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How long does it take to charge an electric car?

December 6, 2021 | Wesley van Barlingen and Callum Biggins

Electric mobility is on the rise—so much so the electric vehicle (EV) market is forecast to be worth £1.4 trillion by 2028. With EV prices declining and a larger model variety than ever before, over 45 percent of people are now considering an electric car for their next vehicle.

While there has never been a better time to drive electric, with so many models to choose from and new terminology to get your head around, making the switch can be daunting. Plus, if you’ve never driven electric before, you probably have a lot of questions, one being: how long does it take to charge an electric car?

A semi-casual man plugging in his electric vehicle to a public charging station in the city of Amsterdam.

Top-up charging

Before we start, it is important to understand how the EV-driving mindset differs from driving a fuel-powered vehicle. 

Typically, fuel vehicle drivers fill up their tanks whenever the fuel gauge reads close to empty. When it comes to electric cars however, instead of letting the battery drain completely before recharging, most EV drivers top up whenever they park. Whether that’s at home overnight, at work, or at the supermarket, with a charging station on hand, all that valuable parking time can be used to keep the battery topped up and ready to go.

A woman charging her electric vehicle whilst passing the time on her phone.

What impacts electric car charging time?

1. Battery size

Just like the size of a fuel tank, the size of an electric car's battery determines how much energy a vehicle can hold. Measured in kilowatt hours (kWh)—the electric equivalent to litre or gallon of fuel—the bigger the battery, the longer it will take to charge. For example, larger EVs such as the Porsche Taycan or the Tesla Model S that have greater battery capacities (90 kWh and 75 kWh respectively), will take longer to charge at the same power output as a smaller vehicle.

2. State of charge (empty vs. full)

Similar to the fuel gauge in a fuel car, state of charge (SoC) refers to how much energy your electric car can use between ‘full’ and ‘empty’. Like smartphones and laptops, EV’s use lithium-ion batteries which degrade faster when drained to zero and then fully charged.

To counter this, car manufacturers put systems in place to prevent batteries draining below or charging above certain limits—typically above 80 percent and below 20 percent. This means charging from 80 to 100 percent could take as long or longer than the initial charge.

3. Charging capacity of the vehicle

Whilst larger batteries store more power, it doesn’t necessarily mean they always take longer to charge as some vehicles can take a higher input of power than others. For example, the Tesla Model 3 has a charging capacity of up to 250 kW, whilst the Peugeot e-208 only supports up to 50 kW charging. Therefore, with fast charging that supports up to 250 kW, the Tesla’s battery will charge much faster than the Peugeot, despite housing a much larger battery.

4. Weather conditions

Environmental conditions play a vital role in how fast you can charge. Batteries operate most efficiently when temperatures are between 20–25°C. If temperatures get too low or too high the vehicle’s battery management system (BMS) reduces power to protect the battery. As a result, it can take slightly longer to charge, particularly when using a fast charging station.

5. Charging capacity of the charging station

Aside from the above, one of the most influential factors on charging time is the capacity of the charging station. There are different levels of charging, and generally speaking, the higher the Level the faster it can charge your vehicle. Below, we will take a look at each Level and see how they compare.

A young professional man charging his EV whilst passing the time on his phone.

Charging times for each charging Level

Level 1 charging speed

Level 1 charging refers to plugging the cable that came with your electric car into a standard household outlet. Charging via a domestic socket is the slowest way to charge an electric car. They deliver up to 2.3 kW (10 A). This equates to 4 to 5 miles of range per hour.

So, for example, if you’re looking to fully charge a 50 kW Peugeot e-208 with a Level 1 charger, it would take 24 hours and 30 minutes. This method is not only slow, but under certain circumstances, it can be dangerous. Learn about why we don’t recommend this charging method.

Level 2 charging speed

Level 2 charging refers to using a charging station that is either placed on a wall, pole, or stands on the ground to charge your EV. Given their price point and charging speed, Level 2 chargers are commonly found at residential and commercial locations. 

Depending on the power output of the charging station and the vehicle type, charging on a Level 2 charging station is roughly 5 to 15 times faster than charging via a regular socket. 

Level 2 chargers come with a range of charging capabilities. Charging for an hour with a 7.4 kW charger delivers about 25 miles of range, an 11 kW charger about 37 miles of range, and a 22 kW charger around 75 miles of range. These calculations are estimates based on the average battery use of 18 kWh per 62 miles. 

To put this into perspective, to fully charge a 50 kW Peugeot e-208 with an 11 kW Level 2 charging station, it would take only 5 hours and 15 minutes—significantly faster than the Level 1 example.

Level 3 charging speed

Also known as fast charging, Level 3 charging uses direct current (DC) to charge. In short: Level 3 chargers deliver more power, faster, making them ideal for short-stop locations like service stations and fleet depots. As it is available at a much higher voltage, it goes without saying that Level 3 chargers are more powerful than Level 1 and Level 2 charging. 

As its name suggests, fast charging is the fastest way to charge an electric car, taking minutes instead of hours. Level 3 chargers come in many different sizes and charging capacities. That, in combination with the many vehicles and battery types out there, makes it impossible to provide an exact answer in regards to charging speed. However, we can give you a reliable estimate per vehicle type based on the average battery size and power output.

EV charging times

Type of EV Small EV Medium EV Large EV Light Commercial 
Average Battery Size (right) 
Power Output (Below)
 25 kWh 50 kWh 75 kWh 100 kWh
2.3 kW 10h30m 24h30m 32h45m 43h30m
7.4 kW 3h45m 7h45m 10h00m 13h30m
11 kW 2h00m 5h15m 6h45m 9h00m
22 kW 1h00m 3h00m 4h30m 6h00m
50 kW 36 min  53 min 1h20m 1h48m
120 kW  11 min 22 min 33 min 44 min
150 kW 10 min 18 min 27 min 36 min
240 kW  6 min 12 min 17 min 22 min

Approximate time to charge the battery from 20 percent to 80 percent state of charge (SoC). For illustrative purposes only: Does not reflect exact charging times, some vehicles
will not be able to handle certain power inputs and/or do not support fast charging.
 

An EVBox public charging station plugged into a BMW i3 outside a hotel.

How long will it take an electric car to charge in the future?

As electric mobility technology continues to advance, it won’t be long before charging electric cars gets even faster. With new lithium-ion battery materials out there as well as all-solid-state batteries in the works, many companies are already investing in ways to make charging more stable, safe, and affordable than today’s best-performing batteries. In 5 to 10 years, recharging an electric car under 20 minutes could be the new standard.

Looking ahead, many scientists and engineers are already working on speeding up charging time even further. A team of Harvard researchers recently designed a lithium-ion battery prototype that, under laboratory conditions, can recharge over 50 percent of its capacity in just three minutes—and do so thousands of times without significantly degrading. This, the researchers say, could pave a path toward batteries that can recharge fully in as little as 10 minutes. So, it’s safe to say the future is looking bright for super-fast charging.


While there’s no simple answer when it comes to how long it takes to recharge an electric car today, we hope this overview helps you narrow down an approximate time for your situation. If you’re looking to charge your EV at home, using a certified Level 2 charging station is always the fastest and safest option. Plus, by following these best practices, you can extend your EV’s life expectancy even further.

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