Whether you have an all-electric car or a plug-in hybrid, you have several options for charging your vehicle. Many owners will do the majority of their charging at home. Some workplaces, businesses, and multi-unit dwellings (condos/apartments) provide charging, and there are over 16 thousand public charging stations located across the country.
Types of Charging
There are three basic types of charging:
- Level 1 charging: You can charge your vehicle by plugging it into a regular 120 Volt outlet—the kind found in your home. This is the slowest type of charging—about 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging—but it can be convenient and requires no special charger or outlet type. Most, if not all, plug-in vehicles come equipped with a cord to allow this type of charging.
- Level 2 charging: These chargers supply current at 240 V (or 208 V) and provide 10 to 30 miles of range per hour of charging. Most public chargers are Level 2 chargers. You can also have a Level 2 charger installed at home. Most public chargers use a standard plug type that is compatible with all vehicles. Tesla charging stations, however, use a different plug type that cannot be used by other manufacturers’ vehicles. Tesla provides an adaptor that allows its vehicles to use both Tesla and standard Level 2 charging stations.
- Fast charging: Also called DC fast charging or DC quick charging is the fastest kind of charging, allowing about 50 or more miles of range to be provided to the battery in 20 minutes. Not all vehicles can accept fast charging, nor do all vehicles use the same type of plug for DC fast charging, so check your owner’s manual. Quick charging stations are usually located along heavy traffic corridors. Due to expense and electric current requirements, they are not practical for home installation.
Note: Charge rate can vary based on vehicle model. So, check the owner’s manual for estimated charge time. Charge rate also depends on other factors, such as the battery’s state of charge and the ambient temperature. Visit AFDC’s Developing Infrastructure to Charge Plug-In Electric Vehicles for more information about vehicle charging options.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks by plugincars.com