That’s a good question, but there is unfortunately no definitive answer because there are so many variables. This is not in itself a problem because all electric cars purchased should come with instructions, a charging cable and dealer support. Thus, if fast charging is a priority, then it pays to search out the right vehicle in advance.
Factors That Matter
Like humans, performance is governed by temperature. When it’s cold it takes us longer to get charged up and it’s the same for an electric vehicle; in the cold batteries are sluggish. That’s why an ageing conventional car battery struggles to turn over an engine in Winter.
Also speed of charging is governed by the size of battery in terms of capacity. The bigger the battery pack’s capacity, which is measured in kiloWatt hours (kWh), the longer it will take to store energy; that much is obvious. A fully discharged unit will take longer to charge than a part-charged top-up would. EV’s have different charging rates and can only be charge at the maximum charge rate the vehicle can accept, so if a cars maximum charge rate is just 7kW, there is no point in using a faster charger. Conversely, the time it takes to charge is also governed by the maximum rate of the point in use.
In short, charging time can be as little as thirty minutes or more than twelve hours. It’s all down to the battery/charger relationship. In reality, this is not something to be concerned about because the majority of experienced EV drivers top up throughout the day, depending upon need. It’s preferable to not risk an empty pack and a roadside emergency call by getting into the habit of quick boosts whenever the car is not being used, say in a supermarket car park or at work. More and more EV-enlightened employers are providing charging facilities.
About Rapid Chargers
Rapid EV chargers do as the name suggests, although governed by the factors mentioned above, and use one of two connector types known by the acronyms CCS and CHAdeMO. It is important to know the distinction being these types and the probable OE standard ev charging cable; there’s no harm in carrying a spare. Rapid chargers cost more, so best to use them only during long journeys for top-up purposes.
The Overnight Solution
It makes sense then that the main EV recharging will take place at home when the vehicle is idle for a few hours; this usually means overnight. It is possible to use a regular home three-pin socket but this is the slowest method of all and not recommended long term.
Most car brands will install a home charger designed specifically for the selected car or a good alternative would be to install (by a qualified electrician) a faster, wall-mounted home charger because these are not brand specific and thus can be repurposed for a new car with a new cable. As mentioned, most of our daily driving is usually under the capable mileage of even the smallest battery; EV’s with bigger packs, like the Tesla range, can easily manage with juice to spare.