The best cars for charging quickly

Matthew MacConnell

18 Oct 2023

If you’re a higher mileage electric driver, you are likely to need the occasional quick top-up at a public charging station. You’ll soon learn that speed is crucial, unless you like a particularly leisurely lunch. Some cars can draw a lot of power, which makes quick charging a doddle. Others like to take their time, which will be a real frustration if you just want to get home. 

As a rule of thumb, the pricier cars tend to charge faster, but there are a few exceptions. Here are out fast charging favourites at different price levels which will get you topped up and moving again in the shortest possible time.

10. Vauxhall Corsa Electric

Our pick: Design

Price: £32,445

One of the UK’s most popular cars, the Vauxhall Corsa, is now electrified, and it’s an open door to those venturing into the world of electric cars for the first time. It’s priced from £32,445 and its range sits at 246 miles with the new 51kWh battery option, although the older 222-mile 50kWh is still available. Topping up is easy as it’ll hoover up 100kW and load from 20-80% via a 150kW charger in half an hour. A 50kW charger will have the job done in 45 minutes while a 7kW home charger will take seven and a half hours.

9. Nissan Ariya

Our pick: Evolve 87

Price:  From £36,645

There are two options available with the Ariya: a 63kWh and an 87kWh, with the latter warranting its inclusion on this list. The reasoning is that the 87kWh version is offered with a 22kW AC charging system, which takes around four hours and 45 minutes from empty to full. If you can use one of the new 22kW public chargers then it makes a big difference to the amount of miles you can add in a short time.

All versions charge at 130kW: the 63kWh will top up in just 31 minutes while the 87kWh is estimated at around 35 minutes. Prices for the 87kWh start from £44,645.

Ginny loves the Ariya's 22kW capability

8. Smart #1

Our pick: Premium

Price: From £35,950

We all remember the ForTwo, Smart’s tiny car that looked a bit like a windup toy, but Smart’s latest addition is avant-garde: a contemporary EV with ultra-modern appeal. 

Smart claims that the £35,950 #1’s interior space is comparable to a Mercedes E-Class. There’s only one battery available, a 66kWh with 62kWh usable, which is good for 260 miles. Out of the box, it has 150kW DC fast charging, allowing it to charge from 10-80% in under 30 minutes. By using the 22kW AC system, which is available on all but the entry-level Pro+ model, the same charge is done in three hours.

The #1 has 22kW AC charging as standard on all but the entry-level model

7. Mercedes EQE

Our pick: EQE350+

Price: From £68,810

If you really need to do big distances in an electric car, the EQE's massive range - up to 410 miles - will keep you away from chargers for as long as possible. When you do need to plug in, the 170kW charging capacity is above average but the peak is sustained for longer, allowing a 10-80% charge in around 32 minutes. You can also expect to see an additional 155 miles of range added in 15 minutes in the right conditions. 

While some competitors only accept 11kW AC, the EQE boasts a 22kW system as standard - that's going to be useful if you can plug in at work or a non-rapid public charger.

The EQE's charging is less peaky

6. Volkswagen ID.3

Our pick: Tour Pro S 77kWh 

Price: From £37,155

Peeking on the ID.3 online configurator reveals two battery options: a 58kWh and a 77kWh, with prices starting from £37,155. Opt for the 58kWh and you can expect a charge rate of 120kW which on a 50kW rapid charger leads to a 10-80% charge time of just over an hour. If you find a faster 150kW unit, that drops to just 30 minutes. Charging at home via a 7kW charger will take just nine hours from empty to full. 

For those needing the extra miles, the 77kWh option unlocks 170kW charging potential, taking the 10-80% charge time down to 28 minutes, but AC charging remains at 11kW.

Both models have Plug & Charge which means you can just arrive at a charger and plug in, without having to faff with apps or contactless payments.  

