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How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?

Jun 11, 2022

Charging time is key to the success of electric vehicles. How long does it take to charge your vehicle, depending on your journey, whether you're driving in the city centre or on the motorway? Read this article to find out. First, let's talk about the most obvious thing: the charging power of the electric vehicle! You will naturally charge much faster on a “Supercharger”, which can supply more than 200 kW in direct current, than on a domestic socket, which supplies about 2 kW in alternating current... But your car must be able to support such high power. For example, a Dacia Spring can charge up to 50 kW in direct current, while a Porsche Taycan can charge up to 270 kW! Of course, the batteries to be charged don't have the same capacity either... A Taycan can load up to 83.7 kWh, compared to 26.8 kWh for the Spring's small battery.

The 800V architecture drastically reduces charging times

Today, most electric vehicles have 400V batteries. But some cars like the Porsche Taycan, the Audi e-tron GT, the Kia EV6 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are equipped with 800V battery architectures, allowing for amazing charging power and speed: with over 200kW of maximum charging power, it is claimed that charges from 10 to 80% can be achieved in about 20 minutes. For example, we are now at 220kW of maximum charging power on the Ioniq 5, which means that it can go from 10 to 80% charged in 18 minutes.

In physics, based on Ohm's law (Voltage V = Current I x Resistance R), increasing the voltage allows to reduce the intensity, and thus the heating of the electrical components. With the same components, the charging power can therefore be infinitely higher... Please note that, in order to protect these components, Korean cars do not quite reach 800 V of voltage, which does not always make it possible to achieve the perfect repeatability of the claimed charging performance. Similarly, although the German cars listed above use a converter to go from 400 to 800 V, it is optional with the Porsche Taycan…

The theoretical charging performance of the vehicle therefore depends on this option. It should be noted, however, that the 800 V architecture models charge almost as fast on 800 V charging stations as on 400 V stations; sometimes even faster, due to the fact that the components of the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are protected. 2

In a more subtle way, it is recommended to use the navigation system and plan a charge to turn on the preconditioning / heating system of this battery, which is more and more common in the latest generation of electric cars. Thus, with the battery at temperature, the charge will be optimised. For example, the cells of a Megane E-Tech Electric from LG would have an ideal operating range of 40°C. 1

Make sure you are charging in the right battery range, ideally from 10 to 80%.

Also, make sure you are in the right battery charge range. Some Korean cars, for example, only reach their peak power under 20% of battery charge. 2 At the other end of the spectrum, the charge does not maintain its peak power for long, just like any cell phone, to give you a concrete example. In terms of component preservation, it is now basically considered pointless to charge from 80 to 100%. In fact, on an electric Hyundai Kona, you'll spend as much time charging it from 10 to 80% as from 80 to 100%! 3

Finally, don't focus too much on the charging time. Don't forget how much these electric vehicles consume; a car that charges quickly but consumes a lot, especially on the motorway, will not be more energy efficient than a car that charges more slowly but consumes less. You will then get back more range for the same charging time.2 As with combustion-powered vehicles, weight and aerodynamics are factors that should not be ignored.

Overall, when looking for a versatile electric vehicle with decent charging times, aim for a peak power of about 100 kW.

Sources :

1 2 3 Génération-éléctrique

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