How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car?

Battery size and the type of charging point you use are the two core factors that will dictate how long it takes to charge your electric vehicle (EV). For example, UK charging provider PodPoint states that a standard electric car with a 60kWh battery takes eight hours to charge from empty to full using a 7kW home charging point. 

But what if you’re one of the many people without off-road parking and can’t have a home charger installed? Or perhaps your battery is smaller or bigger than the average size? How long does it take to charge then? Discover everything you need to know about EV charging times in this guide.

How can I quickly charge my electric car?

The electric car infrastructure is continuously evolving and expanding, allowing all types of drivers to charge their cars either at home or mid-journey. Home charging installation and public charging points are becoming increasingly common and both of these options allow fast/rapid charging.

To help you get the most out of your EV, here are our top four tips to reduce the time it takes to charge your vehicle.

1. Practice ‘top-up’ charging

Rather than letting your electric car run out and charge from empty, it’s best to practice something called ‘top-up’ charging and charge whenever you can. 

This is because when an electric car completely runs out of battery, not only will it take longer to charge, it can also damage its effectiveness and performance over time. Instead plug in and charge as often as possible when you’re at work or at the supermarket, for example, to charge faster and keep your battery healthy.

Remember: take advantage of any time your car is parked up and has access to a charger by topping up your charge.

2. Consider a smaller battery model

Smaller batteries such as the ones found in the Renault Zoe require less time to charge due to their smaller capacity. For example, the Zoe’s 52kW battery can be fully charged in 9 hours 30 minutes from a 7kW wallbox. Compare this to the Jaguar I-Pace, for example, that uses a 90kWh battery and takes 13 hours to fully charge using the same charger and you can begin to see the difference battery size can make. Choosing a smaller battery could save you a lot of time (and money) in the long run.

Remember: while smaller batteries are faster to charge, they don’t provide the same performance as their larger counterparts.

3. Use public charging stations

Many electric cars can add around 100 miles of charge in around 35 mins thanks to 50kW rapid charging points and this is a handy way to top up quickly when on the move. Public charging stations are also often located at services providing a great respite from a long drive.

While faster, rapid charging stations are usually more expensive to use compared to other types of charger due to a range of potential additional costs. Depending on the network you use you could face initial registration/subscription fees (£10-£20), connection fees for each charge (50p-£3.50), higher costs per hour (£1.20-£12) and per kWh (9p-40p) or all of the above. 

For example, GeniePoint chargers cost 30p per kWh, may require a £9 RFID card and have a connection fee of up to £1.80.

4. If you can, install a home charger

Home charging is the most efficient way to charge your car and allows you to safely charge from the comfort of your own home, even overnight. There are two main types of home charger on the market: fast 7kW or slow 3kW*.

While the fast 7kW charger is only a slightly more expensive than the slow 3kW charger, there is a substantial difference in charging time between the two as you can see from the table below**.

If you’re thinking about investing in a home charger, it’s worth noting that you may be entitled to a discount. The UK government currently offers an Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme which provides a grant of £350 towards installing a home charger for eligible candidates.

*A new fast 22kW home charger has recently been introduced that can provide up to 90 miles per hour of charging, but is rare to find and expensive to install.

**Results vary depending on battery size, for example a Renault Zoe with a small light battery is likely to hit the top range of 30 miles for 1 hour charge, whereas an Audi e-tron Quattro with a larger heavier battery is likely to be around 20 miles per hour charge.

Remember: if your EV can’t currently take advantage of the full benefits of a fast charger, it will take the highest output it can handle. For example if your vehicle can’t convert 22kW from a 22kW charger, it will charge at 7kW instead.

Rates of charge

There are three different types of charging points currently available for electric cars and which one you use will affect how long it takes to charge your vehicle. The available types are slow, fast and rapid and each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Slow charge points

The slowest of the three types of chargers, slow charge points are commonly used as home chargers and often have a rated speed of 3kW but can be found between 2.3-6kW. Slow charging units can either come tethered or untethered and use any one of four connectors: 3-pin, Type-1, Type-2 and Commando.

