Electric vehicle chargers are generally separated into three electric vehicle charger types, depending on the equipment used, the power of the charge, and how long it takes to fully charge your vehicle. In technical lingo, these are Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 electric vehicle chargers.
Level 1 Electric Vehicle Chargers - Households
Level 1 charging is the use of a standard AC 120 Volt household outlet. Electric vehicles come with on-board charging electronics, as well as cords and equipment that allow the driver to plug their car into an outlet in their garage, carport or driveway. This is the cheapest and most convenient home-based charging method, but it is also the slowest. Charging times vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle, but generally take around 10-20 twenty hours for a fully depleted battery to be at full capacity. However, since the average American drives less than 30 miles per day and many electric cars have battery capacities of 100 miles or more, most drivers find that their daily commutes barely deplete battery charge and only require Level 1 charging overnight. For example, if the driver of a Nissan Leaf – which has about a 100 mile range – drives 30 miles daily, the battery will only be depleted 30% each day. Since Level 1 charging will recover about 4.5 miles of range per hour, the Nissan Leaf will be back to full charge after 7 hours – essentially a full night’s sleep for the driver.
Level 2 Electric Vehicle Chargers - Businesses
Level 2 chargers like the ChargePoint CT4000 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations uses a 240 Volt AC outlet, and is therefore a bit faster than Level 1 charging. Drivers Level 2 charge their vehicles through charging stations often located in public places, such as at the mall, restaurant, city park, or even workplaces. Level 2 charging is sometimes referred to as “opportunity charging” because drivers usually use this type of charging whenever they have the chance, for example, when they are at work or on-the-go in public. Some people choose to purchase a Level 2 home charging station, also called Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), which cost about $1,500-$2,000, but you can potentially receive tax credit for the purchase (see “How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?” on the FAQs page). Most drivers won’t need the extra equipment if their daily commutes are short and they are able to adequately Level 1 charge their vehicles overnight. Level 2 charging speeds are variable and depend upon the maximum power rating of the charging station as well as the maximum power rating of the vehicle’s on-board charging electronics. Generally speaking, Level 2 charging takes around 3-8 hours for a full charge.
Level 3 Electric Vehicle Chargers - Commercial
Level 3 charging is the fastest and most powerful type of charging available. Also called DC charging, it bypasses EV on-board chargers to charge the battery directly. As a result, DC charging can provide a vehicle with a full charge in minutes instead of hours. The Blink DC Fast Charger boasts a full charge in less than 30 minutes. DC charging stations are used for EVs as well as large vehicles like electric buses, and are found in public and commercial areas, airports, and transportation corridors.