Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3? EV Chargers Explained
In recent years, the demand for Electric Vehicles as well as EV Chargers has been increasing, whether it is businesses, consumers, or governments. All are focusing on zero-emission mobility. So, to achieve this, we have electric vehicles, battery EVs and many more. And Electric vehicle charging station networks have grown in recent years. Now, we’ll explain types 1, 2, and 3, their connector plugs.
Types of EV Charging Stations
There are three types, or “levels,” of EV charging stations available and these are- type 1, type 2, and type 3. Type 1 is the slowest, and type 3 can charge an EV’s battery in about an hour.
Charging stations are called by multiple names. For instance, a type 2 station can be termed as “level 2” station. Few other common terms for charging stations are:
- Charging outlet
- Charging plug
- Charging port
- EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment)
All of these mean the same thing. What’s important to look for is- which type (or level) the station is, since that’s what will tell you it’s power output and what connector you need to use to plug in.
Type 1 Chargers: Your Basic Wall Plug
Type 1 chargers are regular wall outlets, like you plug your phone into to charge. It takes a very long time to charge an EV’s battery with a type 1 charger — Appx 20 hours for a 120-mile charge.
Type 1 chargers use alternating current or AC power, and range in output from 1kW to 7.5 kW. These outlets are too slow for regularly charging an EV at home, even overnight, but could be good for vehicles with smaller battery packs.
All EVs come with a cable adapter that lets them use level 1 chargers or the wall outlets and a separate cable with a J1772 adapter for use with level 2 charging stations. Tesla use their own proprietary plug for their chargers but also come with an adapter, which allows Tesla drivers to use level 2 public charging stations outside the company’s network.
Type 2 Chargers: Could be found at Most Public Charging Stations
Type 2 chargers also use AC power and used for increased charging speed. These chargers provide about 240 volts of power and can charge an electronic battery anywhere from five to seven times faster.
Type 2 chargers use a different kind of plug to connect because they require a connector plug with additional wires to carry the additional power. Many EVs come with some kind of J1772 connector and if they don’t, you can easily buy one online from the manufacturer.
Type 2 chargers could be installed in-home for faster charging without relying on a public station. It will be expensive, but drastically reduces the hassle of at-home EV charging.
Type 3 Chargers: The Road Trip Electronic Vehicle Charger
Also known as DC fast charging or DCFC chargers, will provide you the quickest juice-up of any charging station out there. They use direct current energy, and require special plugs to connect that are different from the J1772 standard. There are three types of connector plugs that work with type 3 charging stations, and these are:
- CHAdeMO: created by a completely different company and therefore use a different plug construction.
- SAE Combo: A SAE standard connector that combines a smaller J1772 plug with a DC connector to deliver extra power.
- Tesla connector: It works with the company’s type 2 charging network and its type 3 Supercharger stations.
These chargers are the fastest. They carry the highest per-minute charge from any of the three types of EV charging stations. Unless you have a lot of money for it, you probably won’t be able to install a type 3 charger at home, as they can cost thousands to put in. While, a level 2 home charger is more than enough for almost any EV driver.
Which Type of Charger Should You Choose?
Whichever one you pick, just keep in mind that it will take a while. All of three charging station types can be viable. If you own a plug-in hybrid that has a small battery pack, then, type 1 charging could be all you need. From all types of electric vehicles, type 2 and 3 will be what you use most of if not all the time. For the typical EV owner, including Tesla drivers, level 2 charging stations will be the most convenient to use, especially if you can get a level 2 home station installed. Level 3 stations are good for quick top-ups and to recharge on long trips, since they provide the fastest rate.