To jump to some real-world charging times, see the table below!
The first thing to understand is that (electric vehicle) EV battery charging time depend on 4 main factors:
- Battery Capacity - What's the maximum amount of energy the battery can store? Larger batteries are usually slower to charge, but allow EVs to travel further between charges.
- Charge Point Power Rating - Measured in kW, the power rating describes the charging speed available at that plug in point: the higher the rating, the faster the charge. These typically range from 3.7kW (slow) to 250kW+ (rapid).
- Vehicle Max Charging Rate - There is a maximum power rating each EV will accept. If an EV's max charge rate is 22kW, then even if plugged into a 250kW charger, it will be limited to 22kW.
- Percentage of Current Charge - The more full the battery is, the faster it will reach 100% capacity. The exception is rapid charging, where the charge speed falls off significantly after reaching 80%.
Environmental factors also play their part. Most drivers will notice that charging is slower during the cold winter months, though the exact difference is hard to calculate.
To assess charging times properly, we’ve looked at 10 different EVs with varying battery capacities, each built with different technologies. We’ve split the times into two categories:
- Slow and fast chargers - Since the charging rate is constant, these are measured from 0% to 100% capacity.
- Rapid chargers - These are measured from 10% to 80%, since they’re designed to prioritise this range.
Charge Times for Popular Electric Vehicles
That’s a lot of data—what does it all mean?
When it comes to battery capacity, more is usually better since it translates to longer distances between charges. It’s also clear that the larger batteries take much longer to charge on slow & fast connections.
What’s least clear is probably the rapid charging results. Despite having twice the battery size of the Nissan Leaf, the Audi e-tron charges 10 minutes quicker at 150kW. The reason is that the Leaf is not designed to handle the 150kW power; its max charging rate is actually just 46 kW. The Audi’s limit is a massive 155kW and it makes full use of the rapid charger.
Non-EV drivers might be alarmed at the long charging times at 3.7kW and 7kW, but it’s not an issue. These chargers are mostly used for ‘topping up’ batteries at work or home. Since they’re rarely charged from 0%, the actual charge time is much shorter.
This table should give you a good idea of common EV charging times. However, most of the EVs in our table are entry-level models: most of them have higher-performance versions with bigger, faster-charging batteries.
Smart Charging: Why Everyone Should Embrace It
We can’t talk about EV charging times without discussing its future—smart charging.
Electricity grids aren’t ready for the mass adoption of EVs. If charged during peak hours, utilities would be unable to service the whole country’s demand. Smart charging is an elegant solution.
How it works
Drivers plug in their EVs anytime, but an automated system decides when to charge, typically during periods of reduced demand. This not only helps the utilities balance loads, but also gives drivers access to cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
This is the most simplistic model, known as V1G, and it makes sense—but smart charging could go much further.
Where V1G charges the car intelligently, V2G runs both ways: the car charges during off-peak hours but can also provide power to the grid during times of exceptional demand. A smart charging management system would adjust the rate of charge and direction automatically.
Based on real-time requirements, energy from the battery can power the home or connected building before recharging itself off-peak.
Is smart charging really feasible?
While the required infrastructure and technology is significant, we are more than up to the challenge. If we ever want global adoption of electric vehicles then solutions for smoothly distributing power across the country are absolutely necessary.
Throwing in that the drivers, utilities, and any commercial units offering charge points all stand to gain, it’s certainly an attractive option.
Now that you learned more about the EV battery charging time, it’s time to take a look at the FAQ section, where we have compiled a list of answers to common questions.
If there’s anything you might want to ask, please don’t hesitate to contact us via live chat. ↘