Electric cars continue to soar in popularity as more automakers have electrified their lineups and as gas prices reach record highs. Advances in battery technology have helped ease range anxiety with most modern electric vehicles having at least 200 miles of range.

While you don’t have to pull up to the gas pump to refuel your electric car, you will need to plug it into a charger in order to keep it running. How long will it take for you to charge your electric car? The answer depends on many factors such as battery capacity and what type of charger you use. 

While there is not a simple answer, we have the important information to help you better understand the electric vehicle charging process and how long you can expect it to take, depending on your specific situation.

Factors That Affect EV Charging Time

Aside from the obvious factors that can impact how long it takes your car to charge, like your electric car battery size and charging equipment, there are additional factors that impact how long it takes your car to charge. These factors include:  

  • Your battery’s state of charge: You likely won’t be charging your vehicle from zero percent, so it depends on the starting level of charge your battery has. Some might choose to charge their vehicle every day, while others may wait a few days until their battery is close to empty. 
  • Your car’s maximum charging rate: Each vehicle has a maximum charge rate that determines how much charge your vehicle can accept in a given timeframe.
  • The charging rate of your charging station: Just like your car has a maximum charging rate, so does every charging station. Your charging time will depend on the maximum charging rate of the charging station you are using to charge your battery.  
  • The temperature: Just like traditional car batteries deplete faster in extreme hot and cold weather, extreme temperatures can slow a vehicle’s charging speed. 

Types of Electric Car Chargers

There are three levels of charging equipment available to use for home and public electric car charging. It’s important to note it takes the same amount of time for an EV battery to charge from 80 percent to 100 percent as it does to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent. This is because fully charging to 100 percent can be harder on the battery, and packing in that last 10-20 percent of battery capacity always takes longer. However, there may be instances where you want to charge your battery to 100 percent, such as just before a long road trip.

Level 1:

The most basic way to charge a plug-in or electric vehicle is with home charging equipment. All plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) come with a 110-volt or Level 1, home charging kit that enables your vehicle to plug into a standard wall outlet with an adapter. This method doesn’t require modifying your house’s electrical system in any way, but it only provides three to five miles of range per hour of charging. This can be adequate for plug-ins, but if you want to maximize your vehicle’s all-electric range, it’s not very efficient. To put this charging rate into perspective, it would take 20-40 hours to charge a Tesla Model S, depending on its battery capacity and range. A Hyundai IONIQ 5 would take up to 43 hours. 

Level 2:

Next is the Level 2, 240-volt charger, which can provide between 12 and 60 miles of range per hour. This level of charging is also what’s found in most public charging stations like Chargepoint, and can also be installed in the home by a professional electrician using either a 40 or 50 amp circuit, similar to electric home dryers. Installation can cost between $500 and $2,000. The cost for home installation is determined by multiple factors, and some local tax incentives and rebates can help offset this cost, so be sure to research what home charger incentives exist in your area.

A Chevrolet Bolt with 259 miles of range will take about 9.5 hours to charge from zero to 100 percent full on a level 2 home charging system. 

Level 3: DC Fast Charging

Level 3 chargers, also known as DC fast charging or DCFC chargers, provide the quickest way to charge your vehicle. These charging devices use direct current (DC) energy and require special plugs to connect. Most modern EVs, like the 2022 Nissan LEAF now have standard quick charge ports that enable fast charging. However, many older electric cars may not support fast chargers, which is important to keep in mind if you are looking for a used electric vehicle.

DC fast charging stations are mainly available as public charging stations because they are too powerful and expensive to install in most homes. 

A level 3 DC fast charging station can get an electric vehicle’s battery from around 10 percent to around 80 percent of capacity in 20-30 minutes, which makes them ideal for charging during road trips. Using one of these EV chargers is the closest thing to filling up at a gas station. Their output is typically between 20 and 50kW, which allows for the equivalent of 3-20 miles per minute of charging time. These charging stations are most commonly found along major highways at conventional gas stations and shopping centers. They are becoming more prevalent as EV adoption grows, but they remain rare across large swaths of the country. This means a long road trip that doesn’t involve major freeways will have few, if any, fast-charging options.

Tesla has its own fast charging network, which are known as Tesla Superchargers. Tesla Superchargers use a proprietary connecter unique to Tesla vehicles on its charging stations, but owners of other vehicles can use these chargers with a CHAdeMO or CCS adapter.

It’s also worth noting that these charging stations are more expensive than level 2 charging stations Most public charging stations charge by the kilowatt-hour (kWh), a measure of the amount of energy transferred to the car’s battery pack. However, some public chargers are free, so it’s worth doing research to see if there are any free public chargers in your area.  

Maintaining Your Battery: the 80 Percent Rule

In order to prolong the life of your battery, it is recommended that you don’t charge it beyond 80 percent. This is because high voltages can accelerate battery degradation. These batteries operate at peak performance when they are in the mid-range of their charging cycle. In fact, most electric cars have a mechanism that stops the battery from charging beyond 80 percent. Not exceeding 80 percent of your battery's charge will help prolong your car battery’s lifespan.

Electric Car Charging Time: By Car and Charger Type

Here is how fast you can expect to charge some common EVs by vehicle and charger type:

Tesla Model 3: 310-mile range

  • Level 1 Home Charging: If you are charging your Model 3 with a standard home outlet, it will take between 24-36 hours to go from empty to a full charge. 
  • Level 2 Charging: It will take roughly 9.5 hours to fully charge your Model 3 with the Tesla Wall Connector.
  • Level 3 Tesla Supercharger: A DC fast charger can get a Model 3 to full charge in 15-25 minutes.
Chevrolet Bolt EV: 259-mile range
  • Level 1 Home Charging: A standard wall outlet allows for about 48 miles of charge in 12 hours. That means it would take 63 hours to fully-charge a Volt.
  • Level 2 Charging: With a Level 2 charger, it will take about 9.5 hours to fully charge.
  • Level 3 DC Fast Charger: A DC fast charger provides 200 miles of range in an hour, which means it reaches 80 percent of battery capacity in that time. The charging time of the Bolt slows down when the battery becomes almost full, so it takes nearly two hours to fully charge a Volt with a fast charger.
Nissan LEAF: 226-mile range
  • Level 1 Home Charging: A standard wall outlet provides five miles of charge per hour. For a LEAF Plus with a 226-mile range, it would take 45 hours to charge, which is nearly two full days.
  • Level 2 Charging: It will take 11.5 hours for a Nissan LEAF to reach a full charge with a Level 2 charger.
  • Level 3 Fast Charging: It takes 40-60 minutes to fully charge a Nissan LEAF with a DC fast charger.

The Bottom Line:

While there is no magic number when it comes to EV charging times, EV drivers have multiple options when it comes to charging your vehicle. For the typical driver, most charging is done at home. However, many city or apartment dwellers do not have access to residential charging and are reliant on public charging stations. There are many apps available that can notify drivers where public charging stations are, including ChargePoint and PlugShare. It’s also worth noting that some public level 2 charging stations allow for faster charging times than standard home charging stations, but they likely charge more than what you pay for your standard electric rate. As a rule of thumb, using Level 2 charging equipment will allow you to get your battery near full overnight, while standard Level 1 charging equipment will take multiple days. If you use a DC fast charger, you can charge your vehicle to 80 percent in an hour or less.

More from iSeeCars:

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