How Long And How Much Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car?


Updated on

When you switch to an electric car, you will no longer pull into fuel stations to put petrol or diesel into the tank. Instead, you will plug into the grid and fill up your battery with electrons? How long exactly does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

The answer varies, and this article looks into the factors that determine how long you keep your electric vehicle plugged.

How does battery capacity affect my charging?

One of the most significant factors is the size of your EV’s battery. Early electric models came with smaller batteries. For example, the original Nissan Leaf had a battery capacity of 24 kWh. Compared with the modern Ford Mach-E with 75.7 kWh (Standard Range), the Leaf will theoretically charge to 100 percent faster, provided they charge at the same speed.

Of course, the two EVs won’t charge at the same speed, which brings us to the next factor.

Electric Car Battery
Prius Electric Vehicle

What is the effect of charging speed?

The charging speed is another factor in how long you spend charging your vehicle. Note that electric cars limit how much power they can accept based on their powertrain. For example, the Ford Mach-E accepts a maximum of 150 kW. In contrast, the Tesla Model Y can receive up to 350 kWh, meaning the Model Y will charge to 100 percent before the Mach-E.

How long your charging takes also depends on the type or class of charger you use. For American EV owners, chargers come as Level 1, Level 2, or DCFC. Level 1 chargers are the least expensive and easiest to set up; your EV likely comes with one, and you can plug it into an ordinary socket in your home. However, it offers the least charging speed and may take a whole day or weekend to charge fully.

Level 2 chargers are faster but may require a more extensive setup process as they work on 240 volts. You can expect to charge a typical 60 kWh EV to full capacity in about 8 hours with a 7 kW Level 2 charger or overnight.

Here’s an example of the different levels of charging:

  • Level 1 charging uses a standard 120-volt household outlet and can take up to 24 hours or more to charge an EV battery from empty to full.
  • Level 2 charging uses a 240-volt outlet and can charge an EV battery from empty to full in around 4-8 hours.
  • Level 3 charging (DC Fast Charging) uses a high-voltage direct current (DC) power source and can charge an EV battery from 20% to 80% in about 30 minutes to an hour.

DCFC or direct current fast chargers are the fastest of the three and may fill up your battery within 45 minutes, with up to 350 kW. However, their installation costs and power requirements make them not suitable for home use. Hence, they are offered by third-party companies that maintain a network, just like a fuel station chain. Tesla maintains its own exclusive Supercharger network.

How much charge do I need?

Since you do not need to charge from 0 to 100 percent each time, just like you do not always fill up your gasoline-powered car each time, how long you spend charging may depend on how much charge you need. You can simply top up your battery with enough charge to get you home or to the next charging station, especially on longer trips.

What battery percentage am I starting to charge from?

The percentage you start charging from may determine how long your stay at the charger is. The first and last 20 percentages take the longest to charge. So if you maintain your battery between 20 and 80 percent, you can reduce your charging time considerably.

What does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

The cost to charge an electric vehicle (EV) can vary depending on several factors, but on average, the cost to charge an EV can range from a few dollars to charge at home to around $20 or more at a fast charging station

The average cost of electricity in the US is around 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). To determine the cost to charge an EV, you can use the following formula:

Cost to charge = (Battery size in kWh) x (Cost of electricity per kWh)

For example, if you have an EV with a 75 kWh battery and the cost of electricity in your area is 13 cents per kWh, it would cost $9.75 to charge the battery from empty to full.

It also depends on the type of charging station you use. Charging at home with a Level 2 charger will be cheaper than charging at a public fast charging station. Charging during off-peak hours can also be cheaper than during peak hours. Additionally, some EV models can have a range of 300 miles or more on a single charge, while others may have a range of only 100 miles, so the cost may vary based on the EV model.