How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car?

By Kijiji Autos
Blue SUV hybrid parked in front of house - Electric and hybrid car

Electric vehicle (EV) technology has surged in recent years and continues to advance in leaps and bounds with EVs capable of travelling further than ever before on a single charge. In addition to improved range, modern EVs are capable of charging at rates that early EV adopters could only dream of. Charging times are one of the key differentiators between electric cars and their internal combustion-powered counterparts.

While it's not yet possible to pull into a charging station and spend as much time charging as you would filling a car with gas, charging technology continues to improve and may very well achieve fossil fuel stop times in the future with some modern EVs are already capable of adding as much as 80% in under twenty minutes.

There are a number of factors and conditions that affect how long it takes to charge an electric car, and in this article we'll discuss them with their various effects. We'll also provide a list of ten popular electric vehicles and show you how each one stacks up for charging time, range and the average cost for a full charge.

How does charging an electric car work in Canada?

Charging an electric vehicle in Canada is not always a simple task thanks to the relatively new infrastructure and the enormous size of our beautiful country. While EV charging infrastructure continues to spread from coast to coast you'll find most of it centered around major population hubs like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, as well as along major highway routes.

EV drivers in Canada charge their vehicles at public charging stations (akin to traditional gas stations), outside places of business, or at home often overnight.

The power supply for most Canadian homes can support up to Level 2 charging, meaning EV drivers can plug in overnight and leave the house with a full charge the following morning. As an added bonus, charging overnight is better for the environment and the homeowner's wallet. There's more demand on the power grid when people are awake during the day, so charging overnight makes use of off-peak power which is often cheaper for the homeowner.

There are different levels of EV charger that provide different charging times, as well as a variety of charging connector platforms.

EV charging connector types

There are a few different charging connector types in use around the world, but we'll be focusing on the ones used in North America for the next section.

SAE J1772 or "J-plug" connector

This connector is used for Level 1 and Level 2 charging and comes with every EV sold unless it's a Tesla. Tesla uses its own proprietary connector and supplies its buyers with an adapter cable that allows them to plug into Level 1 or 2 J-plug chargers. These types of connectors are the industry standard for the first two charging levels in North America.

DC Fast Charging Connectors

DC fast charging is the current king of electric vehicle fueling with the ability to add hundreds of kilometres of range in around half an hour. There are three different connectors in use in North America that provide fast-charging capability.

CCS (Combined Charging System)

CCS chargers are the fast-charging norm in North America, with the vast majority of automotive manufacturers adopting their use. CCS chargers resemble the J-plug connectors mentioned above but add an extra pair of pins below the Level 1 and Level 2 charger to give it the ability to add major range in a short time. The Society of Automotive Engineers endorses the CCS connector.


ChAdeMO is the standard EV fast-charging connector in Japan, and takes its name from an abbreviation of "Charge de Move" or "charge for moving." CHAdeMO connectors are rare in North America as only Nissan and Mitsubishi sell vehicles that make use of this style. CHAdeMO connectors require their own charging port as they don't share components with the J-plug in the way that the CCS connector does.

Tesla and Superchargers

Tesla operates its own network of chargers known as Superchargers and uses a proprietary connector for all three levels of EV charging. This was one of the major selling points for Teslas early in the company's history. Buyers of new Teslas would receive free charging at Supercharger stations, though this promotion has been discontinued for more recent customers.

Charging levels

Now that we know all the different types of charging connectors we can move on to discuss charging levels. These levels represent the voltage that the charger runs on and dictate how quickly it can charge your EV's battery to get you back on the road.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 charging runs on the 120-volt power supply found in most residential dwellings in Canada. Level 1 charging can be thought of as a failsafe option for EV drivers when faster charging options are not available. Level 1 chargers plug right into a regular wall outlet but, as you can see below, are much, much slower than Level 2 and Level 3 charging. Level 1 charging can be used in a pinch, or by someone who uses their EV infrequently for short trips. Every EV sold in Canada comes with the ability to plug into Level 1 charging.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging operates on 240 volts and is the most commonly used charging level for everyday EV charging. Level 2 chargers can be installed in residential homes and are wired into the house's electrical system. Level 2 chargers allow the kind of overnight charging mentioned above and guarantee you'll get into a fully charged car each morning even if the car was nearly empty when you plugged it in.

