Car Jump Starter

The world seems to have an insatiable appetite for electric cars. Data shows that more car owners are opting for environmentally friendly models, and interest in these models has increased in light of soaring fuel prices. Take the United States for example. According to foreign McKinsey & Company survey data, electric vehicle sales in the United States increased by nearly 200% between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021. Electric car makers such as BMW are ramping up production to cope with the demand. By 2030, electric vehicles are expected to account for 52% of new car sales.

Unlike their gas-guzzling counterparts, electric cars don't rely on typical fuels like gasoline or diesel to power their engines. Instead, the vehicles are equipped with large battery packs that can be charged at home or using public charging stations. While this sounds simple, there are a variety of charging options beyond location, namely the type of charger you get, which are divided into three levels. Knowing which level of charging is best first requires you to understand your needs, including how many kilometers you drive each day and whether your car is all-electric or hybrid.

Level 1 charge

Of the three EV charging levels, Level 1 is the most affordable way to charge an EV. This is a good choice if you don't need to drive a lot, as it doesn't need to be installed to work. Almost all electric cars come with a charging cable with a J1772 connector at one end (which plugs into the vehicle) and a standard three-core connector at the other end that plugs into a regular home wall outlet.
If you're in the United States, 120-volt electrical outlets are common and can be found in most homes and garages. The level 1 charger provides a maximum current of approximately 15 amps from a 120 volt socket. This is the most accessible option for most EV owners and can be charged overnight in their own garage. However, the disadvantage of using a level 1 charger to charge an EV battery is that it is extremely slow.

If you plug it in and charge it for an hour, you'll only get two to five miles of range. For this reason, if you own a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), you may only want to use level 1 charging, which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, can only travel an average of 20 to 40 miles on battery power alone. After that, the PHEV will switch to whatever fuel type it is designed for, possibly gasoline.

Level 2 charging

If you need to drive more than 50 miles a day, a level 2 charge may be your best option. Level 2 chargers are the most commonly used type in daily life. In fact, almost 80% of public EV charging stations are level 2 chargers. These chargers have different voltage requirements and use 240-volt outlets. 208-volt connections can be found or installed in most homes, or in public areas such as hotels and shopping malls.

A Level 2 charger will charge your EV battery faster than a level 1 charger. An hour of charging at level 2 equals 25 miles of range, according to the U.S.

Department of Energy. Installing a level 2 charger in your residence is simple.They use the same J1772 connector as Level 1 charging devices, although Tesla cars have their own connector that supports level 2 charging. If your garage is not already connected to a 240-volt connector, you can hire an electrician to install a level 2 charger for personal use, which will make owning an electric vehicle even more convenient.

Although they can deliver up to 80 amps of power, the DOE notes that level 2 chargers in homes typically deliver only 30 amps of current and require a 40-amp circuit to do so. That's still double or more the paltry 15 amps you'd get with a level 1 charger.

That being said, it may take longer to charge an EV at home using a level 2 charger than it does at a public charging station.

Level 3 charging

Finally, there is level 3 charging, also known as DC fast charging. You won't find level 3 chargers in homes due to the lack of necessary infrastructure, not to mention the low-end cost of these charging systems is typically at least $15,000.

Level 3 chargers also use different connectors than Level 1 and 2 charging (except for the proprietary Tesla connector), and your vehicle must support DC fast charging to take advantage of this option.

The best thing about using a level 3 charger is that it quickly adds range to your EV, which allows you to charge your vehicle during your lunch break or add more range before a long drive.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that every half hour spent on a DC fast charger yields a range of 100 to 200 miles or more. This is because the level 3 charger provides at least 100 amps and 480 volts of power. Again, assume your vehicle supports this charging option.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 15% of public EV charging ports in the U.S. are DC fast chargers. These include fast chargers in Tesla's supercharger network and Electrify America's growing DC fast charger network.