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  • Writer's pictureFreights21

Average Time to Charge an Electric Car and Factors That Affect Charging

In the realm of electric vehicles (EVs), a prominent query arises: "How much time is needed to recharge my new EV?" To address this inquiry, we need to explore the charging locations, comprehend the various charging levels, and fathom the distinctions between AC and DC charging. Thus, let's embark on this enlightening voyage and uncover the typical duration required for recharging an electric car, along with the determinants that exert a substantial influence on this pivotal aspect.

Where to Charge: AC vs. DC

Before we delve into the factors affecting charging times, let's clarify the basics. Electric car charging primarily occurs in two ways: Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). The choice of charging method significantly impacts the time it takes to juice up your EV.

Level 1 (AC) Charging: 10 to 40 Hours

Level 1 AC charging is the slowest method, taking anywhere from 10 to 40 hours to fully charge your electric vehicle. This is typically done using a standard household outlet.

Level 2 (AC) Charging: 1 to 20 Hours

Level 2 AC charging offers a considerable speed boost compared to Level 1, with charging times ranging from 1 to 20 hours. This level of charging is commonly found at public charging stations and is a convenient option for most EV owners.

Level 3 (DC) Charging: 7 Minutes to 2 Hours

Level 3 DC charging, also known as fast charging, is the quickest way to charge your EV. It can take as little as 7 minutes or up to 2 hours, depending on various factors. This high-speed charging is typically available at specialized charging stations.

Factors That Affect Charging Speeds

Now that we've covered the charging levels, let's explore the key factors that influence how long it takes to charge your electric car.

Factors that affect EV's Charging Speed
Factors that affect EV's Charging Speed

(a) Electric Car Battery

The size of your electric car's battery is a significant determinant of charging time. In simple terms, the bigger the battery, the longer it will take to charge. Electric vehicle batteries are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), equivalent to the amount of energy needed to run a 1,000-watt appliance for an hour. Most modern EV batteries hold between 25 and 100 kWh when fully charged.

(b) Charging Capacity of the Vehicle

The charging capacity of your EV plays a crucial role. It's measured in kilowatts (kW) and can vary from one vehicle to another. Whether you're charging with AC or DC, a higher charging capacity means faster charging. For example, if two similar-sized EVs are charging side by side at a high-power DC station, the one accepting 250 kW will charge much faster than the one limited to 50 kW.

(c) Charging Output of the Charging Station

The charging station's output matters significantly. The higher the kW output of the station, the faster your EV will charge—provided your vehicle can handle the increased power output. Always consider the station's capacity when choosing where to charge.

(d) State of Charge

Just like a traditional gas vehicle, the state of charge in your EV when you begin charging affects the time it takes to top up. Whether you're starting with a nearly empty battery or a half-full one, the charging duration will differ accordingly.

(e) The DC Charging Curve

DC charging has a unique characteristic. Initially, it provides a rapid flow of power to your EV, which then gradually decreases as the battery fills up. This is done to protect the battery from potential damage due to a sudden surge of power. As a result, the first 80 percent of charging may happen relatively quickly, while the final 20 percent could take as long as the initial 80 percent.

(f) Weather Conditions

Believe it or not, weather plays a role in charging times. Electric vehicle batteries operate most efficiently in moderate temperatures, roughly between 20–25°C (68-77°F). Charging in extremely hot or cold weather can extend the charging duration.

In the electrifying world of electric vehicles, understanding the average time it takes to charge your EV is essential. Factors such as battery size, vehicle capacity, charging station output, state of charge, the DC charging curve, and weather conditions all come into play. To ensure a seamless charging experience, consider these factors and choose your charging station wisely.

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