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Understanding the Many Electric Car Charger Types

Published on April 22nd, 2021

Although electric cars are growing in popularity every day, there’s still a good deal of confusion about the various types of electric car chargers. We’ve put together this short guide to help you understand the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations, connector types, and more. Keep reading to learn about the different electric car charger types.

The Three Levels of Electric Car Chargers

One of the few drawbacks of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge their batteries. But if you aren’t driving hundreds of miles every day, charging times shouldn’t pose much of a problem for you. Charging at home overnight should give you plenty of range for your daily tasks and more. Wherever you plug in your EV, charging speeds depend on the level of the charging unit.

Level 1 Chargers (120 Volts)

The standard electrical outlets you use to charge your phone can actually charge your car as well. The low output of these Level 1 chargers translates to long charging times. But because of their availability, they remain a viable option for charging your car if you can’t find a higher-level charger.

Level 1 charges output an average of 1.3 kW to 2.4 kW. Expect to get 3-5 miles of range for every hour connected to a Level 1 charger.

Level 2 Chargers (240 Volts)

Level 2 chargers are the most common type of public charger, offering noticeably faster charging times. You can also have a Level 2 charger installed at your home to ensure that you always have a full battery when you start your day. The average installation is $2,000 plus the cost of the charger itself (purchased directly from car manufacturers) to get a Level 2 charger installed at home. The cost of the installation is a function of how far away from your electrical panel you want to park the vehicle and whether there is enough power in your panel to power the charger. Some installations can be less and some more.

If there is not enough power in your panel there are Demand Charge Control units that can be purchased and installed to ensure that you can still use the charger.

Level 2 chargers output an average of 6.2 – 7.6 kW. Expect to get 10-35 miles of range for every hour connected to a Level 2 charger.

Level 3 Chargers / DC Fast Charging (480+ Volts)

More DC fast chargers are popping up at public charging stations every day. Not all EVs are compatible with Level 3 Chargers, but those that are compatible enjoy dramatically faster charging times. DC fast chargers are less standardized than Level 1 or 2 chargers. This means that one Level 3 charger might produce as little as 24 kW in the time it takes another to produce 350 kW.

Additionally, there are three different connector types for level three charges, whereas Levels 1 and 2 each use a single connector (Teslas are an exception, but they can connect to the standard L1 and L2 connectors with an adapter).

Level 3 / DC fast chargers output anywhere from 24 – 350 kW. Expect to get 100+ miles of range for every hour connected to a Level 3 charger. Some, like the Tesla superchargers, can deliver as much as 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.

If you’ve recently purchased or are planning to purchase an electric vehicle, installing a charger at home can make a world of difference. With a Level 2 charger in your garage, you’ll never have to worry about waiting hours at a public charging station. Although many public chargers are conveniently located near restaurants and shopping centers, charging an EV at home is always more convenient.

Current Electric specializes in electric car charger installations in Wilmette and throughout the north shore of Chicago. Charging your electric car doesn’t have to be a hassle. Give us a call today at 847-832-0700 for a free estimate or to learn more about electric car charging stations.

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