How Long Does It Take To Charge A…
Without power, an electric vehicle is just a fancy toy with wheels, so how long do they take to charge? The answer is such a cop-out, as it depends entirely on what you own or what you’re thinking of buying.
It’s an interesting question in general. After all, electric car batteries are getting better, but they aren’t lightning quick just yet. Meaning you’ll have to work with what’s available in the present for now. It’s not all bad, though, considering how long it takes to charge an electric car using current chargers.
We’ve heard rumblings of America getting close to that ever-illusive 10-minute charge. It gets better; an Israeli company claims their batteries can recharge in 5 minutes tops. The only downside is it won’t be available for a while yet (2025 at the earliest).
We can name multiple electric cars right now that charge quicker than others, but we’d rather you actually understand why charge times vary, and why the charger you use can play a factor, first. Information like this is priceless and will, literally, save you money in the long run.
And the answer is yes, we will be telling you how long it takes to charge a Tesla, amongst other vehicles in the wide world of EV. We’ll be covering cars primarily but won’t ignore how long it takes to charge an electric bike or scooter; don’t worry.
You ready to have your mind shocked? Let’s dive in.
Understanding EV Chargers
The electric battery is the epicentre of power in all sustainable vehicles. It’s the battery that determines how long it takes to charge an electric vehicle, that and the charger. You can calculate charge time by dividing battery size over charging power to determine how long it takes.
For example, say you take a Jaguar I-Pace, complete with a 90kWh battery, and then add a 50kW charger to the equation. Your result would be around 2 hours in charge time. Again, we can’t stress this enough: the charger you use will determine how long it takes.
You can split these chargers into three separate categories in slow charging, fast charging and rapid charging. You won’t need three guesses as to which is the best in terms of speed, but they’re all unique.
Fast charges are, obviously, desired as they’re a lot more convenient. Still, most electric car owners have no problem with simply charging their vehicles overnight. This is where slow chargers shine, as it is possible to overcharge your electric car in the same way you can overheat a mobile phone.
Slow chargers typically have around 3kW of power running through them, extending how long it takes to charge a vehicle drastically longer — up to 24 hours in some cases. Even something as nifty as the Nissan Leaf, with a 40kWh internal battery), will need around 12 hours of charge before it’s road-ready.
One of the main benefits of owning a slow charger is you have more plug-in options. You know, standard charging options that allow you to use standard plug sockets at home.
Hardwiring an EV charging station at home can be an expensive process, as you need to hire an electrician to install the unit for you. See our guide for more.
If you’re the impatient type or drive your electric vehicle often, then you might want to consider a different option. Slow chargers work perfectly fine but are only beneficial to casual drivers who, perhaps, only drive less than 20 miles a day to get to work and back.
Main Benefit: Plug-in options allow for convenience.
Main Disadvantage: Far too slow for certain cars.
Fast-charging is possible with the use of these particular chargers, but we didn’t need to tell you that; the hint is in the name. Fast-charging ranges from 7kW to 22kW, depending on the charger you choose, with the latter being the more expensive of the two.
In fact, 22kW chargers tend to be reserved for public charging points. Why? Because some home EV chargers require a three-phase electricity supply, making them rather expensive to own.
The Zappi Electric Car Charge Point is the perfect example of a fast charger. It can harvest energy from the sun as a solar-powered charger. Still, it will need to be hardwired into your home for maximum effectiveness. Hardwired chargers like this could grow in popularity as EV continues to develop and grow.
Moreover, fast chargers can only accommodate electric cars that accept Direct Current (DC) charging. How long does it take to charge a Tesla using a fast charger? Not long at all; around 5 hours for a 22kW charger and 11 hours for a 7kW alternative.
Fast-charging is reliable and offers some middle-ground between slow-chargers and rapid-chargers that we’re about to get into.
Main Benefit: Cut your charge times down significantly.
Main Disadvantage: Home units are quite expensive.
We’ve saved the fastest chargers till last for a reason. Rapid chargers are, hands down, the quickest way of charging your electric vehicle, bar none. You can normally find rapid charging stations in dedicated locations due to the sheer power they can inject into vehicles.
You can actually add 100 miles of range to an electric car by simply hooking it up to a 50kW rapid charger for 35 minutes.
These chargers can fully charge a Tesla Model S in under an hour using a 150kW unit. Some rapid chargers go up to 350kW, so you can only imagine how fast they are in comparison.
It’s advised that you only charge your car up to 80% if you can use a rapid charger to avoid overheating. Doing this will also shave 20% of the time off, as you aren’t aiming for a full battery.
With great power comes great responsibility, which is why you should refrain from visiting rapid charging stations often. Why? The idea is to charge your electric car as fast as possible, right? While that is true, it’s also possible to wear out your battery faster, as we mentioned briefly when talking about slow chargers.
