How Long Does it Take to Charge an EV?

Charge times for most EV charging stations are 6-8 hours. Battery performance time will vary depending on the type of battery and how often it is charged. Lithium-ion batteries have a long life span, but they have an even longer life expectancy when charged infrequently and in a controlled environment. If you’re not sure how long it takes to charge an EV, start by consulting the owner’s manual for your specific car model or take advantage of roadside assistance.

A proper EV charging station requires an electrical outlet and a hardwired EVSE. EV charging stations are either Level 1 (120V), Level 2 (240V), or DC Fast Charging stations. Level 1 and Level 2 chargers typically take anywhere from 6-8 hours to fully charge a battery. DC Fast Charging can charge the battery in as little as 30-45 minutes, depending on the station’s output.

Level 1 chargers are your typical household 120V outlets that plug into an existing electrical outlet. Level 2 chargers are 240V outlets that plug into a newly installed electrical outlet. DC Fast Chargers take advantage of the electrical grid and voltage to charge the car faster. These chargers utilize the power grid for their charging. On average, an EV can be charged by a DC Fast Charger in 30-45 minutes, but it can vary depending on the station, voltage and state of charge of the battery prior to charging.

If you’re considering an EV, understand that it needs to be charged at least once a week. Eventually, the battery’s reserve capacity will diminish and it will need to be charged more frequently. It’s important to remember that EV batteries are not like those in your home or car; they don’t recover more quickly when they are charged overnight. It takes several charge cycles before the battery reaches its full potential.

EV Onboard chargers

EV charging stations, whether they are Level 1, Level 2 or DC Fast Chargers deliver electricity to an EV battery by transforming the DC power delivered by the station into AC power that is consumed by the car. An EV’s onboard charger (OBC) is a small device that sits within the car’s electrical system and receives power from the charging station and converts it into DC that can be consumed by an EV.

A properly installed charging station can provide DC power to a vehicle at up to 25 kilowatts. This is the standard for most manufacturers. Other stations can deliver more power but will require an upgrade as a result of the OBC being unable to manage the added current. Manufacturers are using this standard rate of 25 kilowatts when they state that their EV charging time is 8 hours or less, including their Level 2 charging system and DC Fast Charging units.

Factors Affecting Car Charging Time

The speed at which you can charge your EV depends on several factors.

  1. Station’s Output. The more power a station can supply, the faster your car will charge. Again, this depends on the type of EV and its battery size.
    • Level 1 charging: Standard household outlets can charge an EV at about 3-5 miles per hour.
    • Level 2 (240V) charging: A 240V charging station provides around 16 miles per hour of charge and uses less energy than a standard household outlet.
    • DC Fast Charging: A DC Fast Charger can charge an EV at 30-45 miles per hour or more. This is different from Level 2 charging, which does not provide a full charge in one shot.
  2. Battery Capacity. The amount of energy that your battery can store also affects the rate at which it heats up on a normal day and the rate at which it recharges after a long drive. An 80 kWh battery has more energy than a 60 kWh battery and therefore, charges faster.
  3. Size of Battery. Part of the charging process is to heat the battery to the optimum temperature in order to charge it. Based on this, it’s normal for a car with a smaller battery to take less time to charge than a car with a large battery. As the battery reaches its capacity, it will heat up faster and therefore, can be charged faster.
  4. Charge Level. If you are charging from 0-25%, the car will take longer to charge than if you were charging from 80-100%. Electricity is moving in and out of the battery at a rapid rate and it takes some time for the power to even out.
  5. Charge rate of vehicle. Different makes and models of EVs charge differently from one another. Fastest charging electric car takes only 35 minutes to charge to full capacity with a DC Fast Charger.
  6. Weather. Cold weather will lower the charge rate of your EV, as the battery is not able to charge as fast due to the colder climate. Hot weather could bring some unexpected results in terms of charging speed, as the added heat can increase what is called charge degradation and slow down the charging rate.
  7. State of Charge (SoC) The higher the state of charge, the faster your EV charges. This is especially true for a lithium-ion battery, which have a high capacity to begin with. However, the time it takes to bring your car from a completely depleted state to an 80% state of charge (which is normal) is longer than that of other types of batteries, like nickel-metal hydride or lead acid batteries.

How long to charge electric car depends on the type of EV that you have, it will take anywhere from 6-8 hours to fully charge with a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station. If you have a DC Fast Charger and your battery is completely drained, it could take as little as 30 minutes to an hour to completely recharge.