If you plan to take your electric car on frequent road trips, then charging time will be an important factor for you. In 2021, 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 are planning a roundtrip journey of more than 100 miles away 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, power of the charging stations, and electric vehicle acceptance rate.
If charging speed is the most important factor to you, then your best recommendation is generally going to be a Tesla due to their extensive supercharging network. The Tesla supercharger claims to give up to 200 miles of charge in 15 minutes, and no other manufacturer can currently compete with this.
There are several other manufacturers working on developing batteries with longer ranges and fast charging times, but until these vehicles are released and have better means to fast charging, Teslas will remain superior in this category.
Keep in mind that the average daily commute is around 37 miles, and electric vehicle charging is generally done at home overnight using a level 2 charger. So, if you typically only use your vehicle for commuting 30-50 miles per day, then charging time may not be as important of a factor as you might think.
Electric vehicles can have a variety of battery sizes that store kilowatt of electricity. The larger the battery size, the more electricity is required to fill up the battery. Bigger batteries aren’t always better, as the battery technology evolves.
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 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 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 requires a charging station using a 240V connection (Similar to an electrical connection a clothes dryer uses). Level 2 charges your electric car depending on your electric vehicle and amp circuit, 22 to 35 miles per hour. Level 2 charging is what you would use at home to charge overnight, which accounts for most of your charging. You can also find level 2 chargers at some hotels, stores, offices, and parking lots.
DC fast charging is the quickest form of charging currently available. DC fast charging typically can charge at a rate of 50 to 90 miles in 30 minutes. Faster DC chargers like the Teslas Superchargers can charge at a rate of 200 miles in 15 minutes*. Charging rates are dependent on the amount of power a charging station can handle, along with your electric vehicle’s power acceptance rates. DC Fast chargers are only commercially available due to their cost and amount of power they require to operate.
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.
The three standards right now that determine which charging stations are compatible with your electric vehicle are CSS, CHadeMO, and Teslas property 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 from a few to 42 electric vehicles at a single location. Charging station infrastructure is also constantly being added to meet the growing demand of electric vehicles.
To determine charging speeds, we look at each electric vehicle's level 2 charging speeds, DC fast charge speeds, and available compatible charging stations.