Updated: Jan 18
Range anxiety! The common term for worrying about how many kilometres you will get from a battery in an electric vehicle (EV). It's quite a puzzling phenomenon. First of all, because traditional petrol vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE) technically have the same issue - you start driving them when they are full or partly full - and at some point you will need to top it up with petrol to keep going further, and second of all, because in our teams experience it is mostly people that don't yet have an electric car that seem to have this worry!
Just like petrol vehicles come with petrol tank sizes (maximum litre of petrol to full), and each car will be able to drive a certain number of kilometres per litre, or a 'rough' amount of kilometres per tank, depending on how efficient the driving is. Likewise, you are unlikely to drive your petrol vehicle to empty, so you generally top up from partially full. The one thing that's different perhaps, is that we are generally unaware of how long the petrol pump takes to fill the tank - we just stick it in and expect it to happen soon-ish.
So, just how long will the battery of an electric car take to charge? To answer the question, we first need to understand some basic maths:
A 1kW supply of electricity will take 10 hours to charge a 10kWh battery
To understand how long it will take to charge an electric car battery, you need to know:
The kWh size of the battery you are charging
Approximately how full it is
The kW supply of the electricity you are plugging into
These are the basics. You may sometimes need to know how fast the charger will allow the battery to charge, but for the purposes of the basics we are explaining here lets assume your charger will allow your car to charge at what you plug into.
If you’re charging at home, in a regular 240v power socket (the same one you'd plug a lamp or phone charger into) you will typically get 2.3kW charge. If your car battery is 40kWh and is empty, the maths is:
40kWh / 2.3kW = 17.39 hours - 17h22m
So empty, to full, would take close to 17 and a half hours.
That sounds scary. But the reality is - your battery is rarely going to be empty - or full. And many of your trips will take just a few kilometres here and there. That's why electric car owners typically get into the habit of top-up charging… just like a mobile phone you will plug your car in when you are not using it - either at home or when out and about.
When out and about its becoming more and more common to find rapid 'fast-charging' (also known as destination chargers) available, as shops try to entice those of 'us' with electric vehicles to shop there - and to up their own environmental credentials. On this type of charger you can often get up to 22kW charge – so you can be topping up in minutes as opposed to hours:
40kWh/22kw = 1.818 hours - 1h49m (less than 2 hours lets say, from empty)
Fast charging often has a specialised type of electricity known as 'three phase', which is becoming more common in new builds but you are more likely to have 'single phase' in your current home or apartment (we discuss the technical difference between single phase and three phase power in this other article). Single phase power offers you a best home-charging option of a 'wall box' style solution, which gives you a typical charge of around 7kW.
40kWh/7kW = 5.7 hours
These wall box style home charging solutions are typically purchased from your manufacturer (the 'big' producer of electric cars, Tesla, has their own solution) as an added extra, but will need to be installed by a registered electrician. Its worth installing this type of solution as you can see your routine developing around the convenience of a 'nearly full' charge.
Lets look at an affordable electric vehicle option, for Australians looking to purchase an electric car - the MG ZS EV. The manufacturers website states the battery size is (44kWh) with a range of 372km. If you commuted from a suburban area to work every day, and your daily distance was 110km one way, you would roughly be using 60% of the battery there and back, assuming you didn't have a charging option at work. Do note that sometimes the quoted range if your car varies and you should look to do your calculations on 'real world' range.
The convenience of a wall box home charging solution comes into its own here as it fits into your routine. Come home, plug in, charged and ready for the next day.
The Bright Spark Power electric vehicle solution includes the installation of an electric car charger (our charger, or your BYO charger), including all necessary electrical fuses and cabling
Plus we will upgrade the existing meter to a Smart Meter, and establish your electricity plan on our exclusive Aussie Car & Home Electricity Plan, which provides easy low-cost charging at home, paired with prime renewable energy generation periods.
Bright Spark Power are installing EV Chargers all over New South Wales. Contact Bright Spark Power and get a customised quotation for EV charger installation at your property.
Call or email Bright Spark Power to start a conversation about electric vehicle charging at home or work. No matter where you are in your journey to owning an electric vehicle, we can help you navigate what is possible for your personal EV-charging. Call 1300 010 277 weekdays or email email@example.com anytime.