Portable EV Charger

Portable EV Charger

Level 1 EV Charger

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Level 1 EV Charger

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Level 1 Charger

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level 1 EV charging

Level 1 Charging Station

Best for: Plug-in hybrid, such as the Kia Niro
Miles/charge time: 5 miles per hour of charge
Voltage: 110V

No installation required – you can drive home and plug into the wall.

Best used for overnight charging and low-mileage daily driving – a good option for plug-in hybrid vehicles because of their smaller batteries

* Tesla fast charger will only work with Tesla connector

level 2 EV charging

Level 2 Charging Station

Best for: Battery EVs, such as the Tesla Model 3
Miles/charge time: 13 to 25 miles per hour of charge (full charge from empty overnight 8-10 hours)
Voltage: 240V

Optional to purchase and need to installed by a qualified electrician – can be plugged directly into three-pronged NEMA 14-50 outlets typically used for RVs, washers, dryers, and other major appliances.

Best for quick charging, often found in public areas (EV drivers opt to install Level 2 charging stations in garage)

dc fast charging stations

DC Fast Charging

Best for: Most battery EVs.
Miles/charge time: Charge up to 80% typically in 20 to 30 minutes.
Voltage: 480V-500V

Fastest EV charging mode – provides up to 250 miles of range per hour. Used to facilitate longer distance driving or road trips or for a quick recharge.

* Non-Tesla chargers have a CCS/SAE Combo connector

Electric Vehicle Charging Levels

A Guide to EV Charging Modes: Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charging

If you’re considering an electric vehicle, you’ll need to understand the different charging options available. There are currently three levels of EV charging—Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charging—which provide charging at different speeds based on your needs. Here’s a closer look at how each EV charging mode works and what to consider when installing chargers for your vehicle.

Level 1 Charging

• Uses a standard 120V AC outlet with an EV charging cable that plugs into a wall socket. 
• Provides limited charging power, adding approximately 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging.
• Best for limited home use, usually overnight. Can take up to 24 hours or more to fully recharge an EV battery depending on capacity.  
• Very low cost to install as no additional charging equipment is needed, but slow charging speed may require more frequent top-ups for high-mileage driving.

Level 2 Charging

• Uses a 240V AC outlet like those for electric dryers. Requires the installation of a Level 2 EV charging station. 
• Offers faster charging, adding 10 to 30 miles of range per hour. Typically recharges an EV battery in 3 to 8 hours depending on capacity.
• Suited for home, workplace and public charging. Offers a good balance of speed and affordability for most EV owners.
• Level 2 chargers vary in output power, installation costs from $500 to $2000 or more. More powerful stations allow for faster charging.

DC Fast Charging

• Uses an industrial 400V to 900V DC outlet. Requires the installation of a special DC fast charging station.
• Provides the fastest charging, with the ability to add 60 to 200 miles of range in 15 to 30 minutes for typical EV models. 
• Best for quick top-ups while traveling or as an occasional alternative to overnight home charging.
• DC fast chargers are significantly more expensive, from $10,000 for a public station up to $50,000 for a high-powered system. 
• Repeated fast charging can degrade an EV’s battery capacity over time. Best used only when needed for long-distance driving.

Buying an EV Charger

The charging level and time required depends on several factors:

• Battery capacity – The larger the battery capacity or kWh rating, the longer it takes to fully recharge. So a small plug-in hybrid EV may only require 3-4 hours on Level 2 vs. 6-8 hours for a long range battery-only model.

• Charging technology – More advanced or high-powered charging equipment allows for faster recharging at all levels. The latest DC fast chargers can top up an EV in 15-30 minutes while standard Level 2 chargers may take double that or more. 

• Charging connectors – The types of ports and plugs on the EV and charging station must be compatible for any level of charging to work. Some connectors allow for Level 2 and DC fast charging while others only support slower methods.

• Ambient temperature – Extreme hot or cold temperatures reduce charging speed for all levels and can temporarily disable DC fast charging until the battery temperature is within an optimal range again.

In summary, For most EV owners, installing a Level 2 charger at home for daily use along with occasional DC fast charging while out will provide maximum convenience. But your needs will depend on factors like your model of EV, daily driving distance, access to workplace or public charging, and budget for installation fees. Choose the charging levels that suit your lifestyle and needs as an EV driver. But as higher-capacity EVs become mainstream, access to faster DC fast charging will be key to their long-term convenience and practicality.