How long does it take to charge an electric car?

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


Charging an electric car can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 12 hours, depending on the size of the vehicle's battery, its maximum charging rate and the power rating of the chargepoint itself.

  • For most drivers charging time isn't a major issue. This is because they typically top up charge when their car is parked anyway, rather than letting their battery run empty.
  • Almost all fully electric vehicles can also use rapid chargepoints, which charge a car's battery up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes and are ideal for long distance journeys.
  • Charging rates can differ based on the ambient temperature, the state of the battery (e.g. empty or half full) and the maximum charging rate of the vehicle.

How long it takes to charge an electric car with different types of charging points.

One of the key factors in how fast an electric car can charge is the power rating of the chargepoint. Below is a guide to the different charging speeds for the most common chargepoints:

Chargepoint: Slow Charger - 3.7kW Fast Charger - 7kW Fast Charger - 22kW
Charging speed: ~15 miles of range per hour ~30 miles of range per hour ~80 miles of range per hour
Required power supply: Single phase Single phase Three phase
Typically Found in: Homes Homes / Workplaces / Public Places Public Places

  • Home charging points are typically available with a power rating between 3.7kW and 7kW because domestic dwellings don't usually have three phase power.
  • Only some EV models are able to charge at full speed from a 22kW charging point but most can still use them to charge at a lower speed.
  • The size of the cars battery will also impact on time from empty to full charge which is why charging times are expressed as the amount of range given per hour.

Tip: You can also charge from a 3-pin plug at ~3kW. This is slower than a dedicated chargepoint and is known as Trickle Charging.

How long it takes to charge an electric car with a rapid charger.

Rapid charging points are the fastest way to charge your electric vehicle, providing up to 80% charge in as little as 30 minutes. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, even vehicles that can't charge at 22kW can often charge at rapid speeds.

  • These charging points use one of two special connector types (known as CCS and CHAdeMO) that are most usually found on fully electric vehicles.
  • They are typically installed at motorway service stations for quick recharges on longer journeys.
  • While their faster charging speed is ideal for a quick charge on a long journey, most drivers don't use them day to day, preferring to top up charge at places they stop (like work or the supermarket).

Rapid Charger CCS CHAdeMO
Typical power rating 50kW 50kW
Examples of compatible models BMW i3 Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi Outlander

How top-up charging works.

Most EV drivers don't worry much about how long it takes to charge because they top up charge. Rather than letting their battery run empty they top it up whenever there car is sitting idle, at places like supermarkets, their workplace or a car park.

  • Public and workplace charging points typically range from 7kW to 22kW making them ideal for top up charging.
  • A 7kW public charging point can provide up to 30 miles of range per hour of charge.
  • Combine top-up charging with overnight charging at home for the best experience.

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.

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