Ever wondered why electric cars take so long to charge?
Read below to find out more about this process and why it may take longer than expected.
Let’s get started!
Why do electric cars take so long to charge?
Electric car batteries have a long charging time when using a standard power outlet. EVs have big complicated battery systems that need to hold a lot of power which is why it takes time. With the latest charging technology, however, you can charge a car in as little as 30-40 minutes.
There are a few reasons for this but for now, we will focus on the main culprit. Most charging stations operate on a home-like alternating current.
Yes, there are alternative options that are currently available.
However, these options tend to be far more expensive.
The average electric car owner typically cannot afford to purchase a direct current charging station. Yes, these are much faster than the home like current, but they will cost tens of thousands of dollars more.
Why can’t electric cars charge faster?
Electric vehicle batteries are simply going to deplete over time. This is a reality that cannot be avoided, as these batteries are utilized in a manner that strips them of their power more quickly.
While there are fast charging options to be found, they are not used because of battery-related concerns.
The electric vehicle owner has three options to choose from at the moment:
- They can use a typical wall outlet,
- an AC charger that has been dedicated for this task in particular
- or a rapid DC charger.
Of course, there are lots of debates about the best options.
The wall outlet will work just fine and the average electric vehicle owner relies on these for the most part.
There is just one problem there: the charging time will be measured in days, not hours.
The dedicated EV charger works a bit faster but DC fast charging is the speediest choice of all.
This is still a general problem with electric cars.
What exactly causes charging to take so long?
Some readers may be wondering why everyone isn’t just using a DC rapid charger then. Conventional wisdom (including major EV manufacturers) states that rapid charging is actually bad for the battery over the long haul. The logic makes perfect sense.
After all, the faster the charging speed, the more waste heat that is produced.
Lithium-ion batteries are far more likely to degrade over time when they are exposed to larger amounts of heat. It is hard to avoid this reality since EV batteries are going to be depleted and recharged on such a regular basis.
This also means that car batteries lose range over time.
Take your smartphone, for instance. If you have had the phone for a few years, you will notice that the battery does not work nearly as well as it did when it was brand new.
Of course, advancements are being made and one day, this should be less of a problem.
As the top manufacturers work to come up with cooling methods that are designed to reduce the wear and tear on the battery, charging times should start to come down more.
Active air cooling vs passive air cooling remains a popular debate.
The newer, more expensive models offer faster charging due to active air cooling, while passive air cooling is more common in older vehicles. At the end of the day, the answer will depend on the vehicle that you have chosen.
What is the average time to fully charge an electric car?
Again, this answer will depend on the type of charger that is being used, the battery that the driver has on hand and the age of their vehicle. The range of variance is massive.
If a rapid charger is used, the vehicle can be charged in as little as 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, those who are relying on a classic wall changer may need up to 12 hours to charge their electric cars.
That’s why many experts will recommend topping up on your existing charge, as opposed to waiting for the battery to become fully depleted. It should go without saying but waiting for the battery to fully deplete will only make the process take even longer.
Bigger batteries and slower charging points are always going to add more time to the equation.
The average time is going to depend on these factors, there is no one size fits all average time to expect for the EV driver.
What could cause my electric car to charge too slowly?
There are a number of factors that could be at play in these instances.
First and foremost, it is important that slow charging is the name of the game when it comes to the vast majority of electric cars. Scientists are currently working on faster-charging methods but there are no guarantees in this regard.
With the electric grid that we have now, it is impossible to say whether rapid chargers are going to become the norm.
Batteries degrade over the course of time and this will also lead to slower electric car charging times. Most are aware of the overheating that takes place with lithium batteries.
However, there are other issues that can be quite problematic.
- The lithium itself will start to build up on the surface of the anode.
- When this happens, it means that lithium plating has taken place and this is not good for the lifespan of the battery.
- The capacity of the battery is greatly reduced.
This would be a big enough problem all on its own but things can get worse from there.
Structures that are similar to filaments are formulated and they are known as dendrites.
The dendrites will then grow across the electrolyte. From there, they will touch the cathode and a short circuit is caused.
When this process is given the chance to take place, the battery may be damaged.
This obviously presents a major problem from a safety standpoint. Check this article for a rundown of possible dangers around electric cars.
This all demands slower charging
Because of the issues that are related to faster charging, the port that you are using may also be designed to charge more slowly, regardless of your vehicle or battery choice.
Many EV ports will come with built-in limits when it comes to charging speeds.
These limits are set with the cars’ onboard charging ports, so there is no way to alter them. Yes, there are fast charging stations within the United States but this leads to common misconceptions.
Let’s say that the fast charging station in question offers 350 kilowatts of charging power. That sounds great, doesn’t it? There is just one problem that electric vehicle owners often fail to consider.
The battery itself is only set up to accept a fraction of that power, which is another common cause of slow charging times.
How long does it take to charge an electric car with a fast charger?
Fast chargers have the ability to charge an electric vehicle within minutes but the exact amount of time will depend on the size of the battery. The battery’s current amount of juice will also play a key role.
If the driver is using a state-of-the-art charging station, the process can be mostly completed within 30 minutes.
The exact amount of time will depend on the amount of charge that the battery already has on hand as well.
In other words, this is not a one size fits all sort of proposition. While a rapid DC charger will cut down on charging times in a major way, the process could take up to an hour if the battery is on the larger size and has been drained of power completely.
What electric car has the fastest charging today?
According to the good folks at Kelly Blue Book, it is still very difficult to compare one car’s charging speed to the next but they have done their best to compile a list.
As the challenges that are related to infrastructure start to fade, it becomes easier for drivers to zero in on the vehicle that will charge the most rapidly.
It is also important to remember that these claims are being made by manufacturers and that there is no way of vetting them.
The only way to know for sure is by taking the time to investigate yourself.
It often helps to speak with those who already own these vehicles, so that you can garner some firsthand knowledge before making a final decision.
So who does Kelly Blue Book rank at the top of the heap?
The answers may be surprising to some.
- The Lucid Air sits at #1.
Their range rests at 517 miles and the company promises a never before seen charging rate: 20 miles per minute. This is the wildest claim that has been made thus far by any manufacturer.
- Once we head a bit further down the list, we have the Porsche Taycan, which provides 15.5 miles per minute.
- and the Tesla Model 3, which is just behind the Taycan at 15 miles per minute.
In fact, the Model 3 currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest charge.
Three drivers were actually able to traverse the United Kingdom in a Model 3, stopping 3 times to charge for 30-minute intervals.
Should we expect charging to be faster in the future?
As far as the future is concerned, it is difficult to make any predictions.
Yes, manufacturers are promising their customers the sun, moon and stars in this regard.
That does not mean that motorists should be expecting all of these plans to come to fruition. It is reasonable to expect faster charging in the future, though.
Scientists are of the belief that we will one day be able to charge our electric vehicles as quickly as we pump gas but we are not there yet. What will need to happen in order to make this a reality, though?
The slow charging times were caused by the batteries that were used.
They simply could not match up to the power of the hydrocarbons.
As battery technologies continue to improve, it is reasonable to assume that charging times will continue to speed up. In order for the electric vehicle revolution to have reached its current tipping point, scientists were already able to handle issues that were related to battery storage technology.
At the moment, scientists are looking into the mysterious world of quantum physics to see if they can find a way to solve the slow battery charging times.
Larger capacity can contain more than one cell and as scientists learn how to maximize the larger batteries so that more cells can work in concert.
This will provide faster charging times, as opposed to current batteries that only provide access to one cell at each time. One day, scientists even envision batteries where every cell can remain in constant conversation, leading to even faster ch