Charging levels

Level 1

Level 1 charging is the slowest way to charge your EV and is accomplished by plugging in your electric car to any available standard domestic 120V 3-pin socket. The manufacturer supplied charging cable is the only equipment needed to charge at this level. Any apparatus related to charging an EV is frequently referred to as EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment). Level 1 normally increases range by 3-5 miles per hour of charging. Increase in usable range is typically obtained by charging the vehicle overnight for at least 8 to 10 hours or more.

 

 

                                                                                               Level 1 charging

Level 2

This is the next level up. For home charging, a 240V domestic AC socket or line is required. This would be similar to one that a kitchen oven or clothes dryer is plugged into. An external charger with a charging cable is installed on this 240 volt line along with a compatible EV connector at the other end of this cable (Ex. a SAE J-1772 connector). Level 2 chargers are available from various vendors starting at around $450 + installation costs. Most public charging stations within an urban area (in parking lots of retail locations, office buildings or those installed by the city) are level 2 charging stations. Depending on the model of EV, a useful range is obtained by charging your EV for around 4 to 6 hours.

                               

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                            Level 2 charging

 

Level 3

This is typically referred to as DC (or AC) fast charging. Public supercharging stations with J-1772 CCS, CHAdeMO or the Tesla supercharging network are level 3 DC fast charging stations (more about these standards and connectors in a later section).

 

CHAdeMO stations that make up the most number of installations around the U.S and primarily compatible with Nissan Leaf models operate at 500V DC, and deliver up to 62.5 kW of power.

Since Current = Power / [Voltage * Power factor (pf)], doing some basic math calc (and assuming pf=1), reveals that these stations can deliver up to:

                                                         62,500 watts / 500 volts = 125 amps (A)

This is way beyond what a domestic level 1 (around 12 A) or level 2 (up to around 30 A) setup can possibly deliver and therefore can charge an electric car much faster depending on how much power your EV can accept. A useful range can be obtained in 30 minutes or less. The ability to DC fast charge an EV is offered as an option that costs extra in some models.

                   

                                                                                           

                                                                                            Level 3 charging

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