If you are just diving into the world of electric vehicles, you may have found out that there are different types of EV chargers and it’s possible that you don’t fully understand the difference between each of them. If you’re planning to change your fossil-fueled car for an electric one, you must consider that you’ll need to get your EV’s battery recharged and you’ll need an EV charger to do so.
The most fundamental point to know about EV chargers is that the plug on your electric car must match the plug you want to use at the EV charging station. Yes, the cable that connects your vehicle to the charging station’s charger must have the correct plug on both ends and the same thing happens if you decide to use one at home. It all has to match, makes sense, right? Let’s find out what is the right EV charger for you!
How many types of EV chargers exist?
There are three types of electric vehicle chargers. Depending on your lifestyle, which car you own and which plug it has, is the charger that will work for you.
For starters, there exist both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) chargers. To understand the difference between them, the first thing you need to know is that all EV batteries only store DC energy. So the main difference between them is where the conversion from AC to DC happens. Other key things to understand AC and DC chargers are:
- When using an AC charger, the conversion to DC happens within the electric vehicle. A DC charger does it within the charging stations, and DC power flows directly into the car’s battery.
- The charging curve with AC charging is a flat line due to the capacity of the onboard charger that can only receive limited power spread over longer periods of time. A DC fast charger forms a degrading charging curve because of the electric vehicle’s battery accepting a quicker flow of power and gradually asking for less.
Let’s go back to the types of EV chargers available on the market! There are three types you can find and use, either at home or on an EV charging station, depending on the charger. These are their main characteristics:
Level 1. It’s the most common charger. It’s a standard 120-volt wall outlet that offers 5 miles of range an hour. They are residential chargers used to charge an EV overnight.
Level 2. This type of charger is commonly found in public places. It charges around 25 miles per hour. It’s perfect for charging your EV at home or at work, and can be used for overnight charging.
Level 3 or DCFC. It’s the fastest EV charger on the market. It can provide 250 miles of range per hour of charging. They’re commonly used to provide quick recharges on long-distance driving and are usually found at commercial locations.
How long does it take to charge an EV?
How long it’ll take to charge your electric vehicle’s battery will depend on a few variables:
- The bigger the battery on your EV the more capacity it has, and the longer it’ll take to get it fully charged.
- Charging a battery from zero will obviously take longer than if it’s half-full.
- Your vehicle’s charging rate is key. You won’t be able to charge it any faster even using a DCFC if your EV’s charging rate is not high enough.
Besides this, the type of charger you’re using will affect the amount of time it’ll take to get it charged. If you use an L1 charger, it can take over 24 hours to fully charge your vehicle’s battery. An L2 charger will charge your EV in 8 hours or less. And with a DC fast charger, your electric vehicle’s battery can get charged to its 80% in just 20 to 40 minutes.