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EV Chargers

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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, learning about their charging options can be confusing. But don’t fret, here’s a handy guide to teach you all you need to know for your charging needs.

Types of Electric Vehicle Chargers

There are three levels of EV charging:

Level 1 Charging Station

A Level 1 charging station is the simplest and has the slowest charging speed of the three. Most EVs come with a Level 1 electric car charger which you can simply plug into your standard outlet. While convenient and low-cost, the bad news is this charging cable uses 110-120-volt AC power, so expect slow charging.

It’s limited to just 4 to 6 miles of range per hour, which could be enough for your daily commute. If you have an EV with 200 miles of range, it will take around 35 to 50 hours to fully charge.

Level 2 Charging Stations

Level 2 charging uses connectors that are plugged into 220-240-volt outlets that are typically used for RVs, washers, dryers, and other major appliances. The Tesla wall connector and Lectron V-BOX are an example of Level 2 chargers. There are portable ones which you can just plug directly into a three-pronged outlet. You probably have the outlet and circuit in your laundry room, but unplugging your washing machine every time your car’s battery needs a recharge could be inconvenient.

Because of this, many EV drivers opt to install a Level 2 electric car charging station in their garage. You’ll need the service of a professional electrician to install a 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 system could be costly, Level 2 chargers are significantly faster than Level 1 chargers. These chargers are very reliable and can give your electric vehicles up to 200 miles of driving range in under 10 hours, so you’re likely to save money in the long run.

DC Fast Charging Stations

DC fast chargers use direct current instead of alternating current. These fast charging stations make life easier as they can handle up to 400-900V, which can charge your unit from zero to 80% in just under 30 minutes!

Because of the amount of energy needed, these types of EV charging stations aren't usually found in residential areas. Depending on your location, you may find public charging stations that can handle this level of charging. You can use the phone app to search for compatible stations.

Portable Chargers

Portable chargers give you a dependable charging option for when you’re 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 will provide you with up to 120V and 16A of power. A Level 2 portable charger plugs into a high-powered outlet (usually a NEMA 14-50), and will provide you with 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, letting you choose which outlet you charge your EV from.

Home charging stations

Data shows that more than 80% of EV drivers prefer home charging. There are two types of home charging stations available: the plugged-in and hardwired. Plugged-in chargers are limited to 40-amp charging (9.6kw) which translates to around 25-30 miles per hour. 48 amps allow you to charge faster, giving you 30-33 miles per hour.

If you're interested to install one in your home, it's important to know if your house can handle an additional charging infrastructure or if you'll need electrical upgrades. When it comes to electricity costs, there are rate plans available depending on your location. You could be paying more for the same amount of energy compared to customers in Louisiana.

In more complicated installations, the chosen charging locations may be too far from the power source, like in the case of a detached garage. There are times your electrician would need to find a new route for the wiring, so be prepared for additional costs. Contact your local electrician to assess your house's readiness.

EV Charger FAQs

What are the three types of EV charging?
The three types of EV charging are Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging.

What is meant by EV charging?
Adding electricity to an electric vehicle

How many types of EV chargers are there?
There are many types of EV chargers, including Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast chargers. They vary by power output.

What is the most common EV charger?
The most common EV charger is the Level 1. It usually come with your purchase of an EV, much like with a phone.

Do all electric cars use the same charger?
There are two main charging standards, Tesla and J1772/CCS. All Teslas use the same charger for Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging. All other EVs in North America use J1772 for Level 1 and Level 2, but use CCS chargers for DC fast charging.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 EV chargers?
Type 1 is a single-phase plug which can charge up to 7.4 kW. It's commonly used in EVs in America. Type 2 is a triple-phase plug which can charge up to 43 kW. It's the standard for European and Asian vehicles

How much does a 240v charging station cost?
Installation costs of EV chargers vary based on where you live and how complicated the installation process is. A simple installation can cost around $500 including permits. If you need an electrical service upgrade, expect to shell out an average price of $5,000 to $8,000. These on top of the cost of the charger itself and the monthly electric bill.

Can I use my dryer outlet to charge my EV?
Yes, you can use a dryer outlet to charge your EV. Level 2 charging uses connectors that are connected into 240-volt outlets that are typically for washers and dryers. Consider the distance of your laundry room to your parking space to know if you have enough cord length.