Charging an Electric Car — What Factors Affect the Length of Time?

Electric cars are well-known for being quiet, fuel-efficient, and safe for the environment. There is no need to put in petrol, clean out the fuel pipes, top up the water, or worry about new spark plugs. Owning an electric car can be exciting, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you own one or plan to buy one in the future. Specifically, how long it takes to charge.

Charging an electric car will take anywhere between half an hour to a full day. There are a few key factors that affect this. With the right knowledge, you can learn how to get a better charge out of the battery, and use it more efficiently.

Battery Size

The bigger the battery, the more power it can take. On the flip side though, a large battery will take much longer to charge. It also depends on how full the battery currently is. A completely empty one will take longer than one that’s halfway charged. Most electric cars are made to hold up to 100 kWh, which is not massive. The latest Jaguar model, which is the most popular, is only 90 kWh.

There is an easy calculation to work out how long your battery will take to charge based on its size. Take the size and divide it by the charger’s capacity. For example, a 40-kWh station or charger will take one hour to charge an 11-kWh battery. This doesn’t seem like such a lot when you look at it that way.

Environmental Changes in Temperature

Even with the fastest charger, if the weather is on the chilly side, it will take a long time to charge your battery. Your car will also run less efficiently in bad weather even with a fully charged battery. This happens because it takes more energy from the car and battery when there is less heat. It’s like your body; it takes a lot of energy to keep you warm during the winter months. You won’t be able to drive very long distances in the snow, for instance.

To try to combat any environmental effects, there are some things you can do. Firstly, charge regularly. Don’t wait for the battery to get any lower than 50% before topping it up. You can also try to keep a battery blanket around the battery when it is not in use.

The Power of the Charging Station

Because you don’t need petrol to run an electric car you will need to find a charging station. If you want to charge at home, you can, but it uses a slow-running charging port that will easily take more than a day to fill up. A standard electric car charging time takes roughly eight hours to get a full charge. This is working on 7 kWh.

Some charging stations come with rapid chargers which will only take about an hour to charge. They go up to 150 kWh. If you can find one it will be ideal if you need to drive a long distance in a short amount of time. Charging stations also change the speed based on the battery’s capacity. The first 80% will go at the fastest speed. As it reaches full capacity it will take longer to completely charge up.

The Frequency of Charges

How often and for how long you charge an electric car can have an effect on your mileage. Much like you would charge a tablet, when and how often will determine if the battery lasts a few months or a few years. If you regularly let the battery run flat before you charge it up, you are actually causing it to become less effective over time. Similarly, overcharging it will cause some damage along the way, meaning you will have to replace the battery more often.

The ideal way to charge an electric car battery is to plug it in before it reaches 50%. The moment it is fully charged, unplug it. If you drive long distances for work, you might have to charge every few days. Some useful advice is to plug the charger in at the end of every day up until you go to bed, or overnight, depending on how long it needs to charge.

Level of the Charger

There are three levels that charge at different speeds. Level one is the cheapest charger but will take the longest — anywhere from one to four days. Level two will take about 12 hours or less, and level three will give you at least an 80% charge in under an hour. These times aren’t exactly accurate though. It depends on the wall connection and the model of the car that you have.

When it comes to charging an electric car battery, all of these factors come into play. You won’t get stranded unexpectedly if you know how to charge your car correctly and for the length of time that is best suited to the battery.

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