Level 1, 2 and DC Fast Electric Vehicle Chargers

EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast chargers. A distinction between each level is the input voltage, Level 1 uses 120 volts, Level 2 uses 208/240 volts and DC fast chargers use between 200 and 600 volts. Technology is quickly advancing in this marketplace with manufacturer’s producing charging equipment with a variety of features, software, applications, and functionality.
Level 1 Charging
Level 1 charging, which is a basic charging option is cost-efficient – as it uses a standard 120-volt outlet which is standard available power in residential settings, including most apartment complexes and condominiums. This level charging allows an EV driver to use the charging cord set provided by the vehicle manufacturer almost anywhere. This charging takes the most time and is most efficient for overnight charging.
Level 2 Charging

Level 2 chargers are typical solutions for commercial and workplace settings, and often an upgrade for residential charging. Level 2 charging offers a significant power output than Level 1, and ever-increasing user features and software.

Level 2 chargers require a dedicated power circuit and will most often require a permit to install issued by the local authority having jurisdiction of Building & Safety permit issuance. Public use Level 2 chargers are distinguished between non-networked chargers and networked chargers, often depending on if there is a ‘charge-to-charge’ an EV.

Non-networked Level 2 Chargers
Non-networked Level 2 chargers are useful for installations at commercial sites that offer ‘no-charge-to-charge’ charging. In this scenario electricity used during charging is captured by the utility meter providing service at the location. Depending on available electrical power, Level 2 charging is offered as an amenity at workplaces and multifamily dwellings.
Networked Chargers

Networked chargers through integrated software offer the most interface options in the commercial settings where ‘payment to charge’ is required, and where a property’s electrical bill is shared by multiple tenants.

Enhanced features include remote monitoring across multiple units, and load management for sites that have limited electrical capacity. Networked chargers also offer the ability to control hours of use which allows the operator to avoid peak demand electricity charges and maximize time-of-use rate structure.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast chargers are the highest-powered EV chargers on the market. They often are used as range extenders along major travel corridors for long-distance trips and in urban environments to support drivers without home charging or very high mileage drivers.

Typical DC fast chargers on the market charge at rates of 25-50 kW. At current charging rates, they are ideal for places where a person would spend 30 minutes to an hour, such as restaurants, recreational areas and shopping centers.

Currently available DC fast chargers require inputs of 480 volts at 100 amps (50-60 kW) and can produce a full charge for an EV with a 100-mile range battery in slightly more than 30 minutes (178 miles of electric drive per hour of charging).

With technology quickly advancing, newer models of DC fast chargers are being introduced with charge rates of 150-350 kW of power. It’s worth noting that not all EV models are capable of charging at the most rapid rates, and therefore, they cannot be utilized by every EV driver.

DCFC installations require a commercial electrician from the initial planning phase due to the electrical load and wiring requirements. In certain instances, it is necessary to apply to the local utility who provides electrical service for a new service where multiple DC fast chargers are proposed for installation. DC fast chargers have multiple standards for connectors, whereas there is only one common standard for Level 1 and 2 charging (SAE J1772). DC fast chargers have three types of connectors: CHAdeMO, CCS or Tesla.

Type Power Rating Amps Voltage Range Added
Level 1
1.4 kW/HR
120 1-Phase
3-5 miles of range per hour
Level 2
3.3-10 kW/HR
208 or 240 1-Phase
12-40 miles of range per hour
DC Fast Charging
25-150 kW/HR
208 or 480 3-Phase
35-100+ miles of range per hour
Electric vehicles help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, by choosing to drive an EV you are helping to reduce harmful air pollution from exhaust emissions.