How to charge an electric car at home
When switching to an environmentally friendly, electric vehicle (EVs), buyers need be aware of a number of elements:
- the range of the vehicle;
- how an EV drives compared to a conventional petrol car;
- how to charge their new electric car at home.
Regulations and installation options might change depending on the country where you live (below will take a look at the cost and opportunities available in the US), however, there are only three ways in which you recharge your electric vehicle:
- Level 1;
- Level 2;
- Level 3.
Let’s take a look at them a bit more in detail.
Content of the article
Level 1 Charging (120-Volt)
This is the simplest and most affordable solution to charge an electric vehicle. This system doesn’t require any special equipment to be installed.
You only need a special cable to be connected from your EV straight into a conventional 120-volt, three pins, home system.
On top of the simplicity of use, another significant advantage of this setup is that it doesn’t require any particular council authorization or safety check.
A very easy and straightforward solution for anyone looking for and a cheap and stress-free way to charge their electric vehicle
On the other hand, the downside of this system is the long period of time needed to recharge a vehicle.
Level 1 charging can offer 2 to 5 miles of range to a vehicle per hour of charging time.
This means that people wanting to use this solution at home will have to regularly recharge their vehicles overnight if they want to be able to use it the following morning.
This aspect could make this solution a bit unpractical for people using their car more frequently and for owners of vehicles capable of longer ranges like the Chevy Volt, for instance.
Level 2 Charging (240-Volt)
This charging solution provides power to your EV through a 240 V AC plug. In practical terms, this means that car owners will have to install dedicated charging equipment as well as have a dedicated electrical circuit of 20 to 100 amps.
Your system will have to comply with local regulations to allow the installation of the equipment and the cost of this it’s usually between $500 and $2000.
However, on the positive side, Level 2 provides about 10 to 60 miles of range to a vehicle per hour of charging time, slashing down massively the charging time compared to Level 1 and making it a more viable option for all EV including long-range ones.
The cost of the installation is also often subsidized by the local; government to incentivize the purchase and use of this new kind of vehicles
As it’s easy imagine this solution offers much more flexibility and freedom to car owners compared to Level 1 and can be suitable for both private and commercial use.
Level 3 Charging and Supercharge
This high-power, super-fast option is usually available only at public charging stations. However, it’s not necessarily precluded to residential customers.
In some countries, residential customers could request their power company the installation of a very expensive commercial-grade, high-power three phase 220 or 480 volts together with the installation of a power converter to provide the Level 3 voltages.
This system is capable of charging the 80% of vehicles in 2O mins, but power companies are still somehow reluctant to promote this option as the power grid is not necessarily designed to support such a high level of power draw.