How Often Do You Have To Charge An Electric Car

a white car charging

Asking how often do you have to charge an electric car is a question many potential electric car owners want the answer to before they purchase.

Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to answer because of the various factors that affect it.

However, we will show you what these factors are and when you should be looking to charge your electric car so you can make the most out of your day.

This will allow you to make an educated guess of when and how regularly you should charge an EV.

Let’s get started…

Should You Charge An Electric Car Every Night?

Yes, you should charge an electric car overnight, on the simple fact that this will be cheaper for you because you’ll be at home usually and the grid uses less electricity when people are asleep. Also, your car can be charged whilst you are fast asleep, rather than waiting hours during the day which is wasting your valuable time.

Most people have a home charging point that they use and will charge their electric car battery whilst there indoors as this is the most efficient way of using the time. Furthermore, electric car charging on the road is a lot more expensive than at home.

So if you were to stay at a hotel overnight, you would still pay more than at home but generally, wherever you go, you should charge your car at night if possible. It saves you slightly more money because of the lack of people using the grid and you can wake up in the morning to a fully charged electric car.

Does An EV Stop Charging When Full?

Yes, the point will stop charging electric car batteries when they are at full charge. Usually, once they reach a certain percentage of about 70-80% or at a certain charging time, they start to taper down.

This is because most EV owners only charge to about 80% in a single charge and then use their electric car. Most people won’t charge to 100% as it can reduce the life of the lithium-ion batteries if you max out a charge every single time.

Many EV’s will allow you to set a limit and many cars will also slow the rate of a fast charge if the weather is very hot or extremely cold. A lot of the time, owners try not to let their electric car go below 20% charge and then once it’s up to about 80%, that’s when people tend to use it, those with range anxiety might go higher.

If you can stay in between that gap all the time, this is the best-case scenario for your electric car.

How Often Do You Need To Charge A Plug-In Hybrid?

Technically, you don’t ever have to charge your plug-in hybrid because it could run off the gasoline if you wanted it to. However, we would advise doing it either once every couple of days or once a day depending on how much you use it.

It all comes down to how frequently you use it which will determine how much you need to charge it. Ideally, you should charge it everynight. Plug-in hybrids don’t tend to have huge EV batteries, probably a maximum of 70 miles, so if you are doing daytime driving regularly, you would need to charge daily.

People would prefer to use plug-in as it makes the cost per mile far cheaper as grid mains power is far less than gasoline-generated power.

Factors That Affect Electric Car Charging Frequency

One thing people do have to accept is that powering an electric car takes considerably longer than filling a conventional car with petrol or diesel. No matter how big the battery or the charger itself, it’s still going to take a long time compared to a regular car.

The infrastructure is improving and more and more points are appearing at a petrol station, hotels, car parks, motorway service stations and shopping centres.

Although we can’t give you an exact amount for how often you’ll need to recharge your car, we can show you key factors that affect the time between having to stop at charging stations: 

Your Driving 

Obviously, the more you drive, the more your car is going to need charged but what most people don’t know is that regenerative braking is a key aspect of daily driving an EV and good for the average driver.

If you don’t know what this is, it’s simply when you brake, some of the energy is recovered and fed back into the EV battery, so this is ideal for driving around a city, where your constantly doing it. Unlike a conventional car, it would be wasted heat energy, braking in an EV actually helps reuse some of the energy.

Battery Size 

Generally, the bigger the battery the further you can travel in one go. But this isn’t the case for every car as manufacturers rely on different battery technologies and levels of optimisation for certain cars.

As electric cars have only really become popular in the last decade, technology and companies are continuously trying to adapt and improve. Some batteries will allow you to travel 280 miles on one charge whilst some will allow 130 miles and will therefore need to be charged more regularly.

Weather 

The cold weather plays a major role for a typical electric car because lithium-ion batteries rely on chemical reactions to release electricity. If the weather is cold, these reactions happen at a slower rate which in turn affects the EV’s battery performance, an ambient temperature is best. 

Regenerative braking won’t be as efficient either which is a big part of driving your car on a daily basis, so you won’t get the maximum out of your EV when driving around the city. The cold weather doesn’t just affect the longer range of electric cars, but also the charging speed, so it’s best to try a charge when the battery is already warm, charge after you’ve driven a number of miles or when you’re returning home.

Battery Age 

You need to consider the age of your battery and the slight decrease in performance over the years, this is minimal and most batteries last between 10-20 years. However, if you do come to sell your EV, you will have to take this into consideration.

If you lease the electric cars, then you have nothing to worry about, just hand it back to your leasing company at the end of the lease.

Full Charging Vs Top-up

Full is when you charge your EV to 100% every time, whilst top-up is just doing it every time it gets low but never to the maximum capacity.

Top-up  requires you to charge your car more frequently but it’s actually better for the battery life’s longevity.

As your battery reaches its capacity, the rate actually slows down which is why EV manufacturers recommend taking your EV to about 80% and then using it. As long as you can stay between 20-80% charged for your electric vehicle, you will be fine.

 

red car charging in public

When Is The Best Time To Charge Electric Cars?

Charging at night is by far and away the best time for electric car drivers to charge their vehicle. You can set your charger to a timer, so it’s not on all night and shuts off at about 80% charged.

The reason doing it at night is so good is because there’s less demand on the grid which means a cheaper tariff and your asleep whilst your car charges, so your not wasting your own time throughout the day waiting.

When To Get To A Dedicated Home Charger

With an EV, you have to recharge at certain intervals or your battery will simply stop working, you won’t be able to run on fumes and drag yourself to a charging station. That’s why it’s important to plan and know how often you need to charge.

Installing a dedicated home charger such as a walbox as it allows you to pull up after a day on the road, plug your car in and let it charge overnight.

If you’re not coming home, then you need to look at some of the apps available including WattsUp and Plugshare which both allow you to search for charging points around the UK.

WattsUp will allow you to place filters so you only see points specifically for your car. By planning, you can make sure you never get stranded, especially if you head somewhere rural where the infrastructures inst as great as towns or cities.

You should also account for the time it should take to charge your car, so if it’s going to be 45 minutes or 3 hours, you need to know this in advance so you can plan your day around this.

Last Word

Hopefully, we gave you a slight indication of how regularly your vehicle should be placed on charge and if you think an electric vehicle could suit your lifestyle, start to browse all the options currently available.

The choice of cars will only increase as a petrol car and diesel vehicles start to get gradually phased out in the coming years. 

With more and more investment in the electric car industry, you will not only help reduce emissions but also save yourself a lot of money in the long run by not having to pay for fossil fuels. Be sure to have the installation done at home for a point and browse our other guides to owning an electric car if you need further help.

Picture of Nick
Nick

Nick is the proud owner of a MG ZS EV and is an EV fanatic. He has been featured in notable publications like USA Today and The Times for his expertise in the field.