The cheapest way to charge your electric vehicle is at Level 1—the lowest of the three EV charging levels. This is a good choice if you don’t need to drive frequently because it doesn’t need to be installed in order to function. A J1772 connector (which plugs into the vehicle) is found on one end of almost every EV charging cord, and a conventional three-prong connector (which plugs into a typical residential power socket) is found on the other end.

In the US, 120-volt outlets are typical and may be found in the majority of homes and garages. A 120-volt outlet can support a maximum output of 15 amps from a level 1 charger. For the majority of EV owners, this is the option that is most accessible and allows for overnight charging of a vehicle in a garage. However, using a Level 1 charger to charge the battery in your EV has the drawback of being incredibly slow.

Only 2 to 5 miles of driving range are gained for each hour that you spend plugged in and charging. Because of this, you should probably only use Level 1 charging if you drive a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), which can only travel 20 to 40 miles on average using solely battery power, according to the U.S. Department of Energy . The PHEV will then transition to using the fuel type it was intended for, probably gasoline.


EV interior dashboard concept render

Department of Energy

Tesla supercharger station

LEVEL 3 CHARGING Level 3 charging, often known as DC rapid charging, is the last type of charging. Residential residences lack the infrastructure needed for Level 3 chargers, and these charging systems normally cost at least $15,000 at the low end, so you won’t find them there. In addition to using different connectors than Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, Level 3 chargers also use a special Tesla connector, and your car must be capable of DC rapid charging in order to use this feature.

The main benefit of using a Level 3 charger is that it can quickly increase the range of your EV, allowing you to charge it during your lunch break or add a little more range before embarking on a lengthy journey. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each half-hour spent using a DC fast charger adds 100 to 200 or more miles to the range. This is because Level 3 chargers, presuming your car is compatible, deliver at least 100 amps and 480 volts of power.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that DC fast chargers make up 15% of public EV charging outlets in the US. These include the DC fast chargers that are part of Electrify America’s expanding network of DC fast chargers as well as Tesla’s network of Superchargers. In particular, transportation firms, long-haul truckers, and other industries that must reduce the amount of time that vehicles are left idle at charging stations are predicted by experts to embrace EVs at a faster rate than consumers and commercial sectors.


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