DETROIT (AP) — If the auto industry is to succeed in its bet that electric vehicles will soon dominate the roads, it will need to overcome a big reason why many people are still avoiding them: Fear of running out of juice between Point A and Point B.
Automakers have sought to quell those concerns by developing EVs that go farther per charge and fill up faster. Problem is, most public charging stations now fill cars much too slowly, requiring hours — not minutes — to provide enough electricity for an extended trip.
Concerned that such prolonged waits could turn away potential EV buyers and keep them stuck on gas-burning vehicles, automakers are trying to cut charging times.
So, how long does it take to re-charge an EV?
That can vary due to a wide variety of factors, including the source of the electricity. As Car and Driver points out: "All electric vehicles can, theoretically, charge their large batteries off the standard kitchen outlet, but imagine trying to fill a 55-gallon barrel with a squirt gun. Recharging an EV battery with a 120-volt source—these are categorized as Level 1 according to SAE J1772, a standard that engineers use to design EVs—is measured in days, not hours."
They suggest having a Level 2 recharging system installed in your home. That allows for re-charging at 240 volts and 40 amps. Those charging stations you see in public are DC fast-charging stations which can produce between 250 and 350 kW. But even with those it depends how much charge you still have in your battery at the time.
"When the vehicle battery's SoC is below 20 percent or above 80 percent, a DC fast charger's charging rate slows considerably; this optimizes battery life and limits the risk of overcharging," explains Car and Driver.
It's also important to know that not all EVs can use fast-charging stations.
According to Kelley Blue Book, these approximate calculations based on a 240V Level 2 power source and charging capacity, according to the manufacturers’ websites for the following 2021 cars:
- Chevrolet Volt EV: 10 hours
- Nissan Leaf: Up to 11 hours
- Tesla Model S: 12 hours
- Karma GS-6: 4 hours
- Tesla Model 3: 12 hours
- Porsche Taycan: Up to 10.5 hours
- Mini SE Hardtop: 4 hours
- Audi E-Tron: 10 hours
- Polestar 2: 8 hours
- BMW i3: 7 hours
So if you are considering an EV, here are some tips from JD Power to consider to extend the life of your batter:
Batteries have a finite lifespan, so understanding battery health may extend battery life. Level 2 and Level 3 chargers are considered heavy duty, so to ensure battery health they will fast-charge a battery to 80% capacity and slow down for the remaining 20% of charge capacity, taking advantage of the “grace capacity” built into the battery.
Over time, as the battery is charged, depleted, and recharged, grace capacity and driving range can dwindle over time. Charging station speed, frequency of recharging, the age of the battery, load levels, and temperature also factor into battery performance over time. Most EV batteries have an 8-year, 100,000-mile manufacturer warranty, but some loss of capacity and driving range over time is to be expected.
Driving style also matters when it comes to preserving driving range. A fast, aggressive driver depletes the battery quicker, while a gentler foot maximizes regenerative braking to extend range. Judicious use of the climate control system also preserves range. For example, using the heated seats instead of blasting hot air through the vents can help to increase distance.