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When it comes to power sources for machinery, there are often different levels and types that you can use for different performance levels or even different machine types. For instance, the high-octane fuel that goes in a Lamborghini is not the same as the one that goes into an everyday Honda. Differences like this can be observed everywhere, and here we will be looking at the differences in the charging levels for Electric Vehicles.
Fairly recently, you may have noted the switch in phone chargers where they went from normal chargers to 'quick' or 'fast' chargers, which charge your phone up much faster by providing a higher amount of current to the battery. Like that, EV chargers have levels, which rank in ascending order as Level 1 EV chargers, Level 2 EV chargers, and DCFC. Much like phone chargers, these also affect the speed at which your EV will be charged.
Wattage is the measurement unit used to measure a charger's output and charge speed. Typical fast chargers that you get with your phone lie in the range of somewhere between 25 Watts to 65 Watts. For EV chargers, this gets bumped up to kilowatt-hours (kWh), with more kWh equating to faster-charging speeds. To understand Level 2 EV chargers, we need to look at all three levels of EV chargers, starting with:
These are the most common chargers you'll see when looking for EV charging stations, as this is the standard public issue of charging level. Compared to L1, the kilowatt rating gets a significant bump, with the lower limit being 3kW going up all the way to 22kW! As a result, you can get about 20 miles of range with an hour of charging, and a full charge can be achieved in 8 hours, give or take. The kilowatt output you get from an L2 charger varies from model to model, which you will have to note and account for accordingly when calculating estimates.
L2 chargers can be found basically anywhere. Chances are if you've seen a charging station, you've seen L2 chargers. Since these are standard issues for the public, they can be found in every single state within the US, usually located near popular destinations. For residential use, you may purchase your own L2 charger from BESEN to get a full overnight charge fast and easily.
Regarding cost, the price floor of L2 charging is the same as L1 at $1, though the upper limit goes up to roughly $5 per hour. Though with the added cost, there is also added range, so the value proposition is still good. It is worth noting; however, that home use of L2 charging requires certain equipment before you can begin using it properly.
These are the baseline chargers with the slowest charging speeds and the lowest prices. Level 1 (L1 for short) can be plugged straight into your home outlets and will charge away with no issues. On average, though this will vary depending on the make and model of your car, you can expect to get 4 miles of range with every hour you charge using an L1 charger. Leaving your EV plugged in overnight means you would get anywhere between 40 to 50 miles of range which should be sufficient for a routine commute. With wattage ratings between 1.3 and 2.4 kilowatts, a full charge is difficult to achieve if you need your EV daily, 24 hours being the minimum time required on a Level 1 charger.
You're most likely to find L1 chargers in your household to be used with the cable that your manufacturer provides with the car itself. That cable (often referred to as an emergency cable) will be used to charge your EV up for the first time, provided you haven't bought a different charger from the dealer. For external L1 charger locations, though you're unlikely to find or need one, you will most likely get them at some parking garages.
The price of these chargers is the most attractive feature by far, as they are essentially free! Being provided with the car, you will not need to buy any equipment to use L1 charging. Therefore, the only cost you need to consider here is the cost of electricity, which will vary from location to location. A rough estimate for US residents can be $1-1.5 for an overnight charge, which equates to $30-45 monthly.
Level 3 (Direct Current Fast Chargers)
These are as fast as EV chargers get, with a full charge achieved in an hour for an average EV and more than 100 miles of range in less than half an hour. With max kilowatt levels reaching 350 kW, these chargers are made to minimize charging time. With DCFC, you'll want to ensure your EV can accept the higher kW output, as the average EV is limited to 50W as the maximum input, which varies from model to model.
DCFC stations are as pricey as they are fast, which means that you're not going to find one outside your local supermarket for obvious reasons. These are targeted more towards industrial and commercial use, so you're likely to find one near interstates, highways, or any other beginning points for long trips. Though these charging stations are rare to find in the present day, the number is expected to grow significantly with time.
Direct Current Fast Charging is not designed for residential use and cannot be utilized at home, at least not very easily. Therefore, the pricing will be according to the billing rate at the station you visit. These chargers use per-minute billing instead of kWh (due to legal restrictions), meaning you will be billed for as long as it takes you to get charged.
That rounds up our explanation of the various levels of charging stations you'll find around you and how they differ from each other. From this list, you may be able to realize why L2 is the most popular option and how it operates. For all your EV needs, visit BESEN, featuring RFID-powered L2 Chargers ranging from 3.6kW up to 22kW, depending on the model.