In a hurry? These are the fastest-charging electric cars

Here’s the what’s-watt on electric vehicle battery capacity and charging times

2022 Genesis GV 70 Electric SUV 2210 Gen GV 70 42

As Australia's electric car market grows, you’ll read more about kilowatt-hour (kWh) – the EV equivalent of L/100km.

That’s because the amount of power an EV battery can store dictates how far you can drive before needing to plug in for a recharge, just like the volume of a fuel tank.

But almost as important as how much electricity you can squeeze into a battery is how long it takes to do so.

Imagine living with a petrol-powered car that could carry enough fuel to drive between Melbourne and Sydney, but you could only fill the tank through a drinking straw.

That’s why it’s important to consider not just the range of an electric vehicle, but also the time it takes to charge it – particularly when you venture on long road trips that are beyond the driving range limits of an EV battery and require charging stops.

Here’s what the numbers mean and what you need to look for when shopping around for an electric car.

Related: How long does it take to charge an EV, and what does it cost?

The story you're reading here is all about the EVs with the fastest charging capability for those that need to get a move on.

But how long does it take, in general, to charge today's EVs? See our detailed explainers below.

What’s a kilowatt-hour (kWh)?

For most buyers, it's not necessary to know the physics and science behind a kilowatt-hour (kWh), any more than you need to understand the calculation of a combustion engine’s power figures.

Put simply, a kWh is a unit of energy just like a calorie or joule, but one that’s particularly applicable to electric vehicles and their batteries.

The higher the number, the more energy the battery can absorb through charging and then release when required to drive the vehicle.

Context, though, is far more important than equations. At the upper end of the spectrum, the BMW iX is available with a 112kWh gross battery, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, the Mazda MX-30 is 35.5kWh gross.

However, note that these figures are the total gross battery capacity. The actual net capacity that’s available for owners to use is lower – 105kWh and 30kWh respectively. That’s because manufacturers implement bottom and top ‘buffers’ to help protect the battery health and ensure safety.

For perspective, your smartphone battery can store about 0.005kWh – or a total of about 2kWh over the course of a year’s use.

Even though your smartphone only holds a relatively tiny amount of energy, it doesn’t need to charge for any more than about eight hours to fit most people’s daily routines. Plug it in at night, and it will be ready for another day’s use the following morning.

It can be different for cars, however.

If you’re going to be using an electric vehicle to retrace largely the same route each day, and you are confident its single-charge driving range is more than enough (typically 300 to 600 kilometres depending on the model), then you really only need to replenish enough for the next day via a three-pin trickle charging cable. After all, you don’t need to always fully fill up a fuel tank.

If you need to utilise the full range capability everyday, then you’ll need to install a Level 2 AC wall box to fully recharge overnight (about eight hours).

But, for those days when you chose to go the long way, add in extra errands or even embark on a road trip, charging times become paramount over battery capacity, as you may need to top up while on the run – just as you do in a combustion-powered car.

Audi's head of development of charging time and charging efficiency, Silvia Gramlich, highlighted the importance of battery charging speed and overall capacity.

"Customers should not just be interested in the maximum value of charging power, but rather how it progresses and may have to be reduced during a charging process, because otherwise the batteries – for physical reasons – heat up," she said.

"The crucial question for customers is: how many kilowatt hours can I recharge in what period of time?"

80 is the golden number

Charging a battery is a little like getting air into a pool floaty, where the most pressure is required to fill the very last bit.

That’s why EV manufacturers often refer to an 80 per cent charge time, as this offers the best ratio of range to time.

Importantly, it’s also the general rule of thumb to maintain good battery health for lithium-ion packs, as cells are more stressed at the top- and bottom-end. However, the emergence of lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathodes generally allows regular 100 per cent charging without excessive degradation concerns. Car manufacturers have different charge limit recommendations, so follow the owner’s manual.

After about the 80 per cent point, charging speed slows dramatically – regardless of battery type – and, therefore, most owners would not wait at a public charging point for the remaining 20 per cent of the charge in return for the extra investment of time.

