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EV Charging Types Explained

Before you make the switch from a gasoline-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle, do you know the distinct types of charging plugs and stations? We take a look at all the different options there are out there on the market and what to look out for.

Amie-Lynn Mitchell

Content Creator

Charging stations

The average electric vehicle is much cheaper to operate than a gas-powered car because they only use electricity to power itself. They have fewer emissions and contribute less to air pollution than traditional vehicles do. They emit 80 percent less particulate matter than a traditional ICE car does. They have smoother acceleration and braking and don't make any noise while driving.
Electric vehicle charging systems are a key element of the electric mobility ecosystem. They give charging stations the ability to charge electric vehicles at a fast rate. They also make it easier for owners to charge their vehicles at home, workplace, and public stations. If you're thinking about buying an electric vehicle, you must understand all of your options when it comes to charging.
There are two types of electric vehicle charging systems: AC and DC. AC, or alternating current, is the type of electricity that comes from a traditional power outlet in your home. As for DC, or direct current, it's a newer form of charging system that's more cost-effective than AC. The downside? The use of DC currently requires a special cable connector that may be difficult to find outside of major metropolitan areas. Let's take a look at the types of EV chargers and why they matter:

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 charging, also known as trickle charging, is the most basic kind of EV charging system. They use AC power. With this system, you need to be parked in a designated parking space and plugged into an outlet. If you're using Level 1 charging, your electric car charges at 5-8 kilometres of range per hour. Your vehicle will take anywhere between 20-25 hours for a 200 Kilometre charge, depending on the size of your battery pack. It has a power output of 1kW with an outlet of 120-volt. The most common connectors are the J1772 and Tesla.

A Level 1 charger doesn't require any external power source to work. It gets its power straight from the socket it plugs into and uses that outlet's available power instead of drawing in more electricity from elsewhere, like other EV charging systems do. This type of charger is best for vehicles that have a small range (less than about 60 Kilometres) and are used for short trips.
This is likely the system you will use at home if you have an EV. It's good for charging batteries, but not at a very fast rate.

Pros

  • Price. Level 1 chargers are some of the cheapest chargers on the market, so if you're looking to save money, this might be the way to go.
  • Versatility. Because these chargers are the easiest to install, they're a great option for those who don't have a permanent parking spot. If you're likely to travel with your vehicle, or if you're in the process of moving homes, a level 1 charger is a great place to start.

Cons

  • They're the slowest of all types.

 

 
 

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging stations are the most common type of charger. Level 2 charging systems are typically installed in homes or businesses. They're connected to the electric grid, as opposed to a wall outlet. They use AC power and have increased charging speeds due to their increased power output.

A Level 2 station will typically provide anywhere from 8 to 40 kilometres of range per hour; hence your EV will take approximately 5hrs for a 200 Kilometre charge. They require a 208-240 volt outlet and a power output of 4-20kW. Connectors used at this level include J1772 and Tesla.

Pros

  • Level 2 chargers can typically charge a vehicle up to five times faster than level 1 chargers, making them much more convenient.
  • They are also far more efficient than level 1 chargers, which means they cost less to run.
  • They can be installed in your home, meaning you don't have to go out of your way to charge your car.

Cons

  • These chargers are more expensive than level 1 chargers, but many people feel the extra investment is well worth it.

 

 

Level 3 Charging

The most popular Level 3 charging systems are DC Fast Charging and Tesla Supercharging. Level 3 charging is also called fast charging and can charge a vehicle in less than an hour. A Level 3 charger requires a 480-800 volt power supply with an output of 20-50kW. There are three types of connectors typically used for level 3 charging: CHAdeMO, Tesla, and CCS. Your EV charges at a rate of about 5-32 kilometres of range per minute, hence can take less than 20 minutes for a 200 kilometres charge.

Currently, there are limited public locations with this type of charger but they can be found primarily access to Trans-Canada Highway. However, more and more retailers are starting to install them alongside their traditional gas pumps to encourage fuel-free transportation options, as well a lot of urban parking garages, are installing stations throughout.

Pros

  • Your vehicle charges significantly faster than with a level 2 charger, making it a great option for people who plan to travel with their vehicle.
  • Operate at lower temperatures than level 2 chargers, which makes them safer to use in general.

Cons

  • Most expensive type.
  • Not available for every vehicle.

 

 
 

Tesla Superchargers

Superchargers are the charging stations that Tesla owners can use to charge their cars at a faster rate. Supercharging stations are a great way to attract new customers. They give Tesla owners quick access to charge their cars and allow them to travel longer distances in between charges.
The first type of supercharger that is proprietary to Tesla is their V1 supercharging station. They are an evolution of traditional supercharging stations. The V1 is capable of providing up to 100 kilowatts of power. The second type of supercharger that is proprietary to Tesla is their V2, which is capped at 150kW. The V3 superchargers are capped at 250kW.
Competing electric car companies, like the Chevy Bolt or the Nissan Leaf, don't have a comparable network of charging stations. This means that long-distance travel isn't as easy with their cars.

 

The Future of E.V Charging System

As electric vehicles become more popular, we'll need to invest in the future of vehicle charging. The impact of these chargers will not only be visible at charging stations but also in homes, where some people will own an electric vehicle. Most experts believe that there will be a shift from single-port chargers to multi-port chargers as demand increases and new types of vehicles are introduced onto the market.

 

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