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How Long It Takes To Charge An Electric Car

How Long It Takes To Charge An Electric Car

Electric vehicles (EVs) have gone from a niche product to mainstream transportation seemingly overnight. In 2021, over 607,000 electric cars were sold in the United States, representing nearly 5% of all passenger vehicle sales. That’s more than triple the number sold just two years earlier in 2019. Major automakers like Ford, GM, and Volkswagen have committed billions to new EV models, with over 100 set to hit the market by 2025.


With gas prices soaring and more people looking to help the environment, EVs are becoming more popular than ever. A key question for many considering an EV is, “How long does it take to charge an electric car?” The answer depends on several factors.

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Types of EV Chargers

There are three main types of electric vehicle chargers:

 

Level 1 – Slow Charging

Level 1 uses a standard 120V household outlet, like what you would plug any appliance into. It provides charging speeds of about 2-5 miles of range per hour plugged in. This very slow charging means that fully recharging an electric vehicle on Level 1 can take over 50 hours in some cases.

 

Level 2 – Faster Charging

Level 2 EV charging utilizes a 240V outlet, the same as an electric dryer outlet. With Level 2, charging speeds typically increase to 10-20 miles of added range per hour of charging. Fully recharging an electric car battery from empty will usually take between 4-10 hours on Level 2.

 

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging provides the fastest charging speeds through direct current at 480V. Many fast chargers can add 60-100 miles of driving range in just 20 minutes of charging. However, not all electric vehicles are compatible with DC fast charging stations.

 

Charging Speed Factors

The time required to charge an electric vehicle battery can vary substantially based on several key factors:

 

Battery Size

Electric vehicles with large battery packs over 300 miles of range require more time to charge fully. This is because their battery capacity is much higher, often over 100 kWh. Shorter range EVs under 150 miles of range have smaller batteries around 30-50 kWh and can charge much quicker.

 

Charger Power

Higher power chargers provide more range per hour of charging. For example, a 50 kW DC fast charger can charge a typical EV over 3 times faster than a 7 kW Level 2 charger. This allows fast chargers to provide 60-100 miles of range in only 20-30 minutes.

 

State of Charge

Charging speed slows down considerably after the battery reaches around 80% state of charge. This is done intentionally to protect battery life. The last 20% of charging can often take as long as the first 80% due to the reduced charging rate at higher states of charge.

 

Temperature

Very hot or cold ambient temperatures reduces the charging speed. This is why garage parking is recommended to keep electric vehicles at moderate temperatures for faster charging. Extreme cold or heat requires more time to bring the battery to an optimal temperature before rapid charging can begin.

 

Battery Size

The size of the battery is one of the biggest factors affecting how long it takes to charge an electric car. EVs with larger battery packs and longer driving ranges require more energy to be replenished and thus take longer to fully charge.

For example, an EV like the Nissan Leaf with a 40 kWh battery providing 150 miles of range can charge from 20% to 80% in about 60 minutes on a fast charger. However, a Tesla Model S with a 100 kWh battery and over 300 miles of range will take 75-90 minutes to charge to 80% on the same fast charger.

So while a small battery EV can get an 80% charge in an hour or less, an EV with a much larger battery may need double that time or more to reach the same state of charge. When battery capacities exceed 100 kWh, charge times can stretch well beyond 2 hours even with DC fast charging.

The key takeaway is that EVs with larger batteries generally require longer charging durations. So if faster charging is a priority, choosing an EV with lower overall range and battery capacity will provide a quicker charging experience.

 

Charger Power

The power level of the electric vehicle charger directly impacts how quickly it can charge a battery. Chargers with higher power output can add more range per hour of charging compared to lower power chargers.

Here’s a comparison of charging speeds based on charger power:

 

  • Level 1 Charger (1.4 kW): Adds about 2-5 miles of range per hour
  • Level 2 Charger (7-10 kW): Adds about 10-20 miles per hour
  • DC Fast Charger (50-350 kW): Adds 60-100+ miles in 10-30 minutes

 

So a 50 kW DC fast charger can add around 60-100 miles of range in the time a standard Level 2 charger adds just 10-20 miles. This demonstrates the vast difference in charging speed when using more powerful fast chargers.

When purchasing an electric vehicle, it’s important to consider what charging speeds it supports. Vehicles able to charge at 50 kW or higher will benefit the most from fast charging, while slower charging EVs are better suited to overnight charging at home.

