Driving an electric vehicle is not only environmentally-efficient, it’s also time-friendly! Not having to stop at a gas station can seriously save some time. Oh, what’s that? You’re running out of charge? Bummer, time to find the nearest charging station! But which one do you go to? How long will it take? You’ll find all your answers below! So, if you’re a new electric vehicle owner, or looking to pick one up – this guide is for you!
When looking for a station to charge your electric vehicle, your options are far from limited. When it comes to charging stations there are three main levels. Level one, level two, and level three. Down below, we’ll talk more about their differences and help find which method is best for you.
Believe it or not, most electric vehicle charging is done at home. That’s right. With a 120V receptacle, in combination with your level one electric vehicle adapter (comes with every EV), you can charge up your car while you catch some Z’s. 120V receptacles are the outlets that you have all over your home. Find one in your garage and plug your EV adapter into it. The other end, the charging gun, plugs into your EV’s level I & II charge port. On EV’s with multiple charging ports, the smaller port is one you’re looking for in this case.
However, this method may sound better than it really is. Level one charging is very, very slow. Depending on the model of EV you own, level one charging typically provides a charge rate of four miles of range per hour (RPH). Now, if you’re someone who only averages about 30 miles of driving per day, this method may still be viable for you. Despite all this, your level one EV adapter is still a very useful item to keep in your car. If you ever need a charge, and there’s no stations around, any common outlet will charge your vehicle – as long as you have the adapter.
This level of charging is typical for the charging stations you see around town. To find one close to you, try using one of the many related apps such as: ChargeHub, Plugshare, or Chargeway. As EV’s begin to get more and more popular, more and more stations will start popping up. Even now, you should have little to no trouble finding one. However, it’s important to note that some charging stations may be exclusive to respective members. Better yet, you can skip the shared charging station and opt to hire a licensed Austin electrician to install an EV charging port in your home!
When you pull up to the “pump,” you’ll likely be greeted with electricity prices. Just like you would with gas at a gas station. After paying, plug the station’s charging gun into your EV’s level I & II charging port. Depending on your model of EV, level two charging comes with a charge rate of 25 miles of range per hour.
As mentioned, you can also hire an electrician to install a level two charging port at your home! However, you will need more than just any common household outlet. You will need a 240V outlet. 240V receptacles are what your fridge, washer, and dryer plug into. If you already have one in your garage, then you’re in luck! Just make sure you have the right adapter. If not, then you will need to have an electrician install one. And depending on the circumstances, installation may not be cheap. On top of that, it’s also not as “plug-and-play” as level one is. You will also need to buy your own charging hub. Also known as: electric vehicle service equipment, or EVSE. It’s quite an expensive process, however, having a level two charger in your home is quite the commodity!
Level three charging is a whole different ball game. Unlike level I & II, level III uses DC to power your vehicle. In short, this means way faster charging times. If you pulled up to a supercharger with an empty battery, you could be on the road again in less than 40 minutes! Supercharges, however, may be a bit less common than the level two charging stations. You’re most likely to find them along interstates. As this is the best method of charging for those on long road trips. On the other hand, if you own a Tesla, Superchargers are becoming more common. As of late 2022, there are almost 1,500 Superchargers in the U.S alone!
Charging your EV with a DC fast charger is the same process as before: Pay, insert the charging gun into your EV’s supercharging port (the big one!) and begin charging. You’ll be back on the road in no time.
Lastly, I’m sorry to report that having a DC fast charger at home is not possible. Not only would it take thousands of dollars to buy and maintain the unit, but there’s also building code issues. In most U.S counties, building codes regulate high voltage services. On the off chance that your county doesn’t, well then, I guess it is possible. Just make sure the job is done by a licensed professional!
Now that we know the differences and applications of the three different three of charging, it’s time to figure out which one works best for you. As stated above, if you drive less than 30 miles a day, at-home level one charging may be the best option for you. After all, all the required items already come with your EV!
For those of us on a road trip, DC fast chargers are the best choice. When you’re on the road, you want to be seeing all the beautiful sights, not the charging station parking lot. DC chargers will ensure you’re back on the road quickly! Just ensure that you plan your route according to the available chargers.