As electric cars continue to change the transportation industry, the processes behind charging them are only becoming more important to know. When looking for the appropriate electric vehicle charger for your needs, it’s important to consider your desired charging type and associated charging level.
What’s the Difference Between Charging Types and Charging Levels?
While their names are confusingly similar, understanding the difference between charging levels and charging types is actually quite easy. To put it simply, charging types refer to the technology behind the charging process while charging levels refer to the capacity.
There are two main types of charging, AC and DC. AC chargers use alternating current to charge the car, while DC chargers use direct current. What sets these two methods apart is their means of delivering a charge. Alternating Current chargers deliver AC energy and require the car’s converter to change it into DC while Direct Current chargers use their own converters to send DC energy straight into the car.
Alternating Current (AC)
The advantage of an AC charger is that it can be plugged into any standard household outlet. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to charge the car due to the fact that it has a lower capacity and does not deliver DC electricity, simply AC which is left to be converted by the car itself.
Direct Current (DC)
The converter can be found within the charger itself in the case of DC chargers. In this case, the converter inside the charger handles the conversion of electricity from AC to DC. Because of this, DC chargers are generally larger and more expensive, however deliver a much more efficient charge.
Charging an electric car can be done at home or at a public charging station. Charging stations come in all shapes and sizes, with different connectors that correspond to the type of electric car you have. There are three main types of charging levels which are primarily distinguished by their electrical capacity. The higher the charging level is, the faster the car will be charged.
This is the most common type of connector, found in many homes. It uses a standard 120-volt household outlet and plugs into a regular wall socket. Level 1 chargers require a very long time to completely charge an electric car due to their limited electrical output. Although they are very inexpensive, it is not recommended to use this type of charger for everyday charging.
This type can typically be found in public parking lots or commercial locations such as shopping malls. Level 2 chargers may look similar to level 1 chargers but they are faster, with the ability to provide more range per hour of charging due to their heightened capacity.
This type of charger is the fastest and most expensive, found mainly in commercial locations. It can provide up to 80% charge in as little as 30 minutes. Level 3 chargers use a different connector than level 1 and 2 chargers and are not typically found in homes or public parking lots. While Level 1 and 2 chargers utilize AC technology, level 3 chargers employ DC charging.
With so many options available, it’s easy to find the perfect charging station for your needs. Installing these systems can be complicated, so it’s important to consult professionals when looking to do so. Call a qualified electrician to safely install your EV charging station.