WHERE CAN I CHARGE?
Various services are offered to help make charging easier. Some cars offer software in the car itself to help locate charging locations in public and there are also apps designed to find charging locations. If your car isn't equipped with such software, PlugShare is an app that has an interactive map that shows charging locations.
EV CHARGING BASICS
Charging an electric vehicle is safe, easy, and cheaper than traditional gasoline. Most EV drivers charge their vehicles at home while some opt to charge at work, and there are increasing options for charging up around town or on highway systems. There are three different charging options and they mostly vary by the speed at which they charge the vehicle.
Level 1 Charging 110V (~1.4kW)
2-5 miles per hour
Every EV has the ability to charge at Level 1 charging and this level of charging most often happens at home. It involves plugging your car into a traditional wall outlet using a cord that comes with the car. It is the slowest way to recharge and it typically adds 40 miles of range in about 8 hours.
The port on the vehicle looks like this:
You use the cord that comes with the car to plug it into the vehicle to and a standard wall outlet.
Level 2 Charging 220V (~7.2kW)
10-20 miles per hour
Level 2 charging is faster because there is more power (240 volts of electricity-like clothes dryers and ovens) flowing to the vehicle. Many EV drivers have opted to have a charging station installed in their garage our outside their home so they can take advantage of faster charging. The stations range from a couple hundred dollars for basic systems to interactive systems connect to smartphones that cost several hundred dollars and can be installed by a licensed electrician.
Level 2 charging is the most common way charging is offered in public locations. On average, Level 2 charging will recharge a vehicle in 2 to 6 hours.
The port on the vehicle is the same as the Level 1 Charging.
If you have installed a Level 2 EVSE in your home it may be mounted to the wall and look like this:
If you are charging in the community a Level 2 EVSE may look like this:
Level 3 Charging or DC Fast Charging (50kW, up to 350kW)
60-80 miles per half hour
Direct Current (DC) Fast Charging delivers rapid charging and is most commonly installed in stations along highway systems. There are three types of DC charging systems. They differ in the type of charge port on vehicles. They commonly add 40 to 60 miles of range in around 20 minutes.
The J1772 combo is used by Chevrolet and BMW.
The CHAdeMO is used by Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Toyota.
Tesla vehicles work on a port and connector that charge at all three levels including their Fast charging option they call a supercharger. The supercharger offers the fastest charging rate currently available and provides 140kW of energy.
Extreme fast charging is not available yet but would yield 350kW of energy. After only 15.25 minutes, the vehicle's range would increase 200 miles.
Additionally, not all electric vehicles are able to be charged at Level 3 and vary by model.
The ports on the vehicles look like this :
If you are charging in the community a Level 3 EVSE may look like this:
TECHNICAL THINGS TO CONSIDER
A charger converts AC supply power to DC and uses it to charge the vehicle batteries. Most EVs have a charger on the vehicle, however, they can also exist off the vehicle, as in the case of DC quick chargers.
Note: Although the Level 1 cord set that comes with every PEV and Level 2 units are commonly referred to as “chargers” they are not actually chargers. They are actually “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment" (EVSE).
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
Most people confuse the term “charger” with EVSE. An EVSE refers to any off-board equipment used to supply energy to charge the vehicle. EVSE can refer to a cord, a station mounted to a wall, pedestal or pole, and even the different outlets and plugs that make up the circuit.