The first question every prospective electric vehicle owner asks is: How long does it take to charge an EV? At-home charging gives EV owners a convenient way of keeping their vehicle’s battery full without making a stop at a public charging station a part of their daily commute.
However, installing a charging station in your home is an important decision. Practical considerations include the type of charger needed and how long it takes to charge your EV.
How long does it take to charge an EV? First, you need to determine the charger you will use. There are two ways of charging an EV at home:
Unfortunately, level 3 charging stations or supercharging stations are typically found only in commercial facilities. Because they draw so much power, these chargers aren’t a viable solution for at-home charging.
A level 2 charging station requires a 240V circuit that runs from the breaker panel to the charging unit. A professional installer will attach a double-pole circuit breaker to two 120V buses inside the breaker panel. Once the voltage of these two buses is combined, the installer will run a dedicated circuit from the panel to the charging unit and protect this cable for outdoor use if needed.
The dedicated double pole breaker takes up two slots in the main electrical panel. For this reason, you might need to upgrade your main panel or install a sub panel if you don’t have this space available before you can have a Level 2 charging station installed.
A Licensed electrician will also check to make sure your main electrical panel has the capacity to support the new charging load. If not, you may need to upgrade your main electrical panel.
Level 1 charging is a convenient option since it doesn’t require any modifications to your breaker panel. Unfortunately, it’s also the slowest way of charging an EV with only three to five miles of range gained for each hour of charging.
The median driving range of EVs now exceeds 250 miles, which means that the battery needs at least 50 hours of Level 1 charging to reach its full range. However, EV batteries typically stay within the 20 to 80% range. Therefore, 37 hours is a more realistic time to boost a 20% charge to 80% at four miles per hour.
Level 1 charging can make sense for plug-in hybrid vehicles that rely on a mix of fuel and battery power. It can also be a viable option for topping up the battery and extending the range by a few miles.
Topping up is common among EV owners because it prevents the battery charge from dropping below 20%. While this practice won’t replace public stations that allow for faster charging, it’s a convenient way of supplementing the battery charge while the vehicle sits at home.
How long does it take to charge an EV with a Level 2 charger? The charging speed can vary since not all batteries have the same power rating. Still, depending on the capacity of the charger, you can expect an average of 25 to 40 miles of range per hour of charging with a Level 2 charger.
Leaving your EV plugged in for 10 hours overnight would give you the full median range of 250 miles, even though you’re not likely to need this full range since your battery charge shouldn’t drop below 20%.
Battery technology is a crucial factor determining the charging speed and the capacity of an EV. While some economical EVs have a 30kWh capacity, the latest models have an impressive battery capacity that sometimes exceeds 200kWh. As a result, automakers typically include features that speed up charging to accommodate this larger battery capacity.
Most EVs come with restrictions designed to protect the lithium-ion battery. Since these batteries perform better with a charge that stays in the 20 to 80% range, built-in features usually prevent overcharging. In this case, charging typically slows down once the battery charge reaches the 80% mark. This feature can translate to slower charging speeds if you’re topping up a battery that is nearly full.
Lastly, there are safety features designed to protect the battery from overheating. For example, lithium-ion batteries perform better in a temperature range of 68 to 77°F, which means charging will slow down to protect the battery if temperatures drop or climb outside that range.
How long will it take to charge your EV? Installing a Level 2 charging station in your home will speed up your charging and help you get more out of your EV. Qmerit makes at home charging easy. Our network of licensed and vetted installers can work with your home’s unique configuration to give you a fast and reliable Level 2 charging station. Contact us today to learn more.