Besides, only some electric cars can handle rapid charging. How long it takes to charge a Tesla is irrelevant if you don’t own one. Most PHEVs can’t handle rapid charging; we know that.
It’s advised that you only charge your car up to 80% if you can use a rapid charger to avoid overheating. Doing this will also shave 20% of the time off as you aren’t aiming for a full battery.
Main Benefit: Can charge your car in under an hour.
Main Disadvantage: Some cars can’t handle the rapidness.
Top Up Charging Explained
Have you ever borrowed someone’s phone charger for a few minutes before giving it back? That’s essentially the premise of top-up charging — only you replace your phone with an electric car. In other words, you’re making good use of time as your vehicle is stationary.
Charging your car when parked is an excellent opportunity to subvert range anxiety. This is an ideal option for drivers who travel long distances to travel to work. Simply park up next to the right station and plug in. Striking the right balance between home charging and top-up charging is all part of a balanced diet for cells within a battery.
Like rapid charging, you don’t need to charge the battery entirely doing this. For many drivers, a quick top-up is for peace of mind; their car might have more than enough energy to get going already.
Understanding the Power of Electric Car Batteries
Multiple factors can lengthen charge times, although not all of them will apply to you. Take the size of the battery, for example. Now, when we mean size, we aren’t talking about its physical mass, but rather, how many miles you can get out of it.
Finding an electric car with a high battery capacity is desired; after all, mileage per charge increases the higher you go. However, a stronger battery will need to sit on charge longer to fill up. Power is everything to an electric car, but it’s a double-edged sword.
Every electric car will measure battery capacity in kW, making it quite easy to decipher which take longer to charge. A standard 3kW charger can add 10 miles of range over an hour on average, depending on the electric car in question.
Powerhouse vehicles in the 2019 Tesla Model S and Jaguar I-Pace have a lot to offer, but can be rendered immobile if you fail to match their energy requirements. Remember, they’ll charge a hell of a lot slower if you use anything below a 22kW charger.
Other vehicles with high mileage, and therefore longer charge times, include (in no particular order):
- Kia e-Niro (282 Mile Range)
- Mercedes-Benz EQC (259 Mile Range)
- Nissan Leaf e+ (239 Mile Range)
- Hyundai Kona Electric (278 Mile Range)
What Can Affect How Long it Takes to Charge an Electric Car?
Battery power and chargers aren’t the only factors influencing how long it takes to charge an electric car. Some of you might know this already, but it’s worth mentioning regardless.
For example, did you know that trying to charge your vehicle from empty will take longer by proxy? This is where top-up charging really comes in handy.
Also, like modern phones, the first 80% of the battery will charge quicker, slowing down for that last 20%. Why does it slow down? To prevent the battery from overheating, of course. You might permanently damage the battery otherwise, and electric car batteries are far from cheap; it’s why so many buyers lease them.
The max charging rate of your vehicle won’t change either. You’d be surprised how many EV owners think a 22kW chargepoint will make their 7kW max vehicle fill up faster. Moreover, the opposite is also true. A 7kW charger can’t charge any faster, even though your vehicle can handle a higher voltage.
A 2018 study by the Idaho National Laboratory found that colder temperatures can slow down charging significantly. The study involved charging a series of Nissan Leaf’s in varying conditions. Their results found that Leaf’s charged at 25°C for 30 minutes gained 36% more than those at 0°C.
What About Other Electric Vehicles?
As shown in our ultimate guide to electric transport, there are countless types of electric vehicles out there. We know that a lot of electric boats, like the e-Voyager, run on electric car batteries. Moreover, the e-Voyager uses recycled batteries from the Nissan Leaf to power it.
Furthermore, how long it takes to charge an electric boat depends entirely on the number of installed batteries and the number of amps-per-bank. X Shore’s Eelex 8000 (2021 version) used dual 60 kWh lithium-ion batteries, which equates to 120 kWh of storage total.
How long it takes to charge the boat will depend, again, on the charger you use. Boats aren’t as easy to charge as other EVs, so it could take you up to 10 hours to charge, perhaps longer. We can’t offer a definitive answer here as electric boats are incredibly unique and can only be judged on a case by case basis.
What About Electric Aircraft?
What about electric aircraft? How long does it take to charge an electric plane? Well, unlike other electric vehicles, planes are limited to smaller aircraft as current batteries can’t support the sheer weight and distance covered by most commercial liners.
In a way, electric planes are a lot faster to charge, especially when you look at the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, for example. This plane can charge within an hour and fly over 160 km on a single charge. Granted, this plane can only carry two passengers, but still, that’s rather impressive.
The Alia-250, from Beta Technologies, only requires 50 minutes of charge time to carry half a dozen passengers up to 250 miles. Companies like EasyJet are working on larger electric planes, but who knows how long it will take to charge those.
How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Bike?
