Charging time will be important if you plan to take your electric car on frequent road trips. Most newer electric vehicles will go for 200+ miles on one charge, but that still likely means a trip to the charging station if you plan a roundtrip journey more than 100 miles from home.
To understand how quickly electric vehicles charge, we look at level 2, DC Fast charging times, and the number of charging stations nationally.
What generally determines charging speeds is battery size, the power output of the charging stations, and how quickly the electric vehicle can intake electricity.
If charging speed is the most important factor to you, then your best recommendation will generally be a Tesla due to its extensive supercharging network. The Tesla supercharger has had a headstart in building out its network. Beyond supercharger accessibility, Tesla tends to have more fast chargers and the ability to report in real-time charger availability.
The Tesla supercharger claims to give up to 200 miles of charge in 15 minutes, and no other manufacturer can compete with this.
Several other manufacturers are working on developing batteries with longer ranges and fast charging times. Still, until these vehicles are released and have better means to fast charging, Teslas will remain superior in this category.
Remember that the average daily commute is around 37 miles, and electric vehicle charging is generally done overnight at home using a level 2 charger. So, if you typically only use your vehicle for commuting 30-50 miles daily, then charging time may not be as important as you think.
Electric vehicles can have a variety of battery sizes that store kilowatts of electricity. The larger the battery size, the more electricity is required to fill up the battery. Bigger batteries aren’t always better as battery technology evolves.
Electric Vehicle Power Acceptance Rates
Your electric vehicle model will have a maximum amount of electricity in kilowatts it can receive. Assuming you have a charging station that provides a high power level, your electric vehicle’s power acceptance rate will determine the quickest your vehicle can charge.
Charging Station Power
Charging stations each have a maximum rate of electricity they can charge a vehicle. For example, commercial chargers available throughout cities and along roads tend to have higher power levels. Home chargers provide moderate levels of power.
We have explained the basics of electric vehicle charging; we use level 2 charging, DC Fast Charging, and the number of DC Fast charging stations available nationally.
Level 1 Charging Times
Level 1 charging requires a standard 120V wall socket to charge. Of all the charging options, level 1 charging is the slowest and a form of last resort as your electric vehicle will charge around five miles per hour depending on your electric car.
Level 2 Charging Times
Level 2 charging requires a charging station using a 240V connection and, depending on the amperage dedicated to the charger, can recharge at a rate of 22 to 35 miles per hour. For efficient overnight charging at home, a level two charger is ideal. You can also find level 2 chargers at hotels, stores, offices, and parking lots.
DC Fast Charging Times
DC fast charging is the quickest form and can charge at 50 to 90 miles in 30 minutes. Faster DC chargers like the Teslas Superchargers can charge at 200 miles in 15 minutes*. Charging rates depend on how much power a charging station can handle and your electric vehicle’s power acceptance rates. DC Fast chargers are only commercially available due to their cost and the power required.
National Charging Stations
The number of charging stations is another factor to consider when choosing an electric vehicle. Depending on your electric car, you will have a set number of charging stations compatible with your electric vehicle.
There are three standards for compatible electric vehicle charging stations: CSS, CHadeMO, and Tesla’s plug. In addition, your electric car will show you what charging stations are available near you.
We at Electric Driver also have an interactive map that displays the chargers nearby—one last word about charging stations. Like a gas station, an electric charging station can allow a few to many electric vehicles at a single location. Charging station infrastructure is also constantly being added to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
We look at each electric vehicle’s level 2 charging speeds, DC fast charge speeds, and available compatible charging stations to determine charging speeds.