How Long Does it Take To Charge an Electric Car?

By: Kristen Hall-Geisler

Sometimes charging electric cars can be as simple as plugging it in to an outlet in the wall.
Sometimes charging electric cars can be as simple as plugging it in to an outlet in the wall.
Howard Kingsnorth

This post, part of a series we're running all about electric cars, was written by Kristen Hall-Geisler from HowStuffWorks.com.

Coming soon to a garage near you: Electric vehicles! Big-name auto makers like Nissan, Ford, and Mitsubishi are scheduled for major EV releases in the next year or so, while small car makers are busy building small electric vehicles for short trips around the neighborhood. There's no question that you like the planet; and everyone knows you like new technology, too. But how long will an EV will have to be plugged into the wall before it's ready for its next silent neighborhood mission?

Advertisement

The quick answer to that question is overnight. Most EVs that will be on the market within the next few years will need to be plugged in overnight to fully charge. But the correct answer, as with so many things, is, "it depends." It depends on the type of batteries in the car and it depends on the type of outlet you're using to charge the thing up.

Let's take a few real-world examples:

- The Nissan LEAF uses lithium-ion batteries, just like your laptop and your cell phone, but it uses a lot more of them. It can charge overnight (8 hours) at a 220/240-volt Nissan charging dock that's installed in your garage. It can also charge at a 110/120-volt outlet, the kind you plug your laptop and cell phone into, but it'll take far, far longer.

- The sexy Tesla Roadster uses lithium-ion batteries, too, but the 240-volt Tesla High Power Wall Connector, as they call it, can charge that baby in a mere 3.5 hours. But before you open your wallet, you should know that this is also one of the most expensive EVs on the road.

- A little neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV), like the cars from GEM (Global Electric Motorcars), uses lead-acid batteries. This technology is older, proven to be reliable and charges in about 6 to 8 hours at a standard 110-volt outlet. So what's the tradeoff? A maximum speed of just 25 miles per hour (40.2 kilometers per hour).

So the heavy-duty recharging will happen in your home (over the course of several hours) at the charging station designed for your specific vehicle. But most of the cars coming to market in the next few years, like the Nissan LEAF, for instance, will allow you to "top off" at a standard outlet for a little extra juice while you're out and about.

Advertisement

AutoHybrid CarsHow Electric Cars WorkAutoHybrid CarsElectric Car PicturesAutoFuel-efficient VehiclesWill I get shocked if I drive an electric car through a big puddle?AutoFuel-efficient VehiclesHow Electric Car Batteries WorkAutoHybrid CarsWhat is a potentiometer in an electric car?AutoHybrid CarsHow Electric Car Labs WorkAutoPorschePorsche Joins Electric Vehicle Race With 2020 TaycanAutoOther Makes & ModelsCould Electric Motor Conversions Save Classic Cars?AutoUnusual CarsHow the G-Wiz Electric Car WorksAutoHybrid CarsHow Electric Car Charging Networks WorkAutoHybrid TechnologyCan I buy an electric car at Sam's Club?AutoHybrid CarsIs there a way to create an all-electric car you don't have to plug in?AutoHybrid TechnologyHow Electric Car Conversion Kits WorkAutoHybrid TechnologyWhat is the history of electric cars?AutoUnusual CarsHow big is the world's smallest electric car?AutoFuel ConsumptionHow can a speed bump harvest electricity?AutoFuel-efficient VehiclesThis Woman's Job Is to Figure Out Why People Don't Buy Electric CarsAutoHybrid CarsIs an all-electric car a bad investment?AutoTypes of EnginesHow Does an Electric Water Pump Benefit Your Engine?AutoPlug-in HybridsWhat is the plug-in electric vehicle credit?AutoFuel ConsumptionIndia Plans to Switch All New Cars to Electric by 2030AutoTech and TransportShared Electric Scooters: Commuter Solution or Urban Nightmare?AutoHybrid CarsCan Electric Car Batteries Be Recycled?AutoHybrid CarsWill Electric Cars Require More Maintenance?AutoHybrid CarsChallenges Facing the Electric Car IndustryAutoHybrid CarsAre electric cars safe in accidents?AutoHybrid CarsAre Electric Cars Cheaper to Run?AutoAuto ManufacturingHow old is the electric car?AutoConcept CarsToyota's Newest Electric Concept Car Is Made of WoodAutoFuel-efficient VehiclesElectric Car Charging Goes Super FastAutoHybrid CarsElectric Cars vs. Hydrogen Fuel Cell CarsAutoHybrid CarsTop 10 Electric Car Frequently Asked QuestionsAutoHybrid CarsHow Does Horsepower Figure Into Electric Cars?AutoFuel-efficient VehiclesTesla's New Model 3 Aims Squarely at the Electric Car MainstreamAutoFuel EconomyWill all vehicles eventually be all electric?AutoTransmissions & DrivetrainGas-powered vs. Electric Cars: Which Is Faster?AutoHybrid CarsHow Long Does it Take To Charge an Electric Car?AutoHybrid CarsHow Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?AutoHybrid Cars12 Myths About Electric VehiclesAutoConcept CarsUnveiled at CES: The Electric Car Hoping to Beat Tesla at Its GameAutoFuel EconomyGas vs. Grid: Gasoline and Electricity Face OffAutoHybrid CarsCharging an Electric CarAutoHybrid CarsInside an Electric CarAutoHybrid CarsDoing a Conversion - Electric Car ConversionAutoHybrid TechnologyThe First Electric CarAutoHybrid CarsAn Electric Car ExampleAutoHybrid CarsElectric-car Motors and BatteriesAutoConcept CarsHow the Tesla Roadster Works

Advertisement

Loading...