“Understanding the different connector types, power rating, and charging locations is necessary. Whether charging at home or work, understanding the different charging levels will help you better manage your EV.”
Electric car charging can be categorized into three different levels. These levels represent the power outputs, therefore charging speed, accessible to charge an EV. Each of the levels has designated connector types that are designed for either low or high power use, and for managing AC or DC charging.
Level 1 charging or commonly referred to as home charging is generally regarded as the most basic and cost-effective method of charging your electric car. Level 1 charging does not require any other equipment except a dedicated power circuit that can be used solely for electric vehicle charging. Whether you have access to a garage or electric car parking unit in your apartment, simply plug in your cable to a designated power outlet and charge. Level 1 charging can be done with a Level 1 EVSE cable which has a standard three-prong household plug on one end for the outlet and a standard J1722 connector for the vehicle. When hooked up to a 120V AC plug, charging rates cover between 1.4kW to 3kW and may take up anywhere from 8 to 12 hours depending on battery capacity and state.
Level 2 charging is mainly referred to as public charging. Unless you have a Level 2 charging equipment setup at home, most Level 2 chargers are found in residential areas, public parking lots, and places of work and commercial settings. Level 2 chargers require installation and offer charging through 240V AC plugs. Charging generally takes up from 1 to 11 hours (depending on battery capacity) with a charging rate of 7kW to 22kW with a Type 2 connector. For example, the KIA e-Niro, equipped with a 64kW battery, has an estimated charging time of 9 hours through a 7.2kW on board Type 2 charger.
Level 3 charging is the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle. Though may not be common as Level 2 chargers, Level 3 chargers can also be found in any major densely populated locations. Unlike Level 2 charging, some EVs may not be compatible to Level 3 charging. Level 3 chargers also require installation and offer charging through 480V AC or DC plugs. Charging time can take up from 20 minutes to 1 hour with a charging rate of 43kW to 100+kW with a CHAdeMO or CCS connector. Both Level 2 and 3 chargers have connectors tethered onto the charging stations.