In a Hurry? Here’s How Long It Takes to Charge an Electric Car

In a Hurry? Here’s How Long It Takes to Charge an Electric Car

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Owning and driving an electric car brings several benefits, like no more gas station visits, quiet and smooth acceleration, and emissions-free driving. 

But when your EV’s batteries run out of juice, how long does electric charging take? And where can you find a charging station for electric cars?

Let’s look at the subject of EV’s and what you need to know about electric charging in further detail.

The advantages of electric vehicles

Owning and driving an EV offers many perks compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars.

Benefits include the emissions-free drivetrain, a $7,500 federal tax credit, and being able to top off your batteries at home instead of visiting the gas pumps. Imagine having your filling station at home to top off your tank every night, so your internal combustion engine has plenty of fuel for many miles. When you own an EV, a home charging station is essentially that.

Each evening, you can plug in your electric car to a home charger, and in the morning, have a full charge to tackle any trip or errand on your calendar. The convenience of home charging is hard to beat.

And if you happen to be on a road trip, you can stop at various public charging stations across the country, some with fast charging capability to minimize your wait. 

Driving an EV also helps protect the environment, producing no CO2 emissions and reducing greenhouse gases. Unlike internal combustion engines continuously burning fuel and emitting burned hydrocarbons, electric motors silently accelerate, with nothing but clean air left in their wake. 

And when you buy an EV, you may be eligible for an excellent federal tax credit of $7,500. Since some EV’s tend to be slightly more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, a $7,500 federal tax credit helps keep extra money in your bank account for other essential obligations. 

EVs also take away some of the hassles of driving a gasoline-powered car. Electric cars make your life simple with no scheduled oil changes and fewer moving parts. 

Shopping for a new-to-you vehicle — electric or gas-powered — can be fun, but sometimes it’s a hassle. Driving around town and looking at different cars is time-consuming, and it may not be productive. But Shift makes buying your next vehicle easy. You can buy any of Shift’s cars directly online from the comfort of your home, know it has no hidden issues (from our 150-point inspection) and get a fair, up-front price. Shift’s website has a large selection of fully inspected cars located across the country that are ready to go. The website is user-friendly, and you’ll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. Whether you want a sports car with a manual transmission or a hybrid with excellent fuel economy, Shift has what you need.

How long does electric charging take?

Many variables determine how long it takes to charge an electric car battery.

Electric car charging times depend on several factors, like your EV’s charger capacity, power source, and to a lesser extent, weather conditions. If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum, charging times may be longer.

The power source you use to charge your EV plays a significant role in the time it takes for your batteries to reach total capacity.

A typical household electrical outlet is 120 volts and 15 amps, or a Level 1 power source according to the SAE J1772 standard. While this type of outlet can charge your EV, it’s similar to filling up a pond with a garden hose. Your electric vehicle will eventually reach total capacity using a 120-volt outlet, but it may take a while. 

For example, EV charging times using 120-volt outlets take days instead of hours.

If you’re serious about buying and driving an electric car, having a 240-volt, 40 amp outlet installed at home is the way to go. Categorized as a Level 2 power source by the SAE J1772 standard, 240-volt outlets with 40 amps optimize your EV’s onboard chargers, decreasing the time it takes to reach full capacity.

But if you’re after the absolute quickest charging times, plugging into a DC fast charger opens the floodgates of electricity to get you back on the road fast.

Tesla, long known for their innovation in the electric vehicle category, offers V3 superchargers that pump out 250kW, usually only requiring 30-60 minutes of charge time.

Electrify America charging points take it a step further, with their 350 kilowatt-hours of available electrical current. Some vehicles may only require 20 minutes to reach a full charge at one of these stations.

Also contributing to charging speed is your EV’s onboard charger. The onboard charger on an electric car converts AC power from an outlet into DC power to top up the batteries. To get an estimate of a specific EV’s charge time, you divide the kWh battery capacity by the power rating of the onboard charger and add 10 percent. 

So, in theory, an electric car with a 100-kWh battery and a 10-kW charger takes 10 hours to reach a full charge from zero, assuming an optimized power source.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

Recharging a Tesla, specifically, can take anywhere from one to 12 hours. It all depends on the current state of charge and the type of power source used.

Those who purchase a Tesla receive three power adapters: a NEMA 5-15 for a regular 120-volt outlet, a NEMA 14-50 for a higher-powered 240-volt outlet, and another for public charging stations (not including Tesla Supercharging stations). 

For instance, the charging rate for a Tesla Model S needing a full charge are:

  • On a NEMA 5-15 adapter, three miles of range for each charging hour
  • Using a NEMA-14-50 adapter, 17-18 hours to reach capacity.
  • A Supercharger station takes only 30 minutes to top off your Tesla Model S.

Tesla offers different battery types in their cars, with each specific type offering a varying range. 

Tesla’s most basic battery, in the Model 3, is good for 262 miles. But when you upgrade to the Model S, you can drive for up to 405 miles on a charge. 

Tesla builds their batteries for the long haul, designing them to last anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 miles. 

Although buying a used electric car could save you thousands versus purchasing a new one, where can you go for a used EV that stands the test of time? Shift’s best-in-industry service contracts give you peace of mind, so you know your EV is good to go, mile after mile. With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, but you also get roadside assistance if you run into trouble. Where you happen to be in the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, help is just a toll-free phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

2020 Tesla Model 3 (from $50,350)

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2019 Tesla Model 3 (from $40,950)

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Shop Used Tesla Model 3
2019 Tesla Model 3 (from $40,950)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
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Author
Shift Editorial Team