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Electric Vehicle Charging Levels in Detail [2024]
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Electric Vehicle Charging Levels in Detail [2024]

Electric Vehicle Charging Levels

Gasoline has been used for refuelling automobiles since cars were invented in the early part of the twentieth century. In our modern-day, we have two basic choices for refuelling gas-powered vehicles. One type is premium, mid-grade or regular gasoline. The other option is diesel fuel. Refuelling gasoline or diesel vehicles is standard everywhere and can be completed in a few minutes.

With electric vehicles, the recharging process is a bit more complicated. Similar to gas-powered vehicles using different grades of fuel, electric vehicles can be charged at different levels.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are typically designed to be compatible with one of three levels for charging. Each of these three available levels requires a different length of time to complete. Not every vehicle can receive the same amount of power or use the same connection for recharging.

Compatible Electric Vehicles

The different levels available for EV charging are also a contributing factor in determining the amount of time necessary to recharge the vehicle. These different charging levels relate to EVs and rechargeable hybrid vehicles. Traditional hybrid electric vehicles are excluded from this because the electric recharging is completed by the engine instead of any exterior charging source.

Electric Vehicle Charging Levels

Three different levels are available for recharging today’s electric vehicles. Level 1, level 2 and level 3 each are explained in more detail below. The process and availability vary for each level. Level 3 is notably faster than level 1 or 2. Level 3 is not currently available in all areas and can be somewhat more difficult to find a charging location.

Level 1 EV Charging

  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Connector Type: J1772 or Tesla
  • Distance: 3-5 Miles for 1 Hour of Charge Time
  • Available: Home, Business, and Public

Charging an EV at level 1 allows it to be connected to a simple 120-volt electrical socket. There are no voltage converters or special plugs needed to accomplish the task of completely recharging the vehicle. Charging an EV at level 1 does take longer than levels 2 and 3. Level 1 works best for hybrid electric vehicles designed for this purpose.

Hybrid vehicles designed for level 1 charging come equipped with a smaller battery than entirely electric vehicles. Entirely electric automobiles are also known as battery electric vehicles or BEV. Level 2 charging is preferable when compared to level 1 for everyday BEV needs.

Level 2 EV Charging

  • Voltage: 208-240 Volts
  • Connector Type: J1772 or Tesla
  • Distance: 12-80 Miles for 1 Hour of Charge Time
  • Available: Home, Business and Public

Level 2 charging requires a different type of connector than level 1. Level 2 uses either a Tesla or J1772 plug for charging. Level 2 charging also uses a higher voltage of 208-240 volts.

This is considered a relatively low power for charging which allows easier installation of a connection. Level 2 charging can be installed at most residences, businesses and public locations such as parks and train stations.

Many BEV owners prefer to have a charging hook-up at home due to the longer time necessary for completely charging the vehicle. This allows the owner to plug the vehicle in when arriving home and have it fully charged in the morning, even if the battery is nearly empty. Level 2 charging can provide up to 80 amps of current which is why it can be installed in most homes and businesses using a 100 amp dedicated line.

Level 3 EV Charging

  • Voltage: 400-900 Volts DC
  • Connector Type: Combined CHAdeMO & Tesla
  • Distance: 3-20 Miles for 1 Minute of Charge Time
  • Available: Designated Public Locations Only

Electric vehicle charging at level 3 is faster than level 1 or level 2. Level 3 is the fastest EV charging currently available for modern electric vehicles. Level 3 can charge at an impressive 3-20 miles for every minute of charge time.

Another distinct feature with level 3 charging is that it only uses direct current instead of alternating current. The direct current voltage used is 400-900 volts. Most locations do not have the higher voltage supply available to handle level 3 charging.

A Level 3 charging setup is quite expensive to install. It can cost tens of thousands of US dollars for one setup.

Level 3 charging locations are DC Fast Charge, Tesla Supercharger or Nissan CHAdeMO.

Often manufacturers provide free charging memberships for several years after purchasing an EV. Some of these free memberships even offer unlimited charging during the membership. It is always helpful to research and consider which dealerships provide the best charging plans when purchasing an electric vehicle.

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