Electric vehicles (EV) charging is an essential consideration for the owners. As of December 31, 2017, there were projected 20,178 EV public and private charging locations (sites) in the U.S., with 17,526 (86.9%) being available to the public. Before you buy an Electric car charging station, it is important to understand its features and functionality. For instance, while some can be installed on a standard wall, others require customized installation.
Types of charging stations
1. Level 1 Electric vehicle charging Stations
Level 1 electric car charging stations can be installed on standard wall outlets. You do not need additional equipment to install. They use a 120V AC plug and are usually installed at home. Level 1 charging stations deliver up to 5 miles range in an hour’s charging. While they take the longest to charge, they are less expensive.
2. Level 2 Charging Stations
These charging stations cannot be installed in a standard wall. Therefore, they require a professional electrician for installation. These charging stations use 240 V for residential charging or 208V for commercial use delivering between 10 to 60 miles per hour of charging. Level 2 stations can charge an electric car battery fully in 2 hours.
3. DC fast Chargers (CHAdemo or Level 3)
Level 3 chargers can provide up to 100 miles of range in 20 minutes charging. Typically, they are suitable for industrial and commercial use. They require professionals and cutting edge equipment to install and maintain. Not all EV vehicles support level 3 charging capability.
Types of Chargers
We have three main types of electric vehicle chargers.
1. Rapid Chargers
Rapid DC chargers are rated 50kW while Rapid AC chargers are rated 43kW. Both AC and DC charges will take 30 to 60 minutes to charge EV battery up to 80% depending on the battery capacity. However, Tesla’s rapid DC superchargers charge at 120 kW. While Rapid AC charges use tethered Type 2 connector, Rapid DC is designed for CHAdeMO, Tesla Type 2, and CSS.
2. Fast Chargers
Typically, a fast charger will charge an EV fully in 3 to 4 hours. These chargers’ power output range from 7kW to 22kW. Tethered Type 1 and Type 2 sockets are the conventional fast connectors. They are tethered using a connector cable that comes with a new vehicle.
Slow chargers are suitable for overnight charging. They charge around 3kW, taking 6 to 12 hours to charge pure EV. For PHEV, the charger will take between 2-4 hours. Electric vehicles use a cable connected to type 2 sockets or three-pin to charge slow devices.
Using Public networks to Charge EV
Public networks can be national or regional. The access level depends on a specific charge point and network. Similarly, the payments vary depending on the network. While some accounts use smartphone apps, others provide an RFID card. You will need an account in most cases. The good news is that rapid units are starting to use contactless PAYG card readers. A significant number of public EV charge points offer free services. However, you may be required to pay for rapid and fast charging. The charges usually comprise of cost per energy, cost per charging time, and flat connection fee.
Home EV Charging
Charging electric vehicles at home is not only cost-effective but also the most convenient. The best part is that you can get grants to install a home EV charging station. Similarly, most companies will fully install an electric car charging station for a home charge at a fixed price. Most home charger power output ranges from 3kWto 7kW. High powered units that are mounted on a wall are more costly than 3kW units, but they require half the time to charge an electric vehicles to full power. Most electric vehicles manufacturers provide charge points as part of after-sale services or partner with charge point suppliers.
Charging EV at Work
Companies are increasingly installing EV charging units. These charging points make sense because your car will be stationary for most of the day. This means that you can conveniently charge it during office hours. The power ratings for workplace charging stations usually vary between 7kW to 22kW. Companies can opt to charge or offer free charging. However, most of them provide low or no cost as an incentive for using EV.