How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Vehicle?

With EV adoption on the rise in recent years, chances are you’ve seen the growing number of electric vehicles on the road. You might even be considering making the switch to an EV with your next purchase. Embracing the EV revolution means understanding the difference between refueling all-electric vehicles and gas-powered cars. Getting a full tank of gas can be done in just minutes, but charging an EV is more time-consuming. Battery size, battery age, and the temperature outside are some of the variables that can affect charging speed, but the type of charging connection is the main factor in how quickly a battery charges.

Level 1 Charging

A Level 1 EV charger plugs directly into a standard 120-volt wall outlet. This type of charger connects to an electric vehicle with hardware called a connector, which looks similar to a gas pump with a stubby nozzle. On the end is a circular plug that has five smaller circular connection points. Think of it as a more advanced version of the standard plug you see on items like a blender or TV.

Level 1 charging is the slowest way to charge an electric vehicle as charging overnight will add approximately 40-50 miles of range. However, the average person drives about 40 miles each day according to the Federal Highway Administration, so Level 1 charging can be sufficient enough for many day-to-day driving needs.   

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging draws electricity from a more powerful source and that extra power means a faster charge for electric vehicles. In residential applications, this type of charging requires a 240-volt outlet but Level 2 charging is also often found in commercial settings. A Level 2 charging station will add as much as 75 miles of range per hour.

Charging speeds for Level 2 charging stations range from 3-19.2 kW, but the specific charging speed achieved depends on the charger’s power output and the vehicle’s onboard charging capabilities, including its charge acceptance rate. For example, if an electric vehicle with a power acceptance rate of 10 kW is plugged into a charger with a power output of 19.2 kW, it will only receive the maximum of 10 kW as allowed by its onboard charging capabilities.

Approximately 75 percent of public chargers are Level 2 connections, providing additional charging opportunities for EV drivers when they aren’t at home. Since it can take an hour or two to reach optimum charging level, Level 2 chargers are often found in locations where one might leave their car parked for that amount of time such as a golf course, movie theater, or shopping center

Level 3/DC Fast Charging

Regardless of the make and model, DC fast charging (Level 3) is the quickest way to refuel an electric vehicle. It requires a 480-volt connection so it’s not viable for home use, but DC fast charging can add approximately 180-240 miles of range per hour. Refueling an EV to 80 percent with this charging method can take as little as 20 minutes.

The charging speed will depend on the power output of the DC fast charger, ranging from 25 kW to more than 350 kW. However, you can only refuel a vehicle’s battery at the maximum charging rate the vehicle will accommodate. For example, if your vehicle’s maximum charging rate is 130 kW, you won’t charge it any faster by using a 350-kW Level 3 charging station.

Other Factors that Impact EV Charging Speed

To calculate the approximate charging time for your EV, you can use a simple formula: battery size (kWh) / charger power (kW) = charging time (hours). For example, a 40 kWh battery using a 150 kW charger could take just under half an hour to charge to 80 percent.

Understanding the charger’s power output and vehicle’s charge acceptance rate will go a long way toward estimating how long it will take to charge an EV, but there are other factors to consider. Here are some of the other variables that come into play.

      • EV battery size: Electric vehicle battery sizes vary and bigger batteries take longer to fully charge. Rather than time to charge from empty to 100 percent, it helps to think about charging in terms of how much range is added instead.
      • Battery state of charge: Most EV manufacturers recommend maintaining a battery charge at 20-80 percent to promote battery health, so EV batteries will typically charge faster when already within that range. If you’re charging beyond 80 percent, the speed of charging will often slow down to protect the battery.
      • Temperature when charging: EV batteries perform best and last longer within a certain temperature range, and most electric vehicles have what’s called a thermal management system to protect batteries from extreme heat and cold. When it’s very hot or cold outside, the system may slow charging speeds to maintain an optimal temperature for the battery.

The ACDI Energy Services Mission

While the amount of time it takes to charge an electric vehicle will vary depending on a variety of different factors, the ACDI Energy Services mission to establish a North American network of charging stations always remains the same. With turnkey operations and intuitive management, ACDI Energy Services is proud to offer a portfolio of premium charging stations to make electrification accessible to everyone. From infrastructure planning to installation, our team and our authorized reseller network are committed to making EV charging effortless for all environments.

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