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Electric Car Charging Times

Thinking of going electric? Electric car charging times are definitely one of the most important considerations when choosing the right vehicle. 

So to help you better understand electric car charging times, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together a handy guide that covers how long it takes to charge an electric car, the factors that influence charging times and what electric cars are the fastest to charge. 

An electric car with a charging point connected

How long does it take to charge an electric car? 

The time it takes to charge an electric car depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point

  • At a slow charger (3.7kW): Up to 14 hours to charge from empty-to-full.
  • At a fast charger (7kW): Up to seven hours to charge from empty-to-full. 
  • At a rapid charger (50kW): Up to 60 minutes to charge up to 80%. This is because most rapid chargers reduce or cut power well before 100% charge to protect the battery and maximise efficiency.

What factors affect charging electric car charging speed?

Just like electric car charging costs, there are several factors that can affect the charging time of an electric vehicle. Some have been restricted by the vehicle manufacturer to extend battery life, others relate to environmental factors at the time of charging.  

Factors that can affect charging speed include:

  1. A graphic showing car battery capacity

    Size of battery

    The bigger the car’s battery, the longer it will take to charge from empty-to-full. For example, a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery takes around six hours to charge from a home 7kW charger, whereas a Jaguar I-PACE with a larger 90kWh battery takes around 13 hours to charge.

  2. A graphic of a car with a low battery

    State of battery

    If you are charging from empty, it will take longer to charge than if you are topping up from 50%. For this reason, most EV drivers top up the charge on their car rather than waiting for their battery to recharge from empty-to-full. 

  3. A graphic showing an electric car with cable

    Vehicle max charging rate

    You can only charge an EV’s battery at the maximum charge rate the vehicle can accept. For example, if your vehicle’s max charge rate is 7kW, you can’t charge any faster by using a 22kW chargepoint.

  4. A graphic of an electric charge point

    Chargepoint max charging rate

    The time it takes to charge will also be limited by the max charging rate of the chargepoint you are using. For example, even if your vehicle can charge at 11kW, it will only charge at 7kW on a 7kW chargepoint.

  5. A graphic of a rain drop

    Weather conditions

    A colder ambient temperature can slightly increase charging times, particularly when using a rapid charger. Colder temperatures also mean vehicles are less efficient, as you tend to use more functions such as the heater and demister functions, so less miles are added per time charging.

Electric car charging comparison

To help you understand the different electric car charging times, we’ve compared three popular EV models, all with differing battery capacity. However, it’s important to note that the times shown in all of the following tables are only a guide, as it’s rare that an EV needs to be fully charged from 0%. Other factors such as ambient temperature, in-vehicle energy loads, charging restrictions to extend battery life will also have an impact on charging times.

How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?

Most EV drivers choose to charge their electric car at home overnight, as this is often the easiest and cheapest way to top up a car’s EV batteries. Here in the UK, there are two types of charging options at home:

  • Standard three-pin domestic plugs (3.7kW) provide up to 15 miles range per hour
  • Wallbox home EV charging units (7kW - 22kW) 7kWs provide up to 30 miles range per hour whereas 22kWs provides up to 90 miles range per hour 
Battery size Time to charge 3.7kW Time to charge 7kW
Nissan Leaf 40kWh 40kWh 14 hours (0-100%) 6 hours (0-100%)
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 50kWh 20 hours (0-100%) 8.5 hours (0-100%)
Jaguar I-Pace EV400 90kWh 30 hours (0-100%) 13 hours (0-100%)

How long does it take to charge an electric car at a public charging station? 

Here in the UK, there are four types of public charging points:

  • On-street & lamp post public slow chargers (3kW - 6kW) provide up to 15 miles range per hour
  • Car park fast public chargers (7kW - 22kW) 7kWs provide up to 30 miles range per hour whereas 22kWs provides up to 90 miles range per hour 
  • Motorway service station rapid chargers (43kW - 50kW) provide up to 90 miles range in 30 minutes
  • Rapid superchargers (100kW – 150kW) provide up to 200 miles range in 30 minutes
Battery size Time to charge 22kW Time to charge 43-50kW Time to charge 100-150kW
Nissan Leaf 40kWh 40kWh 6 hours (0-100%) 40 mins (0-100%) N/A
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 50kWh 5.5 hours (0-100%) 1 hour (0-100%) 20 mins (0-80%)
Jaguar I-Pace EV400 90kWh 13 hours (0-100%) 1.5 hours (0-80%) 45 mins (0-80%)

How long does it take to charge an electric car at work?

Many UK businesses are opting to install electric car charging facilities to meet sustainability targets and reduce fleet costs. For employees, charging at work can be a convenient way to recharge their EV whilst parked during the day. 

Here in the UK, there are two ways to charge your car at work:

  • Standard three-pin domestic plugs (3kW) provide up to 15 miles range per hour
  • Commercial wallbox home-charging units (7kW - 22kW) 7kWs provide up to 30 miles range per hour whereas 22kWs provides up to 90 miles range per hour 

Battery size Time to charge 22kW Time to charge 7kW
Nissan Leaf 40kWh 40kWh 6 hours (0-100%) 6 hours (0-100%)
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 50kWh 5.5 hours (0-100%) 8.5 hours (0-100%)
Jaguar I-Pace EV400 90kWh 13 hours (0-100%) 13 hours (0-100%)

How often do you have to charge an electric car?

The answer to this depends on several factors including the type of charger you’re using, how much energy you need and how efficiently you drive. This all determines how much range you will get per charge.

