You can often schedule your charging in-car as well, if you find that easier. So you can set it to charge only during off-peak hours, or to prioritise charging between those hours, and set a time for when the charging should be finished.
A decent, properly installed Type 2 charger (or Type 1 if you have an older vehicle) is designed to supply, say, 7 kilowatts (kW) an hour for hours and hours, safely and efficiently. It’s basically over-engineered, so it’s not going to melt!
Modern charge points are safe, smart, robust devices, designed to last for years and serve your electric car well. They’re a good investment that will save you money in the long run. If you have a 3-phase supply at home, you could install a 11kW or even 22kW charge point.
A typical home charging point has a capacity of 7kW– so that’s the fastest you'd be able to charge at home, even if you have an 11-kW onboard charger (such as Hyundai KONA Electric 64kWh). The maximum charge power you’ll get is always going to be the lesser of either the maximum power output of the charge point you're plugged into or the maximum power capability of the onboard charger in the vehicle.
A good rule of thumb is to take this charging power figure and use it to divide your overall battery capacity – the result is the number of hours needed for your charge.
Does it take a long time to charge an electric car?
This is a classic ‘How long’s a piece of string?’ question. You’ve got to factor in the age and model of your car, where you are and what type of charge point you’re using.
In super-simple terms, there are three levels of charging: plugging into a normal plug socket (which isn’t recommended – as we’ll explain later), home charging with a proper charger set-up, and public charging (either at standard or rapid speeds) away from home.
It really does vary from vehicle to vehicle. Some are renowned for how quickly they can charge. Others are notorious for how slowly they charge. The ballpark range for an average home charger is anything from 5 hours to 12 hours for a 100% charge, although people rarely charge from a very low state of charge. But some cars can charge from 5-80% in a speedy 18 minutes on the most rapid public chargers.
How long will it take to charge from low to 100% at home?
Using the Hyundai KONA Electric 64kWh as an example. This is Hyundai's electric answer to its ICE equivalent. According to the Electric Vehicle Database it has a WLTP range of about 300 miles when it's fully charged.
To charge a Hyundai KONA Electric 64kWh from 0-100% using a 7kW standard charge point would take 10h 15m. Based on these figures, a one hour charge at the supermarket would give your battery a 10% charge, and seven hours at your workplace would give your battery about a 70% charge.
Find out how one electric car driver thinks it’s even less…
“I love the fact that it takes me ten seconds to charge my car at home! This is the time it takes for me to get out of my car on the driveway, plug the car in and go inside. Then I let the smart charger do its stuff, and wake up the next day to a car full of electrons. I tend to top up regularly, to take best advantage of off-peak hours.” (Ben Afia, September 2022)
Let’s take home charging first. Most electric car drivers do most of their charging at home, overnight. It’s relatively cheap if you can charge at home, even with rising energy prices – as long as you’re on the right electric car-friendly energy tariff.
But what do you use to actually charge your car? If you’re charging it at home, there are three main ways.
- Smart charger (tethered) – a charger with a cable attached to it, that you simply plug into the car
- Smart charger (untethered) – a dedicated charger where you connect your charging cable
- Three-pin plug – a standard three-pin plug that you connect to a 13-amp socket
Using a dedicated charger to top up your car battery at home is the most common way of home charging. This is where you have a smart charger installed, perhaps on the side of your house or in your garage. It’s sometimes called a wallbox. A qualified electrician will fit the charger for you.
You’ll be able to schedule your charging using an app. This means it should be straightforward to manage your charging so that, for example, your electric car only charges during off-peak hours (often between 12.30 and 4.30am) when electricity prices are lowest – and when there’s lowest impact on the electricity grid.
Learn more about public charging
If you can’t charge at home, or if you need to charge when you’re out and about, or even at work, there are different types of charger to suit your needs (and speeds!). Charging times vary from a few hours on a slow (7kW) charger, to around 30 minutes on a rapid charger.
So let’s look at the different types of public chargers available to you.
Working out how long it takes to charge
To work this out you need to know two numbers. Your battery capacity is like a fuel tank and your charger power tells you how quickly you can fill it up. Then you divide these two numbers:
Your car’s battery capacity – rated in kWh (kilowatt hours)
Charger power – rated in kW
Rough time to charge – in hours
So for an 64kWh Hyundai Kona on an 11kW fast charger, you could theoretically charge it to full in about six hours:
64 / 11 = 5.8
This is only a rough estimate: in practice it’ll take a bit longer because of how batteries and chargers work. But it’s a good way of estimating time.
All values according to the Electric Vehicle Database.
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