How long does it take to charge an electric car?

    charging an electric car

    Have you made the electric car switch? Electric car popularity has boomed recently and it’s not set to change. As a result, now could be the perfect time to sell your car and make the switch to electric.

    What’s holding you back? Are you worried that your electric car (EV) will run out of battery when you need it most? Do you dislike the idea of waiting for a car to charge?

    To clear up any doubts you may have about getting EVs powered up, here’s all you need to know about charging electric car batteries.

    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, ‘top-up’ charges as and when you need. 

    However, just like the charger for your mobile, not all models are the same. It can take longer to get your battery to full at one location compared to another. 

    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.

    At home, a standard plug is slow so a wall box is recommended for faster charging of your electric car.

    But for the fastest charging speed, you’ll need to use public charging stations. Even these can differ – be aware that different charge points offer different speeds. 

    You don’t need the highest speeds to successfully charge a car. Even the slowest of charge points, will eventually get you to 100%. High-speed tests just 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:

    TypekW(Approx) Time to full charge
    Slow2-410-24 hours
    Fast7-222-4 hours
    Rapid43+30-60 minutes
    Ultra Rapid100+20-40 minutes 

    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
    how long to charge an electric car at home?
    Wallbox chargers can make it quicker to charge from home

    Charge speeds and your car

    Before you run out to find your closest rapid-speed charge point, be aware that not every EV can use rapid charging. Here is a quick overview of popular EV models and their compatibility with rapid charging.

    Model nameRapid 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 a rule, 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. Likewise, hybrid cars are less likely to have rapid charging than fully electric.

    How long do electric batteries last per charge?

    Different car manufacturers promise different levels of mileage with a single battery charge. 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, with some cars offering over 300. 

    Here’s a quick breakdown of the same models and their range as published by their manufacturers.

    ModelRange (Miles)
    Tesla Model 3 318
    Kia e-Niro (2024)285
    Renault Zoe R135  (2024)239
    Nissan LEAF (2018)149
    Mini Electric (2024)190
    Smart EQ fortwo (2024)74-82

    If you’re worried if that mileage is enough, keep in mind that a charge covering 250 miles could get you from London to Belgium, so you’re unlikely to be left running on empty. As long as you keep your batteries at a healthy level of charge, you can dismiss your concern. 

    What type of batteries do electric cars use?

    There are two different types of electric car battery:

    • Full electric cars use lithium-ion batteries
    • Hybrid cars may use nickel-metal hydride

    Lithium-ion batteries because are 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 fully electric vehicles. 

    The basic technology may be the same as in a phone, but the scale 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 have been designed to give you a solid lifespan so usually come with long warranties. But 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 April 2024).

    Tesla Model 3 8 years/ 100,000 miles
    Kia e-Niro (2024)7 years/ 100,000 miles
    Mini Electric (2024)8 years/ 100,000 miles
    Smart EQ fortwo (2024)8 years/ 62,500 miles
    EV charging on street
    Free electric car chargers are becoming a rarer sight

    Frequently asked questions about charging EVs

    How fast is home EV charging?

    Home wall boxes are usually more efficient than using a charging cable, delivering 7kW. There are lower cost and slower wall box models available. Since home charging is intended for long chargers rather than the fast top-ups of public charge points, you may not require top speed anyway. Expect it to take several hours to reach full battery charge 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 harm battery life. So best to store your car somewhere out of direct sunlight on particularly hot days.

    Ready to sell your car?

    Ready to learn more about valuing, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from hybrid and electric car depreciation, to converting your car to dual-LPG fuel.