How long does it take to charge an EV?

“How long is a piece of string? Perfectly describes how long it can take to charge your EV! Depending on the charger you have it can take as little as ten minutes and up to 24 hours. There is no denying that it will take longer to charge than going to the petrol station and filling up a traditional vehicle, but it just means you need to change how you think about refuelling.

The main challenge of having an electric vehicle is breaking old habits and understanding the concept of charging.

Gone are the days of needing to find a petrol station – EV’s now give us greater flexibility with where we can refuel whether it is at home, at work, at public charging stations, at shopping centres and right now charging stations are popping up everywhere from carparks, wineries, sports fields, and even train stations. Anywhere with a power point, really!

The best part is that you don’t have to stand there while the magic happens. Whether it is overnight when we sleep (at home or at accommodation) when we shop or are out! But remember that others may be waiting to use the space so there does need to be consideration for leaving your car when it’s done.

How to estimate EV charge speed?

When we think about EVs we are no longer using litres or the size of the fuel tank. We now need to use the terms of kilowatts, kilowatt-hours, AC and DC. This is all used to determine how long a vehicle takes to charge.

Kilowatt (kW) = charging speed. This means the higher the number, the faster current and volts are being delivered into the EV.
Kilowatt-hour (kWh) = battery size. The higher the number the bigger the battery and energy density of cells that can absorb from charging and then release when using the vehicle.
Alternating Current (AC) = slow charging. Available when you plug into a standard three-pin socket or installed wall box (where speed does not matter).
Direct Current (DC) = fast charging. This is found mostly at public charging stations where speed is required to continue driving.

The charge rate is measured in kilowatts (kW). This also translates to how many kilometres of driving range are gained per hour of charging. These are all terms that are thrown around when working out how long it takes to charge the electric vehicle. 

So what does this mean for a charging solution?

  • Mode 1 / Level 1: Standard three-pin domestic plug (240V) – single phase with 10AMP point: 2.4kW AC – this is a standard power point without any additional safety features. Referred to as a trickle charge.
  • Mode 2/ Level 1: Charging from an AC EV supply equipment used with GPO plug
    •  2.4kW (single-phase 10amp)
    • 3.7kW (single-phase 15amp)
  • Mode 3 / Level 2: Charging from an AC charger designed to handle higher voltage charging with safety features like shutoff if there are faults.
    • Installed single-phase wall box station: 7kW AC
    • Installed three-phase wall box station: 11-22kW (depends on box)
  • Mode 4 / Level 3: DC charging stations – using charging equipment connected directly to the grid. Designed specifically for fast charging.

The actual power output of any charging station can also be affected by local conditions like grid restrictions or splitting of power between vehicles plugged into the same unit. This also applies to the vehicle. For example, some vehicles cap the speed at which they can receive charge i.e. cannot exceed 50 kW.

It is also important to understand what cables your vehicle comes with and how they can be used. The last thing you need is turning up to a charging station and not having a compatible connector. Additional connectors can be bought for most vehicles. It is best to refer to your manufacture before you embark on your next road trip.

The extremes of Australia’s climate need to also be considered when determining charge time. Unfortunately, cold or hold conditions can impact the battery management system and it’s ability to receive charge. Cooler temperatures slow down the chemical and physical reactions that allow batteries to charge. Warmer temperatures cause faster reactions that also prevent electrons from flowing freely.

The following chart below is an approximate guide. Read on to understand the various factors that may affect how long you need to spend at an EV charger.

Charge rate (kW)

Range gained per hour

Range gained per 15 minutes

2.2

15km

3.75km

3.7

25km

6.25km

7.7

40km

10km

11

65km

16.25km

22

130km

32.5km

50

300km

75km

150

900km

225km

350

2,000km

500km


So what do we recommend?

We would recommend that installing a Mode 3 charger suitable for your vehicle is the best way forward with your EV. Giving you peace of mind that it comes within built controls to protect your battery. Our team can help you source and install the best EV charger for your needs. Contact us today to get a quote.