How long does it take to charge a plug-in car?


Think about charging your car just like you think about charging your cell phone. Most people charge their cars at home or work, just like a cell phone. Plug it in to a wall socket when you arrive and it will be ready for you in the morning, or the end of the work day.

The actual charging time depends on the size of your battery, and how full the battery is, as charging tapers off as the battery fills in a non-linear fashion. Keep in mind that most of the time, the battery will not be empty when you plug in.

As a general guide, there's only two types of "fuel" for electric cars: AC and DC.
AC uses the car's onboard charger and is therefore slower. All chargers whether AC or DC are limited by the amperage of the electricity supply, and also the maximum capability of the car's battery, and battery management system.

Charger Types  Description Range Added
Mode1/Level 1 AC 120V Power Point not available in NZ  
Mode2/Level 2 AC 230V Power Point, trickle charging 1.8 - 2.3 kW, requires portable EVSE ~10 km/hour*
Mode2/Level 2 AC 16amp blue commando Caravan Point 3.7 kW, requires portable EVSE up to 18 km/hr*
Mode3/Level 2 AC Home Wall Charger 3.6 - 7.2 kW, usually single phase up to 40 km/hr*
Mode3/Level 3 AC Destination/Fast Charger, businesses, carparks 11 - 22 kW, 3-phase, 415V, requires BYO cable (exception: Tesla Destination and legacy Type1 charge-points have tethered cables) 40 – 120 km/hr*
Mode4/Level 3 DC Fast Charger

25 kW, 60amp 3-phase, tethered cable

~100 km/hr

Mode4/Level 3 DC Rapid Charger

50 kW,** tethered cable

100 kW,** tethered cable

150 kW,** tethered cable


~40 km/10 minutes

~80 km/10 minutes

~180 km/15 minutes


DC Ultra-Rapid Charger, Public only 350 kW,** tethered cable ~400 km/15 minutes
Wireless charging not available in NZ  

* limited by the onboard AC to DC rectifier

** limited by the battery capability to accept a high charge rate, some vehicles may not be able to access the maximum kW for part or all of the charge.

Showing 3 reactions

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  • Simon Davis
    commented 2018-12-23 14:24:25 +1300
    Ross, see

    To give a simple answer to your question would be misleading.
    Firstly Leafs have 24, 30, 40m and soon 60KWh sized batteries.
    Secondly Leafs have either 3.3 or 6.6 built in A/C chargers depending on their origin.
    Finally at home you have two charging options, 8amp from your standard three pin socket, or you can install a 16 amp charging point (single phase).

    According to the link above this means at 8 amp you can add 2.4 kW an hour to your battery, and at 16amp you can add 3.7 kW (single phase).

    From there you can do the arithmetic.
  • Sean Dick
    commented 2018-05-02 11:59:45 +1200
    Hi Ross, thanks for your comment.

    The point I was wanting to make is that the charging time is not as big an issue, day to day. But yes on a trip the maths is handy.

    A 24kwh Leaf has something like 20kwh of usable battery. So charging at home on a 10 amp circuit you can put in 2kw per hour (at 8 amps which is all that is permitted by NZ law for that type of plug). So from empty it will take 10 hours to charge.

    if you put in a 16 amp circuit and caravan plug you can then charge at 3.3kw. And a full charge takes about 6 hours.

    At a fast charger you can get 50kw. Now here it gets more complicated. The fast charger can only go fast up to about 80% battery capacity. So from empty to 80% takes 20 minutes. Getting to 95% can take another 20 min and the last 5% might take yet another 20 min. I am guessing a bit for these last two but they are approximately correct. That is why most manufacturers talk about charging time to 80%.
  • Ross Manning
    commented 2018-05-02 11:27:17 +1200
    Great answer there “” but for those of us who clicked this link because we actually want to know “How long does it take to charge a plug-in car?”, could you please give an answer using common terms like hours or minutes, e.g. “you should allow between 2 to 3 hours for 100% charging a small car such as a Nissan Leaf from 15% charge”.