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EV Buyer's Guide

Electric Vehicle Charging Guide

With the continuous rise in fuel costs and increasing concerns about climate change, electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining unprecedented popularity. However, for new and prospective EV owners, one persistent concern is charging. Unlike the familiar routine of gas station runs for traditional vehicles, EV charging is a lot more complicated and can be quite a learning curve.

Fortunately, it also offers convenience and flexibility in various ways. Whereas driving to the nearest gas station is inevitable for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, EVs give drivers the option of charging at home or any public charging station along their route. While charging stations may not yet be as common as gas pumps, local and federal government incentives aim to encourage their installation.

If you’re among the early adopters or just curious about the ins and outs of EV charging, we’ve put together this handy EV Charging Buyer's Guide to serve as your bible on the journey to electric mobility. From differentiating charging levels and decoding terminologies to the nitty-gritty of sockets and connectors, this guide will provide you with the essential knowledge to navigate the world of EV charging seamlessly.

Charging at Home

One of the significant advantages of owning an electric vehicle is the convenience of charging at home. Home charging is often done using Level 1 or Level 2 chargers, allowing you to start each day with a full battery.

Level 1 chargers often come with the purchase of an EV and plug directly into the standard 120V outlet, making them the default choice for most EV owners. Also known as trickle chargers, Level 1 chargers are limited to between 1.3 kW and 2.4 kW of output, or around 3 miles of range per hour of charging.

Level 2 chargers come in portable, plug-in types and hardwired versions. Portable Level 2 chargers plug into NEMA 14-50 outlets–the same ones used for high-power appliances such as electric stoves. Meanwhile, hardwired charging stations need to be installed by a certified electrician and are directly connected to your home's electrical system. Level 2 chargers can produce between 3 kW and 19.2 kW of output, or around 12 to 80 miles per hour of charging, depending on the type of installation.

Charging on the Go

For those times when you're away from home, public charging stations–often DC Fast Chargers–become essential. Whether you're planning a road trip or simply need a top-up while running errands, understanding how to locate, access, and use public charging stations is crucial

Depending on the manufacturer, your EV may already have a navigation system that includes a map of available public charging stations along your route. Tesla, for example, has a route planner that displays all Tesla charging locations nearby. Third-party charging networks such as PlugShare and ChargePoint also have mobile apps for locating chargers. Additionally, you can filter the results by the type of connector available on-site.

Charging Adapters

The diversity of charging connectors can be a challenge, especially when traveling or using public charging stations. Charging adapters bridge the gap between different plug types, ensuring compatibility with various charging infrastructures.

Tesla-to-J1772 adapters open the Tesla charging network to J1772 vehicles, while J1772-to-Tesla adapters allow Tesla EVs to charge at J1772 charging stations. This enhances the charging infrastructure's accessibility for all electric vehicle users and promotes a more inclusive charging experience regardless of their vehicle model.

Charging Specific Vehicles

Different electric vehicles come with unique charging specifications, and understanding these specifics is vital for optimal charging performance. EV charging can be divided into two: Tesla and non-Tesla.

Tesla

As a prominent player in the electric vehicle market, Tesla has its proprietary charging infrastructure and standards known as the Tesla Supercharger Network or the North American Charging Standard (NACS). The network is composed of the Mobile Connector, Wall Connector, Destination Charger, and Supercharger. Tesla uses a single connector for both AC charging and DC fast charging, which adds to the network’s scalability and reliability.

Non-Tesla

Non-Tesla charging involves all other electric vehicles that don’t use the NACS. These include EVs equipped with J1772 receptacles. Unlike Tesla chargers that use the same connector type regardless of charging level, non-Tesla EVs use different connectors for different charging levels and regions.

In North America, AC charging uses the J1772 or the J-Plug, while the CCS (Combined Charging System) is used for DC charging. In Europe, the Mennekes or Type 2 plug is used for AC charging, while DC charging uses the CCS2 (Combined Charging System 2) plug. In Japan, the CHAdeMO is used for fast charging, while the J-Plug is used for AC charging. In China, the GB/T plug is used for both AC and DC charging.

 

Lectron is Leading the Charge

Lectron is on a mission to make electric vehicle charging fast, easy and affordable for all EV drivers. We offer a wide selection of convenient and easy-to-use EV charging stations, chargers and adapters. Lectron is pioneering ways of eliminating range anxiety and compatibility issues for both Tesla and J1772 EV drivers by making it easier and more reliable than ever to charge EVs at home and on the road.

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