2 July 2020

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Electric cars are taking over the transport sector, with their low maintenance and reduced natural fuel consumption. Vehicle owners are switching to EV in 2020 because they can recharge their vehicles from home with a home charging point, which goes a long way in reducing environmental pollution and depletion of fossil fuels. The UK government encourages motorists through the provision of grants to make the switch, thereby enabling car owners to make home charging point installations easier and affordable. This article is a discussion on electric car charging time.

By the end of this article, your question on how long does an electric car take to charge? Will be answered, including other concerns related to charging your electric vehicle.

What determines the charging period of an electric vehicle?

The time taken to charge your electric vehicle depends on the size of the car battery, state of the battery-empty or full, and the type of chargers (maximum charging rate of a ChargePoint). There are public and home charging stations for EV, which provide enough electrical power to fit your usual commute and long-distance travel. Public rapid EV charging stations are preferred for long-distance trips. The battery size of most electric vehicles (measured in kilowatt per hour, kWh) determines how long it will take to charge the EV to capacity. The more significant the battery’s size, the longer it will take you to charge your EV.

Therefore, it is essential to check your car’s maximum charging rate and the maximum charging rate of a charge station. For example, if your EV charges at 11kW, on a 7kW ChargePoint, it will not charge any faster than 7Kw; this also means that if your car maximum charge rate is 7kW, your vehicle will not charge more quickly on a 22kW charge station.

How long does an electric car take to charge?

Chargers come with different connectors and charging speeds, which use either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) with either low or high power use. How long to charge an electric car depends on the EV’s battery capacity and charging station power supply.

  • Rapid Chargers, which are the latest charging technology advancement, will charge your electric car rapidly. You can find fast charging devices at motorway service stations and some public car parks, with the capacity to provide high charging power (measured in Kilowatts, kW) for alternating or direct current systems. So, how long does it take to charge an electric car with a rapid charger? 30 minutes to 1 hour; isn’t that not fast enough.
    In the UK, rapid charging devices operate above 50kW, which recharges a new EV for one hour. Additionally, electric cars using fast or rapid chargers have a battery management system that measures maximum charging speed; this means that as your car goes above the80% mark, the charging speed reduces significantly. The reduction in the charging rate is a battery protective mechanism that improves the car battery’s lifespan. Rapid charging devices have cables connected to the charging unit and are only usable on EV that are quick charge enabled. Thus you do not need to have a personal cable to connect to a rapid charger. You can quickly know if your car has rapid charge capability by looking at the car manual, manufacturer’s website, or inspecting the on-board inlet.
  • Slow chargers. Slow charging is still a standard method of charging EV, which many owners use to charge cars overnight. You can find slow charging points in workplaces, homes, and public charging stations. Longer charging times have made slow charging points uncommon, marking them as older versions of charging electric cars. Slow charging points require you have to use a cable to connect your vehicle to the charging points. On average slow charging, takes maximum speed of 3kW to charge your car to capacity. If you are using a slow charger, you should get a dedicated EV charging unit because of charging longevity.
  • Fast chargers have a delivery speed between 7Kw to 50Kw per hour. The charging period is dependent on the speed of the charging unit and the type of EV. For example, how long does it take to charge an electric car with a battery capacity of 40kWh on a 7kW or 22kW charger? It will take about 4-6 hours and 1-2 hours, respectively, to charge your car to full- capacity. Fast charges are outside supermarkets and car-parks where you are likely to park for more than an hour. Most of the 7kW chargers are untethered, but some fast charges found in workplaces and at home have tethered cables. Tethered charging units limit the number of EVs that can utilise chargers; only compatible cars can use these charging units.

Charging your electric car from home

Charging your EV from home has been made possible by the different types of charges available in the market. All you need is a home charging point installed. This has been made easier and affordable by the electric car government grants and manufacturers willing to do the installation for free after purchasing a car. To save on home charging, consider choosing an EV friendly electricity tariff which provides affordable overnight charging. Off-peak energy prices is an example of a favourable electricity tariff that allows you to set when you want your car to start charging. It is as simple and convenient as plugging in your vehicle to the charger and going to sleep; your car will start charging automatically at the set time. To fix time, you can use the apps provided by several car manufacturers that allow you to plan a charging schedule.

Charging your EV on public charging points

Charging your EV on the go has posed many challenges, like not having the right cable to use at the charging station or finding a charging point. Apps, such as Zap-map, make things easier by allowing you to plan out your journey and add charging stations compatible with your EV. The cost of charging your EV at the charging stations depends on who is providing the service. You may need your charging cable or an RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) card since not all charging points have tethered cables. Your charging cable will determine the electric car charge time.

The question of how long to charge an electric car majorly depends on the capacity of the car’s battery and the type of charger compatible with the vehicle. As charger technology continues to improve, the electric car charging time will also come down, which means more affordability and farther travel on a single charge.