There are a few ways you can give your electric vehicle (EV) a boost before getting on the road – choose from home charging points, fast and rapid charger set-ups, and even some ultra-rapid chargers for a quick top-up.
How long does it take to fully charge an electric car?
The time it takes to fully charge an electric car will depend on a few things, with the size of the battery and the type of charger having the most impact.
The Nissan Leaf usually has a 40kWh battery, and will take around 11 hours to charge from empty using a standard 3.7kW slow charger. If you choose to use a rapid charger (usually around 43-50kW), you can get up to a full charge in just one hour.
Even though rapid chargers will help you cut down on charging time, it’s not a good idea to rely on them regularly. Slower chargers are much better for battery health, so you might want to schedule a longer charge time (overnight at home is usually convenient) to keep your car in tip-top shape.
Different types of electric car chargers
The type of charger you pick will have an impact on how long it takes to charge your EV. Obviously, rapid chargers are the quickest, while slow chargers take a fair bit longer. Most people will leave their EV plugged into a slow charger overnight, but might opt for a rapid charger if they’re on the go and need a quick boost.
What is a fast charger?
Fast chargers are ideal for giving your EV a quicker boost, and vary in size between 7kW and 22kW outputs. You can expect a full charge from a fast charger in as little as five hours, with larger battery models like the Tesla Model S (2019) taking up to 11 hours.
Fast chargers are the standard ones you can expect across the UK, and make up most of the charging network. It’s ideal if you have one close to your address, so you can plug in and get a full boost quickly.
What is a rapid charger?
Rapid chargers sit between 43-50 kW and can charge some cars in as little as one hour. These are a great choice for charging when you’re out and about, especially if you need a boost on a long road trip.
You can get between 60-200 miles of range in 20 to 30 minutes with a rapid charger, depending on the model.
It’s not a good idea to rely on rapid chargers all the time, as this could have a negative effect on your battery health.
What is an ultra-rapid charger?
Ultra-rapid chargers are the fastest possible way to charge an EV, and you can often find them at motorway service stations. They’re ideal for use on longer journeys, especially if you need to get back on the road in a rush.
Some EVs are not compatible with ultra-rapid chargers, but it’s possible to get an 80% charge in as little as 15 minutes if you are able to plug in.
Typically, these chargers provide power at 150kW (but might also offer 100kW, or even 350kW) so will work with EVs that can accept 100kW or more.
Not all EVs can use every type of charger, so might not be able to plug into a rapid or fast-charging unit. The newer EVs on the market will usually have the type 2 connector that’s used for fast and rapid chargers, while some older models have type 1 or Commando connectors.
How to calculate electric car charging time
If you need to plan ahead and want to know how long it will take your EV to reach a full charge, there’s a simple way you can find out.
Use this calculation to work out how quickly your electric car can reach a full charge:
Battery size (kWh) ÷ Charger power (kW) = Charging time (hours)
How long does a full charge last?
The length of time that a full battery charge can last will depend on your car, as all EVs have different mile ranges that they can run for. If you only use your car for the school run or daily commute and some errands in-between, you will find that your charge will last longer than those motorists who are regularly going on long trips.
It’s a good idea to only charge your battery to full when you really need to, as keeping it at 100% all the time is not great for battery health.