Level 3 Charging

Level 3 charging is also known as DC fast charging and supplies current at a minimum of 400 volts, though some luxury EVs like the Lucid Air can accept up to 900 volts. Level 3 charging is much faster than Level 1 and Level 2, with some charger/car combinations able to add as much as 30 kilometres of driving range each minute.

Level 3 chargers are found at some business locations and in dedicated public charging stations like the ones operated by Electrify Canada. These stations, while sparse for the time being, are beginning to pop up more and more across the country. Level 3 chargers give EV drivers the ability to add significant range to their vehicles in the time it takes to stop for a coffee break and are often found along major highways to help EV drivers cover more distance.

Charging to 80%

As we discuss EV charging it's worth mentioning that the kind of batteries found in electric cars are happiest (and last the longest) when they are put on a charge with about 20% remaining and taken off charge at around 80%.

Charging beyond 80% slows down charging and can put extra thermal stress on the battery. Many electric cars and commercial charging stations have software that allows drivers to choose the charge level at which they want the juice to stop flowing.

If you're heading out on a long road trip then a 100% charge would be best for maximum range, but in everyday driving situations, an 80% charge should be more than enough. Some of the fast-charging figures listed below make reference to this.

1- Tesla Model S

  • Vehicle: Tesla Model S
  • Battery Size: 100 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 652 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 555 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 96.7 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 12.5 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 6-9 hours
  • Supercharger Time: 1 hour
  • Average Cost to Charge: $15

2- Nissan Leaf SV Plus

  • Vehicle: Nissan Leaf SV Plus
  • Battery Size: 62 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 346 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 289 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 30 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 8 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 80% in 40 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $8.68

4- Hyundai Ioniq Electric

  • Vehicle: Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  • Battery Size: 38.3 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 273 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 241 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 35.5 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 6 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 80% in 54 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $5.36

4- Jaguar I-Pace

  • Vehicle: Jaguar I-Pace
  • Battery Size: 90 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 396 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 378 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 48 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 13 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 80% in 40 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $12.60

5- Tesla Model 3

  • Vehicle: Tesla Model 3
  • Battery Size: 75 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 499 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 366 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 36 - 50 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 12 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 6 hours
  • Supercharger Time: Under 60 mins
  • Average Cost to Charge: $10.50

6- Audi e-tron

  • Vehicle: Audi e-tron
  • Battery Size: 86.5 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 357 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 302 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 36 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 10 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 80% in 30 mins
  • Supercharger Time:
  • Average Cost to Charge: $12.11

7- Ford Mustang Mach-E

  • Vehicle: Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Battery Size: 91 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 492 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 451 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 74 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 11.4 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 10-80% in 45 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $12.74

8- VW ID.4

  • Vehicle: VW ID.4
  • Battery Size: 77 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 418 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 438 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 50 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 7.5-11.5 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 80% in 38 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $10.78

9- BMW i4

  • Vehicle: BMW i4
  • Battery Size: 81.5 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 482 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 450 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 100 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 8.25 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 10-80% in 31 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $11.41

10- Kia EV6

  • Vehicle: Kia EV6
  • Battery Size: 77.4 kWh
  • OEM Claimed Driving Range: 499 km
  • Est. Real Driving Range: 370 km
  • Level 1 Charge Time: 38 hours
  • Level 2 Charge Time: 7 hours
  • Level 3 Charge Time: 10-80% in 18 mins
  • Supercharger Time: N/A
  • Average Cost to Charge: $10.84

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Averaged out across the ten EVs on our list we can see that filling up with a Level 1 charger took an average of 55 hours with some cars needing almost double that to achieve a full charge. Level 2 charging was much quicker with an average of 9.6 hours, while Level 3 DC fast charging allowed for a 10-80% recharge in just 37 minutes.

These average charging time figures leave out the Tesla Model S and Tesla Model 3 which are noticeably slower if charged at a Level 3 non-Supercharger location.

As we can see from the charging times in the table above there are many factors that affect electric car charge times. Battery size and the rate at which a car can accept charge play major roles in determining charge speed, as do factors like ambient temperature, existing charge level, load on the battery and more.

