Electric Vehicle Charging
Installation and Services
EV Solutions From Tri-Point Electric
Level 1 or Level 2 – What’s the Difference?
Every EV (electric vehicle) sold today comes standard with a 120-volt Level 1 portable charger. These chargers can be plugged into a simple household outlet, and do not require any special installation. Some manufacturers, like Tesla’s cars, for instance, come with a plug-in 120/240-volt Level 1/2 charger. These require a 240-volt outlet, which most owners need to have installed by an experienced electrician, such as TriPoint.
However, most manufacturers only provide a basic Level 1, 120-volt charger, and offer as an option, a higher-powered Level 2 unit for sale. In order to recharge their EV quicker, many owners choose to buy a 240-volt, Level 2 charging station and have it professionally installed at their home. This goes for essentially all electric vehicles other than Tesla. Tesla is unique in that they use a proprietary connector, that only they use.
Level 1 chargers will deliver between 3 and 5 miles of range per hour to a typical electric car. For Level 2 chargers the rate increases to a range of between 12 and 60 miles per hour. However, that number will be limited to how much electricity the car’s onboard charger can accept. The car is always in control of how much electricity it takes in, so you won’t damage the vehicle if you buy a charging station that can deliver more power than the car can accept. In fact, many people choose to buy a charging station that can deliver more power than their current EV can accept, so they’ll be ready if their next EV can charge at a higher rate.
There are low-powered Level 2 chargers that are small and portable. Many of these are limited to a power delivery of 16-amps to 20-amps. These units will charge a typical EV at a rate of about 12 to 18 miles per hour. Level 2 Wall-mounted charging stations typically deliver between 30-amps and 40-amps and will charge a typical EV at a rate of about 25 to 35 miles per hour. Most of today’s wall-mounted Level 2 charging stations come in both hard-wired and plug-in versions, all of which can be installed by TriPoint Electric.
Considerations Before You Buy
- Does your electric service panel have enough spare capacity to allow you to install a dedicated circuit for the charging station? If you have any questions about whether or not you have enough spare capacity, call TriPoint Electric to inspect your service and let you know if your circuit is capable.
- Where would you like it installed? You should locate the charging station close to where the inlet for the connector on the car is, and make sure the cable on the charger is long enough to reach the inlet without stretching. Every EV has a different location for their charge port, so make sure you know where your charge port is located before installing your charging station.
Once you’ve confirmed that you can install the charging station and you know where you want it, it’s time to decide which charging station to buy. There are many choices available today, and not all charging stations are created equal. Let’s look at the different features that should be a consideration when deciding which station is the right one for you.
For some, the least expensive charger that’s built well and has a good warranty is the right choice. For others, having the ability to review charging session history, calculate the exact cost of charging, using Amazon Alexa to voice control your charging and other smart-charging options are worth the extra cost.
Hard-Wired or Plug-In
Hardwiring simply means the unit is permanently connected to the electric supply, so you cannot remove it without opening the charger up and removing the wiring. A plug-in unit isn’t permanently connected to the electric supply, it simply plugs into an electrical receptacle.