Skip advert
Advertisement
Your questions answered

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

It can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days to charge an electric car, depending on how you do it. Here's why...

It’s no secret that it takes a little longer to top up an electric car than a petrol or diesel-powered model. Even if you use one of the fastest ultra-rapid chargers around, it’ll still take your average EV around half-an-hour, or possibly longer, to go from 10-80% charge.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It’s not all doom and gloom though – that 10-80% top up represents hundreds of miles of added range you can put into your car in just a few minutes. Plus, if you don't plan on doing many journeys longer than your EV’s maximum range, you’re probably going to do the majority of your charging at home, overnight.

So, while there isn’t one answer to the question ‘how long does it takes to charge an electric car?’, here we explain the main charging options at your disposal and the difference each one makes to the amount of time your car will need to spend plugged in.

Home charging

The amount of time it takes to charge an electric depends on two factors: the speed of the charger you’re using, which is measured in kW, and the size of the battery you’re topping up, measured in kWh. A quick way to know how long it'll take to charge your electric car is to use the simple formula: total charging time = kWh ÷ kW. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

For example, if you’re planning to fully replenish an EV with a 77kWh battery using a 7kW wallbox, that will take 11 hours. Some wallboxes are even faster though, capable of speeds up to 11kW or even 22kW, but these require three-phase electricity supply and are more expensive to buy.

Most home wallboxes or home chargers provide around 7kW, which is plenty to top up your average overnight. This is also the speed slower public charging points like those on London’s streets will provide, which allows those without private parking or a driveway where they can install a wallbox to get an electric car.

It is true that you can charge an electric via a standard three-pin domestic socket, but these can only draw a maximum of 3kW, and some car manufacturers advise against using mains sockets for regular charging, as the high amperage drawn over such a long period of time can cause overheating of the socket. Therefore, we recommend consulting a qualified electrician if you’re likely to regularly charge your electric vehicle from a standard mains socket, but a wallbox remains the better option for speed and reliability, if you can have one installed.

BP Pulse charging

Public charging

The UK’s network of public EV charging points has grown exponentially over the past few years. As of June 2022, there are more than 32,000 individual chargers across the country, and that figure is still climbing. There are several types of public chargers – fast, rapid and ultra-rapid – each capable of certain speeds.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Fast chargers are capable of speeds ranging from 7 to 22kW, and are ideal for overnight charging if you don’t have your own wallbox, or topping up your car while shopping or at work. These usually don’t have a cable built-in, so just be sure you’ve got your charging cable with you if you plan on using one.

Then there’s rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, which will reach speeds upwards of 50kW and 150kW respectively, with the absolute fastest ultra-rapid chargers out there right now providing 350kW. Using one of these chargers, a 10-80% top-up of your average EV will take just over half-an-hour, or just 20 minutes if you get one with the latest tech.

What’s more, rapid chargers and ultra-rapid chargers are now much more commonplace, and you’ll even find them in supermarket car parks, fast food restaurants and plenty of service stations. Dedicated EV charging hubs and forecourts featuring dozens of charging points are also being erected to service the thousands of EV drivers on British roads. If you’re struggling to locate these types of chargers, apps like Zap-Map can help you find those near you or a destination, and show you what network runs them and the speeds they’re capable of.

Kia EV6 IONITY charging

Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers have a built-in cable and feature two types of connector: CCS and CHAdeMO. The latter is much less common and is only found on some models like the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV and Lexus UX 300e, while you'll find a CCS connector on most new electric cars. Plus, the fastest ultra-rapid chargers don't have a CHAdeMO cable, so just be aware.

It’s also worth noting that because the charger you’re using can reach 350kW, doesn’t mean your battery will be topped up at that rate. One reason is your car might not be capable of charging that fast, so it’s worth finding out the maximum charging speed of any EV you’re looking at, especially if you do lots of long journeys and may need to use rapid chargers a far bit.

Finally, when using a rapid charger and you get to 80%, the rate of charge will start to slow down. This is to protect the health of the car’s battery, so it’s more efficient to stop charging at 80% and continue on your way, even if that means stopping for another charge later in your journey – only charge it to 100% when you really need to.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Lidl electric car charging to be paid for via reward app
Lidl electric car charging terminal
News

Lidl electric car charging to be paid for via reward app

10 Jul 2024
Lotus Emeya is now the fastest charging car in the world
Lotus Emeya Charging
News

Lotus Emeya is now the fastest charging car in the world

12 Jun 2024
Ionity cuts electric car charging prices and expands UK network
IONITY chargers
News

Ionity cuts electric car charging prices and expands UK network

5 Jun 2024
Polestar 2 review
Polestar 2 - header
In-depth reviews

Polestar 2 review

4 Jun 2024

Most Popular

Alfa Romeo Junior review
Alfa Romeo Junior Elettrica 280 Veloce - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo Junior review

The first fully-electric Alfa is a special yet useable small SUV
10 Jul 2024
New Ford Capri: Ford’s icon revived as an electric coupe-SUV
New Ford Capri - front tracking
News

New Ford Capri: Ford’s icon revived as an electric coupe-SUV

Ford has finally unveiled the the new Capri, but forget the low-slung coupe of old, the iconic nameplate returns as an electric SUV
10 Jul 2024
Where are electric cars most popular? The top UK EV locations revealed
Electric Vauxhall Astra being charged via on-street charging
News

Where are electric cars most popular? The top UK EV locations revealed

Over one million vehicles have been registered since the start of the year, but which areas are leading the EV charge and what are the most popular mo…
8 Jul 2024