EV Chargers Collection
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EV chargers, or electric vehicle supply equipment, are arguably the most crucial part of owning an electric vehicle. For new EV owners who spent more than a decade driving gas-powered cars, learning about charging port and connector types can be confusing. But don't fret, here's a handy guide to teach you all you need to know for your charging needs.
Level 1 Charging Station
A Level 1 charging station is the simplest and has the slowest charging speed of the three charger types. These chargers can be simply plugged into your standard outlet. While convenient and low-cost, this charging cable uses 110-120-volt AC power, so expect slow charging for your EV battery.
This translates to about 4 to 6 miles of range per hour, which could be enough for your daily commute. To put this into perspective, an EV with 200 miles of range will take around 35 to 50 hours to fully charge.
Level 2 Charging Stations
Level 2 charging stations can either be plugged into 220-240-volt outlets or be hardwired into your home's electrical panel.
Plug-in Level 2 chargers can be plugged directly into three-pronged NEMA 14-50 outlets typically used for RVs, washers, dryers, and other major appliances. However, this kind of setup is limited to 32 to 40 Amps.
Because of this, most EV drivers opt to install a Level 2 electric car charging station in their garage. This type of EV charger installation needs a dedicated 240-volt circuit to supply electrical current in your garage. Such a circuit will let you hardwire your own electric vehicle charger at home, but the 240-volt socket will also let you plug in a portable unit.
Though upgrading your home's electrical panel could be costly, Level 2 chargers are significantly faster and more efficient than Level 1 chargers, giving EVs up to 200 miles of driving range in under 10 hours.
The Tesla Wall Connector and the Lectron V-Box are examples of Level 2 charging stations.
DC Fast Charging Stations
DC fast chargers use direct current instead of alternating current. Instead of supplying AC power to the EV's onboard charger, DC chargers bypass the conversion process by supplying DC power directly to the battery. This significantly cuts charging time, allowing electric vehicles to charge from zero to 80% in just under 30 minutes!
Because of the amount of electricity needed, these types of EV charging stations aren't usually found in residential areas. Depending on your location, you may find charging stations in public locations that can handle this level of charging. There are mobile apps that let you search for compatible stations by filtering according to charger types.
A word of warning though, frequent fast charging could affect your EV's battery capacity in the long run, so use them only when necessary.
The Tesla Supercharger and the CCS fast charger are examples of chargers that use DC power.
Portable chargers are a dependable charging option on the road. They relieve range anxiety and compatibility issues because you don't need to frantically search for a charger when your battery is running low.
There are two levels of portable chargers: Level 1 and Level 2. A Level 1 portable charger plugs into a standard NEMA 5-15 wall outlet and provides up to 120V and 16A of power. Meanwhile, a Level 2 portable charger plugs into a high-powered outlet (usually a NEMA 14-50) and provides up to 240V and 48A of power.
The Lectron Level 1 / Level 2 charger is the best of both worlds, with interchangeable NEMA 5-15 and 14-50 charging plugs, that let you choose which outlet you charge your EV from.
Home Charging Stations
Data show that more than 80% of EV drivers prefer home charging. There are two types of home charging stations available: plugged-in and hardwired.
Plugged-in chargers are limited to 40-amp charging (9.6kw) which translates to around 25-30 miles per hour. Meanwhile, a hardwired setup gives up to 48 amps of output, allowing you to charge at 30-33 miles per hour.
Before installing a hardwired home charging station, it's important to consult with a licensed electrician to know if your house can handle an additional charging infrastructure or if you'll need electrical upgrades.
Installation costs will vary depending on several factors, such as the location where you want the charger installed as well as the upgrades needed in your home's electrical panel.
The rule of thumb is the more complicated the installation is, the costlier it would be. A good example is a charging location far from the power source, like in the case of a detached garage. Your electrician would have to find a new route for the wiring, so be prepared for additional costs.