Charging speed is related to battery capacity and driving range – but not exclusively. That’s because there are two other key factors at play.

Audi E-Tron GT 93.4kWh 488km 270kW 21 minutes
Audi Q8 E-Tron 106kWh 600km 170kW 31 minutes
BMW i4 80.7kWh 590km 200kW 31 minutes
BMW i7 106kWh 625km 195kW 34 minutes
BMW iX1 65kWh 440km 130kW 29 minutes
BMW iX3 80kWh 460km 150kW 32 minutes
BMW iX 112kWh 620km 200kW 35 minutes
BYD Atto 3 60.5kWh 420km 80kW 40 minutes
Genesis Electrified G80 87.2kWh 520km 350kW 25 minutes
Genesis Electrified GV70 77.4kWh 445km 350kW 18 minutes
Genesis GV60 77.4kWh 466km 350kW 18 minutes
Hyundai Ioniq 5 77.4kWh 500km 350kW 18 minutes
Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh 484km 100kW 47 minutes
Jaguar I-Pace 90kWh 446km 104kW 45 minutes
Kia EV6 77kWh 528km 350kW 18 minutes
Kia Niro 64.8kWh 460km 80kW 43 minutes
LDV eDeliver 9 88.5kWh 280km 80kW 45 minutes
LDV eT60 88.5kWh 330km 80kW 45 minutes
LDV Mifa 9 90kWh 440km 120kW 36 minutes
Lexus UX300e 54.4kWh 450km 50kW 50 minutes
Mazda MX-30 36kWh 200km 40kW 36 minutes
Mercedes-AMG EQS 108kWh 580km 200kW 31 minutes
Mercedes-Benz EQA 67kWh 426km 100kW 30 minutes
Mercedes-Benz EQB 67kWh 371km 100kW 30 minutes
Mercedes-Benz EQC 80kWh 434km 110kW 30 minutes
MG ZS EV 51kWh 320km 75kW 40 minutes
Mini Cooper SE 33kWh 233km 50kW 36 minutes
Nissan Leaf 62kWh 385km 100kW 45 minutes
Polestar 2 78kWh 510km 155kW 35 minutes
Porsche Taycan 93.4kWh 485km 270kW 22.5 minutes
Tesla Model 3 75kWh 547km 250kW 30 minutes
Tesla Model Y 75kWh 514km 250kW 30 minutes
Volvo C40 Recharge 75kWh 418km 150kW 35 minutes
Volvo XC40 Recharge 75kWh 420km 150kW 40 minutes

In those 30 minutes or less, I'm free...

These EVs list a claimed 80 per cent charge time of 30 minutes or less:

It's important to note these figures are based on the maximum charge rate for the vehicle and certain factors such as battery temperatures and the current state of charge can affect charging times.

As you can see from the table, charging speed is related to battery capacity and driving range – but not exclusively. That’s because there are two other key factors at play.

How the fastest-charging models secure a position at the top of the table

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Battery design

All EV batteries feature sophisticated active and passive cooling systems to manage the significant amount of heat generated by the rapid charging and discharging they incur when in use via the battery management system (BMS) software.

The cooling systems can also be reversed to warm the battery during very cold weather.

How efficiently the cooling system transports heat away from the individual battery cells can affect the charging speed. Initially, high charging speeds can slow dramatically if the heat builds up too fast, said Gramlich.

According to the German carmaker, the Q8 E-Tron’s cooling system design partly explains its superior sustained charge speed as illustrated in the below graph for the pre-update model, first released in 2018.

Audi E-Tron charging time versus competitors

Charging power (kW) and force (V)

Electricity is sometimes likened to water to explain its physics and behaviour, including current (measured in amps), which would be most like water’s flow speed and quantity, while voltage is more like the water’s pressure.

That’s the secret to Porsche, Hyundai, Kia and Genesis's rapid charging scores. Unlike most other EVs, which use up to 400 volts, models such as the Taycan, Ioniq 5, EV6, GV60, and Electrified G80 adopt a more advanced 800-volt class architecture.

