How long does it take to charge an electric car?
Have you made the electric car switch? Then you’re not the only one! Electric car popularity has boomed despite the pandemic and it’s not set to change. So, now could be the perfect time to sell your car and make the switch to electric.
Not convinced? There are plenty of reasons people might think twice about getting an electric vehicle (EV). These include range anxiety (the fear that your car will run out of battery when you need it most) and the idea of waiting for a car to charge.
To clear up any doubts you may have about getting EVs powered up, we’ve gathered all you need to know about charging electric car batteries — read on!
Charging your electric car
Electric cars can be charged just like you charge any other battery device — with a regular long charge, say, overnight, and with short charges as and when you need it. However, just like mobile chargers, not all models are the same. With that in mind, it can take longer to get your battery to full at one location compared to another.
Basically, there are two ways of charging your car:
- At-home charge points
- Using a public charge point
Chances are you’ll be using both, but when it comes to charging speed, your choice could make all the difference:
- Home charging from a standard plug is slow/ not recommended
- A wallbox can make it faster to charge your electric car at home
- Different charge points offer different speeds
- Only public charge stations can offer the highest speeds
That’s not to say you need the highest speeds to successfully charge a car (even the slowest of charge points will get you to 100% eventually), just that the highest speeds will get you topped up and on the move faster.
EV charging speeds
Charge points are described by the kilowatts (kW) they can deliver, generally these fall into the following categories:
|Type||kW||(Approx) Time to full charge|
|Ultra Rapid||100+||20-40 minutes|
However, other factors may also affect how long it takes for your car to charge, including:
- Battery size
- Pre-charging battery levels
- Max charging rate for your car
- The speed of your chosen charge point
- Weather conditions — cold weather can slow things down
Charge speeds and your car
Before you run out to find your closest rapid speed charge point, you might want to know that not every EV will be able to use rapid charging. Here is a quick overview of popular EV models and their compatibility with rapid charging.
|Model name||Rapid compatible?|
|Tesla Model 3||Yes|
|Kia e-Niro ‘2’||Yes|
|Renault Zoe R110 ZE40 (2018)||No|
|Mini Electric (2020)||Yes|
|Smart EQ fortwo (2018)||No|
As you can tell, the more modern your car is, the more likely it is to support rapid charging. For the most part, any EV made after 2020 should support it.
If you choose to go for a hybrid car rather than full electric, then it’s also less likely to have rapid charging.
How long do electric batteries last per charge?
Different car manufacturers will promise different levels of mileage per single battery charge. Obviously, you can expect more from prestige brands compared to affordable family cars.
Provided your car batteries are running on full, you should expect a minimum range of 70 miles, though some cars can offer as many as 300+.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the same above models and their range as published by their manufacturers.
|Tesla Model 3||360|
|Kia e-Niro ‘2’||282|
|Renault Zoe R110 ZE40 (2018)||186|
|Nissan LEAF (2018)||168|
|Mini Electric (2020)||145|
|Smart EQ fortwo (2018)||83|
Back to the topic of range anxiety, so long as you’re making sure your batteries are kept at a healthy level of charge, you can just about dismiss your concern. Plus, you should keep in mind that a charge that covers 250 miles could get you from London to Belgium, so you’re unlikely to be left running on empty.
What type of batteries do electric cars use?
There are two different types of electric car battery, depending on just how electric your car is i.e. if you drive a full electric car or a hybrid.
- Full electric cars will use lithium-ion batteries
- Hybrid cars may use nickel-metal hydride
You might be familiar with lithium-ion batteries because they’re precisely the same kind used in your phone. These batteries are designed to be charged and recharged as and when needed. Nickel-metal hydride batteries can also be recharged, but are much heavier, so not ideal for full electric vehicles.
The basic technology may be the same as in a phone, but the scale definitely isn’t! Car batteries, unsurprisingly, need to hold a lot of power, and that means they need to be big enough to do it. Most car batteries run the length of the base of the car, right below your feet.
How long do electric car batteries last?
EV car batteries will usually come with long warranties and have been designed to give you a solid lifespan. Plus, when batteries are no longer box-fresh or quite as good as holding their charge, getting a replacement is relatively straightforward.
Most manufacturers offer a warranty that covers your batteries for 100,000 miles or 7-8 years, whichever comes first. Here are some current manufacturer warranties for popular models (as of July 2021).
|Tesla Model 3||8 years/ 100,000 miles|
|Kia e-Niro ‘2’||7 years/ 100,000 miles|
|Mini Electric (2020)||8 years/ 100,000 miles|
|Smart EQ fortwo (2018)||8 years/ 62,500 miles|
Frequently asked questions about charging EVs
How fast is home EV charging?
Home wallboxes usually deliver 7kW to be more efficient than using a charging cable, but there are slower wallbox models available for a suitably lower cost. However, home charging is intended for long chargers rather than the fast top-ups of public charge points so you may not require top speed anyway. As a result, you can expect it to take several hours to reach full batteries compared to a public rapid charger.
Are electric car charging points free to use?
No, not always. Charge points that are connected to another business, for example, a supermarket, will often be free to use during the length of your shopping trip, but otherwise, you will probably have to pay.
Is it dangerous to charge your car overnight?
No, it’s perfectly safe to charge your electric car overnight, and it’s probably a smart habit to make so you’ll never be low on charge come morning.
Can I store my electric car on full charge?
If you plan to leave your car unused for weeks or months then it’s advised that you leave it at around 50% charge level. That’s because keeping them 100% full can wear the batteries.
Are car batteries affected by the weather?
No, for the most part, you shouldn’t have any issues with your car batteries and the Great British weather. However, extremely high heat can have a negative impact on battery life. With that in mind, it’s advised to store your car somewhere out of direct sunlight on particularly hot days.
Ready to switch to electric or hybrid? Then we have the guides for you!