What's the fastest time to fully charge an electric car?

Thanks to its smaller battery the Nissan Leaf was the fastest car to charge with Level 1 equipment with a time of 30 hours.

The Level 2 charging crown for our ten vehicles goes to the Hyundai Ioniq Electric with a time of six hours.

The Kia EV6 was the clear winner when plugged into a Level 3 charger with the ability to go from 10-80% in just 18 minutes. Both Tesla entrants clocked times of around 60 minutes when connected to the proprietary Supercharger network.

What factors impact charging an electric car

There are a few factors that can have a significant effect on how quickly your electric vehicle is able to recharge. To hit those lofty manufacturer-quoted charging times it's important to know what each of them are and how they negatively or positively affect charging times.

Battery Size

One factor that greatly and predictably affects how long it takes to charge an electric car is the size of its battery. Bigger batteries can store more energy and therefore take longer to charge, while smaller batteries get the job done quicker as evidenced by the Nissan Leaf's comparatively short Level 1 charging time.

The advantages of quicker charging that come from a smaller battery are countered by the reduced range that can make longer road trips with large distances between charging stations nerve-wracking or impossible.

Vehicle charging capabilities

Another factor that affects EV charging speeds is the ability of the vehicle to connect to a Level 3 charger. Some older EVs weren't designed to charge at the speeds that DC fast chargers supply, though Level 3 charging capabilities are becoming more of a standard feature as EV technology continues to improve. That's not to say, however, that you can't plug one of these vehicles into a Level 3 charger.

Vehicle maximum charge rate

Depending on the manufacturer, electric vehicles have different electrical "architectures" that dictate, among other things, how quickly they can take on a charge. High-voltage architectures are the hallmark of high-end luxury EVs for now, but the technology will surely migrate into more affordable vehicles as it develops and grows less expensive.

You can plug any EV into any charger with a compatible connector as the car decides how much charge it can safely accept. Charging speeds are dictated by how much power the charger can deliver and how quickly the car can accept a charge.

Weather and temperature

The kinds of batteries present in electric vehicles prefer to operate within a certain temperature window so that they are neither too hot nor too cold. Charging quickly above 80% or charging too quickly when the battery is cold can have adverse effects on the battery's health and longevity by generating too much heat. This can make for charging times that are slower than desired as charging has to be limited in hot temperatures to avoid overheating and starting slowly to warm the battery in cold environments.

Many EVs now come with the ability to heat or cool their batteries as needed to counter any negative thermal effects. This is controlled by battery management software in the car's computer which juggles your desire for a quick charge with ensuring conditions that will allow the battery to operate as efficiently as possible for the longest amount of time.

Existing charge level

The energy stored in your EV's battery when you plug it into a charger also has an effect on how quickly it can charge, as nearly empty batteries take on charge much faster than ones that are nearly full. It's helpful to think of an empty battery as an empty theatre. It's easy to find a place to sit when there are few seats taken, but with more seats occupied it'll take you longer to find one for yourself. This, in battery terms, is why charging slows down and produces more heat as the battery approaches 100% charged.

Other factors

What you do with your car as it's charging also affects the time it takes to top up. Sitting in your car using the air conditioning or entertainment system while charging uses power that could be sent to the battery to run cabin accessories leading to a longer charge. The age of your EV's battery also plays a role in determining charging speed, as older batteries that have experienced a large number of charge/discharge cycles eventually degrade and cannot accept a charge as quickly as they could when they were new.

The final charging speed factor on our list is the number of other EV drivers that are charging their cars at the same public charging station. This is more anecdotal than official but drivers have reported slower charging times at busy stations. Pulling into the station at night when it's deserted and the load on the power grid is low will probably result in a few less minutes spent charging.

We hope that this article has given you a comprehensive guide on all things EV charging as well as a good idea of the charging times that different vehicles offer. As EV technology develops and becomes more widespread, charging times will naturally fall until they're similar to the time it takes to refuel a gas-powered car. An even faster version of the Level 3 charger is currently being developed by the Formula E racing series and promises to bring charging times down further.

Check out our list of the 10 most popular electric SUVs available in Canada for more on electric vehicles with Kijiji Autos.

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