 

State of Charge

The state of charge, which refers to the percentage of battery capacity that is currently filled, has a significant impact on charging speeds. Electric vehicle batteries use lithium-ion technology which requires careful charging management to maximize battery lifespan.

Charging occurs most quickly when the battery has a low state of charge below 20%. As the battery fills up, the internal resistance increases and the charging current is automatically reduced by the battery management system. This avoids damage from overheating and lithium plating.

Charging slows down dramatically once the battery reaches around 80% state of charge. The last 20% of charging ends up taking as long as the first 80% due to the slower charging at high states of charge. For example, charging from 10% to 80% may take 30 minutes, while charging that last 20% from 80% to 100% takes another 30 minutes.

This is why most EV owners charge up to around 80% for daily use, and only charge up to 100% when they need the maximum range for longer trips. Charging to 100% every day is unnecessary and just lengthens the time spent charging with little benefit.

 

Temperature

Temperature can have a significant impact on EV charging speeds. In very cold weather, lithium-ion batteries lose their ability to hold a charge. Charging speeds will be slowed considerably when temperatures dip below freezing. Likewise, high temperatures above 90°F can cause batteries to overheat, triggering protection circuits that reduce charging rates.

The optimal temperature range for fast EV charging is 60-80°F. Charging in cooler weather or intense heat can increase charge times by 50% or more compared to ideal conditions. Parking in a garage helps keep an electric car within the ideal charging temperature range.

Some electric vehicles like the Hyundai Kona Electric come equipped with battery thermal management systems. These use coolant to regulate battery temperature and allow for faster charging in hot or cold weather. However, most affordable electric cars lack active cooling/heating of their battery packs.

Checking the weather before a long trip and preconditioning the battery can help reduce the impacts of extreme temperatures on charging times. Slowing down charging speed to avoid overheating the battery on hot days also helps maximize driving range.

 

Typical Level 2 Charge Time

Level 2 charging stations are commonly found at public places like malls, parking garages, and workplaces. They provide a decent charge rate of around 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging. This makes Level 2 a good option for topping up your EV while running errands or during a workday.

For a full charge, most EVs will take around 4-10 hours on a Level 2 charging station. This can provide a complete replenishment overnight if you install a Level 2 charger at home. Some examples of typical full charge times on Level 2:

 

  • Nissan Leaf – 8 hours
  • Tesla Model 3 – 10 hours
  • Chevy Bolt – 7 hours

 

While Level 2 charging is slower than DC fast charging, the charge rate is fast enough for most daily driving needs. By starting each day with a full charge from overnight Level 2 charging, an EV can easily handle the average daily commute plus errands without needing additional charging.

 

Typical DC Fast Charge Time

DC fast charging, also known as Level 3 charging, offers the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle. Most modern EVs are capable of DC fast charging which provides direct current directly to the battery. This allows an EV battery to charge at 50-350kW compared to less than 10kW for Level 1 and Level 2 charging.

With DC fast charging, an electric vehicle can typically add about 100-200 miles of range in just 20-30 minutes. This makes it feasible to stop for a quick 20-30 minute charging session while you eat lunch or run errands on a road trip.

DC fast charging can provide an 80% charge in around 30-60 minutes depending on the vehicle and charger power. Some new EVs like the Porsche Taycan can charge from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes on a 350kW charger. More common 50kW DC fast chargers will charge an EV battery to 80% in around 45 minutes.

While DC fast charging is very convenient, it is slower than filling up a gas tank which takes just 5-10 minutes. However, with a little planning, DC fast charging along a route makes long distance EV travel very feasible.

 

Making Charging Convenient

With a little planning, charging an electric vehicle can easily fit into your daily routine:

 

Home Charging

Installing a Level 2 charger in your garage allows you to conveniently charge your EV overnight while you sleep. This ensures you start each day with a full battery, essentially giving you a “full tank” every morning without any effort on your part.

 

Public Fast Charging

Fast charging stations located at malls, grocery stores, coffee shops, and other places you already visit make it easy to top up your EV in 20-30 minutes while running errands. Time a quick charging stop with a chore like shopping or grabbing a bite to eat.

 

Workplace Charging

More and more employers are installing EV charging stations for employee use. Schedule 1-2 longer charging sessions during the workday to fully recharge. This turns the time your car would normally sit in the lot into productive charging time.

