The answer depends on the battery capacity, charging capacity and the amount of charge you need. But before we can get there, let's look at how charging works in the first place.
Battery capacity is measured in kWh - think of this as being equivalent to the size of the “tank” on a petrol or diesel car
Charging capacity is measured in kW - this is how quickly electricity can be moved from the charger into the battery on your EV. Both your EV and the charging point you use will have an upper limit, so whichever has the lowest important one as this sets the maximum charging capacity.
How much charge you need - you will normally measure this as a percentage of your battery (for example, you want to top up to 80% from 10%).
In simple terms, the bigger your battery or the more charge you need, the longer it will take, while a higher charging capacity will reduce the amount of time it takes to charge.
If you want to see the maths, let’s look at an example; otherwise, feel free to skip ahead:
If your EV has an 80kWh battery which is currently 10% full, your charger can support charging at up to 22kW and you want to get to 80% full, this means that:
You currently have 8kWh in the battery (10% of 80kWh = 8kWh)
You need to get to 64kWh (80% of 80kWh = 64kWh)
You will need to supply 56kW of charge to top up the battery (64kWh - 8kWh)
At 22kW, this will take about 2.5hrs (56kWh / 22kW)
Another way to look at this is that your 80kWh battery would take around 3.75 hours to charge from flat to 100% on this charger (80kWh / 22kW). This means you can expect a charging performance of around 27% per hour (100% / 3.75 hours) for this vehicle and charger combination.
Does the charging time of an electric car vary based on the type of charger used?
Yes, and no. There are two types of chargers, AC and DC. An AC charger is what you’ll find at home when you plug your car in for overnight charging. A DC charger is used for public charging stations.
DC chargers almost always have a higher power rating than AC chargers, typically starting at around 50kW. This means that they are usually quicker when charging your EV (if your EV can support DC charging). AC chargers are usually less powerful, generally 7kW, 22kW or 43kW, so charging your EV on an AC charger will usually take longer.
Ultimately however, the time taken to charge will depend on the amount of power available to the charger during your charging session. Some charging points, especially public charging points, regulate the amount of power that they consume so that they don’t overload nearby electrical circuits; so even if a charging point can deliver a maximum power of 50kW, it may only deliver 20 or 30kW per hour during your charging session if that is the maximum power available at the time, which will mean your EV will take longer to charge.
How long does it take to charge an electric car using a normal household plug?
This will depend on the size of your battery. A small EV like a Nissan Leaf will have a small battery, for example around 24kWh, and a larger EV such as an Audi eTron will have a larger battery (e.g. 92kWh).
Using a household plug is the slowest way to charge your EV, as you will only be able to draw around 3.2kW of power from a typical household socket. Whilst you could charge a Nissan Leaf in around 8 hours using a household socket, it would take you nearly 29 hours to charge the Audi eTron!
Whilst most EVs come with an adaptor allowing you to charge from a household plug, it’s usually best to save this for emergencies and get a dedicated charging point installed at home. See our range of charge points here
How fast can I charge at home with an EV charger?
Home chargers run on AC power, which needs to be converted to DC power in order to recharge your EV. How fast you can charge depends on the power of your charger and the capacity of your vehicle’s inverter (which converts AC electricity into DC). Charging capacity is measured in kilowatts or kW and it's important to know the capacity of your vehicle’s inverter, because you won’t get the full benefit of a 22kW charger if your car only has a 7kW inverter.
Assuming you’re using a 7kW AC charger, a typical charge from 10% to 80% using a home chargepoint should take between 2.5 to 10 hours depending on the size of your battery, or less if you only need a quick top up.
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The charging time of an electric car depends on the battery capacity, the charging capacity and the amount of charge you need. Whilst you can get a speedy charge at a public DC charging station, it could take a bit longer if there isn’t enough power available to run the charging point at it’s full power. Finally, whilst you could charge your vehicle from a normal household socket, it’s definitely better to get a dedicated EV charging point installed at home if you can.