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How long does it take to charge an electric car?

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Friday, December 14, 2018

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Written by Antti Ekström, marketing Arval Sweden.

As Plato once asked; how long is a string? I'm bad at lying, it was not Plato who asked it, but is a fun question that has existed since Plato's time (it feels like it anyway) that leans more on the philosophical direction. Perhaps not the greatest mystery to solve in the world today, but it is there in the background when you drink your coffee during the break and think. We are not going to dig into string philosophy (not string theory), but the question is similar to another fairly common question around electric cars; how long does it take to charge an electric car? It's not a philosophical question, but that question does not seem to provide any unique answers, just like how long that string is. It's as old as Plato's question *blink*. I am going to make a small effort to answer this, but there will be enough answers just like the different lengths that the string could have.

So first and foremost, an electric car is always an electric car? Well, no, not at all. There is a variety of different types of "electric cars". The most common models are:

- Electric vehicle, powered only by an electric motor that receives electricity from a battery.

- Plug-in hybrid, and have dual engines. An internal combustion and an electric engine that receives electricity from a battery that is charged with a charging cable.

- Electric hybrid, similar to a plug-in hybrid but the big difference is that you do not charge the battery with an electrical charger, it collects energy from the internal combustion engine and energy recovery from e.g. braking.

One could say that an electric hybrid is being charged while driving alone, while the electric cars and plug-in hybrids need to be charged from an external power source stationary. So without making it too complicated, I write the average charging times to load them with charging posts / boxes (depending on its kW) to 80 – 100 % capacity:

Car model

Engine type

Charging time*

Range electricity*
(no range anxiety here!)

Tesla Model 3 Electric 30 min 530 kms
Renault Zoe Electric 1 h 38 min to 5 h 300 kms
BMW i3 Electric 45 min to 8 h 310 kms
Kia Optima Plug-in hybrid 2,5 h to 3 h 62 kms
Nissan Leaf Electric 1 h to 7,5 h 270 kms
MINI Countryman Plug-in hybrid 2 h 15 min to 3 h 15 min 40 kms
Hyundai KONA Electric Electric 55 min to 9 h 35 min 546 kms
Volkswagen Golf GTE Plug-in hybrid 2 h 30 min 50 kms

The charging times are impressive. Should I choose to say an answer, it's less than an hour with a fast-charger to charge an electric car or electric hybrid today, for those cars that can handle it. I also read earlier that the car manufacturer Fisker has applied for a patent for new battery technology that claims to have 800 kms range and 1 minute charging time for 100 % capacity. Just 1 minute is correct (momento uno as Plato would have said). Easy said; impressive.

Sum of the sums: Charging times are faster than you can think of for electric cars. And I do not think there will be bigger queues at the fuel stations, waiting to charge. You will be able to charge at a greater extent at home and then manage the charge well during the day. Or why not charge at the food stores? Public ladder posts pop up everywhere right now as good autumn chanterelles at for example customer parking spaces.

So finally, charging times are not something that causes questions for me, rather that long string does. So if we tie together the philosophical electric car bag with a long string, we can then think about the next modern day Plato question; how long is a charging cable?

Antti Ekström
Arval Sweden

*Sources: Car manufacturers websites