How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

The vast majority of EV charging is done at home, overnight, just like your cell phone, which makes the speed of charging largely irrelevant. That said, there are also tens of thousands of public charging stations across the country, with more being added every day. Many of these are at stores or restaurants, so you can charge while shopping or dining.

There are a few different factors that determine how long it takes to charge an electric car. To be more technical, the time to full recharge depends on:

  • The model of the vehicle and how big the battery pack is
  • The type and “level” of charging station
  • How much charge is left in the battery when it is plugged in
  • The ambient temperature

All told, common electric cars on the market today can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a full day to recharge a fully drained battery—the fastest times delivered by a “Level 3” or “DC Fast Charger” and the slowest by plugging directly into a 120-volt outlet in the wall. (Yes, the same kind you’d plug your cell phone into.)

Gasoline car drivers are used to going to a gas station when their tank is low and filling it up. Because most EV charging is done overnight, though, many drivers will just get a boost from public charging to get them to their next destination, rather than charging to 100%.

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