One of the most commonly asked questions by potential electric vehicle shoppers is, how much time it takes to charge the EV battery? The truth is that there is no easy one-size-fits-all answer, but with a little more information you can make a pretty precise estimate. Follow our guide to learn the ins and outs of electric vehicle battery charging and all the variables involved.
If you are making the switch from gas to electric, you are probably trying to wrap your head around how much time you’ll need to set aside for charging your new EV. So why is this a tricky question?
Well, it’s kind of like asking how much will it cost to fill up a gas tank at the pump. Every vehicle owner would give a different answer, depending on their vehicle’s size, make, model, type of gas used, etc. But here are a few reasons why it’s difficult to say exactly how long it takes to charge an electric car battery:
- Electric vehicle ranges vary from approximately 100 miles to upwards of 350 miles, and each takes a different amount of time to charge.
- Charging is something you do in the background, like while shopping, working, or sleeping, so it’s kind of hard to keep track of that time.
- Unlike filling up on gas, you would never charge your EV from empty or you’d need a tow. So, it’s hard to say how long it takes to charge the full battery.
- Most importantly, there are different levels of charging, ranging from household to supercharge. This is the greatest factor in determining charging speed.
As you can see, because not all electric vehicle batteries are alike, nor are all charging stations, charging times could vary considerably given the maximum charging rate. Next, we’ll cover the different factors that affect EV battery charging time.
Related Article: HEV vs BEV vs PHEV: Which Electric Vehicle Type Is Better?
EV Battery Size, Capacity, and Range
Electric cars come equipped with batteries in a variety of sizes, and their size affects how long it takes to charge. Before we dive into the differences, here’s a few important things to know about EV batteries:
- Just about all electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries.
- Lithium-ion batteries have a high energy density and are less likely than other types of batteries to lose their charge when not being used.
- The battery capacity is the energy contained in an electric vehicle’s battery pack.
- Your electric car’s battery capacity is expressed in terms of kilowatt-hours, or kWh.
- The greater the kWh rating, the greater the mileage range.
- Your EV’s range depends on the size of its battery, and how efficiently the car uses that energy.
That list covers the basics of what all EV batteries have in common. Now let’s dig into the differences. Currently, electric car batteries can span from 28.9 kWh to roughly 200 kWh. Let’s take a closer look at some popular EV models to compare their battery size and range:
- On the low end of the scale, the 2022 MINI Cooper SE packs a small 32.6 kWh battery. This translates to an EPA range of 114 mi.
- The 2021 Nissan LEAF has a relatively small 40 kWh battery, with a range of about 215 mi.
- In the mid-sized range, the 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric comes with a 64 kWh battery and a range of 258 mi.
- At the highest end, the 2021 Tesla Model S Long Range has a 100 kWh battery for a total whopping range of 405 mi.
As you can probably guess, charging time depends on how large the battery is. The bigger the battery, the more time it will need to charge. However, it also depends on the charging station power source and the onboard charger itself.
Levels of EV Charging
One of the major factors that determine electric vehicle charging time is the level of charge being used. If you are unfamiliar with different types of EV charging stations, there are three levels:
Level 1 Charging
Level 1 charging equipment is what comes for free with the electric vehicle when you purchase it. This level of charging typically operates on a 120-volt household current and will give the EV driver three miles of range per hour of charge. It requires no additional cost for installation, as long as a power outlet on a dedicated branch circuit is available near the parking location. Most homeowners have one right in their garage.
Level 2 Charging
Level 2 charging is a step up in both power and speed. First, it needs approximately 220 volts to operate. A wide range of charging speeds are available within Level 2, based on the output current. It typically charges 16-80 amp output and is often used in commercial and public spaces.
Although it is an investment, the higher voltage allows charging three to seven times faster depending on the electric car and the charger! A Level 2 charger can charge an electric car up to 7 times faster for a full-electric car or about 3 times faster for a plug-in hybrid! It takes around 5.5 hours to fully charge a 60kW EV battery with an 11 kW charger, and just 1.8 hours with an 11kW charger for 100 miles which is ideal for those who have limited time and need to charge quickly.
Some advanced Level 2 charges, like the PowerCharge™ Pro-Lightning Level 2 commercial charging station, have added bonus smart features such as data collection, user interface systems, enhanced displays, and charging timers.
Level 3 Charging
Also commonly called DC fast charging, level 3 charging uses a different type of current than levels 1 and 2. Rather than utilizing an AC (alternating current), level 3 charging uses DC or direct current and is available in much higher voltage. Level 3 chargers can deliver up to 800 volts and extremely fast charging, but the downside is that they are quite a bit more expensive than level 1 or 2 charging and the current being used isn’t consistently available.
The level of charge you are using will certainly impact how slowly or quickly you can charge your EV. For example, EV drivers using a level 1 charging station at home usually need all night long to bring their battery to full charge, whereas some electric vehicles can obtain 80% or more charge from level 3 in a mere half an hour!
Interested in learning more? Check out “What are the Different Types of Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles?”
Potential EV customers often believe that the thing you plug into an electric car is the “charger,” but this is a common misunderstanding. The fact is that it’s the battery charger in the car that turns the AC electricity from the wall into DC to charge the battery. The onboard charger in the EV gradually transfers power into the battery pack safely.
Let’s look at some practical examples:
- The onboard battery charger, using level 1 and 2 chargers, at 16 amps, will get you approximately 12-13 miles per hour of charge.
- 30 amp is the most common for Level 2 chargers, and this can provide twice as much power as a Level 1 charger and about 25 miles of range.
- At 40 amps you can typically get 35 miles of range per hour, however, up until 2021, most EVs did not have an onboard charger that accepted more than 35 amps.
Still unclear about how to calculate how long it could take to charge an electric vehicle battery? If all else fails, try this quick formula: to determine the charge time of a specific EV model, divide the battery capacity’s kWh number by the onboard charger’s power rating, then add 10 percent to the losses associated with charging.
Want to learn more about the fastest and most efficient Electric Vehicle charging stations on the market? Contact a BizReps team member today!
Planning Your EV Charging
As you can probably tell, EV charging is not something you do on a whim like pulling over for gas when you’re gas powered car on E. It has to be intentional since it requires considerable time and specific resources. That’s why you’ll definitely need to read When Is the Best Time to Charge My Electric Vehicle? Learn about how to take advantage of off-peak hours and how to reduce your carbon footprint!
If you’re really thinking ahead, you are probably wondering if you can take advantage of level 2 or 3 charging stations in public spaces during your normal weekly routine. Yes! Many forward-thinking corporations and companies are installing 21st century EV charging stations like the PowerCharge™ Pro-Lightning system. That means you could potentially charge up while on the clock, which is an amazing employee perk.
Planning your EV charging to maximize your energy efficiency and cut your utility bills should always be the goal. With a little research and a call to your utility company, you can actually save money by routinely scheduling charging during the best times of the day, week, and month.
Want to save time and money by investing in the best EV onboard battery and charging station technology? For American drivers who are ready to make the switch to EV, we help make the transition easy. EV Charging Station Specialists can assist you with finding the product that is just right for your needs. Contact a BizReps team member today!