.
Have you still got some questions about home EV charging?
Our helpful team of EV experts are only a click away. Email us at email@example.com.