Did you know that not all EV charging stations are the same? Well, you’re about to find out.
In essence, different EV charging stations serve different purposes, and they are often limited by their environment. In most cases, charging stations are subdivided into groups of AC and DC electricity. However, they are further divided by levels of power.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about EV fast charging. So that you can drive safely, knowing that you understand what your EV needs and where it can be charged.
Whenever you’re ready to learn more about the world of EVs, keep reading.
Types of EV Charging Stations
Even though to charge an electric vehicle, you only need to plug the car into the charging station outlet, not all EV charging stations or all-electric vehicle supply equipment is the same. Some devices require customized solutions, whereas others can easily work from a standard wall outlet.
Not to mention, the charging time is also drastically different among the various devices. Before we get into the different levels of EV charging stations, let’s take a look at the type of chargers available.
An AC charger is a slow charger that takes about 8 hours to charge an EV entirely. The most common EV charger is the IEC-60309. It is supported by FAME-II.
The second most common is the IEC-62196, which is more of a global solution and is a TYPE-II connector. This device charges a variety of EVs, primarily focusing on scooters.
The third charger type is a 3-pin connector with a plug for 15 Amps. The charger is also great for charging E-scooters and other low-caliber EVs. The Jaguar I-PACE is an example of a vehicle that uses AC charging to its advantage.
DC chargers are much faster and they can charge an EV in less than an hour. There are two primary connectors in the DC charging stations. They are the GBT and CSS connectors.
Cars like the BMW and Volkswagen are charged via a CSS connector. Electric buses and less advanced vehicles use the GBT connector to charge.
Speed of Charging: EV Charging Station Levels
In essence, the battery of an EV is an oversized and optimized version of a cell phone battery. Most modern batteries hold direct current electricity and then deliver it when a device requires it. For instance, if you press the accelerator in your electric car or when you turn your cell phone screen on.
Just like charge a cell phone, charging an EV is quite easy—you simply plug it in. However, because of the size of the battery, it will require a great amount of electricity. And if using a standard outlet, it will require a great deal of time.
How fast a car will charge is based on several factors. For example, how much electricity can be drawn from the supply? A 9.6 kW supply will provide more electricity than a 1.4 kW line. Thus, the charging speed will be greater.
Next, how much electricity can the vehicle hold? If the EV can hold 6.6 kW, the power drawn from a 9.6 kW charging station will be limited to 6.6.
Finally, the size of the battery is also important. If the battery is actually larger in size, it will take a greater amount of time for it to be filled up. In reality, the driver of an owned vehicle only has control over the first point, because they can choose the charging station.
Standalone Plug Charging – Level 1
The first level of charging is a standalone outlet for 120V, which you probably already have in your home. Because your EV will need a stable flow of power, your outlet must have a 20-Amp dedicated circuit. One should not plug any other device into the outlet while the vehicle is charging.
Like any other major appliance, if this is your first time considering charging your EV, consult with a specialist electrician to make sure everything will be safe.
At this level of charging, vehicles will charge very slowly. Usually, you will have to leave your car to charge the entire night, every night. As long as you charge up your car at this station, you will have enough juice to last you an entire day, which is about 40 miles.
Upgraded Outlets – Level 2
If standard outlets are for 120V, at the second level of charging, outlets have a supply of 240V. These outlets you will find in laundry rooms and industrial locations. The voltage will let you get more power into your EV while being able to use the outlet for other purposes.
If you want to install an upgraded outlet in your home, any specialized electrician will be able to do so in your household. At this level of charging, you can expect several times the charging speed as level 1. To get 40 miles at this charging station, you will need to charge for a couple of hours, not the entire night.
These charging stations can be found at stadiums, restaurants, parks. Locations where drivers can leave the car while they spend time doing activities. This charging is not practical for gas stations or brief stops because a driver will not be able to wait long.
DC Charging Stations – Level 3
At this level of charging, you will see the highest-end technology and a real drastic change from anything you will see in a household application. The primary difference is in the type of current used. If the previous chargers used AC chargers, this level uses DC power.
AC is less dangerous and more efficient for travel over long distances (wires, cables), it’s optimized for home and business use. Whereas DC is the original form of electricity, it’s power-driven by transformers near your home.
Installing this level of charging station in your household requires access to the power grid, which should only be done by a licensed technician who has connections with the local authority. Because of this, you will find these chargers near regulated locations or gas stations.
Your local government might not allow you to have one at your home. This type of charger is super fast and it can charge an EV almost fully in less than 30 minutes.
Currently, Tesla has the biggest network of fast chargers. The stations are placed beside most interstates in the US and many other routes. Currently, the charging is only available for Tesla vehicles, and this is not likely to change in recent times.
The second most common charge for EV at the third level is CCS. While not as common as Tesla chargers, there are still plenty to get by. Not all interstates are covered, but there are many routes to help you get coast-to-coast.
The next type of charging station at this level is CHAdeMO. The outlets are just as common as CCS, with many stations having both types available. All vehicles compatible with this charging type are from Japanese vehicle makers.
Best EV Charger for A Household
Every EV sold on the market has a 120V portable charger, with some vehicles having a 240V unit as well. However, dual-voltage units are low-power and can often take longer to charge.
When shopping for a level charging station for your home, consider some of these factors: convenience, electrical capacity, operating costs, amperage.
A 240V charger will charge an EV 5 times faster than a 120V charger. It’s convenient to have a device that’s more efficient in your home because you always want to be ready to go when you wake up in the morning. You should also opt for smart chargers that tell you when you need the plugin, as well as delay charging for planned convenience.
Next, try finding a charger with software that optimizes your charging schedule, which helps you save money and optimize your electricity resources for the entire household.
Many older homes have a limited capacity in electricity; they might not be designed to support a 240V circuit. But, this can often be resolved via solar panels or hybrid power-grid integrations.
Another thing to consider is how many Amps your EV can hold. Most EVs can accept 32 Amps at the minimum, some newer models can hold even more supply than that.
The next EV that you purchase will most likely charge at a greater rate than the one you own now, and getting a charging station with a greater Amp range will ensure that you don’t have to upgrade your station several years down the line.
EV Content for You
Now that you understand the differences between EV charging stations, you are safe and sound from ever using the wrong type of charger for your EV.
As long as you consider the current variations, avoid common charging station mistakes and keep your EV battery in good health, you will be known as the EV specialist in your friend’s circle.
If you’re interested in learning more about EVs, check out some of the other articles down below or on the sidebar.