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Here’s a fun question: if you plugged your EV into a USB port, how long would it take to charge the vehicle? The answer depends on the vehicle you drive, but for example the electric Hummer’s battery would take 12.5 years to top off. The whimsical thought experiment is a good illustration of how our power needs have increased over the years. Read on to see the USB charging times of some other popular EVs.

Before the internet asked, “How long would it take to charge an EV by USB cable?” it asked “Could you even charge an EV by USB?” The members of the Reddit forum r/computers often amuse themselves by asking “Does this type of cable exist?” often pairing old chunky connectors with the newest ones to imagine the most comical adaptors possible. User /u/ztbwl posted a photoshopped image of a huge EV adaptor ending in a tiny USB-A.

It would take years to charge this EV from a USB port
EV Charging. | Ralf Hahn via iStock Photo

Of course someone posted the amusing picture to Twitter, but it was Paul Acoba’s response that really caught the internet’s attention:

“Based on the Hummer EV’s 246 kWh battery pack and a regular USB charging cable (2.5 watts), it would take roughly 12.5 years to charge.”

Jalopnik’s Bradley Brownell was so fascinated by the thought of a Hummer EV spending 12.5 years hooked up to a 2.5 watt USB port, that he replicated the math for several other makes and models: here we go.

The Porsche Taycan has a much smaller battery than the Hummer so you could charge it up in a zippy four years and three months. The Chevrolet Bolt would take surprisingly long, also charging in just under three years. The efficient Nissan Leaf would charge in just 400 days. The Rimac Nevera needs a bit more juice and would take 5.5 years to charge. What about the Hummer EV’s latest competition, the Tesla Cybertruck? Seven years and nine months. The Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with a much smaller battery, so you could charge it up in a smart 226.5 days.

Obviously no one is plugging EVs into their laptop port. But what’s interesting is how quickly our energy needs have increased for other accessories and peripheral. This is one reason the industry has jumped to the USB-C, which can deliver almost 10x the power of a USB-A (240 watts at 48 volts). So while that Cybertruck would take over seven years to charge on a USB-A, a USB-C port could get the job done in just 29.5 days. You might call that progress!

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