EV Charging

How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?

How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?

One of the most asked questions in the all-electric vehicle (EV) world is: how long does it take to charge? Perhaps because we are so used to spending around five or so minutes at the pump when we fill up our gas-guzzlers, the idea of waiting any longer than this to charge is a turn-off for many.

In an effort to assuage the doubters who don’t think that their schedules don’t provide enough time to allow for charging, we’re going to look at the top-five bestselling EVs and their charge times. It’s really not that bad, I promise!

Please note that we did not include the Nissan Leaf in this article, as we specifically covered charge times for this vehicle here. Please give it a read if you have time.

We’re also going to assume that you are familiar with the different levels of charging. If you have any questions about the differences between level 1, level 2, and DC fast charging, insideevs.com explained the differences better than I could ever hope to do.

BMW I-3

BMW’s popular electric offering is zippy and fun to drive. With a range of around 190 miles on a single charge, most owners will probably only have to charge once or twice a week at the most. Using level 1 charging, the I-3 will take between 13 and 16 hours to achieve a full charge. Level 2 charging time is considerably less at 4 to 5 hours and an I-3 hooked up to a DC fast charger can go from 0 to 80% capacity in about half an hour. If your commute is substantial, installing a level 2 charger in your home may be necessary if you own an I-3.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

With an impressive 238 miles range, the Chevy Bolt EV takes quite a bit longer to charge. Standard level 1 charging will give you about 4 miles of range per hour. I’m no math major, but that means it will take almost 60 hours to go from a fully depleted battery to a fully charged battery! Using a level 2 charger, an additional 25 miles per hour of charge can be obtained. This means that a Bolt EV can be plugged in and charged overnight if a level 2 charger is available. Fast DC charging systems will give the Bolt EV around 180 miles of charge per hour plugged in, so just under two hours for a full charge starting from zero. The Bolt EV is both awesome and affordable, but potential buyers should be cognizant of the fact that they will more than likely need to install a level 2 charger in their homes if they choose this vehicle.

2019 Chevrlet Bolt EV

Tesla Model X 

Ah yes, the car I would sell a kidney for, (that offer still stands if anyone knows a guy). The standard Model X has a range of about 325 miles on a single charge while the long range model can achieve around 370. Using a level 1 charger, the Model X will charge at a snail’s pace. As Mia Yamauchi from Plugless put it, “Technically you can connect your Tesla to a standard 110v plug receptacle with the free adapter that comes with the car. But you can only charge slowly–at about 3 miles of range per hour parked. It’s about as practical as refilling a gas car’s tank with an eye dropper. It will take up to 4 full days to fully recharge an empty Tesla car battery using a regular wall outlet.”

Using a level 2 charger, that number drops to around six hours for the standard Model X and about 10 hours for the long range version. Now here’s where it gets fun: using a fast charging system like those found in Tesla’s Supercharger network, the Model X can get around 340 miles of range per hour of plug-in time. Not quite as quick as filling up at the pump but not too shabby either!

Tesla Model S

Tesla’s fantastic flagship sedan is the undisputed world heavyweight of range. With the standard version achieving around 335 miles on a single charge, and the long range model getting up to about 375, the Model S won’t need to be charged very often if you aren’t regularly traveling long distances. This is a good thing because a standard level 1 charger will give you about 5 miles of charge per hour. This means that it will take you 67 hours to fully charge your standard Model S and 75 hours to charge your long range version. Hope you’re not busy!

These numbers improve obviously when a level 2 charger is thrown into the equation. The Model S will get around 62 miles of charge per hour when plugged into your standard 240 volt charger so between 5 and 6 hours for a full charge depending on which version you own. Much like the Model X, the Model S will get around 340 miles of range per hour when plugged into a Tesla Supercharger.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla’s most affordable and best-selling offering to date is the Model 3. In addition to being the most successful line for Tesla, it turns out that the model 3 is also the fastest charging car on the planet, at least that’s what the boys from Top Gear have decided. Using a level 1 charger will get you about 7 miles per charging hour, so it will take between 34 and 44 hours depending on whether you have the standard or long-range model. Again, not very practical.

With a level 2 charger the Model 3 will get around 40 miles of range per hour, making overnight charging doable for either the standard or long-range model. Again, like its two older brothers, the Model 3 will achieve about 340 miles of range per hour when plugged into a Supercharger.

Here’s the part where you say: “Wait a second…you didn’t even mention the additional options Tesla drivers have for charging at home other than the old standard level 1 and level 2 standbys!”

You are 100% correct, I did not. We will visit those options in detail in the near future.

What do our readers have to say about the various charging times for the cars above? Anyone out there own any of the cars featured in this article and only use level 1 charging? Will fast charging systems ever be able to compete with gas pumps when it comes to speed? Please drop by the comments section below and let us know what you’re thinking.

Source | Images: Wikimedia Commons, BMW, Chevrolet, Tesla

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Neil Brooks
Neil Brooks is an electric vehicle owner and lover currently based in the greater Washington D.C. area. Neil is a fan of all things electric and may be the only person in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own both an electric leaf blower and an electric chainsaw. When he's not busy blogging about the latest on electric technology he enjoys grilling, rock climbing, and taking naps in his hammock.