One of the first things you must understand when purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is how best to charge it. There are different options for you to consider. Your choice will depend on several factors, including what type of EV you drive, how long you have to charge it, and how much you want to spend.
Our EV experts at Huffines Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram (CJDR) Lewisville have compiled an explainer for the EV charging levels on offer and other factors to keep in mind when charging your battery. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have any further questions about EVs and their chargers.
EV Charging Levels
There are three levels of EV charging for you to learn about. They’re known as Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging. Level 1 is the slowest form of charging, while Level 3 is the quickest. Level 3 chargers are sometimes referred to as DC fast chargers, and you’ll often find them at public charging stations. By contrast, you can install a Level 2 charger at your own home for an additional cost. A Level 1 charger is the name given to a standard household power outlet.
EV chargers are used for replenishing the batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles and EVs. A plug-in hybrid is a vehicle with a power train consisting of a battery and an electric motor, plus a gas-powered engine that kicks in when the battery runs out. All-electric vehicles have much larger batteries, which give them a longer electric driving range than a plug-in hybrid. Hybrid vehicles don’t need charging. These cars have an electric motor alongside a gas-powered engine to provide improved fuel efficiency. However, they lack any all-electric driving range. Below are the different levels of EV charging:
Level 1 Charging
A Level 1 charger or standard household power outlet is a 120-volt charger. For a typical EV, a Level 1 charger adds about 4 miles of driving for every hour of charging. This speed may be fine if you have a plug-in hybrid vehicle with an all-electric driving range of around 40 or 50 miles. Vehicles like these should charge fully overnight on a Level 1 charger. However, battery-powered EVs would take several days to charge on a Level 1 charger. This makes Level 1 charging impractical for most drivers.
One major advantage Level 1 charging has over its competitors is cost. You’ll only pay your household energy rate when you charge your EV. Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations typically have additional costs attached to them, although you can sometimes find free charging stations offered by large commercial companies at their locations.
Level 2 Charging
Level 2 EV chargers range from 208 to 240 volts. You can find them’ at thousands of charging stations across the country, and they’re significantly faster than their Level 1 competitors. For example, a typical battery-powered EV can fully charge its battery on a Level 2 charger in seven to 10 hours, while a plug-in hybrid may require as little as two to three hours for a full recharge. These shorter charging times make Level 2 chargers a more realistic option for many drivers.
If you decide to install a Level 2 charger at home, you’ll need to hire a professional electrician to complete the job. It involves installing a system to cope with a higher level of voltage than the standard household power outlet, which is a dangerous task for non-experts to try. If you prefer instead to rely on Level 2 chargers at public stations to charge your car, you can expect to pay a fee based on the length of time you use the station. Some charging networks offer better rates for members.
Level 3 Charging
Level 3 or DC fast charging stations are the premium option when you need to get power into your EV’s battery. Their high-powered chargers are ideal if you’re on the go and need a quick top-up to ensure you have enough driving range to reach your destination. A DC fast charger can provide enough charge in 30 to 45 minutes to add around 100 miles of driving range to your vehicle. You’ll usually find Level 3 chargers at auto dealerships and other companies associated with EVs.
In terms of power, Level 3 chargers range from 400 to 900 volts. They’re also the most expensive option, which is why many drivers only use them in a pinch. However, the extra convenience they provide compared to Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations makes Level 3 chargers very popular.
Other Factors Impacting Charging
The level of EV charger you use has a major impact on the speed that your vehicle’s battery recharges. But there are some other factors worth considering. For example, the size of the battery in your EV will impact your charging time. Larger EVs, such as SUVs and premium EVs, often contain bigger batteries to ensure a longer driving range and higher performance. This could mean that on a Level 2 charger, they take an hour or two longer to fully charge than a standard battery.
There’s also a limit to how much power each EV can accept. This limit is regulated by the car itself, so you don’t have to worry about finding a charging station that corresponds to your vehicle. If the charging station you connect to can provide more power than your car can handle, your vehicle will only accept the amount of power it can manage.
Get an EV at Huffines CJDR Lewisville
If you’d like to learn more about EVs or find a plug-in hybrid in our inventory, it’s time to stop by Huffines CJDR Lewisville to check out our showroom. You can also browse our new vehicles from the comfort of your home, thanks to our online inventory. Our service team is also knowledgeable about EV maintenance and common repair issues, including problems you may be having with your battery or charger. We’d be happy to take your call or talk to you in person to help you further at our Lewisville service center.