A slow charge point will roughly charge a Nissan Leaf from 0-100% in 11-18 hours (18 hours for 3-pin connectors). 

Advantage – cheapest type of charging point on the market.

Disadvantage – slowest type of charging point on the market.

Fast charge points

Fast charge points are the middle of the road chargers and can be used as home chargers or found at public charging stations. These chargers are normally rated at 7kW but can also be rated at 22kW and as a result are the fastest home chargers on the market. They typically come untethered (although some units may have cables attached) and they support any one of three connectors: Type-1, Type-2 and Commando.

A fast charge point will roughly charge a Nissan Leaf from 0-100% in 6 hours. 

Advantage – fastest type of home charging point on the market.

Disadvantage – most expensive type of home charging points on the market.

Rapid charge points

Rapid charge points are the fastest charger of the three types and can be found rated at up to 150kW, with some manufacturers striving towards 350kW chargers. Due to their high rate these charge points are restricted to public charging stations. However, they are a great alternative to home charging – especially for those that don’t have access to a home charge point.

While the fastest, rapid charge points are also the most expensive. A typical home charge is expected to cost about £8.40 for a full charge, whereas a standard 30 minute rapid charge could cost as much as £6.50 for a top-up of around 100 miles. That said, using a rapid charger is still noticeably cheaper than refueling a car with a petrol or diesel engine. 

A rapid charge point will roughly charge a Nissan Leaf from 20%-80% in 30 minutes.

Advantage – fastest type of charging point available.

Disadvantage – most expensive type of charging point available.

Which electric cars charge the fastest?

It’s no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 was given the crown of fastest car to charge recently, as the company is at the forefront of the electric car market with plans to roll out 250kW super-chargers. 

However, Teslas aren’t always the best car of choice for those on a budget. So, here are some other models to consider if you want to spend more time behind the wheel and less time waiting for your car to top up on charge.

BMW i3 S

BMW_i3_01

The 42kWh battery of this BMW i3 S provides a decent 193 mile range and is quick to charge.

  • Full charge time: 0->100% in 6 hours using 7kW fast charger
  • Top-up charge time: 20->80% in 40 minutes using 50kW rapid charger
  • Price: £37,840 RRP/from £337pcm leasing

DS 3 Crossback e-tense

800px-DS3_Crossback_E-Tense,_Paris_Motor_Show_2018,_IMG_0697

A 50kWh battery powers the DS 3 crossback – a versatile supermini that offers around 200 miles of range.

  • Full charge time: 0->100% in 7 hours using 7kW fast charger
  • Top-up charge time: 20->80% in 40 minutes using 50kW rapid charger
  • Price: £33,990 RRP/from £343pcm leasing

Hyundai IONIQ

Hyundai_Ioniq_Electric_(12) (1)

Don’t worry about the somewhat small 38.3kWh battery of the Hyundai IONIQ because it still ranges well at 170 miles and boasts impressive charging speeds.

  • Full charge time: 0->100% in 6 hours using 7kW fast charger
  • Top-up charge time: 20->80% in 30 minutes using 50kW rapid charger
  • Price: £33,950 RRP/from £308pcm leasing

Peugoet e-208

800px-Peugeot_e-208_Allure_Genf_2019_1Y7A5132

The Peugoet e-208 is the 2020 car of the year and is powered by a 50kWh battery and has an impressive 217 mile range.

  • Full charge time: 0->100% in 7 hours using 7kW fast charger
  • Top-up charge time: 20->80% in 40 minutes using 50kW rapid charger
  • Price: £28,715 RRP/from £305pcm leasing

Vauxhall corsa-e

Corsa e

Similar to Peugeot’s 208, Vauxhall’s Corsa-e uses a 50kWh battery but a slightly lower range of 211 miles.

  • Full charge time: 0->100% in 7 hours using 7kW fast charger
  • Top-up charge time: 20->80% in 40 minutes using 50kW rapid charger
  • Price: £30,665 RRP/from £281pcm leasing

Ready to make the move to an electric car? Then start your search or enter your monthly budget to see our best lease deals in minutes.

For more information on leasing, and to find answers for all your FAQs, check out our other guides.

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