How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?

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How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?


Having an electric car means getting used to a totally different way of keeping it running, which can be a challenge after years of driving internal combustion-powered cars. Instead of pulling up at a petrol station pump and spending a few minutes filling up the fuel tank, there’s a battery to charge. But how long does it take to charge an electric car?

For some vehicles, charging can take anywhere from half an hour to overnight, depending on a range of factors.

In this blog, we’ll go through a list of commonly asked questions about electric vehicles, from how long it takes to charge an electric car to how much it costs so that you’ll have all the information you need before switching to electric.


How is charge time calculated?


Although there are many factors that can affect car charging times, generally speaking, electric car charging time is calculated based on the size and capacity of your battery and the speed of the charger.

You can check the capacity of your battery and the speed of the charger you’re using by looking at the kilowattage per hour, or kWh (measure of energy).

To work out how long it takes to charge an electric car, you’ll need to divide the battery size by the charging speed. So, for example, if you’re using a regular three-pin socket like the ones you have at home, this usually has a charging speed of up to 3kWh. If your car battery is around 100kWh, you would need to divide 100 by 3 to work out how long it will take to charge your car battery.

So, 100 / 3 = 33 hours (approximately) to fully charge your car from empty.



What factors affect charging speed?


As well as the capacity of your battery and charger, there are a number of other factors that can affect how long it takes to charge an electric car, such as:


  • The amount of charge you start and end with - If your car battery is completely empty, then it can take longer to charge back up. Also, you may notice that as your car gets closer to 100% charge, the rate of charge often slows down. It’s therefore recommended to only charge up to about 80 or 90%.



  • The size and charging rate of your car battery – The larger your battery capacity, the longer it can take to charge. Also, each battery has a maximum rate of charge. So, if your car can only accept a maximum charge rate of, say 7kWh, it won’t charge any faster than that even if you use a more powerful battery charger.  


  • The type of charger you’re using – The make, model and type of charger you’re using can affect charging speeds. If you’re using a fast charger at home or an ultra-fast charger at a public charging station, you’ll typically have a faster charging speed than if you were using a standard three-pin electric socket.



  • How many other people are using the charger or electricity network at the same time – If a lot of people are charging their cars at the same time, the demand on the electricity network will be greater, which may slow the rate of charge. You may also find that some public charging stations have two plugs coming from the same unit. if someone is already using one of the plugs, the rate of charge may be slower than if you were using it on your own.


  • Temperature – If the weather is colder and the temperature of your battery is lower, it may take longer to charge. The same can also be said if the weather is extremely hot. Any adverse temperature can impact the efficiency of the car charging time.



How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?


For many people, charging their electric car at home would be the most convenient for them, but first, you need to know how to charge a car battery at home and long this will take.

You can use a standard three-pin plug socket to charge your electric vehicle at home, however, the power from this will be quite low. Alternatively, you could pay to have a charging point, or wallbox, installed at your home. Most homes have the capacity to have a fast 7kW charger installed. Some car manufacturers may provide you with a more powerful home charger but these often require a three-phase power supply which is rare to find in domestic settings.

A wallbox will generally be more efficient than using a standard socket but the rate of charge you’ll get will depend on the capacity of the charging point you have installed and the model of electric car you have. Some models, such as a Nissan LEAF with a 40kWh battery, will charge from empty in just six hours with a 7kWh charger, while other models with larger batteries will typically take much longer.

Most people use home chargers to charge their electric vehicle overnight so that it is ready for them to drive by morning.



How long does it take to charge an electric car at Public Charging Points?


Public charging stations can be found at various places, such as petrol stations, motorway services, supermarkets, town centres and even at some workplaces.

The length of time it takes to charge your car at a public charging station depends on the type of output available there - many offer 7kWh chargers, which generally offer around 20-30 miles of charge per hour.

The electric car charging time can be cut with a 22kW charging point, so if you were charging a Tesla with a 75kW battery, that would take around 12 hours on 7kW but less than 6 hours on a 22kW charger.