That means the ‘pressure’ of charging electrons into the battery is higher, enabling more driving range to be pushed into the cells in a shorter time. It also has performance advantages, too, when drawing charge back out of the battery.

C Brunelli 220321 2022 COTY Hyundai Ioniq 5 AWD 27

400 vs 800-volts

An 800-volt class battery architecture allows for rapid charging capability and can sustain higher speeds for longer even when connected to a slower 400-volt based DC charging station (after conversion).

However, standard 400-volt class EVs, such as long range battery Tesla Model Y, Polestar 3, and Volvo EX90 can also reach ultra-rapid 250kW DC speeds, so what’s the difference?

They require pulling more current – which generates more heat and could trigger the BMS to throttle the charging power quicker, resulting in a slower charge time overall than an 800-volt class EV.


It also applies to the amount of power applied by the charging system.

If all else fails, most EVs can be charged using a standard three-pin 240-volt household socket, but this most basic method is represented by extended charging times.

The limiting factor is not just the volts and amps as previously mentioned, but also the alternating current of household power (AC), which uses an onboard AC to DC inverter to juice the EV battery.

That’s why almost all manufacturers offer some form of DC (direct current) charging, which is substantially faster without the need to convert energy. Just how fast depends on the charging power limits of the EV model and charging station.

2023 Kia Niro Review Mike Stevens 24

Home and away

Home charging power ranges from the lowest 1.8kW rate to 22kW depending on the type of power you have at home.

A standard 10 amp three-pin domestic socket is the slowest; upgrading to a 15 amp outlet will boost charge times, while three-phase power via an installed Level 2 AC wall box is the ultimate home charging solution.

To go beyond this, specialist DC fast- and ultra-rapid charging stations are the only option and are normally limited to public/shared infrastructure. These stations up the ante allowing EVs to charge at the maximum rates – as long as the charger outputs the same or more than the model’s max input – as listed in the table below.

Maximum charge power rates range from 50kW up to 350kW DC depending on the model.

2023 Mercedes AMG EQS 53 4 MATIC Hatchback Blue Yallourn A Brook 220811 1657

Fastest-charging EVs in Australia by max rate

While not all carmakers disclose claimed 10 to 80 per cent charge times, a number of models can recharge in 30 minutes or less.

Other models take between 30 minutes to one hour or so.

Keep in mind that a high charge rate doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the fastest – a small battery with a decent enough DC speed could be quicker to replenish than a large battery on an ultra-rapid charge rate.

Note: Maximum charging rates below are estimated by the manufacturer and apply to all models, unless otherwise stated.

Real-world charging times will vary depending on the charging station output, charging losses, BMS software, battery temperature and percentage.

The MG 4 Long Range and ZS EV Long Range have been excluded in this table due to the lack of disclosed specs. Wheels has contacted the manufacturers for clarification, but did not respond by the deadline.

