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EV Charging 101: What You Should Know

Congratulations on making the smart choice to embrace Electric Vehicles (EVs)! Or, if you’re still considering getting one, kudos for exploring the exciting world of eco-friendly transportation. EVs are revolutionizing the way we drive, but to keep them on the road, they need to be charged. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the different charging options available, provide recommendations for EV chargers, and offer tips for finding charging stations away from home. Get ready to maximize the efficiency and convenience of life with an EV!

Charging Rate Types

When it comes to charging your EV, there are three main rate types to consider:

  1. Level 1 (L1): This is the slowest charging rate, achieved by plugging your EV into a standard wall outlet (120V). It can take anywhere from 12 to 60 hours to fully charge depending on your battery’s depletion level and size. Level 1 charging is typically done at home, allowing you to plug in your EV overnight and have it ready for your daily commute.
  2. Level 2 (L2): Offering a medium charging rate, Level 2 chargers use a 240V outlet, similar to the one used for dryers. It takes approximately six hours to fully charge your EV with a Level 2 charger. This type of charging can be done at home with a potential upgrade to your garage outlets, or at work.
  3. Level 3 (L3): This is the fastest charging rate and is available at public charging stations. Level 3 chargers, also known as DC Fast Chargers or Superchargers (in the case of Tesla), can provide a full charge in just 30 to 60 minutes. These stations are equivalent to gas stations for EVs and are ideal for long trips or when you’re away from home.
Charger Level Speed of Charging (kW) Avg Range (mph)
1 1.3 to 2.4 3 to 5
2 7.4 to 22 75
3 50 to 400 173 to 298

EV Charger Recommendations

If you’d like to purchase an EV Charger, we are here to help you make the best choice for your home and charging needs.

Level 1: Although most EVs come with a Level 1 charger, we recommend investing in a Level 2 charger.  Level 1 chargers are only slightly cheaper (~$200 less) than Level 2 chargers, but the latter offers more usefulness and flexibility. If you prefer a Level 1 charger, Enphase makes a well-reviewed option.

Level 2: There are various Level 2 chargers available at different price points, brands, and with different features. We work closely with you to help you select the best Level 2 charger for your home and charging requirements.

Level 3: Several companies provide networks of Level 3 charging stations similar to traditional gas stations (in many ways, it’s similar to pulling up to a Shell gas station). ChargePoint, Electrify America, and EVgo are a few of the largest networks in America. We particularly recommend EVgo, the best for its convenience and competitive pricing.

Most EV owners charge their vehicles at home if they have a garage. Otherwise, they rely on workplace or public Level 3 charging stations. Worried about the availability and quantity of these public stations? The availability of Level 3 stations is increasing, ensuring convenient charging options for all EV drivers.

Which EV Charger Should I Install at My Home?

Installing an EV charger at home gives you the superpower of having a “full tank” every morning. But some EV chargers offer even more features and capabilities than others. Tesla home chargers and those from companies like Chargepoint, JuiceBox, and WallBox are rapidly advancing – some differentiating features to consider:

  1. Charging Speed & Amperage: EV chargers operate at higher voltage and amperage than a standard outlet, enabling faster charging. Different EV chargers have varying maximum speeds, measured in amperage. Higher amperage generally means faster charging times, so it’s worth considering when selecting a charger.
  2. Smart Charging: Some EV chargers have WiFi connectivity and intelligence to schedule charging during low-cost utility hours. They can optimize charging based on signals from utilities, ensuring the lowest charging costs for your EV. JuiceBox, ChargePoint, HomeFlex, and Wallbox Pulsar and Pulsar Plus offer smart charging options.
  3. Optimized Charging: If you already have solar panels, you may want to charge your EV during peak solar production. Some chargers, like JuiceBox and the Span smart electrical panel, allow you to optimize charging with renewable energy sources.
  4. Balance Charging for Multiple EVs: As more households have multiple EVs, some chargers, such as the Wallbox Pulsar Plus, automatically balance the charging to avoid overloading circuits. Separate load controllers can be installed if your preferred charger doesn’t have this capability. 
  5. Power Your Home in a Blackout: Certain EVs and bidirectional chargers allow you to power your home using your car’s stored energy during power outages. While Tesla home chargers don’t currently support this feature, options like the Wallbox Quasar and the dcbel r16 are recent additions to the market.

Finding Charging Stations Away From Your Home

Not quite ready or able to install an EV charger at home? Don’t fret – there are several useful tools for finding EV charging stations: 

  1. PlugShare: This website and app provide a map of EV chargers near you, along with user-provided information about accessibility and locating chargers in parking lots.
  2. Google Maps: The app now includes station locations and a nifty feature that automatically routes you to the nearest stations based on your route.
  3. Vehicle Maps: Many EVs, especially Teslas, have onboard maps with the locations of dedicated and public stations.

Wrapping Up

These tools are invaluable for navigating and finding EV charging stations while you’re away from home.

Ready to upgrade your charging experience? Contact us, and our team will guide you in selecting the right EV Charger for your needs. Take the next step in your electrification journey and enjoy the efficiency and convenience of charging your EV with ease. 

Curious where to start your electrification journey? Click here to get your personalized electrification roadmap.