Other factors which impact range include:

  1. A graphic of a car speeding

    Speed

    Accelerating hard or too much slowing down and speeding up can reduce battery performance, so try to keep your driving smooth and steady to maximise your range.

  2. A graphic of car with manual transmission

    Driving style

    More speed uses more energy, so the faster you drive the more often you’ll have to charge. Eco Mode and regenerative braking can also help increase the time between charges.

  3. A graphic of a road

    Topography

    Pulling your car uphill takes more energy than driving on the flat, however, when you drive back down, you can recover some of that lost energy via regenerative braking.

  4. A graphic of a rain drop

    Weather conditions

    The ambient temperature can affect your battery’s capacity, as well as the energy you use to heat and demist the car.

  5. A graphic of a car with two passengers

    Number of passengers

    The number of passengers you're carrying or how full your boot is also takes up more energy, so try to limit the amount of weight you carry in the car whenever possible.

Top up charging is also an effective way to keep your electric car charged and ready to go. It’s often easier and quicker to simply keep the cells topped-up. You can also make use of quicker chargers from 22kW upwards, helping to avoid range anxiety, particularly on longer journeys. 

What are the fastest electric cars to charge?

  1. A red Tesla Model 3 driving on an open road

    Tesla Model 3

    Top of the list is the Tesla Model 3. In 2020, the Tesla Model 3 broke a Guinness World Record as the fastest charging electric vehicle, taking two hours less to charge than the previous world record holder.

    Available with a choice of ranges, the Model 3 offers between 250 and 350 miles of range on a single charge, depending on the model. As with all Tesla vehicles, the Model 3 can also be charged at the Tesla Supercharger network, with the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus charging from 0 to 80% in just 20 mins at a rapid 150kW station, meaning your stops at service stations get a whole lot snappier.

    The Tesla Model 3 range uses the CCS charging standard, which consists of a combined AC and DC inlet port. The top portion of the inlet is for the Type 2 connector, which is used when charging at home, or at public slow and fast AC points. Both the upper and lower sections on the inlet are used to carry high power during rapid DC charging. 

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  2. A black Polestar 2 driving on the road

    Polestar 2

    Next up is the Polestar, the second model in Volvo’s electrified performance arm and the first pure-electric car to bear the name. With a range of 292 miles on a charge, the Polestar 2 rivals the likes of Tesla’s Model 3 and the Jaguar I-Pace. 

    The Polestar 2 can be charged using slow, fast and rapid charge points, depending on the network and type of charge unit. On a fast 22kW charger, the Polestar 2 takes just seven hours to charge from empty-to-fill but can be charged from 0-80% in as little as 25 mins on a rapid 150kW supercharger. 

    The Polestar 2 is fitted with an 11kW on-board charger for Type 2 AC charging as standard. If charging at home or at a workplace charge point, the vehicle automatically starts charging but on a public charger, an activation process is required to initiate charging which may require the use of an electric car charging card (RFID card) depending on the network supplier. 

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  3. A silver Audi e-Tron Sportback driving on the road

    Audi e-tron Estate

    Giving the Mercedes Benz EQC and the Jaguar I-PACE a run for their money in the premium EV SUV market is the Audi e-tron. Available with a 71 kWh or 95 kWh battery, as well as in a range of body styles and performance models, the Audi e-tron ranges start at 176 miles and raise to 258 miles on a single charge. 

    The Audi e-tron can be slow, fast and rapid charged from public points, depending on the network and type of charge unit. Audi e-tron 55 quattro models are capable of ultra-rapid charging at up to 150kW DC for a rapid charge from empty to 80% in just 30 minutes, and e-tron quattro models able to charge at up to 120kW DC.

    The Audi e-tron is fitted with an 11-kW on-board charger for Type 2 AC charging as standard. There is also an optional 22 kW on-board charger available, allowing the Audi e-tron to be charged at all available fast charge points at maximum speed.

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  4. A white Tesla Model S driving on the road

    Tesla Model S

    The Tesla Model S has long been the poster boy of the electric vehicle movement, with a longer available range than many mainstream EVs. With seating for up to seven, four-wheel drive, and multiple battery options for varying driving ranges, the Model S is also one of the most flexible EV models on the market.

    The Tesla Model S uses the Type 2 charging standard, which is used for both AC and DC charging and is fitted with a 16.5 kW on-board charger as standard. Using the Tesla Supercharger network, the Tesla Model S Long Range can be charged at a rapid 120Kw supercharger in just 40 mins from empty to 80% or in just six hours at a fast 22kw charger. 

    The Tesla Model S can be slow, fast, and rapid charged from public points, depending on network and type of charge unit and is currently available with a choice of Long Range or Performance specifications.

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  5. A blue Tesla Model X driving on the road

    Tesla Model X

    Finally, no list would be complete without the Tesla Model X. Offering much of the range and performance of the more famous Model S, but with greater practicality, the Model X is available with between five and seven seats and all-wheel drive configuration and a choice of Long Range or Performance specifications. 

    The Tesla Model X is fitted with a 16.5 kW on-board charger and uses the Type 2 charging standard, which is used for both AC and DC charging. Charge times for the Tesla Model X Long Range are just six hours from 0-100% using a fast 22kW charger or 40 mins for 0-80% via the Tesla Rapid 120Kw Supercharger. 

    Tesla Model X can be charged at slow, fast, and rapid public points, depending on network and type of charge unit. Tesla drivers can also benefit from a bespoke Supercharger network that can only be used by the company’s models and Model X drivers get a free allocation per year.

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Thinking of leasing an electric car? Check out our full range of electric vehicles for the latest lease deals or visit our electric guides hub for more information.

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