 

Home Charging

One of the most convenient ways to charge your electric vehicle is to plug it in at home overnight. Most EVs come equipped with the capability to charge from a regular 120V household outlet. While charging from a standard outlet is slow, providing only 2-5 miles of range per hour, it can easily top up your EV overnight while you sleep.

Simply plug your EV into a household outlet in your garage once you’re home for the evening, and wake up to a fully charged vehicle ready to hit the road. For many commuters, overnight charging provides plenty of range to handle their daily driving needs before returning home to plug in again.

To make home charging even more efficient, many EV owners opt to install a 240V Level 2 charging station, similar to what an electric dryer uses. A Level 2 charger can typically provide 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging, allowing you to fully recharge an EV battery overnight in 4-10 hours.

With a little bit of planning, home charging is one of the most convenient ways to ensure you start each day with a “full tank” and maximize your electric driving range. Simply plug in when you get home, charge while you sleep, and wake up to an EV ready to roll. Overnight home charging helps make owning an electric vehicle completely hassle-free.

 

Public Fast Charging

One of the most convenient ways to charge your electric vehicle is by using public fast charging stations. These stations are popping up at locations like malls, supermarkets, coffee shops, and restaurants – places you may already be visiting to run errands or grab a bite to eat.

With a DC fast charging station, you can add roughly 80-100 miles of range to your EV’s battery in just 20-30 minutes. This makes them ideal for a quick “top up” while you’re shopping or having a meal. Instead of wasting time sitting around waiting for your car to charge, you can be productive and get your to-do list checked off.

Many new electric vehicles today come standard with DC fast charging capability. This means in the time it takes to do some grocery shopping or enjoy your lunch, you can give your EV’s battery a major boost. No extra waiting around!

Public fast charging stations are designed for convenience and speed. By planning your charging sessions around routine errands, you can easily incorporate quick 20-30 minute fast charging stops as part of your regular routine.

 

Workplace Charging

Many workplaces are beginning to install EV charging stations for employees as a job perk. This provides a convenient opportunity to get in a longer charging session during the workday. While you likely won’t fully charge from empty at work, even getting an extra 10-30 miles of range during an 8 hour shift is helpful.

The key is taking advantage of times when your car will already be parked for extended periods during the day. Even slow level 2 chargers can provide substantial range when you don’t need the car for 6-8 hours. Just be sure to check with your employer about policies, costs, and availability of workplace charging.

Some other tips for effective workplace charging:

 

  • Ask your employer to install chargers if none are available
  • Arrive early/stay late once a week to maximize charge time
  • Coordinate with coworkers to share chargers and take turns
  • Park as close as possible to the charging stations
  • Use charging station apps to check availability and reserve a spot

 

Taking advantage of workplace charging just once or twice a week can make a significant difference in reducing your charging needs at home. It provides a great opportunity to top off your EV battery during downtime when your car is parked anyway.

 

Conclusion

Charging an electric vehicle does take more time than filling up a gas tank, but with the right charger and some planning, most EV owners are able to charge conveniently. The three main factors that determine EV charging times are the size of the battery, the power of the charger, and the current battery charge level. While a full charge may take over 10 hours using lower power Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, fast charging enables an 80% charge in under an hour. By charging overnight at home, using fast charging stations strategically during errands, and scheduling longer charges during work or at the gym, drivers can easily integrate EV charging into their lifestyle.

With a bit of knowledge and planning, “range anxiety” around EV charging times can be eliminated. An electric vehicle’s slower refueling process compared to gas vehicles is offset by the convenience of at-home overnight charging. Additionally, high-powered DC fast charging stations are becoming more prevalent and can provide a significant charge in the time it takes to have lunch or run some quick errands. While specific charging times vary greatly, most EV drivers are able to adapt and find charging an electric car easy and convenient.

 

Take the Next Step to EV Ownership Today

After reading this guide, you should now have a solid understanding of electric vehicle charging times. While charging does take longer than gassing up, a bit of planning makes it easy to integrate into your lifestyle.

If you’re ready to go electric, be sure to explore available rebates and incentives in your area to save money. Many utilities even offer special electric rates for EV charging.

Shop for an EV that fits your driving needs. Consider battery size, driving range, and charging capabilities. Test drive some models to experience the instant torque and smooth quiet ride that makes EVs so enjoyable to drive.

Schedule a consultation with your local EV dealer to ask any other questions you may have. They can provide personalized advice on EV models, charger installation, and optimizing charging for your lifestyle.