170kW charging and Plug & Charge tech make top ups faster

5. Porsche Taycan

Our pick: 4S

Price: From £79,200

On the road, it’s hard to stay away from the Taycan’s hyperdrive pedal as 0-62mph is dispatched in just 2.8 seconds in the range-topping Turbo S guise, while the base model lands in at 5.4sec. 

So, you’ve had your fun, and now the ‘charge me’ light is blinking. No sweat, according to Porsche, the Taycan will charge from 5-80% in just 22 and a half minutes thanks to its 800-volt system which allows to the watts to reach the battery faster without overheating and getting flustered - a claimed 270kW is possible. 

If you struggle to locate one of the chunky chargers needed to feed the Taycan at full pelt, it will still be able to take everything a less powerful point has to offer without tailing off. A home charger will do it in around 13 hours, depending on what battery your Taycan has. Dig a bit deeper and you can have the £1,296 22kW charger, which takes the time down to four and a half hours. Prices start from £79,200.

Black Porsche Taycan front and left side driving Porsche claim the Taycan can accept a 270kW DC feed

4. BMW i5

Our pick: eDrive 40

Price: From £73,240

BMW’s new kid on the block, the £74,105 i5, uses an 81.2kWh battery with an official 357-mile of range, which is notably less than the Mercedes EQE. But its rapid charging peaks at 205kW, which allows for a 100-mile top-up in just over 10 minutes and a 10-80% charge time of half an hour. AC charging is 11kW as standard, but if you spend an extra £1,200 on the AC Charging Professional pack, that goes up to 22kW.

There will also be Plug&Charge capability - so you’ll just plug in and the bill will be automatically sent to your account without needing to get your wallet out.

The i5 can take on enough power for 100 miles in around 10 minutes

3. Genesis GV60

Our pick: RWD Premium

Price: From £53,905

An upmarket electric car, packed with nifty tech and ultra-fast charging abilities, the GV60 is priced from £53,905 and there’s only one battery available — a 77.4kWh. 

It’s underpinned by the E-GMP architecture, the same platform that the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 use. This means it has 800v bits, giving an impressive charging speed of 225kW, and if plugged into a 350kW charger, the 10-80% top-up arrives in just 18 minutes. 

On a 150kW charger, this jumps to 25 minutes, a 100kW - 35 minutes, and 65 minutes via a 50kW. AC peaks at 11kW and charging from empty to full via a 7kW wallbox will take around 11 hours.

Genesis GV60, Genesis, GV60, Genesis electric, digital mirror, yellow, lime, front, static Don't worry, it comes in other colours

2. Hyundai Ioniq 5

Our pick: Ultimate

Price: From £43,150

We could equally have included the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 in this spot, as they all have the same amazing ability to take on charge at an astonishing rate. But we had to choose one and it's the 5 for no better reason than it's a nicer place to sit when you are plugged in. 

An impressive 60 miles of range can be gained in just five minutes with the Ioniq 5, or a 10-80% top-up — in a smidge over 17 minutes. But there’s a slight catch. You’ll need to locate one of the rare 350kW charging stations that seem to slowly be popping up at some service stations. If you struggle, a 50kW charger should take around 50 minutes to reach 80%. 

Charging to a full battery at home could be an overnight affair as it comes in at nine hours.

The Hyundai's charging speeds are some big numbers

1. Tesla Model 3/Y

Our pick: Long Range

Price:  £49,990

If you are going to be doing long journey’s regularly in an electric car, it’s going to be less hassle in a Tesla. That’s mainly because of the company’s Supercharger network, which opens up thousands more charging points which are easy to use and quick. That’s in addition to Tesla’s destination chargers which are usually free and offer slower AC connections. 

You can, of course, also use all of the other non-Tesla points too. Whatever charger you use, the Tesla twins can charge at up to 250kW – that’s enough for 175 miles in 15 minutes at a Supercharger. That’s just enough time to play with one of the games built into the infotainment system.

If you are doing distances, Teslas make life easier

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