Just got your first electric vehicle? or maybe you are making plans for installing a charging station at your home. With so many charging devices available on the market, it becomes quite a challenging task to make a choice that best meets your needs. Just like you, I also had several questions about electric vehicles.
One important question I kept asking myself was, what’s the difference between an electric vehicle charger and a charging station? What is it about the different levels of charging? Why do I need to install a charging station?
Well, I conducted an extensive research and I am happy to share my findings with you.
Table of Contents
- What is an Electric Vehicle?
- What is an Electric Vehicle Charger?
- What is an Electric Vehicle Charging Station or Electric Vehicle Charging Station (EVSE)?
- How To Charge Electric Car At Home
- Level of Charging available
- What are the Top 3 Best Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on The Market
- Tips on Choosing the Best Electric Vehicle Charging Station
- Final Thoughts
What is an Electric Vehicle?
An electric vehicle is an automobile that is propelled by electric motors, using electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries or any rechargeable storage device.
What is an Electric Vehicle Charger?
An electric vehicle charger is an equipment located onboard an electric vehicle that takes in an AC source and converts it to DC so your car battery can get charged. Like most people, at first, I thought an EV charger was the same as an EV charging station.
What is an Electric Vehicle Charging Station or Electric Vehicle Charging Station (EVSE)?
This is a wall mounted box or the portable unit you carry in the trunk of your car that supplies 240 volts of electricity. If you own an electric vehicle you might want to consider buying one. It helps to speed up the charging of your electric vehicle.
How To Charge Electric Car At Home
With a number of charging options now available nearly 95% of electric cars are charged at home. You may simply plug into a standard electrical outlet.
All electric cars come with an onboard charger, so all you need to do is use the charging cord that came with the car and connect to an electricity source.
This option can only take you for about 4 miles or driving range in one hour of charging. For a faster option, you may need an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE). An EVSE is a device which brings AC power to your car. The AC power is then turned into DC power using the car’s onboard charger. There are several EVSE options on the market. This has been discussed in detail below.
- You need a good outlet
- You need a charging station or electric vehicle supply equipment ( EVSE)
Basic charging is through a 120-volt outlet- the standard household outlet, known as Level 1 charging.
If you want to know about Level 2 and Level 3 charging see below.
Level of Charging available
What type of station do I need? To answer this you first need to know how much charging you need.
These are the main charging level options available
Level 1 charging equipment provides charging through a 120 V alternating-current (AC) and allows you to plug your car into an ordinary household outlet.
Level 1 charging device is standard as the majority of vehicles today come with a Level 1 cord set as a means of charging. It is portable and doesn’t require the installation of charging equipment.
Depending on your Car and the size of your Car battery, it typically it takes 7-22 hours for a full charge using a level one charging.
You can get approximately 4.5 miles of range/hour when using the level 1 charging.
This means if you drive a lot in one day say 80 to 90 miles, it would take 18 hours to get a full charge. And for an average person who travels 40 miles per day, a 9-hour charging might just be enough for commuting the next day.
Level 1 charging is best suited for owner’s home in which case charging is typically conducted overnight.
Level 2 supplies 240 V. It allows for a wide range of charging speeds up to about 70 miles of range per hour of charging. These stations by design can charge vehicles faster than Level 1.
It requires an installation of a charging equipment for use at home.
It also requires a dedicated 40 amp circuit.
The level 2 charging equipment is compatible with almost all electric vehicles and most Level 2 chargers come with a cord that plugs directly into the vehicle in the same connector location used for Level 1.
The Level 2 charging can take up to 4 to 6 hours to get a full charge. However, this depends on the battery technology used in the car.
Level 3 charging doesn’t necessarily imply DC. It can be either AC or DC. It provides fast charging through a 480 V plug.
The level 3 charging equipment is not compatible with all vehicles, and the charge might not be accepted by all vehicles.
These type of charging provide an 80% charge in 30 minutes.
How long does it take to charge an electric car?
Charging times depend on the size of the car and type of battery. Also, the type of outlet you’re using also determines the time it will take to charge your electric car.
EV batteries come in different sizes. Battery size refers to how powerful the battery is and not the physical dimension of the battery. There are no set standards connecting the battery size and range.
What affects the battery range is the car itself and your daily commute. So it important you consider your lifestyle, daily commute and charging options to see what size works best for you.
Battery power is described in Kilowatt-hours (kWh). The higher the kilowatt-hour number, the farther you can drive when on a full charge.
What are the Top 3 Best Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on The Market
- ClipperCreek HCS-40
- JuiceBox Pro 40
- AeroVironment EV Charger
Tips on Choosing the Best Electric Vehicle Charging Station
There are few important criteria to consider that can help you make the best choice.
Price ranges from $400 to $700. You shouldn’t pay more than $1000 (doesn’t include installation cost). EV owners who wish to install Level 2 or Level 3 charging should expect to pay about $1500 for equipment and installation
Get a certified electrician to install your EVSE.
It is important you know the level of electric current at which your vehicle charges. This is because it is not advisable to charge an electric vehicle above the charging capacity they are designed to handle. Be sure to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to be certain of the max charge amperage for your vehicle.
Length of Charging Cable
When buying an electric station, you also want to take into consideration where this piece of equipment will be installed. Pick an ideal location and measure the distance between the charging port on your car and where the EVSE will be installed on your wall. Most cables that come with this equipment using run approximately 15 to 25 feet. You want to be certain that the cord is long enough and gives you enough flexibility just in case you choose to add another electric car in your garage.
You got to make up your mind if you want to go with a permanent installation option (hard-wire installation) or you want to have an electrician install an outlet. For those that don’t have a garage, the local code requires that you hard-wire the charging equipment.
Some EVSE manufactures have both options of the equipment and they cost the same. So whatever option you choose to go with just make sure you choose the right equipment.
You should just buy one of the ones that come with a plug on it. Clipper Creek has two different options to choose from. A 14-50 plug or a 6-50 plug. They’re also sold on Amazon.
It is true that the EVSE is an indispensable part of your electric vehicle. It gives you a whole new level of freedom and of cause relieve that you can always charge your car whenever you want.
Buy the best charging station you can afford, but before doing that, research on quality and added features. By doing this you will be able to get the advantage and benefit the charging station can provide.
You can browse through the EVSE reviews to help you get more informed choices on what the best electric vehicle charger available in the market. The information above is essential before purchasing an EVSE for your vehicle. Nevertheless, it is still your decision; whatever model you choose to go with and whatever your reason is much respected.