Whether you already own an electric vehicle (EV) or are looking to purchase one in the near future, the biggest aspect for most people comes down to the charging itself. Despite the benefits of owning an environmentally friendly vehicle or the cost effectiveness of cutting out the need for gas, if an EV takes too long to charge or can’t get a reliable charge, investing in an EV isn’t worth it. But many of these concerns can be mitigated by purchasing an aftermarket Level 2 charger to use in place of the standard-issue Level 1 charger that typically comes with the vehicle.
Homeowners are supplied with Level 1 chargers from vehicle manufacturers for use at home; they’re not intended for commercial use. If you’re looking to purchase an EV charging system for your commercial property, you want to offer a faster charging station in order to handle the growing EV market. If you manage an apartment, condo or other residential complex and are looking for an EV solution, Level 2 charging will help entice tenants to rent from you, expedite the charging process so that parking spaces free up faster and could be an amenity or additional source of income.
What Is Level 1 Charging?
A Level 1 EV charger is a cord or charging system that typically comes with the vehicle during purchase, can be plugged into a standard 120 Volt, 20 Amp circuit wall outlet, and delivers an electrical current from the outlet to the vehicle via the connector (usually an SAE J1772 plug for EVs sold in North America with the exception of Tesla vehicles. Note that there are adapters for Tesla vehicles to adapt to J1772 plugs.)
What Is Level 2 Charging?
Similar to a Level 1 EV charger, a Level 2 system delivers an electrical current from an outlet or hardwired unit to the vehicle via the connector. However, unlike the Level 1, Level 2 car chargers need a 208-240 Volt, 40 Amp circuit. A Level 1 will deliver 1.4 kW to the vehicle, but a Level 2 ranges from 6.2 to 7.6 kW.
What Are the Biggest Differences Between Level 1 and 2 Charging?
Because a Level 2 will deliver 6.2 to 7.6 kW versus the 1.4 kW you get with a Level 1, the biggest difference is in how fast and reliable a Level 2 charger is over a Level 1. While a Level 1 charger will typically get 4 miles of driving range per hour of charge, a Level 2 charger will get an average of 32 miles of driving range per hour of charge. This means that you’re charging faster with a Level 2 charger: Typical charging time for a Level 2 EV charger is around 3-8 hours to full while the average Level 1 EV charger will take 11-20 hours to fully charge.
When Might One Choose a Type of EV Charging Connector Over the Other?
Level 2 charger needs a 240v outlet, which many new homes or new multi-unit homes and building standards now require. If you do not have a 240v outlet, a certified electrician can easily install one and the cost can sometimes be offset though local, federal, state or utility companies which offer rebates and financial incentives for the charger, installation or electrical usage.
Additionally, Level 2 charging stations such as EvoCharge iEVSE units allow you to work with your local utilities provider to better control charging, lessening your overall cost and making you eligible for further rebates through your municipality so you get faster charging times at a lower cost.