Electric cars easily the most popular EV option due to how accessible they are to the general public, but so are electric bikes. E-bikes offer a lot of practicality in general, especially when it comes to charging. Some of you will generally keep your bikes indoors; this makes them easier to charge as you’re normally closer to a socket.
You might think that e-bike batteries are quicker at charging, but a lot of them aren’t. Lithium-ion batteries found in bikes can take between 3.5 and 6 hours to fully recharge. It should only take around 90 minutes to charge 80% of the battery. Again, like other electric vehicles/devices, the charging process slows down during that last 15-20% to ensure it doesn’t overheat.
Like electric cars, e-bikes can charge as you move, although the energy generated is somewhat less than you might need. Bikes can regenerate energy when braking or going downhill, but you will always need to manually charge it at the end of the day.
What About Electric Scooters?
We’re currently going through an electric scooter surge at the moment; they’re everywhere. So, how long does it take to charge an electric scooter then? Well, like electric bikes, you have the freedom of charging anywhere indoors — as long as you’re close to a socket.
Charge times range from 1 hour to 3, depending on the type of e-scooter you own. Lithium-ion scooters are a lot more efficient when it comes to charging. These types of batteries are the same ones used in electric cars and bikes and have a charging efficiency of 90%.
And then you have sealed lead-acid batteries, which are a lot rarer in comparison. Why that is, comes down to the overall effectiveness of lithium-ion batteries. But yeah, charging efficiency is generally considered a lot lower at around 70%. In other words, try to stick with lithium-ion scooters.
Check out our guide on the cheapest electric scooters available right now for inspiration.
Every electric scooter you buy will come with a standard charger, others use fast chargers. If you wish to look-after your battery and have it last longer, we’d recommend keeping it on the regular. So, which are the fastest charging electric scooters out right now? Take a look for yourself (all take 1 hour to charge):
- Micro e Micro One
- Micro Eagle X3
- Micro Falcon X3
- Micro Peugeot Kick X2
Noticed the trend yet? Scooter brand Micro have the fastest-charging scooters available if you’re looking for that sort of thing. We’d advise reviewing each scooter thoroughly before making a purchase. After all, a scooter can have a fast charging time, but is it comfortable to ride?
In Closing: How Long Does It Take to Charge a…
Charging is such an integral part of owning an electric vehicle; it’s a shame it gets lost in the shuffle of everything else going on. Buyers tend to focus on features/max speed most of the time when they should be looking at how long it takes to charge the vehicle in question.
Electric cars have a lot more leeway when it comes to the chargers you can use. Rapid chargers are easily the best, but prolonged use can cause lasting damage, so be careful. Fast chargers (22kW chargers) are a lot safer and easier to get your hands on.
E-bikes and e-scooters have less wiggle-room in terms of how long it takes to charge, which isn’t to say you should avoid them; not at all. Besides, they’re a lot easier to charge as you can bring them indoors, whereas other EVs are far too big.
Remember, you can expect how long it takes to charge an electric vehicle to get better as times goes on. Companies across the globe are working on this puzzle right now. Lithium-ion batteries have a ways to go yet, but we’ll keep you updated best we can; it’s what we’re here for at the end of the day.
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Charge Length FAQs
Looking for more info when it comes to how long it takes to charge an electric vehicle? In this section, we’ll be summarising a few points alongside answering some additional questions.
How long does it take to charge a Tesla?
You can charge a Tesla in under an hour using a rapid charger. In fact, Tesla’s are one of only a handful of vehicles that can use a rapid charger. Using a standard Tesla Wall Connector will take slightly longer as they’re only considered fast chargers.
What is the best way to charge my electric car?
Honestly, setting up a quality home charging station is a great idea. Think about it. All you need to do is hook your car up to a plug at home and have it ready for you in the morning. More electric car charging stations are coming, so you’ll avoid the crowds and never have to wait!
When is the best time to charge an electric vehicle?
You’ll find that charging your car or any other electric vehicle you own overnight is far more advantageous than any alternative. Think about it, all you need to do is wake up, and your vehicle is ready and waiting with plenty of juice. It’s just as easy as leaving your phone on charge overnight, which we can guarantee most of you do this already.
This answer won’t appeal to everyone reading this. Only those with a home EV charger can charge their vehicle overnight unless they live close to a station.
What is the fastest-charging electric scooter?
Most of the Micro range can charge within an hour or so; this is better than many other e-scooters on the market. Every other e-scooter out there will take around 6 hours on average for a full top-up. Established names like Razor and Ninebot take slightly longer, but they do offer a lot of functionality.
What is the fastest electric charger?
Rapid chargers are, easily, the fastest electric chargers out there. As mentioned, they can fully charge a Tesla Model S in under an hour, which is pretty impressive given the amount of power this EV can handle. Fast charging is also a great option and is less damning on the overall integrity of the battery itself.