The length of time it takes to charge your car essentially comes down to three things – the size of the car’s battery, the amount of electrical current the car can handle and the speed of the charger. The size and power of the battery pack is expressed in kilowatt hours, or kWh, and the larger the number the bigger the battery, and the longer it’ll take to fully replenish the cells.
Chargers deliver electricity in kilowatts (kW), with anything from 3kW to 350kW possible – the higher the number the quicker the charging rate. Use the most basic charger and even something like a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery will require up to 12 hours for a full charge. By contrast, the latest rapid charging devices, usually found at service stations, can add up to 80 percent of a full charge within half an hour. So which charger is best?
Types of charger
There are essentially three types of charger – slow, fast and rapid (although the fastest, 350kW rapid devices are sometimes referred to as ‘ultra-rapid’ chargers). Slow and rapid chargers are usually used in homes or for on-street charging posts, while for a rapid charger you’ll need to visit either a service station or dedicated charging hub, such as the one in Milton Keynes. Some are tethered, meaning that like a petrol pump the cable is attached and you simply plug your car in, while others will require you to use your own cable, which you’ll need to carry around in the car. Here’s a guide to each: