How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Charging an electric car takes longer than filling a petrol or diesel car’s fuel tank, but exactly how much longer will depend on what kind of charger you use. To help you work out how much time you’ll have to kill we’ve put together a guide to the different chargers available.

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Charging times using common chargers
Tesla supercharger Public fast charging point Public charging point Home wall charger Home three-pin socket
Charging speed (miles per hour’s charge) Approximately 210 miles Approximately 150 miles Between 30 and 80 miles Between 15 and 30 miles Approximately 7.5 miles
Usual power output 120kW 50kW 22KW or 7Kw 7Kw or 3.7kW 3kW

Public fast-charging points

Public fast-charging points are often the quickest way to top up your electric car’s batteries if you find yourself running low out of range halfway through a long drive. You’ll most commonly find them installed in motorway service stations and public car parks.

These chargers are usually rated at 50kWh – this means they can supply a battery with 50kW of energy every hour. As a result, you can charge most electric cars from almost empty to approximately 80-per-cent charged in about half an hour.

If you own a Tesla you can use one of the company’s Supercharging fast chargers. These can supply as much as 120kw of energy – enough to fully charge an 85 kWh Model S from completely empty in 75 minutes. Models with more powerful batteries, such as the P100D, will take longer to charge but have a greater range as a result.

Some manufacturers recommend you don’t use these rapid chargers too often. Overusing them can damage the batteries, eventually reducing the car’s range and shortening the lifespan of the batteries. Fast charging points are quite expensive to use, too, so you’ll probably be better off using a slower but cheaper public charging point for regular top-ups.

Public charging points

You’ll also be able to charge your car at other, less speedy public charging points. These usually come in 7kWh and 22kWh varieties. Using a 7 kWh charger you’ll be able to boost your car’s range by approximately 30 miles for every hour of charging, while beefier 22kWh chargers can add around 80 miles of range in the same 60-minute period.

Home charging

You can get wall chargers installed in your home or garage, too. These usually come in 7kWh and 3.7kWh outputs. The former will be just as fast as a 7kWh public charger but the slower 3.7kWh system will only be able to add around 15 miles of range every hour. You’ll still be able to charge your car from empty to 100-per-cent charged overnight, however.

These wall chargers range in price from less than £300 to more than £1,000, but the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme means you can apply for a Government grant to cover 75 per cent of the purchase and installation cost. This grant is capped at £500.

If you don’t have a wall charger fitted your other option is to charge your car using a conventional three-pin socket. Unfortunately, these are rated at just 3kWh so fully charging your car will take significantly longer as a result. Unless you do very short journeys, it’s best to consider this a backup rather than a regular means of charging your car.

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