With the advent of the renewable energy movement, EVs have been placed in the limelight. And with that kind of attention, carmakers are now scrambling to reduce charging times by leaps and bounds. One of the most significant burdens when the EV1 was released in 1996 from GM, the first commercial electric car, was the range and, of course, charging times. The EV1 took precisely 2 hours and 30 minutes to charge fully, which was for an optimal range between 70 to 100 miles. In 2022, EVs can be juiced in less than 30 minutes for a whopping range of 200 miles when charged with a 150kW Rapid charger. A pivotal point to keep in mind is that charging times largely depend on the size of the battery and the charger's maximum output.
In essence, the answer to “How long does it take to charge an EV?” is complicated and wildly varies between the car manufacturer and the charger type. Continue reading as we give you an idea of the charging times of an EV.
Level 1 EV Charging
Up first is your standard domestic power point in your home. Domestic power points are usually single-phase circuits with 120-volts output, which translates to an output of 1.2kW. The domestic 10 Amp and 15 Amp outlets can fully charge your EV, albeit at a slower rate. The good news is that most EV manufacturers provide you with portable charging equipment, also called a level 1 charger, which can be used to charge your EV through a standard 120-volt plug. This will enable you to add an average of 40 miles with overnight charging.
Level 1 EV chargers can be a lifesaver and are invaluable for people who travel for less than 40 miles a day. But for those of us who need more mileage (and that's most of us), a level 2 charger is the ideal solution. Also, keep in mind that while using a level 1 charger, many advanced options available on your EV will not be utilized as the power drawn is not enough to charge the vehicle and use the other functions.
Level 2 EV Charging
If level 1 charging is considered the minor league, then level 2 EV charging is in the major leagues. While the best you can expect from a level 1 EV charger is about 40 miles for an overnight charge, level 2 EV chargers can churn up to 7kW of power which translates to about 6 hours for a full charge for a 40kWh 2018 Nissan Leaf, which gives you 150 miles of range.
Level 2 EV chargers are on a whole other level, hence why they usually require an upgrade to your house's electric panel as the minimum rating for a level 2 EV charger is 200A. Such an upgrade requires a specialized technician, which EVSOL Energy can easily supply with the least hassle for you. Level 2 chargers also need a specialized connector.
DC Fast Charging
The pro league for EV charging is called DC Fast Charging. These chargers offer so much power that, as of writing, there are no vehicles that can absorb the total output of a DC Fast Charger. Typically a DC Fast Charger can add 80 miles of range in 30 minutes depending on the power output, temperature, and other variables. While level 1 and level 2 chargers are used during work, while you're sleeping, or even on a long shopping trip, DC chargers are typically used when the maximum range is required within the shortest period. While a 250kW Rapid charger like the Tesla Supercharger can add up to 200 miles within 15 minutes at a premium fee which is usually cheaper than gas when compared side-by-side for cost per mile.
But using a fast charger often is not recommended. This is because, inherent with fast charging is excess heating of the battery and the possibility of reduction of the lifespan of the battery. Usually, EV owners use rapid/fast charging when on long trips, as it can quickly add juice with minimal time.
Traditionally vehicle owners pump gas when needed, as it takes less than 5 minutes to get a full tank. While recharing your EV may not yet be as quick as getting gas, you can still strategically top-up your EV. Using top-up charging will help you manage your range and extend the life of your battery. Top-up charging is when you charge your EV during stops, be it at the supermarket, work, or home. The principle is that instead of waiting for the battery to be depleted and then charging, you charge the battery whenever you are parked, which incidentally is 95% of the time, which keeps the battery topped up at all times.
Most public and workplace charging points range from 7kW to 22kW which makes them sufficient for top-up charging, and thus reduces the frequency you have to use DC charging. With top-up charging, smaller capacity battery cars can obtain about 30 miles of range per hour at a 7kW charging point. In comparison, a bigger vehicle with a much larger battery can extend its range by 20 miles per hour at a 7kW charging point.
What Affects the Charging Speed?
While variables that affect charging speeds are numerous, we have compiled a list of the most crucial points to take note of.
- Size of the battery — More than anything, the size of your battery which is measured in kWh, will determine the time taken to charge.
- The maximum charging rate of the battery — If your car supports a 22kWh maximum charging rate, then a 150kW charger will be redundant as the car will max out at 22kWh.
- State of the battery (empty vs. full)- while this seems pretty simple, it is crucial. Remember the theory of using a gasoline car a few paras back? An almost empty battery will take more time than a half-empty battery; this is where top-up charging shines.
- Environmental factors- now this you cannot change or do anything much about. Still, colder temperatures mean that the car has to increase the battery's temperature so that it can function properly, thus increasing power consumption. Whereas high temperatures will cause the battery to overheat therefore the system will reduce the charging speeds.
Talk to us today at EVSOL Energy for comprehensive advice and installation of one of our level 1 or level EV charging systems.
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