The fastest charging electric car points you’ll tend to find in public currently are the 50kW to 350kW rapid chargers these are often found at motorway service stations. Only certain types of batteries can be used for these, and they are better for only charging up to 80% but this can be done as quickly as 22 minutes.


What are Rapid Charge Points?


If you need to recharge quickly while on the road, your best bet would be to find a Rapid Charging Point. You can usually find these in motorway services, petrol stations, some supermarkets, and public car parks.

These chargers are usually between 50kWh to 350kWh, which means you might be able to charge your car from empty to 80% in as little as 22 minutes.


What are Tesla Superchargers?


If you’re lucky enough to own a Tesla, you’ll have the option to use the Tesla Supercharger network. Tesla Superchargers usually have a speed of 150kWh, which means you could add up to 172 miles of range in as little as 15 minutes, depending on the model of the car you have.


How long can you drive before recharging?


Each car will have its own range – this is the distance you can travel before you need to recharge.

Some, like the Mercedes EQS, can drive on a full charge for up to 485 miles, while the Tesla Model S can go up to 405 miles. But many offer a much shorter driving range before you need to charge again.

Other factors, such as your battery capacity and the ambient temperature, can also affect your range.


How much does it cost to recharge an electric car?


How long does it take to recharge an electric car?’ may have been your first question about charging, but there’s also the issue of how much does it cost?

As with the amount of time it takes, the cost depends on what kind of charging point you’re using, the size of your battery, and how long you’re charging for. You might be able to find free charging stations at places such as supermarkets, public car parks, and even at your workplace. You can find your nearest charging stations using apps, such as Zap Map and Pod Point.

However, if you’re using rapid chargers at motorway services or petrol stations, it’s likely you’ll have to pay a fee to charge up.  Rapid chargers can cost £6 for around 30 minutes of charge, but this will vary depending on the charging point provider. Some stations offer subscriptions where you can pay a set fee each month, while others offer pay as you go options.  

If you’re wanting to charge your vehicle at home, you’ll need to have a charging point, or wallbox, installed. There is a fee for this, however the UK government offers grants to be able to help with the cost of this, thanks to the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).

You may also be wondering, does a plugged-in charger use electricity? The answer is yes. You will be using electricity when you charge up at home, so it’s usually more cost-effective to charge your car overnight when off-peak rates come into effect.



How long does an electric car take to charge at a charging station?

It can take anywhere from half an hour to several hours to charge your car at a public charging station, depending on the make and model of your car, battery capacity, the speed of the charging station and whether you’re charging from empty. Most public charging stations offer at least 7kWh chargers.


Is it free to charge an electric car?

Some supermarkets, public car parks and workplaces may allow you to charge your electric car for free. You can find your nearest free charging stations using apps such as Zap Map and Pod Point. However, most public charging stations will charge a fee which will vary depending on how long you’re charging for. If you’re using a home charging point, you’ll also still need to pay for the electricity you’re using.


How long will an electric car run on a full charge?

Most modern electric cars now have a range of between 150 and 300 miles, with some capable of much more than this. However, how long your electric car runs on a full charge will depend on your vehicle’s make, model, and battery capacity.


Is electric cheaper than petrol?

Generally speaking, charging an electric vehicle is cheaper than filling a car with petrol. However, you will also need to bear in mind that if you’re charging your car at home, you will also be paying for the electricity you use. Fuel prices, your home energy tariff, and the make and model of your car will all have an impact on whether it will work out cheaper for you to run an electric rather than a petrol car.


Do electric cars charge while driving?

No, electric cars do not charge while driving. When you’re driving an electric car, you are simply using the energy that was previously stored in its batteries. As an electric car uses energy on the go, it’s unable to also fully recharge itself at the same time.


Do electric cars lose charge when parked?

Yes, electric cars do lose some charge when parked for a long period of time, but this tends to happen very slowly. Some modern cars have power-saving modes which help conserve energy, or you could choose to switch off any present features that require the battery to run in the background. How long an electric car can last without charge depends on how long you’re planning on leaving it parked, the ambient temperature, your battery’s capacity and its charge level.





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