Charging an electric car can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as a few days depending on the method used.
With most of us so used to filling up at a petrol station, and doing so in just a few minutes, the switch to an electric vehicle (EV) brings questions about how long it will take to charge the battery. So will an electric vehicle suit your motoring needs and wider lifestyle?
The EV charging infrastructure in the UK is rapidly advancing
Advances in rapid charging technologies mean that charging an electric vehicle takes less time than you might think. It is estimated by the government that by the summer of 2020, there were over 18,000 public charging points across the UK, of which 3,200 were rapid devices. For now, most electric car owners top up their batteries at home or work.
How to work out how long it takes your EV battery to charge
How fast your car charges depends on two factors: the power supply and the quantity of electricity you need to charge your car’s battery.
The size of an electric car battery is measured in kWh (kilowatt-hours). The charging power from a charging source is listed in kW. The simple way to work out how long it will take to charge an EV battery is to use the formula: total charging time = kWh ÷ kW.
How long does a typical electric car take to charge?
A standard electric charging point is rated at 7kW. A Nissan Leaf, for example, has a battery pack of 30kWH or 40kWH.
If we do the maths, that tells us that the Leaf will take a little over four hours for the smaller unit or under six hours to charge up. That is easily achievable overnight or when the vehicle is parked outside a workplace during the standard working day.
What’s more, you’re unlikely to have to fully recharge your car’s battery every day from zero to 100%. Much like topping up with petrol or diesel, you might charge a battery up to 60 or 80% of its maximum capacity based on your average daily mileage.
How much time is saved charging an EV with a rapid point?
The majority of rapid plug-in points can deliver up to 50kW. That means that Nissan Leaf owners could charge their batteries up in under an hour.
A new generation of ultra-rapid charging points is being rolled out which are capable of delivering 100kW, rising to 350kW. Charging at one of these units will take minutes.
The average distance between charging points is estimated to be 3.8 miles and that is falling all the time. Considering the average mileage of a journey in the UK is nine miles, and with EVs now capable of travelling 100 miles on a full charge, there is no fear of running out of juice.