How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?

photo of electric car charging

Electric cars are a cleaner alternative to fuel-powered vehicles, but unlike the latter, the former needs to be charged for use. So, how long do electric cars take to charge, and can you speed up this process?

How Long Does It Take to Charge an EV?

An electric car can charge in as little as 30 minutes but can take over 48 hours. An electric car’s charging time differs due to various factors, the first being the model. There are over one hundred EV models on the market today, and we can’t cover the charging times of every single model here. But we’ll look at a few popular options to get an idea of general charging times.

The table below lists the charging times of six well-known electric car models from various manufacturers. The times shown are required from a flat to full battery and are shown using the three levels of EV charging: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

Examples of EV Charging Times

Note that different models have different ranges. For example, the Tesla Model X has a maximum range of 348 miles, while the Nissan Leaf has a maximum range of 239 miles. So, keep this in mind when considering the varying charging times for each model.

Model Charging Time at Level 1 (120V) Charging Time at Level 2 (240V) Charging Time with Superfast Charging (400V+)
Tesla Model 3 30-40 hours 10 hours 20-40 minutes
Tesla Model X 96 hours 10.5 hours 15-30 minutes
Chevrolet Bolt 62 hours 9.5 hours 1.5-2 hours
Nissan Leaf 20 hours 10 hours 40-60 minutes
Kia Nero EV 60 hours 10 hours 1 hour
BMW i4 100 hours 8.25 hours 40-50 minutes

As you can see, the charger used also plays a big role in how long it takes for an electric car to charge. It’s clearly more convenient to use a superfast charger with a high electricity output, so this is the way to go if you’re usually strapped for time.

However, you can’t buy a superfast charger for your home (at least, not yet). Public charging stations are sometimes superfast, such as those offered by Tesla and Electrify America. But these often aren’t free. For example, Tesla’s 22kW public chargers are free, but their 150kW superchargers are not.

Public EV charging stations aren’t as common as gas stations, but they are becoming increasingly common, with over 140,000 now available in the US alone. So, if you need to charge your EV quickly, opt for a superfast public charging station.

The EV you own also makes a difference; some EVs charge much faster than others.

But the speed of superfast chargers doesn’t make them a must. There’s nothing wrong with charging your car overnight using Level 1 or 2 chargers. In fact, charging your EV overnight can be cheaper, as electricity rates tend to be lower at this time. You might not reach maximum capacity overnight using a Level 1 charger, but if you’re only driving to nearby locations, such as the grocery store or your workplace, you don’t need 100% charge anyway, and charging to a lower percentage can be good for battery health.

On top of the distance range, an electric vehicle’s battery size will also contribute to changes in charging times. EVs can come with varying battery sizes. For example, the BMW i4 has a battery capacity of 83.9 kWh, whereas the Chevrolet Bolt has a battery capacity of 66 kWh. The general rule is that a larger battery will take more time to charge.

But this rule isn’t a constant. Other factors can affect this, including the battery’s condition, the atmospheric temperature around the car, and the charger. For example, very high and low temperatures tend to have a negative effect on charging speeds, so moderate conditions are ideal.

EV Charging Times Depend on the Car and the Charger

There is no single EV charging time given to electric cars across the board. While many models share similar charging windows, various factors increase or decrease this period, including the cable, battery capacity, and external temperature. So, keep this in mind if you’re considering buying an electric car or if you want to learn more about charging times in general.

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