Electric car charging questions answered, from how long it takes to how much it costs

Electric car charger- 2020 looks set to be a massive year for electric cars. Several major manufacturers have already launched new EVs, or have models to go on sale later this year.

Some of the biggest questions around EVs, besides how far they can travel, are around charging – how much it costs, how long it takes, and where you can charge your EV.

How much does it cost to charge an EV?

The first is the car itself. Different cars have different battery capacities. The larger the battery, the more electricity it will hold and the more it will cost to charge it, but the further you’ll go on a single charge.

The second factor is where you plan to charge. In general, charging at home using a portable charger or wallbox is cheaper than a public charger.


To calculate how much a car will cost to charge you multiply its capacity by the energy cost.

This is simple for home charging, as long as you know your energy tariff. For example, the best-selling Renault Zoe has a 52kWh battery. At the UK average of 14.4p per kWh it will cost you £7.48 for a full charge. A 64kWh vehicle such as the Nissan Leaf E+, Hyundai Kona or Kia e-Niro will cost £9.21 and a 100kWh Model S will cost £14.40.

Some energy suppliers are now offering tailored EV packages with incentives such as lower off-peak rates for overnight charging, discounts on public charger.


Costs at public chargers are more complicated. Some charge per kWh, others charge by time and some include an initial connection fee. Slow 3kW chargers are the cheapest to use, with the highest costs found on the 50kW and above chargers.


How long does it take to charge an EV?

As you’d expect, larger batteries take longer to charge. but on a 50kW rapid charger most current models will charge to 80% in between 60 and 90 minutes.

A 40kW Nissan Leaf will go from 20 to 80% charge in around 60 minutes. Hyundai says its 64kWh Kona Electric will take 75 minutes to go from 0 to 80% charge on a rapid charger. Renault claims the 52kWh Zoe will add the same charge in 100 minutes.

Below rapid chargers, “fast” chargers operate at between 7kW and 22kW. Home use EVSE also generally offer 7kW charging, where an overnight charge will completely recharge most cars’ batteries. Some vehicles, such as the Jaguar I-Pace can use 11kW home charging but this requires a three-phase domestic power supply.

At the very bottom of the charger heap are 3kW slow chargers which, predictably, take about twice as long as a 7kW unit.


Where can I charge my EV?

Most EV buyers opt to have a domestic charger fitted at home and do most of their charging via this. T

More and more charging locations are opening up at retail and leisure sites.

Common locations to find public chargers are at motorway service stations, retail parks and supermarkets, public car parks and park-and-ride facilities as well as leisure centres, hotels, visitor attractions and car dealerships. More and more retailers are also adding chargers at their locations, with McDonald’s among the latest to announce plans install rapid chargers at its restaurants.