How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car? — Lectron EV Skip to content
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How fast can I charge my EV?

How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?

For new electric vehicle (EV) drivers, developing a charging habit can be quite tricky. Unlike gas-powered cars that take just a few minutes to fill up (save for when the lines are long) EV charging is a different ballgame. The time it takes to fully charge an EV not only hinges on how many cars came in line before you but is dependent on several factors.

While it’s difficult to come up with the exact number of minutes it will take to charge your EV, understanding the various factors influencing charging times can help you manage your time efficiently and plan your trips accordingly.

Charging Levels

Electric cars can be charged at different levels, each with varying charging times. The three primary levels are:

  • Level 1 Chargers:
    • Charging Speed: Level 1 chargers operate on a standard 120-volt household outlet and offer a charging speed of 3-6 miles of range per hour. Although it's the slowest option, providing approximately 50 miles of added range for an 8-hour charging session, Level 1 chargers are sufficient for many daily commutes.
    • Installation: The convenience of Level 1 chargers lies in their simplicity. No special installations are required; just plug the charger into a standard 120V outlet, and you're ready to charge.
    • Use Case: Ideal for individuals with shorter commutes and easy access to charging, Level 1 chargers, provide a practical solution to keep your EV charged for daily use.
  • Level 2 Chargers:
    • Charging Speed: Level 2 chargers, operating at 240 volts, offer double the power of Level 1. With a charging time of 4-6 hours, Level 2 chargers are significantly faster and can efficiently charge an average EV battery.
    • Stationary Level 2 Chargers: Some stationary Level 2 chargers, like the Lectron V-Box and V-Box Pro (available in 48A and 40A versions), provide even higher power, adding up to an impressive 46 miles of range per hour. This makes them an excellent choice for those looking to charge their EVs quickly at home or in designated charging areas.
    • Installation: Level 2 chargers may require professional installation due to their higher voltage, but they are a practical choice for EV owners looking to reduce charging times.
  • DC Fast Charging:
    • Charging Speed: DC fast chargers operate at a higher voltage and can provide up to 20 miles of range per minute. This allows EV owners to reach 80% battery capacity in as little as 10-40 minutes, making them ideal for long-distance travel and quick top-ups during the day.
    • Availability: DC chargers are commonly found in public charging stations along highways and in urban areas, providing EV owners with the convenience of fast charging during road trips or when time is of the essence.

Battery Capacity

The size of an electric car's battery, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), plays a crucial role in determining charging time. Battery capacity has a direct impact on your EV’s range. Think of it as your fuel tank. The longer your EV can travel on a single charge, the bigger its battery capacity. And larger batteries take longer to charge than smaller ones. However, advancements in battery technology are continually improving charging efficiency.

State of Charge

The current state of your battery's charge also influences the charging time. State of Charge (SOC) refers to the amount of energy remaining in the battery compared to its total capacity.

Ideally, once your battery level goes down to around 20%, you should plug it in and wait until it reaches 80%. Charging from a nearly depleted battery to a full charge may take longer than adding a few kilowatt-hours to an already partially charged battery. Not to mention that it puts a lot of stress on the battery. It's also essential to note that lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in EVs, exhibit a charging characteristic known as the "charging curve," where charging is typically faster when the battery has a lower SOC and gradually slows down as it approaches full capacity.

Charging Infrastructure

The availability and accessibility of charging infrastructure significantly impact the convenience of owning an electric car. The more widespread and efficient the charging network, the easier EV owners can find charging stations when needed.

For most EV owners, home charging is king. However, those who live in homes not suitable for EV charging, regardless of the kind of installation, will need to find nearby public chargers. Supermarkets, malls, offices, and even gas stations are often equipped with chargers that are either completely free or have a minimal fee.

Home Charging vs. Public Charging

Home charging is often the most convenient option for many electric car owners. With a Level 2 home charger, you can ensure your vehicle is ready to go each morning. On the other hand, public charging stations, especially DC fast chargers, offer a quick way to top up during road trips or emergencies.

However, DC charging is significantly more expensive than home charging due to the high-power delivery and the infrastructure required to support these rapid charging stations. Additionally, frequent rapid charging can take a toll on your battery’s health in the long run.

Weather Conditions

Charging speed can also be influenced by external factors, with weather conditions playing a significant role in the efficiency of the charging process. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can impact the charging speed of electric vehicles.

In colder climates, where temperatures drop below freezing, lithium-ion batteries may experience a decrease in performance. Cold weather can lead to increased battery resistance, slowing down the charging process and reducing overall efficiency. On the other hand, hot weather conditions can also pose challenges by causing the battery to heat up during charging, which may trigger thermal management systems to slow down the process to prevent overheating.

While charging levels primarily dictate how long it will take to charge your EV, there are other factors—some you may not even recognize—that directly influence charging times. The process may currently pose a unique set of considerations, but in the not-too-distant future, we can anticipate further improvements that can address these factors for more efficient and consistent charging.

 

Lectron is Leading the Charge

Lectron is on a mission to make electric vehicle charging fast, easy and affordable for all EV drivers. We offer a wide selection of convenient and easy-to-use EV charging stations, chargers and adapters. Lectron is pioneering ways of eliminating range anxiety and compatibility issues for both Tesla and J1772 EV drivers by making it easier and more reliable than ever to charge EVs at home and on the road.

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