How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?

A complete guide on how long it takes to charge an electric car, the factors that influence charging time and the concept of top-up charging.

Summary

The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point.

  • A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.
  • Most drivers top up charge rather than waiting for their battery to recharge from empty-to-full.
  • For many electric cars, you can add up to 100 miles of range in ~35 minutes with a 50kW rapid charger.
  • The bigger your car’s battery and the slower the charging point, the longer it takes to charge from empty to full.

Tip: Charging an electric car is similar to charging a mobile phone; you top it up during the day if you need to and give it a full charge at home overnight.

How long it takes to fully charge an electric car

Empty-to-full time to charge with different chargepoint speeds:

Vehicle

Empty to full charging time

Model Battery Pod Point
Confidence Range*
3.7kW slow 7kW fast 22kW fast 43-50kW rapid 150kW rapid
Nissan LEAF (2018) 40kWh 143 miles 11 hrs 6 hrs 6 hrs 1 hr Can't charge on this kind of charger
Tesla Model S (2019)** 75kWh 238 miles
21 hrs 11 hrs 5 hrs 2 hrs 1 hr for 300 miles
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2018) 13.8kWh 24 miles
4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 40 mins Can't charge on this kind of charger


Don't see the model you were looking for in this table? Browse other EVs here.

* Pod Point Confidence Range is the maximum distance we’d be confident driving on electric power between charges. Real range will depend on various factors including driving conditions, personal driving style, outside temperature, heating / air conditioning, etc.
** Numbers shown are for the entry level Tesla Model S Standard Range.

Analysis:

  • Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge your electric vehicle, providing 60-200 miles of range in the 20-30 mins.
  • Home charging points typically have a power rating of 3.7kW or 7kW (22kW chargepoints require three phase power, which is very rare and expensive to install).
  • All electric cars can charge on compatible chargepoints with a higher maximum charge rate than they can handle; they just charge at the maximum rate that they can accept.

Tip: Almost all full battery electric cars can rapid charge, most plug-in hybrid electric cars can not.

What is top up charging?

Most electric car drivers plug-in to charge whenever they park, be it at home overnight or during the day at the supermarket, gym or their workplace. This is called top up charging.

  • Instead of letting the battery run empty and waiting while it fully recharges, drivers make use of the time their car is parked (which is about 95% of the time) to keep the battery topped up.
  • Public and workplace charging points typically range from 7kW to 22kW, making them ideal for top up charging.
  • Combining daytime top-up charging with overnight charging at home is an effective way to keep your electric car charged and ready to go.

Tip: Electric car drivers don’t worry much about how long it takes to charge from empty-to-full. It’s more useful for them to know how many miles of range they’ll get when they plug-in to top up.

How much range you get per hour of charging

As an electric vehicle driver, it’s useful to know how many miles of range you are getting during the time your vehicle is charging so you know you can get to your next destination.

Miles of range added per hour of charging
3.7kW slow 7kW fast 22kW fast 43-50kW rapid 150kW rapid
Up to 15 miles Up to 30 miles Up to 90 miles Up to 90 miles in 30 mins Up to 200 miles in 30 mins


Analysis:

  • Range per hour varies depending on how efficient your car is. Small full battery electric cars (e.g. Renault Zoe) are the most efficient and get 30 miles of range per hour charging at 7kW.
  • The biggest full battery electric cars (e.g. Audi e-tron Quattro) are heavier and get ~20 miles of range per hour at 7kW. (Plug-in hybrids are usually less efficient than full battery electric vehicles).
  • How efficient a car is also depends on environmental factors like temperature. This means electric cars are more efficient and get slightly better range per hour in summer than they do in winter.

Factors that affect charging speed

There are 5 main factors that affect the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle.

  • Size of battery: The bigger your vehicle’s battery capacity (measured in kWh), the longer it will take to charge.
  • State of battery (empty vs. full): If you are charging from empty, it will take longer to charge than if you are topping up from 50%.
  • Max charging rate of vehicle: You can only charge a vehicle’s battery at the maximum charge rate the vehicle can accept. For example; if your vehicle’s max charge rate is 7kW, you won’t charge any faster by using a 22kW chargepoint.
  • Max charging rate of chargepoint: The time it takes to charge will also be limited by the max charging rate of the chargepoint you are using. For example; even if your vehicle can charge at 11kW, it will only charge at 7kW on a 7kW chargepoint.
  • Environmental factors: A colder ambient temperature can make it take slightly longer to charge, particularly when using a rapid charger. Colder temperatures also mean vehicles are less efficient, so less miles are added per time charging.

Tip: In cold weather, bringing the cabin space (and battery) up to temperature takes energy not used to drive the car. If the car regularly heats then cools down after short journeys, you use much more energy and your range significantly reduces. This means it’s a good idea to use regular top up charges. On longer trips the effects of cold weather are less pronounced, though still noticeable.

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