How long does it take to charge an electric car?

There are a great many advantages to switching to an electric car. When compared with their petrol- or diesel-powered counterparts, they’re cheaper to run, cheaper to maintain and – as an increasing number of people become concerned about climate change – more ecological. However, many buyers still have questions about keeping one day-to-day and adjusting from stopping at petrol stations to charging up at a charging station.

To help, carwow has provided some essential information about electric motoring below:

What affects charging time?

The amount of time that it takes to charge your electric car varies based on the battery and charging point, but figuring it out should be pretty simple. For example, if your car has a 70kW (kilowatt) battery and is plugged into a 7kWh (kilowatt/hour) charger – the standard output of most public charging points – then it will take ten hours to charge from empty to full.

However, this figure is a worst-case scenario. It’s very unlikely that you will only charge your battery once it has totally run out of juice. You also don’t need to fill the battery up to 100% whenever you plug in, either. Instead, you’ll find that most charging sessions will just be a much quicker top-up before you hit the road again.

Charging at home (10-to-30-mile range per hour)

To charge your car at home, you will need to install a specialised charging point. These are usually wall-mounted and can charge your electric car while it’s sitting idly in your garage or driveway. If needs must, you can use a standard, three-pin charging cable as a back-up, but it’s not at all sustainable or practical in the long-term.

Electric batteries are dirt cheap to top up when compared with fuel tanks. While petrol typically costs around £1.30 per litre, charging an electric car only sets you back 14p per kWh. Typically, charging at home gives you anywhere between ten and 30 miles of range per hour.

Public charging points (20-to-80-mile range per hour)

Provided there are dedicated points, you can charge your car in public places like supermarkets, service stations or outside of your workplace. Public points like these usually offer 7kWh charging, which will give your car 20 to 30 miles of range per hour. There are also rarer, but gutsier, 22kWh points, which will give you 80 miles for every hour. However – outside of work – if you’re charging at these locations, it’s again very unlikely that you’re going to want to go from a totally empty battery to a completely full one.

If you want to find a particular public charging point for your electric car, check out this handy map.

Fast charging points (up-to-90-mile range per hour)

If you find yourself running low out of range halfway through a long drive, public fast-charging points are often the quickest way to top up your electric car’s batteries. You’ll most commonly find them installed in motorway service stations and public car parks. These chargers are usually rated at 50kWh. As a result, you can charge most electric cars from empty to 80% full in less than an hour.

Tesla Superchargers (fully charged in around 40 minutes)

Teslas are only becoming more and more popular in Europe and, to support this growing market, the manufacturer has introduced its Superchargers at shops, restaurants and service stations all over the continent. In 2019, Tesla will introduce its V3 Superchargers, which the brand says will become “the world’s fastest charging network.” They will deliver up to 250kWh and cost 24p per kWh to use. Plus, if you have the Tesla app, it lets you keep track of your car as it’s being charged while you’re elsewhere, relaxing or having a bite to eat.

Got more questions about electric cars? Take a look at these frequently asked questions:

How far can an electric car go?
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Find your nearest electric car charging point