Charging Time

How long does it take to charge an electric car ?

How long does it take to charge an electric car? To be fair, this varies dependant on car and charger. Unlike petrol or diesel cars, charging is an important issue to be considered in the purchase. Electric cars take hours to fully charge, while a petrol car which can be filled up in minutes.


Charging times vary dependent on which electric car you own as well as the charging point you use.

Charging speed depends on the car’s battery capacity, the battery level at the time of connection, the charging capacity of each car model, the cable used for charging (single-phase or three-phase depending on the model).

Three charging options

Slow chargers (up to 3kW) which takes up to eight hours – more commonly found in the home

Fast chargers (7-22kW) which can recharge some models in less than four hours – the most common type at public charging spots

Rapid charging units (43-50kW) which can top up most cars by 80% in around half an hour – these are typically found on motorways at service stations, so are ideal for long journey.

Factors that influence time to charge

  • Vehicle acceptance Rate (The cars charger, in kW)
  • Vehicle Battery Capacity (in kWh)
  • Charger Delivery Rate (The chargers maximum output capacity, in kW)

Factors that influence power consumption

  • Braking – As for combustion engines using fuel, electric vehicles use extra power when fast acceleration and high speeds. EV’s utilise kinetic energy generated by the brakes during the process of slowing down.
  • EV in car functionality – In car media, lights, electric windows etc all have a impact on the vehicles consumption and range. This is a bigger issue when it comes to in car heating and air conditioning. (it should be borne in mind that the vehicle can be heated prior to the journey whilst still connected to the power source)

Charging Times

  • Recharging with a domestic plug into a regular household socket: 8 – 10 hours

Excluding sports and upmarket models, most electric cars are recharged in 8 – 10 hours on any 230 V power outlet through a cable with an adapter provided by the vehicle manufacturer. The ideal is to charge electric cars at night unless they can benefit from electricity produced by your solar panels!

  • Normal charging with a home charge point: 4-to-6 hours

It is possible to have a charging station for domestic electric vehicles installed at your home. macXcharging offer the ‘Wallstation charger designed to recharge electric cars at their customers’ homes for a budget of £750.00 plus installation (£500.00 available to qualifying customers for the government OLEV grant).

  • Corporate semi-quick charging: 1¼ hours

Companies can install more powerful connections for recharging their fleets. They also generally have three-phase circuits, which greatly reduces the charging time compared to recharging at home.

  • Quick charging at petrol stations: 30 Minutes

A very powerful terminal can charge an electrical battery to 80% in a half hour.This time could be further reduced in the coming years: the manufacturer Tesla is currently developing an electrical terminal capable of fully charging a battery in a matter of minutes. The electrical power needed is enormous: 600 kilowatts, equivalent to the connecting power of 70 houses!

Meaning of Terms

W - Watt ?

A Watt is a unit of power. In the international system of units (SI) it is defined as a derived unit of 1 joule per second, and is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer.

kWh - Kilowatt ?

A standard unit of electrical power equal to 1000 watts, 1.34 horsepower, or an energy consumption rate of 1000 joules per second. Simply put, it describes capacity of electric car batteries.

Wh / km ?

Looking at energy use by an EV, using the electric equivalent of litres of fuel used per kilometre of distance travelled.

Wh/km means the energy consumed on average to travel a kilometer. Represented as KWh/km (1000Wh/km) or sometimes it can be represented as km/Wh or km/kWh, dependent on geographical location.

AC Charging ?

Alternative Current. This is the electrical standard provided by household wall sockets (or mains). This is in contrast to DC, which stands for Direct Current, and is the mode of delivery from a battery.

AC = Power from a wall socket
DC = Power from a battery

In simple terms standard car chargers deliver current via AC from the houshold supply and the EV converts this to DC.

Single / Three Phase AC Charging ?

Both single phase and three phase power supplies refer to units both using allternating current (AC), the flow of current is constantly alternating directions. The primary difference is the rate of supply, three phase having the ability to supply a greater current to the EV.

Three phase electrcity is more expensive to install in homes and businesses.

DC Charging ?

DC charging utilises an external device to the EV that converts the AC current to DC current allowing a direct DC feed into the car. The latest ‘fast chargers’ allow 350kW DC to be supplied to EV’s capable of acceoting this supply.

Power Plug types ?

Similar to connectors for mobile phones, several have a different connection. The supply is the same its just the connection that differs. Type 1 and type 2 connectors deliver the same supply, however, through different connectors.

Importantly nearly all charging points deliver current via type 2. Similarly it appears that type 2 will be the standard choice of connection for the industry in the futire.

Regenerative braking ?

Regenerative braking allows the EV to utilise its kinetic energy to generate energy for the battery systems whilst the car is braking. Normally the heat generated by the friction of the brakes would be wasted.