Level 1 vs. 2 vs. 3 EV Charging Stations

Thanks to their increasing affordability, electric vehicle, or EV, sales have doubled over the last three years. This means the demand for electric vehicle charging stations is on the rise. Available in three levels, EV chargers offer an electricity source to those who need to recharge their total-electric cars or EV hybrids.

Level 1 Electric Vehicle Charger

How Do Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Work?

Whether you have an all-electric vehicle with no gas tank or a hybrid car with a gasoline tank and an electric motor, you will need to connect your car to a source of electricity. Recharging your EV’s battery is a simple plug-and-go process.


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My Car Has an Onboard Charger, So Why Do I Need an EV Charging Station?

Every EV car is equipped with an onboard charger. The onboard charger lets you connect the vehicle’s built-in plug to an electrical outlet. Sure, you can exclusively use the onboard charger; however, you’ll get more efficient performance from an EV charging station.

On average, an electric vehicle’s integrated charger gives you 4 miles of drive time in 1 hour, which means an EV charging station boasts a faster charging speed.

What Does a Charging Station’s Level Mean?

Although an electric vehicle charging station is faster than an EV onboard charger, all charging stations are not one and the same. They come in three levels – level 1, level 2 and level 3. Level 3 is also called a DC fast charger or a CHAdeMO charger.

Each level charges an electric vehicle at a different speed with a level 3 station offering the fastest charge.

Level 1 vs Level 2 vs Level 3

Level 1 Charging Stations

Level 1 EV charging stations are a step above onboard chargers in terms of battery recharge time. These charging stations have a 120-volt AC plug, which connects to any standard electrical outlet. Out of all three station levels, level 1 chargers cost the least amount of money.

Another plus in their favor is that there is no installation involved. Like an onboard charger, a level 1 charger is a plug-and-go station. One end of the charger plugs into an electrical outlet, and the other end connects to your EV.

Their simplicity makes Level 1 charging stations ideal for residential use. However, they take longer than the other two station levels to charge an electric vehicle, providing approximately 5 to 10 miles per 1 hour of charge time. Therefore, most people use a level 1 EV charger at home to recharge their vehicle overnight.

Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charger

Level 2 Charging Stations

In comparison to level 1 chargers, level 2 charging stations replenish EV batteries faster, making them the most popular choice for home and public use. Per hour, a level 2 electric vehicle charging station offers 10 to 20 driving miles; some level 2 EV stations boast a more rapid charging rate. As opposed to a 120-volt plug, a residential level 2 charger has a 240-volt AC plug while a commercial level 2 charger has a 208-volt plug.

There is one trade-off for this type of EV station is the setup. Level 2 chargers cannot be plugged directly into an electrical outlet because they are rated at 120 volts. They are only compatible with 240-volt outlets.

Alternatively, some level 2 electric vehicle charging stations can be fitted into an existing solar panel system. Regardless, the shorter charging time level 2 EV stations provide are worth the minor hassle of installation.

Level 2 Charger

Level 3 Charging Stations

The fastest chargers of all are three types are classified as level 3. Unlike level 1 and level 2 stations, level 3 EV charging stations are equipped with a DC plug. The 480-volt plug sends direct current straight to the battery, bypassing the electric car’s onboard charger.

Level 3 stations recharge an EV’s battery at a rate of 40 to 50 miles per 10 minutes. Usually, these stations are reserved for commercial use, and their installation requires technical know-how. Some stations are designed to charge EV batteries at an even faster rate. Although level 3 chargers are ideal for in-a-hurry drivers, they are not all compatible with all EVs.

What’s the Difference Between AC and DC Charging?

To charge an electric car battery, AC power must be converted to DC power. With a level 1 and level 2 station, this process takes place inside of the EV. Then, the now-DC electricity is sent to the battery. A level 3 charger doesn’t need to send the current to the automobile’s converter.

The current changes from AC to DC before it leaves the charging station, which is one reason why level 3 stations charge faster than their level 1 and 2 counterparts.

