A Guide to EV Charging Speeds

Understanding the dynamics of EV charging is becoming more important as electric vehicles continue to gain traction. With a variety of charging options available, knowing the differences in speed and functionality can significantly impact the efficiency and convenience of EV ownership. 

A full charge can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours, depending on the EV that you have and the charger you’re using. Generally speaking, you can work out how long a charge will take by dividing the size of your battery (kw) by the power output of the charger (kw). This equation will give you a rough idea, other variables will influence the outcome.  

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Charging Types

EV charging can be broadly categorised into three main types: 

Slow Charging – Level 1 Charging

Slow charging typically operates at a power output of 3.6 kW and is suitable for overnight charging. You can expect a full charge to take anywhere between 8 and 12 hours for a standard electric vehicle. Hybrids will charge faster, 2 to 4 hours on average.  

A common domestic plug socket can be used for slow chargers, however you run the risk of components overheating when using this method. A wall box installation is recommended for safety. Slow chargers provide a gentle supply of electricity, which may prolong the lifespan of the battery. 

Fast Charging – Level 2 Charging

Fast charging offers power output ranging from 7 to 22 kW, making them suitable for top up charging during the day. Typical electric vehicles will be charged within 5 hours, with a plugin hybrid electric vehicle charge in about an hour. These are the most common chargers found in the UK at destinations such as shopping centers and workplaces. 

Rapid Charging – Level 3 Charging

These are the fastest chargers available on the market. They provide a power output of 50kw and above, capable of charging a vehicle to 80 percent in 20 minutes. Because of their use cases, level 3 chargers are commonly found at motorway service stations and locations close to major roads. Rapid chargers can degrade your battery if used frequently, so its advisable to limit use to only when necessary. These chargers are also particularly expensive. 

Understanding Charging Speeds

The charging speed of an EV is influenced by several factors, including the capacity of the vehicle’s battery, the type of charger being used, and the compatibility between the charger and the vehicle. For example, while all EVs can be charged using a slow charger, not all vehicles are compatible with rapid chargers. Some may also require additional adaptors or cables. Be aware that charging speeds may vary depending on external factors such as temperature and battery condition. 

Which Speed is Right for You?

Consider your travel habits, and available infrastructure. For daily commuting and overnight charging, a slow charger at home may suffice. If you often have to leave your location at short notice, faster charging may be the option for you. It’s also important to know the range of your electric vehicle.

To learn more about EV charging, see our dedicated page: https://cardiffelectricalgroup.co.uk/ev-charger-installation-cardiff 

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