Going electric is easier than ever. Take the first step today to enjoy gas-free driving and do your part for the environment!

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Questions About How Long It Takes To Charge An Electric Car

It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours or more to fully charge an electric vehicle in Canada, depending on the type of charger used. Most EVs come with a Level 1 charger that plugs into a standard 120V household outlet. This provides about 5-10 km of range per hour of charging. Using a more powerful Level 2 charger (240V outlet), you can add about 25-60 km of range per hour. With a DC fast charger, some EVs can charge to 80% in under an hour.

Charging an EV at home in Canada costs a fraction of what you would pay to gas up a conventional car. For example, charging a 2022 Nissan Leaf in Ontario costs about $2.50 for a full charge, compared to $50 or more to fill up a gas-powered car. Electricity rates vary across Canada, but charging an EV generally costs $0.15-0.30 per kWh. Public DC fast charging typically costs $0.30-0.45 per minute of charging.

Most new electric cars in Canada have an average range between 300-500 km on a full charge, depending on the model. For example, the 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5 has a range of up to 407 km, while the Tesla Model 3 Long Range offers up to 637 km. Colder Canadian winters can reduce range by 15-30%.

DC fast chargers spaced along major highways in Canada allow EV road tripping with minimal added time. Most new EVs can add 150-300 km of charge in 15-30 minutes. Planning charging stops ahead of time and using apps to locate stations can make road trip charging quick and convenient.

There are over 12,000 public charging stations across Canada, with the highest concentration in metropolitan areas. Resources like the Natural Resources Canada station locator map, PlugShare app, ChargeHub, Flo app, and Google Maps allow you to find nearby charging stations.

Yes, Canadian winters can reduce an EV’s range by 15-30%, depending on battery size and efficiency. The cold impacts range by increasing interior heating needs and affecting the chemical reactions within the battery. Preheating your EV while plugged in helps mitigate range loss.

Properly maintained EV batteries are proven to have long lifespans, even with Canadian winters. Most retain over 70% battery capacity for over 200,000 km, with some Nissan Leaf taxis achieving over 600,000 km. Staying plugged in when parked reduces battery wear from frequent high-power charging cycles.

Studies by provinical utilities show that off-peak overnight EV charging won’t overburden Canada’s electricity capacity through 2030 and beyond. Smart charging technology can help match charging times to periods of lower demand. EVs also improve grid resilience with vehicle-to-grid integration.

EVs charged on Canada’s relatively clean electricity grids produce far less emissions over their lifespan versus gas cars. A Quebec EV charged on their hydroelectricity produces less than one-tenth the emissions of even the most efficient gas car. BC, Manitoba, Ontario and the Maritimes also have very low or zero-emission grids.

Modern EVs have no problem tackling snow and ice. Their lower center of gravity, precise torque control and extra weight from the battery gives them excellent traction. Most EVs offer heated seats, steering wheels and battery conditioning to ensure optimal winter performance.

The federal government offers up to $5,000 off new EVs under $45,000 MSRP. Many provinces also have provincial rebates up to $8,000, as well as additional incentives like HOV lane access, lower electricity rates and rebates on home charger installation.

Yes, used EVs can be a smart and affordable option, especially older models with degraded batteries that still work well for shorter daily driving. When buying used, have the battery tested to check SOH (State of Health) and research battery degradation rates for that model.

Avoid frequent fast charging over 80%, charge to 100% only when needed for longer trips, avoid depleting below 10% charge often and use smart charging to balance cells. Park plugged-in when possible and precondition batteries in extreme cold. These habits preserve battery capacity.

EV drivetrains require far less maintenance without oil changes, air filters, spark plugs and other items. However, tires, brakes, cooling systems and 12V batteries still require occasional upkeep. Most EVs have regenerative braking reducing wear on brake pads significantly.

EVs perform very well in crashes due to their low center of gravity and rigid battery packs giving them stability. Their extra weight also provides effective crash energy absorption. Studies show EV driver death rates in accidents can be up to 80% lower compared to gas cars.

Yes, although trip planning is required when driving an EV long distances across the country. Canada now has a good network of DC fast chargers located 150-200 km apart on trans-Canada routes. Planning charging stops ahead ensures a smooth zero-emissions road trip.

The federal government has committed over $1 billion to expand charging and hydrogen infrastructure to keep pace with EV adoption targets. Provinces, utilities, private companies and municipalities are also investing heavily based on localized needs to enable mass EV adoption this decade.

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