A guide to electric car charging times
What’s the average charge time for an electric car?
A full charge of an EV takes on average 8 hours - but this is rarely needed.
Charging your EV is different from refilling traditional petrol or diesel vehicle. Instead of the typical process of filling your car from empty to full, as you might do with a conventional car, most drivers top up their electric vehicle whenever the car is stationary and at any level of charge. This might be while you’re at home, in need of a quick 10-minute stop off on route or for a longer period while you’re at the shops. This means charging your is convenient for you and makes sure you continuously keep your EV topped up with enough power to get to where you’re going.
On the rare occasion that you do need to charge from empty to full, the average charge time is around 8 hours when using a typical fast 7kWh charger, which is commonly found at home or in public long stays, supermarkets or on-street chargers.
Charging your EV can get faster with the use of rapid chargers. These are the fastest chargers and you can usually find them at service stations or public short stays. A typical rapid charger has a rating of 50kW and can add 100 miles of range in 30 minutes - perfect for a quick top-up.
The amount of time it takes to charge an electric car from empty to full will ultimately depend on the size of the battery and the power of the charging point. If you like maths, the equation to calculate the charging time for your EV is:
Size of battery (kWh) divided by speed of charger (kW) = average time taken.
The bigger the battery and the slower the charging point, the longer it’ll take to charge. But don’t forget that as tech gets better, charging times are getting even shorter.
How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?
Depending on the battery size of your electric vehicle and your type of charger, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 12 hours to charge your car at home.
If you have the most common 7kW charger, it'll usually take about 4 to 8 hours to charge your car up fully - that's a full battery overnight. If you can’t install a dedicated home charger, then you can still use a 3-pin plug to charge up your car. These are known as Level 1 chargers, and provide the slowest type of charge. They can take up to 12 hours to charge your car.
The good news is that with EV-specific tariffs like Intelligent Octopus, you can set the app to time your charger so it will only charge your car during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower. Home charging is the most popular option as you can do it overnight while you sleep, or top up regularly throughout the day if your EV needs that extra boost.
How long does it take to charge an electric car at a public charging point?
The time it takes to charge your EV at a public charging point will depend on the speed of your charger and the size of your EV’s battery - exactly the same as when you're charging at home. Public charging points all have different chargers, ranging from slow to fast to rapid, so they all charge at different speeds.
Rapid and fast EV charging points are often available at supermarkets, shopping centres, service stations, hotels and some workplaces and can add as much as adding up to 100 miles of range in less than 35 minutes.
You might have also spotted a lamppost with a charging outlet for EVs? Those are typically slow chargers. Some of these are free to use, but for others you’ll need to subscribe or pay-as-you-go. It generally costs more to charge publicly than at home, but you’re paying for convenience while out and about.
To find electric charging points near you or for your next trip, check out the Electric Universe map.
What are rapid chargers?
As tech advances and EVs become more mainstream, rapid charging points are becoming more accessible, with many new cars now coming with the ability to charge at up to 150kW, which equals adding around 200 miles in 30 minutes of charging. Super speedy charging!
Most rapid chargers can charge electric vehicles from empty to 80% in under an hour, making them ideal for long trips and staying in public short stays like service stations. Tesla superchargers can even give you a full charge in under 40 minutes. Most are only available for Tesla cars, but have recently opened up for other brands as well.
What factors affect charging speed?
We’ve gone through how to calculate charging times and where you can recharge your EV, there are still a few things that can affect your electric car charges, these are:
- The size of the battery: a bigger battery (ie. a higher kWh) will take longer to charge than a smaller one
- The state of the battery: if you're starting from empty, it'll take longer to charge than if you're just topping up from 50%, ideal state for speed of charge is the battery to already have a charge between 20-80%
- The maximum charging rate of your car: some cars can only charge at a certain rate, so charging faster simply isn't possible on certain models. For instance, if your car has a max charge rate of 7kW, you won't be able to take charge faster with a 22kW charger
- The maximum charging rate of the charge point: if you're using a lower-powered charger, your car won't charge any faster either. So, if your car can charge at 11kW but you're only using a 7kW charger, it'll just charge at the lower speed
- Environmental factors: in cold weather, it may take slightly longer to charge, even if you're using a rapid charger. Cold temperatures can also make cars less efficient, so you may get fewer miles per hour of charging
- Number of cars charging at a location - if more than one car is plugged into a charger, it can decrease the charging speed of that unit ie. two cars charging at a 50kw charger will half the speed of charging
All in all, the time it takes to charge your EV can vary quite a bit depending on your car, the charger, and the location you are charging in. Using some planning ahead you can simply charge your EV when you’re not using it and be ready to go when you need it. To get more information on charging your EV in public check out Octopus Electric Universe and the Octopus Electric Vehicles charging page to find out more about home charging.
With our EV salary sacrifice scheme and personal leasing you'll get a free home charger so you can start taking advantage of cheaper, easier home charging right away. Simply browse electric cars to get started and get in touch with our EV experts for help if you need it.