EV (electric vehicle) charging is increasingly becoming a daily part of life for many Americans, Canadians and drivers elsewhere around the globe. Understanding the basics of chargers will help ensure a smooth experience of owning and using an EV.
One advantage for EV owners is never having to purchase gasoline again. Instead, they rely on a seemingly unlimited supply of electricity to fuel up wherever a charging station is present. Most owners charge up their vehicle while they are asleep or at work. While more cost-effective and better environmentally than gasoline-powered vehicles, such advantages depend heavily on the EV charging equipment itself. Home charging accounts for approximately 80% of all charging done for non-commercial electric vehicles.
Let’s look at charging solutions:
Level 1. The charger included with an EV purchase is a Level 1, which can be plugged into any standard 120-volt outlet. It takes a Level 1 approximately 20 hours to charge a car enough to go 124 miles and 43 hours to go 249 miles. For someone with a typical commute of 20 miles each way, using a Level 1 charger overnight may be adequate. However, most EV owners want to use their vehicle without range anxiety and downtime. So, they opt to purchase a stronger charger or use a public one and keep the Level 1 in the trunk for emergency use.
Level 2. These chargers are purchased separately from the EV but are up to 10 times faster than a Level 1. They require an experienced electrician or certified installer to set up. Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt outlet, such as the type required for an electric clothes dryer. Thus, you might have to upgrade your home’s electric panels or circuits. As with many Level 2 chargers, it takes approximately five hours to charge enough to drive 124 miles. Level 2 chargers have a specific connector for 240-volt charging.
Level 3. These charge EVs quickly, juicing up a vehicle for a range of 100 miles in only a half-hour. There are things to be aware of regarding Level 3 chargers:
Public charging allows EV users to travel longer distances than allowed by relaying on charging their EV at home. Public chargers can often be found near shopping centers, large parking lots and business parks. They will become increasingly available along highways as the EV charging infrastructure expands. Much like gas station chains emerged, there are companies, including ChargeHub, Electrify America and Electrify Canada, which have established networks of charger stations that can be located and paid for using smartphone applications.
Most stations have Level 2 chargers, but you can now locate Level 3 chargers using smartphone apps. Many apps indicate whether the charger is in use before you get there. Public EV charging costs vary greatly based upon equipment, as EV users pay more for the convenience or utilizing faster chargers.
Public charging assists EV owners who cannot rely on charging at home or work, but it does cost more. Studies have shown that it is approximately 30% less expensive in many areas to charge at home and pay for the electricity than paying at a public charge station.
The number of charger types for home installation continues to grow along with the number of EV models. Different drivers, vehicles and installation locations present different charging needs.
Here are some popular current Level 2 choices for home use:
With so many EV charging options available, it can be difficult to determine the right Level 2 charger to purchase for home installation. Auto manufacturers can make recommendations, but turning to a third-party who can independently evaluate your needs, the type of car and your residential situation is invaluable.
Qmerit is a North American leader in supporting the transition to EVs. They work with homeowners, automakers, fleet managers and others to implement the right competitively priced EV charging solution. Their installer network technicians are well trained and use the highest safety and quality standards.
Contact Qmerit today for help making your home ready for EV charging.