The Electric Vehicle Charging Network

The electric vehicle (EV) charging network is an integral component of the United States’ transition towards a sustainable energy economy. It plays an integral role in attracting and keeping new EV owners, as well as encouraging increased adoption rates for electric vehicles.

Consumers and potential EV owners are concerned with the speed, cost, availability, and security of public charging stations. This is especially true for drivers traveling with their electric cars on long-distance trips.

Level 1

Level 1 chargers are the slowest EV charging stations and often used at home as a backup or trickle charge when no Level 2 or 3 station is available. With these chargers, it may take up to 22-40 hours for a standard battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) to be fully charged.

Though the Level 1 charging network is somewhat slow, it remains an integral component of the growing EV ecosystem. Many EV owners choose to charge their vehicles at home since this provides optimal battery storage and provides them with extended driving ranges.

Most new electric vehicles come with an onboard Level 1 charger and a standard 120V household outlet, making it the cheapest and simplest option available. Unfortunately, this solution has some drawbacks.

While a Level 1 charger offers convenience, it’s essential to understand its power output. A Level 2 charger offers more charging speed, but requires professional installation of a 240-volt circuit and heavier gauge wire.

The faster you charge, the longer your driving range is likely to be. Furthermore, it could mean less time spent stuck in traffic and safer driving when doing so.

As more people purchase electric vehicles (EVs), there has been an effort to make public electric vehicle charging stations more accessible. Unfortunately, most of these plans neglect Level 2 DC Fast Charging which is much slower than Level 1 and doesn’t offer the same driving satisfaction.

In New York City, the NYC Department of Transportation and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability are taking several initiatives to promote electric vehicle access. By 2025, they plan on equipping 20 percent of municipal public parking lots and garages with Level 2 chargers; this number will increase to 40% by 2030.

The NYC DOT is also planning to establish a network of Level 2 and DC fast charging hubs throughout the city. These will be located in city-owned public parking lots and garages, where customers can pay per-hour for charging services.

Level 2

Level 2 charging stations can be found in many public locations such as hotels, retail parks and grocery stores. They’re perfect for overnight or while you’re at work since they provide up to 19 kilowatts of power compared to 1.2 kilowatts on Level 1.

Like all electric vehicle chargers, Level 2 transforms the power delivered to your car from the electricity grid (AC) into direct current (DC). DC charging is a faster and more efficient method for charging an electric vehicle since it eliminates the lengthy conversion process that occurs outside the vehicle.

Level 2 charging offers various power outputs depending on the battery type and vehicle model; typically between 5.8 to 19.2 kW. On average, this recharge will provide 10 to 75 miles of range for most batteries; however, mileage may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations typically use the same power outlet that your home or office building already has, making integration with other appliances much simpler. Unfortunately, since these chargers require 240v outlets, you’ll likely need an electrician for installation and may qualify for rebates from local, state and federal agencies that could offset installation costs as well as reduce electric rates while charging.

One factor affecting charging flow is the size of the onboard converter that your electric vehicle’s battery can accept. Large converters require a certain amount of power at once, so it’s essential to stay within their limits in order to protect your battery from damage.

Generally, charging on Level 3 is faster than with Level 2, since these chargers provide direct DC power to an electric vehicle (EV) battery rather than having to convert AC current. The process can take anywhere from an hour depending on your battery size and charger speed; however, bear in mind that some types of devices require longer charge times than others.

Level 3 EV charging stations are designed for commercial use and offer the fastest way to recharge your battery. Typically located near gas stations or other busy transportation hubs, these fast chargers can add up to 90 miles of range in 30 minutes, making them a great option when refueling on-the-go.

Fast Chargers

Chargers form the infrastructure that connects an electric vehicle’s onboard battery to a power source. There are various types of chargers available, depending on what drivers need and where they intend to use their vehicles.

Fast chargers with power output of up to 350 kW can quickly recharge an electric vehicle’s battery to 80% in under 15 minutes – these typically come from public charging stations and dealerships.

Fast chargers with power output of up to 50 kW can recharge an electric vehicle’s battery to 80% in less time than it takes to fill up with gasoline. These are commonly found at public charging stations and commercial fleet companies.

Many fast chargers also provide features like current and connection sensing. These help avoid draining your battery when not in use, while saving money by allowing you to charge more efficiently and reduce charging time.

Another feature to consider when choosing a fast charger is whether it has a wall outlet where you can plug in your car. Some fast chargers can double as home chargers, enabling you to simultaneously charge both your computer or phone and car at once.

Furthermore, many fast chargers feature an automatic disconnect feature that shuts down the charge when you leave the station or it drops below a preset level. This is especially beneficial if you use your car for commuting or taking long trips.

Though there are still some challenges to overcome, the country has made significant strides in the EV charging space and many fast chargers are becoming more accessible. It’s essential to note that not all fast chargers are created equal; some cost more than others.

Home Chargers

Home chargers, also referred to as EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), are used for recharging your electric vehicle when you don’t have access to public charging points. They offer safer, faster and more convenient recharging of your car than other methods.

No matter if you use a Level 1 or Level 2 home charger, the key to getting your vehicle charged quickly is selecting one with high amperage that matches the battery capacity. A 32-amp charger, for instance, can typically provide eight times the energy from an electric vehicle in just the same time frame as using standard household outlets.

Home chargers come in many varieties, from plug-in models that plug into a wall socket to hardwired units which require installation by an electrician. Each has its own advantages so it is best to research and select one that best meets your requirements.

Smart chargers can save you money by conserving energy when not in use. Furthermore, they have the capacity to schedule charging when electricity prices are cheaper, allowing for savings during off-peak hours.

Your charger can also be connected to a smartphone app so that you can monitor its status. Some units support WiFi, enabling you to connect with local utility companies and see if they offer discounts or rebates for home charging.

Smart chargers also enable you to set reminders for charging and schedule it to resume automatically when the power goes out. Although more expensive than lower-end options, these units will give you the most out of your electric vehicle (EV).

When selecting a home charger, ensure it has been safety tested and is UL Listed. This designation serves as assurance that the charger has undergone rigorous testing by an established national testing laboratory.

When buying a charger for an electric vehicle, make sure it is certified ENERGY STAR certified so that it uses minimal energy when not in use. This helps cut back on electricity bills and is an important step toward embracing the electric car revolution.