Those who have done preliminary research into electric vehicles and their charging stations whether as a probable EV buyer or as a property owner looking to install a charging station may have noted that not all EV charging stations are the same. There are. They come in different “levels”. Three, to be precise. Given the already confusing problems of trying to solve different battery types and plug sizes, this extra wrinkle is the last thing you want to hear. So, when you see EV charging levels exploding with just a bunch of technical language, it’s easy to throw up your hand in despair.
Fortunately, any problem can be solved with a little attention. Here, we’ll break down the different tiers available for EV charging stations. We will clarify what the differences are and which ones you should consider using, with an importance on those looking to install charging stations on their property.
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Why Are 3 Different Levels for EV Charging Stations?
For those looking to set up an EV charging station, the main differences between the three tiers are: charging speed, cost (of purchase and installation) and the infrastructure required to maintain the system. The higher the level, the more numbers increase.
Many people are under the misconception that it is possible for a high-end charger to be “too high” for the vehicle. Although there was an element of truth to it in the early days of electric vehicles, it is mostly a non-issue nowadays. The car is always defined by how much power it accepts, so you no need to worry about plugging in a charging station that can deliver more power than your EV car. The car will not allow too much power to the charger.
The rest of this article will look at the differences between Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations (the reasons for which will become clear soon). But before that, let’s see why we aren’t spending much time on Level 1 charging.
Summary of Level 1 EV Charging Station
The quotes in that title are very important. Level 1 “charging stations” are the simplest. They charge slowly at 3 – 5 mph, with an EV taking about 40 hours to fully charge. But they’re also the cheapest, because really, they’re mostly your average home outlet.
That’s right, Level 1 stations are less of a “charging station,” “whatever outlet happens to be available.” If you can plug your phone in, you can probably plug your car in there too. As such, they are not comparable to Level 2 and 3 charging stations.
Summary of Level 2 EV Charging Station
Level 2 chargers are the most common. You’ll find them in workplaces, public areas, and even personal homes. They charge at 12 – 80 mph, with most EVs filling from empty to under 4.5 hours. Level 2 chargers work fast enough to be viable for most uses, all the while being economical and only requiring infrastructure in most places already.
Summary of Level 3 EV Charging Station
Level 3 is much above that. Level 3 chargers charge the battery at a rate of 75 – 1,200 mph. This will run off an empty battery in 30 minutes. He is fast. Arguably, it’s unnecessarily fast outside of some typical uses. Not only this, but this kind of fast charging also requires high-end infrastructure, which you never see in residential areas. Accordingly, the cost is also a huge jump. DC fast charging station cost thousands of dollars. So even if you have 400-volt power service in your home, the cost of installing a charger is likely to outstrip that of your EV.
Level 2 vs Level 3 EV Charging Station
If you are looking to install a charging station on your property, you will probably be looking at a Level 2 or Level 3 charging station. As stated before, the differences are simple: charging speed, cost, and required infrastructure.
Within each level, exact metrics (specifically charging speed) will vary by vehicle, provider, and infrastructure. Fortunately, there’s enough difference between Level 2 and Level 3 that you don’t have to worry about that variation.
Which One Should I Get?
For most property owners, installing a Level 2 charger is the best bet. Even if you’re not a “destination” stop for most people (like school or work), a level 2 charger still works fast enough to get the EV to its next destination. And adding other things to your place of business will be cheaper to make it a good place to wait for the car to charge than to install a Level 3 station and the necessary electrical infrastructure.
If you already have the 400- or 900-volt DC infrastructure that requires Level 3 stations and you own a business with a regional, there is a prospective upside to Level 3 stations.
The speed of a Level 3 station allows owners to charge it within the same amount of time it would fill a full tank of gas. While some drivers may poke their noses at you and go somewhere cheaper but slower, some businesses can benefit from it.
Similarly, there is a growing wealth of tax incentives available to those setting up charging stations. Often, they charge a percentage off the cost you pay, which means you’ll save more money from a larger purchase, even if the total bill is still high. But, outside of those points, the fact remains same—For property owners, a Level 2 EV charging station is the best.
How EV Charging Station Providers Help You?
EV charging station provider will help you work out the technical details of the charging station installation process, so you don’t have to worry about it. Similarly, installation isn’t just about the charging station: it’s about the existing infrastructure and networking software that helps these systems run for maximum efficiency.
This is one of the main reasons why anyone who wants to use what you’ve learned to set up a station would be best served by contacting a charging station provider that focuses on these elements. EV charging station providers can help get your system up to speed with minimum hassle and maximum efficiency, no matter what your existing infrastructure.
Whether you are installing a Level 2 or Level 3 charger, EV Connect can ensure that you get the best return on your investment.