Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise, and as more drivers switch to these vehicles, they’re also looking for ways to charge them at home. But how do you choose a charger? What do you need to know about EV chargers? And what questions should you ask yourself before you invest in one? We’ve got all the answers right here!
The 3 Different Types of Home EV Chargers
There are three different levels of EV chargers: Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charge.
Level 1 is the most common, with an output of 120 volts and a maximum speed of 6.6 kilowatts (kW). You can charge at this rate from your home outlet.
Level 2 charging stations have an output of 240 volts with an average maximum speed of 20 kW. These chargers are often installed in garages or driveways or on the street. They’re also sometimes used in multi-unit dwellings such as apartment buildings or condos with dedicated parking spaces for EVs.
DC fast charging stations offer even greater power: up to 80 kW at 400 volts DC (or 480 volts AC) and beyond 30 minutes of charging time for 100 miles worth of range on some models — enough juice to get you halfway across the country!
FAQs & Things to Consider
When homeowners begin searching for home EV chargers, these are the most commonly asked questions that we hear! They’re important to consider because they will impact your wallet as well as your schedule. Let’s take a look at each type of home EV charger with these considerations in mind:
- What are the benefits of EV Charging?
- How much does an EV Charger cost?
- How much does an EV Charger installation cost?
- How much will it cost to install an EV Charger in BC, Canada?
Level 1 Chargers
Level 1 chargers are the slowest of the three levels and work best for overnight charging. If you want to keep your electric car charged up, this is the charger for you.
Level 1 chargers require a dedicated 240-volt outlet that can be installed by a professional or by a handy homeowner like yourself. The installation process is simple and straightforward, with some models requiring only one power cord coming out of the wall (so there’s no need to run additional cords through your home).
Level 1 chargers are also great if you live in an apartment building or condo because they don’t require any complicated wiring like Level 2 or 3 chargers do—just plug it into your garage or parking spot!
Level 2 Chargers
These chargers are more powerful than Level 1 chargers and can charge an EV battery in 4-6 hours, compared to 10-12 hours for Level 1 chargers. A Level 2 charger uses 240 volts of alternating current (AC), which means it delivers electricity at a higher voltage than a standard household current does. It also doesn’t require the same lengthy wiring that you’d need for a home generator.
While there are similarities between the two types of charging stations—both have plugs that accommodate your EV’s charging port—there are some important differences too. The most obvious one is cost: while both types of chargers cost around $1,000 on average, a Level 2 charger will typically set you back anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 depending on where you buy it and what features it offers (such as remote monitoring).
Level 3 Chargers
If you’re looking for a quick charge, a level 3 charger is your best bet. These chargers can deliver up to 100 kilowatts of power and charge your EV from 0% to 80% in 30 minutes or less. If you have a vehicle that can handle higher rates of charging, it’s possible for these chargers to charge your vehicle fully within 20 minutes!
Level 3 chargers are generally installed in public locations such as shopping malls and various parking garages throughout metropolitan areas.
Choosing a Home EV Charger That Is Right for You
After all is said and done, you know what you need better than anyone else! There are pros and cons associated with each type and it really depends on what your needs and wants are. We’ll leave you with these final thoughts and considerations that might help you choose the best home EV charger:
- While low-speed charging is sufficient for cars that are parked overnight, most drivers will benefit from a faster at-home charger.
- The higher the power, the faster the charge. Level 1 chargers are the slowest, while level 3 chargers can charge a car in minutes rather than hours.
- If you’re shopping for an EV home charger and have decided to go with a 240-volt version (the standard electric socket), be sure to check its power rating before purchasing it: 30 amps or less should suffice if you want to plug in a level 1 charger; 50 amps or more is recommended for charging at more than level 2 speeds (a typical 4-seater electric vehicle will need around 5 kilowatts—kW—of power); and 60A+ is recommended for charging at full speed (which may require upgrading your wiring).
You’re now armed with all the knowledge you need to make the right decision for your home. If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!