If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle (EV), you’re probably curious about how long it takes to charge an EV. You can’t just stop at a gas station for five minutes, and instead, you’ll have to wait for the battery packs to charge up.
Several factors go into how fast an EV will charge, including whether you’re charging at home or in public, the charger’s speed (or level), how big your battery is, and if you’re doing a top-off or a full recharge.
So, to answer the question, “how long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?” The answer is, it’s complicated. That said, owners can charge an EV in 30 minutes, or wait upwards of 10-12 hours for a full battery, depending on the speed of the charger and the size of the battery. Here are a few more details explaining how long it takes to charge an EV.
How long it takes to charge an EV depends on several different factors. While a public charging station can charge an EV in as little as 30 minutes, it costs a lot more to use fast chargers in public vs. a charger at home. For most owners, EV charging speeds at home are the most important, as that’s where they’ll do the majority of the charging. Either way, here are all the different variables.
- EV Battery Size: The bigger the battery size (measured in kWh), the longer it’ll take to recharge. Some cars have a small 28 kWh battery, while others like the new GMC Hummer EV pack massive 200 kWh battery cells. (The average (60kWh battery) takes nearly 8 hours to charge from empty to full with a 7kW charger.)
- Your EV’s Max Charging Rate: Electric vehicle charging speeds vary by manufacturer, so if your EV’s max speed is 7kW, a more powerful charger won’t make it any faster.
- Current Battery Level: Drivers rarely charge from empty, but if so, it’ll take longer to do a full charge than a top-up from 50%.
- The Speed and Power Level of the Charger: Charging times will vary based on the power output rate of the charger.
- Temperatures: Cold temperatures can affect battery efficiency, potentially increasing the charge time. A hot ambient temperature (especially when charging) can do the same.
With so many different EVs on the market offering varying battery sizes, charging speeds, and even different EV charging plugs, there are a lot of variables. And while some of the numbers can vary by vehicle, region, or plug, these are a good baseline to follow when it comes to EV charger levels.
- Level 1: Typical 120v home charger capable of 1.2 through 2.4kW speeds.
- Level 2: Upgraded 240v outlet capable of 2.5 through 19kW speeds.
- Level 3: DC Fast Charger 480v capable of 50 through 350+ kW speeds.
Most electric vehicles in the United States come with a basic Level 1 charging cable that you can plug into any home outlet. Unfortunately, these are standard 120-volt three-prong plugs and are extremely slow. As a result, many owners upgrade to a faster Level 2 charger at home.
A Level 2 charger typically uses a bigger 240v plug similar to the power cord on home appliances like a washer or dryer. These are vastly faster than a Level 1 and typically deliver upwards of 30-miles per hour of charging, or a full battery after an 8-10 hour charge overnight. Many public chargers are still Level 2.
Level 3 chargers (also known as DC fast chargers) are what you typically find in public, from Tesla superchargers and at gas stations or office buildings. Level 3 is the quickest way to charge an EV and can give you enough battery to go over 100-miles in 30 minutes or nearly 250-miles (and a full battery) in an hour.
Based on the information above, how long it’ll take to charge your EV at home depends on the vehicle and what type of charger you use. For example, Ford’s Level 2 Charge Station Pro for the F-150 Lightning delivers 80-amps (or 19kW) and between 20-30 miles of range in an hour, depending on the size of the battery. Ford says the base model 98 kWh battery pack can fully recharge in roughly 10 hours.
This means most owners will want to plug it in overnight or when they get home, and it’ll typically be fully charged and ready to go in the morning. But if you only drive 10-15 miles to work or around town each day, you don’t even need to plug it in daily.
Most electric cars have slightly smaller battery packs, so the time it takes to charge will differ, and again, that depends on the vehicle and your home chargers’ capabilities. Tesla’s popular Level 2 home chargers can deliver upwards of 44-miles of charge per hour.
Most electric vehicles charging at home will take at least 8-10 hours to fully charge, if not longer, depending on the hardware.
Again, it’s important to remember that depending on your vehicle and the charger you’re at, EV charging speeds will vary. Using the F-150 again as an example, Ford claims the F-150 Lightning can accept up to 150 kW using a DC Fast Charger in public, delivering a 15% to 80% charge time of 41 minutes.
That said, many public chargers are Level 2, and even if you find a Level 3 (DC Fast Charger), you’ll want to check the power level. Many public DC Fast Chargers top out at 50 kW, which is still extremely quick, but not as fast as a Tesla Supercharger station.
Currently, most Tesla Superchargers range from 90 kW to 250 kW speeds and are super fast. These can recharge up to 200 miles of range in as little as 15 minutes. You can find Supercharger stations all over the globe.
And while Tesla’s expansive Supercharger network currently tops out at 250 kW, the company is working on speeds reaching 300 and higher.
If your mind melted from all the confusing numbers, levels, and information detailed above, we have you covered. To keep things simple, here’s a list of how long it’ll likely take to fully recharge (at home) some of the most popular electric vehicles available in the U.S. today, according to KBB.
These EV recharge times are based on a 240v Level 2 charging source, respective to each manufacturer’s website and specs.
- Tesla Model S: 12 hours
- Tesla Model 3: 12 hours
- Chevrolet Bolt EV: 10 hours
- Kia EV6: 6-10 hours
- Ford F-150 Lightning: 10-13 hours
- Nissan Leaf: 11 hours
- Rivian R1T: 10-12 hours
- Hyundai Ioniq 5: 8.5 hours
- BMW i3: 7 hours
- Porsche Taycan: Up to 10.5 hours
- Audi E-Tron: 10 hours
- Polestar 2: 8 hours
- Subaru Solterra: 8-10 hours
At the end of the day, it all comes down to which EV you buy, the electrical wiring at your home, and what type of charging system you plan to use. Most people would benefit from installing a Level 2 charger at home. That way, your EV can charge overnight and be ready to go each morning.