How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:4th July 2022

woman charging electric vehicle whilst using phone

Drivers have been sceptical about how long it takes to charge an electric car since they began to increase in popularity towards the end of the 2000s.

It’s understandable since drivers are used to filling up their vehicles with fuel in a matter of minutes. Of course, with electric vehicles, it isn’t that simple.

We have to charge our cars just like we charge our phones – it can be a slow process that we often do overnight.

How fast can you charge an electric car?

Of course, the rate at which you can expect your vehicle to charge depends on two main factors (and a few smaller ones).

Firstly, how large is your battery? A Mercedes EQV 300 has a capacity of 90kWh. However, a Nissan Leaf e+ has a battery capacity of 56kWh. Therefore, regardless of other factors, the Nissan is likely to charge faster as there is less capacity to charge.

The second factor to consider is the rate of the charger you are using. There are different types of EV charger, which we’ll get into below.

Knowing these two figures can help you easily determine how long it will take to charge your electric vehicle. This can be helpful when planning long journeys, or how to fit charging around your work schedule.

You can determine the time you’ll need by doing the following calculation:

Battery Size ÷ Charging Speed = Time Needed to Charge Vehicle

What are the different types of EV charger?

There are three main types of EV charger – rapid, fast and slow. As you can imagine, they are named for the speed at which they will charge your vehicle.

Rapid chargers

If you have access to rapid charging, you’ll be getting the fastest charging on the market. These chargers can provide anywhere from 40kW to 150kW depending on the model of charger and vehicle.

Rapid DC chargers are the most common rapid charging points and use CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards. They provide power at 50kW, meaning a vehicle with a battery capacity of 50kWh would take exactly one hour to fully charge.

However, Rapid DC isn’t the fastest! Ultra-Rapid DC provides power at double the amount of a Rapid DC charger. These charge points are designed to accommodate the fact that as EV technology develops, battery sizes are increasing. Ultra-Rapid DC keeps charging time down despite extra capacities.

Tesla drivers have also had access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. However, Elon Musk announced that the network is being made available to other types of vehicles towards the end of this year. On a similar note, owners of older Tesla models could use adapters to connect with other Rapid DC chargers, but all newer models are being made compatible with CCS charging.

Woman plugging charger into electric vehicle

Fast chargers

The most common faster chargers are rated at 7kW or 22kW, and tend to provide AC charging instead of the DC charging offered by Rapid chargers. Fast chargers are often found at home charging points, but can be seen in public parking places such as supermarkets where you are likely to park for at least an hour.

Most 7kW chargers are untethered, meaning drivers can attach their own charging cables. If a charge point is tethered, it means that only vehicles compatible with the attached cable can be used.

The Type 2 connector is the most common charge point standard. Most EVs have the capacity to connect to them, so it is beneficial to have as many of them in our charging infrastructure as possible.

Slow chargers

Slow chargers are said to be rated at 3kW, but the most common of them rated at 3.6kW. Slow charging includes the use of drawing from the mains with a three-pin plug.

This offers a good deal of options when it comes to charging away from home. If you are visiting another household, for example, you can plug your car into the mains and charge. The owner of the home does not need to have an EV charge point installed. However, most authorities on the subject do not recommend using a three-pin plug as an alternative to a dedicated EV charger.

Slow chargers are ideal for workplace and home parking, as vehicles tend to be left stationary for long periods of time. They wouldn’t be convenient at service stations for obvious reasons.

Making the transition to EVs

We know that EV infrastructure is improving rapidly every year, and we know that battery life and range is steadily increasing too.

Consider what is stopping you from shifting your business towards an EV fleet. Is it something Fuel Card Services could help with?

Many readers may already be getting cheaper fuel with a fuel card, but switching to an electric vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t continue reaping this benefit. With the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card, you’ll save 2p per kWh when you charge. You can also use the Shell EV Card to pay for regular fuel, if you want to make a gradual transition to EVs.

For example, we can keep your servicing and maintenance costs low with MyService.Expert, helping to keep your vehicles on the road consistently.

If you’re still concerned about range, we can help you make a full charge of battery go further with our Tele-Gence tracking system. If improved safety and automated reporting aren’t enough, you can find the most optimised routes to stop your drivers from burning through unnecessary charge!

Get in touch today and find out what we could do to help you make the switch to electric vehicles.