Accurate determination of how long it takes to charge electric car it’s like asking, “How long will it take to cross the country?” It depends on whether you are on a plane or on foot. Recharge time depends on many variables, many of which are nuanced—even the length of the charging cable can affect it—making it impossible to give a definitive answer. But we can give you reliable recommendations.

Ignoring the small variables, car charging time comes down to a few main factors: power source, car charger capacity, and battery size. Ambient conditions play a minor role, both cold and hot weather increase charging time.


Factors affecting charging time

Charger level

Let’s start with the power source. Not all electrical outlets are created equal. A typical 120 volt, 15 amp outlet in the kitchen goes to the 240 volt outlet that powers the electric dryer like a spray gun goes to a garden hose. In theory, all electric vehicles can charge their large batteries from a standard kitchen outlet, but imagine trying to fill a 55-gallon barrel with a sprinkler. Recharging an electric car’s battery from a 120-volt source—they’re classified as Category 1 under SAE J1772, the standard that engineers use to design electric cars—is measured in days, not hours.

If you own or plan to own an electric vehicle, you would be wise to consider installing a 240-volt Level 2 charger in your home. A typical Level 2 connection is 240 volts and 40 to 50 amps. Although lower amps are still considered Level 2, a 50 amp circuit will make the most of most onboard EV chargers (more on those in a minute). Because if you’re not maximizing the efficiency of your vehicle’s on-board chargers, a sub-optimal power source is essentially a limiting plate that increases charging time.

For the fastest charging possible, you need to connect to a Level 3 connection, known as a DC fast charger. That’s the EV equivalent of filling that barrel with a fire hose. Certified lethal DC current is pumped into the car’s battery and miles of reserve are added in no time. Superchargers Tesla V3 pump up to 250 kW and Electrify America’s car defibrillators shoot up 350 kW of heart-stopping power. But as with any charging, the flow drops as the vehicle’s battery (SoC) approaches full charge. And the ability of cars to accept DC charging varies greatly. The Porsche Taycanfor example, can charge up to 270 kW, while a Chevy Bolt EV can only manage 50 kW.

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How much range does a fast charger add in half an hour?

Generally speaking, when the SoC of an EV battery is below 10 percent or above 80 percent, the charging speed of a DC fast charger slows down significantly; this optimizes battery life and limits the risk of overcharging. That’s why, for example, manufacturers often claim that fast charging will allow your electric car’s battery to “charge to 80 percent in 30 minutes.” Some vehicles have a battery pre-conditioning procedure that ensures the battery is at the optimal temperature for fast charging while en route to a DC fast charger. As long as you use your car’s navigation system to get there.

Maximum charge and power reserve

The last 20 percent of charge can double the time you connect to a fast charger. The labor-intensive work of fully charging the battery via a DC charger makes these devices best used on days when you’re traveling a long distance and need extra electricity to get to your destination. Overnight home charging, sometimes called top-up charging, is the best solution for getting the juice you’ll need for your daily local driving.

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Battery size

The hunt for range advantage continues, the battery capacity of some electric vehicles has grown to absurd levels. Others are aimed at improving efficiency. This plays a big role in charging time. Increase our keg to an 85-gallon unit. Even with a fire hose it will still take longer to fill than the smaller 55 gallon barrel. While a GMC Hummer EV built on an architecture capable of consuming 350kW, filling a 212.7kWh battery pack compared to the 112.0kWh battery found in Bright air Grand Touring takes exponentially longer, even though the charging speed is the same. The Lucid can go more than 40 percent farther on a charge with 100 kWh less battery than the Hummer. Efficiency, indeed.

Undoubtedly, someday manufacturers will settle on a single metric for expressing charging time. But for now, know that recharging an electric vehicle’s battery still takes much longer than refueling a gas-powered vehicle’s gas tank, no matter how or where you do it.

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Charger capacity

There is a common misconception that the thing you plug into an electric car is a “charger”. In fact, the car has a charger that converts AC electricity from the wall into DC electricity to charge the battery. On-board chargers safely transfer power to the battery and have their own power ratings, usually in kilowatts. If the car has a 10.0 kW charger and a 100.0 kWh battery, theoretically it will take 10 hours to charge a fully discharged battery.

To determine the optimal charging time for a particular electric vehicle, you divide the battery capacity in kWh by the rated capacity of the onboard charger, then add 10 percent because there are losses in charging. This is provided that the power source can increase the capacity of the car charger.

Common on-board chargers have a capacity of at least 6.0 kilowatts, but some manufacturers offer almost double that, and the most popular ones have more than triple that. Current Tesla Model 3 The Performance, for example, has an 11.5-kW charger that can make full use of the 240-volt, 60-amp circuit to recharge its 80.8-kWh battery, while the rear-wheel-drive Model 3 comes with a 7-watt charger. 6 kW. charger. Doing the math on charge times shows that both cars will take nearly the same amount of time to charge their batteries, although the Performance model is about 30 percent longer. The beauty of a well-matched power source and on-board charger is that you can plug in your EV at home with a nearly dead battery and have a fully charged horse waiting for you in the morning. You can also find approximate recharging times on the websites of some electric car manufacturers.

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