ModelUsable battery capacityMax slow charge rate (AC)Max fast charge rate (DC)
Hyundai Ioniq 574kWh10.5kW350kW
Hyundai Ioniq 674kWh10.5kW350kW
Kia EV674kWh10.5kW350kW
Genesis GV6074kWh10.5kW350kW
Genesis Electrified GV7074kWh10.5kW350kW
Genesis Electrified G8082.5kWh10.5kW350kW
Porsche Taycan (base, 4S with Performance Battery Plus)83.5kWh11kW (22kW optional)270kW
Porsche Taycan (GTS, Turbo, Turbo S, 4 CT, 4S CT, Turbo CT)83.5kWh22kW270kW
Audi E-Tron GT85kWh11kW270kW
Tesla Model 3 (Long Range, Performance)75kWh11kW250kW
Tesla Model Y (Long Range, Performance)75kWh11kW250kW
Polestar 3107kWh11kW250kW
Porsche Taycan (base, 4S)71kWh11kW230kW
Volvo XC40 Recharge (Ultimate Twin)79kWh11kW200kW
Volvo C40 Recharge (Ultimate Twin)79kWh11kW200kW
BMW iX (xDrive40, xDrive40 Sport)71kWh11kW200kW
BMW i480.7kWh11kW200kW
BMW i7101.7kWh11kW200kW
BMW iX (xDrive50 Sport)105.2kWh11kW200kW
Mercedes-Benz EQS liftback (AMG EQS 53)107.8kWh11kW (22kW optional)200kW
Tesla Model 3 (RWD Standard Range)57.5kWh11kW170kW
Tesla Model Y (RWD Standard Range)57.5kWh11kW170kW
Audi E-Tron (50 SUV/Sportback)64.7kWh11kW170kW
Audi E-Tron (55, S SUV/Sportback)86.5kWh11kW170kW
Cupra Born77kWh11kW170kW
Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan (300)89kWh11kW (22kW optional)170kW
Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan (350 4Matic, EQE 53)90.5kWh11kW (22kW optional)170kW
Lexus RZ64kWh (gross figure only provided)11kW150kW
BMW iX374kWh11kW150kW
Polestar 2 (Long Range Single Motor, Dual Motor)75kWh11kW150kW
Ford Mustang Mach-E (Select)71kWh11kW150kW
Ford Mustang Mach-E (Premium, GT)91kWh11kW150kW
MG 4 (Excite, Essence)61.7kWh11kW140kW
BMW iX165kWh22kW130kW
Volvo XC40 (Plus Single)66kWh11kW130kW
Volvo C40 (Plus Single)66kWh11kW130kW
Polestar 2 (Standard Range Single Motor)67kWh11kW130kW
LDV Mifa 990kWh11kW120kW
Ford E-Transit68kWh11kW115kW
Mercedes-Benz EQV90kWh11kW110kW
Hyundai Kona Electric (Standard Range)39.2kWh7.2kW100kW
Hyundai Kona Electric (Extended Range)64kWh7.2kW100kW
Peugeot E-200846.3kWh11kW100kW
Peugeot E-Partner46.3kWh11kW100kW
Mercedes-Benz EQA66.5kWh11kW100kW
Mercedes-Benz EQB66.5kWh11kW100kW
Mercedes-Benz EQC80kWh11kW100kW
Jaguar I-Pace84.6kWh11kW100kW
Nissan Leaf (e+)59kWh7kW100kW
Fiat 500e37.3kWh11kW85kW
Kia Niro EV64.8kWh11kW84kW
MG ZS EV (Excite, Essence)49kWh11kW80kW
Mercedes-Benz eVito panel van60kWh11kW80kW
LDV eT6088.6kWh11kW80kW
LDV eDeliver 9 (Cab Chassis)65kWh11kW80kW
LDV eDeliver 9 (Mid, High Roof)88.6kWh11kW80kW
Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer90kWh11kW80kW
BYD Atto 3 (Extended Range)60.5kWh7.4kW80kW
Kia Niro Plus EV64kWh7.2kW77kW
BYD Atto 3 (Standard Range)50kWh7.4kW70kW
GWM Ora (Extended Range, GT)59.3kWh11kW67kW
GWM Ora (Standard Range)45.4kWh11kW67kW
Mini Electric28.9kWh11kW50kW
Mazda MX-30 Electric30kWh11kW50kW
Nissan Leaf (base)39kWh7kW50kW
Lexus UX300e72.8kWh6.6kW50kW
MG 4 (Long Range)77kWh (gross figure only provided)N/AN/A
MG ZS EV (Long Range)68.3kWh11kWN/A

Knowledge is power

Just as you should when considering any car purchase, arm yourself with the relevant information and have a list of all the things you need in your next car.

It doesn’t matter if it’s boot space in litres or battery charging speed and capacity.

Generally speaking, a large battery has the potential to charge faster, but only with the correct equipment.

Get your head around battery capacity in kWh, find out the charge times for the particular model you're interested in as above, and find out the charging options available at home and on the run using apps, such as PlugShare.

Of course, charging speed isn’t everything. If you plug in at home or work overnight, then you don’t need to charge so quickly – and frequent fast charging is unhealthy for batteries in the long-run.

Energy efficiency, features, practicality and aftersales provisions are also important, so a little research and homework will enable you to find the perfect EV to fit your lifestyle.

Henry Man


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