How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?

Electric Car Charging Guide - How Long Does It Take - Featured ImageElectric cars are becoming more popular by the day. Aside from the great environmental benefits, electric cars also benefit your budget by allowing you to avoid the high prices at the pump. Instead of filling your vehicle with gasoline, you simply re-charge it with electricity.

More than any other topic related to electric cars, people typically have the most questions about charging. How do you charge an electric car, and how long does charging take? Here’s what you need to know:

A Quick Overview: Electric Car Charging Basics

Specifics will vary by make and model. But, generally, an electric car can be charged to full in anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours. Two important factors which affect charging time are:

  • Battery size
  • Charger type

Other factors which can also influence charging rates include the temperature around the car, the current power level of the battery and any internal charging speed limits.

Types of Chargers

Two types of chargers are available:

  • 3.7kW
  • 7kW

As you’d probably expect, the 7kW provides the quicker charge of the two. A 3.7kW charger has a speed of 15 miles per hour of charging, while a 7kW charger provides up to 30 miles in the same time period.

Both 3.5kW and 7kW chargers require a single-phase power supply. Also, both type of chargers can be found in homes. However, only the 7kW is typically found in public places, commercial buildings and workplaces.

Another option is available: 22kW. This is the fastest, most powerful charger – but there are some limitations. Not every electric car can charge at this speed. However, the charger can still be used to charge at a lower speed.

Also, 22kW chargers aren’t available unless you have three phase power, which typically isn’t found in residential dwellings. However, they can be found in charging stations. A 22kW charging station is the fastest option, capable of a full charge in about 30 minutes.

Charging Locations

Typically, two charging locations are available:

  • At-home
  • Roadside charging stations

At-Home

As discussed above, 3.75kW and 7kW charger stations are commonly used in the home. You can also use a standard three-pin plug, which provides 3kW, to charge an electric car. However, this method – known as Trickle Charging – is very slow.

Rapid Charging Points at Roadside Charging Stations

While charging stations aren’t nearly as common as gas stations, their availability is quickly increasing as electric cars grow in popularity. (Interested in learning more about the future of car tech? Check out some predictions here.)

Rapid charging points use either a CCS or CHAdeMO connector type, which are found on most electric vehicles. These connectors provide 50kW of charging power. They can charge up to 80% of a full charge in just half an hour.

However, rapid charging stations are typically not used for daily driving. Instead, they’re designed for long distance driving. This is why most rapid charging points are typically found along major highways and interstates.

Daily Charging

Charging an electric car isn’t actually terribly different than charging a cell phone. You can “top off” the power level throughout the day as available. Then you can leave the car charging at night so it’ll be fully charged by the next morning.

Your car’s battery will charge itself whenever the car sits idle. You can also find charging stations throughout most cities. While they’re not nearly as common as gas stations, their availability is quickly increasing as electric cars grow in popularity.

Note that not all charging stations are rapid charging points. Most will typically range from 7kW to 22kW. You can use charging stations as needed throughout the day, and then do a full charge overnight at home.

Charging Times for Popular Electric Cars

As you might expect from one of the more expensive electric vehicles on the market, the Tesla Roadster has relatively quick charging times. A 240-volt Tesla High Power Wall Connector can provide a full charge in just 4 hours and 45 minutes. Roadsters used lithium-ion batteries, which are the same basic type of battery found in smart devices and laptop.

Lithium-ion batteries are also used in the Nissan LEAF, another popular electric vehicle. Using a 220/240-volt Nissan charging dock, the car can be fully charged in eight hours. It can also be charged using a 110/120-volt outlet, although that will take a long time.

Final Thoughts

Say goodbye to high prices at the pump. Electric cars are a more affordable and environmentally-friendly option to traditional gas-powered vehicles. Plus, keeping your car charged up is actually pretty easy. You can use charging stations throughout the day, and then use a home charger to fully power up the vehicle overnight. You’ll be able to use your electric car with ease no matter where you drive.

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