Young woman talking on mobile phone while waiting for electric car to charge

How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?

If you’re interested in purchasing an electric car, you might wonder how long it takes to charge one. Keep reading to learn how long EV batteries last, the factors that impact charging time, and how long you can expect to charge an EV.

How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

While there’s currently no one-size-fits-all answer to how long EV batteries will last, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory does set a standard for EVs. They believe an electric vehicle and its battery must perform reliably for 10-15 years in various climates and duty cycles to compete with traditional gas-powered vehicles.

EV batteries are designed not to die outright, but will degrade over time. Some main factors contributing to battery degradation are overcharging, deep discharges, corrosion, and operating and storing in extreme temperatures.

Fortunately, many EV manufacturers provide generous warranties to help ensure you get the most out of your battery’s lifespan. For example, Nissan guarantees its 30, 40, and 62 kWh batteries will last at least eight years or 100,000 miles. Tesla offers an even better warranty for its Model S and Model X cars, guaranteeing they will last eight or 150,000 miles.

Factors That Impact EV Charging Time

Five main factors affect the time it takes to charge your electric car:

  • Size of battery — The larger the battery capacity — measured in kWh — the longer it will take to charge fully.
  • Fullness of battery — If you’re charging your battery from empty, it'll take longer to charge than if it was half-full.
  • Maximum charging rate of vehicle — An EV’s maximum charging rate is how much charge your car can accept at once. For example, if your EV has a maximum charging rate of 50 kW, it won’t charge any faster at a 350 kW station.
  • Maximum charging rate of charging station — Your charging time can also depend on the maximum charging rate of the station you’re using. So even if your car can charge at 50 kW, it will only receive 7.2 kW on a 7.2 kW charging station.
  • Weather conditions — Cold temperatures can affect your EV’s efficiency and lengthen its charging time, especially when using DC fast charging stations. Conversely, hot weather conditions can affect charging speeds. Charging a battery already generates heat, so when it’s exposed to scorching temperatures, your EV’s battery management system will prevent overheating by slowing down the charging speed.

How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car at Home?

How long it takes to charge an electric car at home partly depends on the type of charger you use. For home use, your two charging options are Level 1 and Level 2 chargers.

  • Level 1 — When you purchase a new EV, it comes with a Level 1 charger that plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet. Although these chargers are convenient and easy to use, their charging speeds are incredibly slow, offering 3-5 miles of range per hour. Even at its fastest speed, a Level 1 charger could take 30 hours to replenish your EV with 150 miles of range.
  • Level 2 — Level 2 chargers offer much faster speeds than Level 1 chargers. On average, they deliver 25 miles of range per hour. If you charge your EV overnight, you may have a full charge for your commute.

How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car at a Station?

Again, factors like battery size, battery fullness, the EV’s charging rate, the station’s power output, and weather conditions all affect charging speeds. Most public charging stations provide Level 2 charging, which offers an average of 25 miles of range per hour. This means a Level 2 public charging station could give you 100 miles of range in four hours.

There are also DC fast charging stations, which can provide up to 250 miles of range per hour. For example, the Tesla Supercharger can charge up to 250 kW, meaning you can recharge up to 200 miles in 15 minutes. DC fast charging stations aren’t as widely available as Level 2 stations, but they’re becoming easier to access as EVs grow in popularity.

How Much Will It Cost to Charge Up an Electric Car?

Kelley Blue Book suggests that it costs $55 per month on average to charge an electric car at home. However, this is only an estimate, as many factors determine electricity rates, such as the time of day, the season, and the region where you live.

When it comes to charging at public stations, they can be free, pay-as-you-go, or subscription-based. Generally speaking, the faster the speed, the higher the rate. For example, EVgo charges California network members around $1.50 per hour to charge on Level 2, and about $0.26 per minute for DC fast charging.

Fastest-Charging Electric Cars

According to Kelley Blue Book, the following are the fastest-charging electric cars currently available:

Ultimately, multiple factors determine how long it takes to charge your EV, such as battery size, battery fullness, the EV’s charging rate, the charger’s power output, and weather conditions. But as EVs continue to grow in popularity and the technology improves, charging speeds will likely increase, making it more convenient to own an electric vehicle.

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