Level 3 Electric Vehicle Charger

What Features Are Available on EV Charging Stations?

Residential electric vehicle charging stations run from basic to advanced in the features department. If you want to install a station on the exterior of your house, you can use a padlock to secure it from theft. However, other chargers come with more sophisticated theft deterrents, such as an integrated mechanical locking feature that prevents theft and tampering.

You can also find models that are Wi-Fi enabled. These charging stations allow you to use your smartphone as a remote and a monitor. Depending on your electric car and the charger, you can use your phone to allow access to the charger and set a schedule. Smart EV stations also send information to your smartphone about the amount of power the charger consumes, the cost of electricity and other useful data.

Related EV Charger Articles

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 • What is a Level 2 Charger: Electric Vehicle Charger Guide

Are Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Hardwired or Plug-In Only?

Electric vehicle chargers come in hardwired and plug-in versions. The main advantage of a plug-in charger is that you can use it anywhere. You can even take it with you on a weekend road trip. Plus, you don’t have to contend with the cost of professional installation.

Hardwired EV charging stations offer unique benefits. With a hardwired model, you don’t have to drag out the charger. Instead, you simply pull up to the station. Hardwired EV chargers come in various sizes and finishes, so you’re sure to find one that looks great in your garage or on the exterior of your home.

Level 3 Charger

Our Recommended EV Chargers


Best of the Best!
Also Great
Budget Option
ChargePoint Home Flex Electric Vehicle (EV)...
JuiceBox 40 Next Generation Smart Electric...
MUSTART Level 2 Portable EV Charger (240 Volt,...
ChargePoint Home Flex
JuiceBox 40
MUSTART
• 16 to 50 Amp
• Level 2
• WiFi Enabled
• UL Listed
• NEMA 14-50
• Indoor/Outdoor
• 23ft Cable
• 32-40 amp
• Level 2
• WiFi Enabled
• UL Listed
• Indoor/Outdoor
• 25ft Cable
• 26-40 Amp
• Level 2
• NEMA 6-50P
• Indoor/Outdoor
• 25ft Cable
The Home Flex is Charge Point's newest, fastest and most advanced Level 2 home charger, charging up to 50 amps and adding up to 37 miles of driving range per hour of charging.
The JuiceBox 40 is one of the best-selling smart home electric vehicle chargers. Enjoyed by many satisfied EV drivers, JuiceBox delivers all the safety and smart charging features you need.
The MUSTART upgraded 40A level 2 EV charger is a sturdy, waterproof, abrasion resistance charger that can charge your car up to 2.5X faster than the 16A level 2 EV charger.
Best of the Best!
ChargePoint Home Flex Electric Vehicle (EV)...
ChargePoint Home Flex
• 16 to 50 Amp
• Level 2
• WiFi Enabled
• UL Listed
• NEMA 14-50
• Indoor/Outdoor
• 23ft Cable
The Home Flex is Charge Point's newest, fastest and most advanced Level 2 home charger, charging up to 50 amps and adding up to 37 miles of driving range per hour of charging.
Also Great
JuiceBox 40 Next Generation Smart Electric...
JuiceBox 40
• 32-40 amp
• Level 2
• WiFi Enabled
• UL Listed
• Indoor/Outdoor
• 25ft Cable
The JuiceBox 40 is one of the best-selling smart home electric vehicle chargers. Enjoyed by many satisfied EV drivers, JuiceBox delivers all the safety and smart charging features you need.
Budget Option
MUSTART Level 2 Portable EV Charger (240 Volt,...
MUSTART
• 26-40 Amp
• Level 2
• NEMA 6-50P
• Indoor/Outdoor
• 25ft Cable
The MUSTART upgraded 40A level 2 EV charger is a sturdy, waterproof, abrasion resistance charger that can charge your car up to 2.5X faster than the 16A level 2 EV charger.



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This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


Last update on 2020-11-29 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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