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How Long Does It Take To Charge an Electric Car?

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular with drivers who desire these vehicles’ eco-friendliness and cutting-edge design. These days, buyers turn to them because they want to save money as they steer clear of gas stations.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are also becoming cheaper to own and easier to maintain thanks to a proliferation of charging stations at shopping centers, office buildings, and other public places. Also, the federal government offers up to $7,500 in tax incentives for buying select new or leased cars. There are also incentives for select used electric cars.

However, charging these cutting-edge electric automobiles may hinder their popularity due to a lack of charging stations in certain areas and slow charging times in many cases. Even extreme weather conditions like below-zero temperatures or high heat can wreak havoc on drivers’ ability to charge their vehicles.

How can drivers maximize how much time they can drive on a single charge? Let’s start with some factors that can affect how much time they spend charging their EVs in the first place.

Factors That Impact EV Charging Time

Charging times can vary due to several factors. What is your power source? How much power can your electric car handle? How can drivers charge their vehicles and get back on the road more quickly? Depending on an electric vehicle’s charging source and battery capacity, some drivers can charge their cars to 80% in as little as 15 to 30 minutes using a Level 3 fast charger (more on that in a bit).

Unfortunately, that isn’t the standard. Most drivers will need at least a full day to charge a fully depleted electric car battery if they use the standard three-prong plugs found in the walls of most homes.

Other Factors That Impact Electric Car Charging Time:

Your Power Source for Charging

EV charging basics infographic

Start with your home power source to get a sense of how long it will take to charge your car. A Level 1 power outlet charges at the least amount of power, while Level 2 chargers can plug into outlets like the ones electric clothes dryers use and charge at twice the power.

Unlike Level 1 chargers, however, you’ll need an electrician and a compatible circuit to install a Level 2 charger at home. (A quick way to calculate the power you can generate is to multiply your voltage and the number of amps you plan to use.) Companies like California-based startup Splitvolt have also developed splitters that let EV drivers use a standard household garage outlet without unique installations.

Level 3 chargers (also called DC fast chargers or DCFCs) use a high-voltage direct current that goes straight to the car’s battery. However, these chargers aren’t compatible with every electric vehicle. They are hard to find beyond public spaces like malls and parking garages, though infrastructure continues to grow. Beyond that, many drivers who can’t use DC fast chargers opt for the combined charging system (CCS). CCS supercharges its power sources by conjoining Level 1 and Level 2 chargers.

RELATED: How EV Charging Could Become Easier in the Future

Your Car’s Charging Capacity

You should also consider your car’s charging capacity when figuring out how long it will take you to charge it. For calculations, get the optimal charging time for your electric vehicle by dividing the battery capacity (measured in kWh) by the power rating of your car’s onboard charger, then adding 10% to the loss of power associated with charging it.

For example, a 2024 Tesla Model 3 Long Range has an 11.5-kW onboard charger and an 82-kWh battery pack, which would take roughly 6.5 hours to charge fully using a Level 2 charger.

The Tesla Supercharger can charge at 250 kW, which would lower that charging time to approximately 15 to 25 minutes.

PRO TIP: Remember, EV battery technology constantly improves and evolves. Ask lots of questions about the battery and estimated charging times when purchasing a new or used electric car.

What To Know About Rapid Charging

Rapid or fast charging seems easy and convenient. But that speed comes with a caveat. Even the fastest charging time can decrease significantly when the battery falls under 20% or above 80%.

This keeps the battery from overcharging and keeps it in optimum condition. Many manufacturers gauge charging times by how long Level 3 DC fast chargers can charge your battery to 80%.

Rapid charging is also becoming easier to access thanks to plans from Electrify America and others continuing the push to build out the nation’s charging infrastructure and Tesla starting to open its network to other vehicles. Also, more manufacturers plan for their EVs to adopt the Tesla charging port.

RELATED: How EV Charging Could Become Easier in the Future

Top-Up Charging

Anyone who’s ever driven a car with a standard gasoline engine has “topped up” their gas tanks or filled them way before the gas gauge hits “E.” It makes sense: No one wants to run out of gas, especially on a long road trip. But should you top up your electric car’s battery the same way? Not really.

The battery works best when it isn’t running below 20% or above 80%. Many manufacturers discourage topping up batteries in hot weather since the act of charging combined with excessive heat can adversely affect your electric car’s thermal management systems and internal resistance systems.

That can adversely affect how well your car works over time.

Here’s How Long It Takes To Charge an Electric Car

2022 Porsche Taycan Turbo S

How long would it take to fully charge some of the leading electric cars on the road? According to research from the manufacturers’ websites and Fueleconomy.gov, see the charging estimates using a Level 2 and DC fast charger for the following 2024 models. Remember that different models feature different battery sizes, and these are estimates.

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