The need to reduce emissions to the barest minimum has led to the invention of electric vehicles. And thankfully, there are several brands of EVs out there, giving users choices to make. However, while choosing EVs, you should also be concerned about how to power the since EVs do not run on fuel.
Generally, most EVs come standard with a level 1 charger to charge your vehicle. But they don’t deliver the kind of power vehicle owners want. Particularly, level 1 charger are too slow in chrging. Hence, the need for a level 2 EV charger. We will discuss what a level 2 EV charger is, but first, let’s talk about the types of EV chargers.
Types of EV Chargers
Evs can be charged at home or public charging stations. And this is why having a specific charger type comes in, as not all chargers are good for an EV. Specifically, your vehicle’s charging port and the charging outlet must use plugs that fit at both ends and provide just the current your car needs.
Basically, there are four types of EV chargers—two used for alternating current (AC) and two for direct current (DC). So before we talk about the four EV chargers, let’s talk about the group they are subdivided into.
AC chargers come in handy in charging slow-charging applications. They work by first transferring power to the vehicle’s onboard charger and then converting AC to DC to charge the car’s battery. These chargers charge your application slowly and may take 6-8 hours for a complete charge. They’re ideal for multiple installations and are usually found in plazas or workplaces.
DC chargers, on the other hand, supply direct current (DC) to charge your battery, so technically, there is no need for any conversion to take place. These types of chargers are of high capacity and are used in fast-charging applications. Generally, they can charge your battery fully within 1 hour, becoming an ideal choice for public EV charging stations.
Have you imagined using AC chargers in public stations where you have to sit for almost 8 hours to fully charge your car? Oh yes! That’s it. With these explained above, now let’s talk about the four types of EV chargers under these two categories.
Type 1 EV charger
Type 1 chargers deliver slow charging and have a single-phase plug; it comes standard in EVs manufactured in Asia and America. They charge vehicles up to 7.4KW, depending on your vehicle’s charging rate and grid capacity.
Type 2 chargers
Type 2 chargers also fall under the AC category, which charges your car slowly. These chargers utilize single or multiple-phase plugs. And therefore have one or three wires through which they supply current to your vehicles depending on your car’s charging rate.
They come standard in European and Asian EVs from 2018 upwards. While they also charge slowly, type 2 chargers charge faster than type 1 chargers and are mostly installed at home. With a 400-volt AC supply, these chargers can deliver between 3.3KW to 43KW.
A type 2 charger with the triple-phase is commonly standard in charging stations in Europe. However, these stations can also have a fixed cable. So ensure the cord at the charging center fits well into your vehicle’s charging port.
This falls under the DC category as they charge your vehicles faster. So technically, they are built for fast-charging applications. This charger is widely accepted in over 70 countries and is one of the first fast EV chargers produced.
Developed in Japan, the CHAdeMo charges your vehicles quickly, outputting up to 100KW. Currently, Asian car manufacturers are developing electric vehicles compatible with this charger.
CSS (combined charging system)
This is an upgraded version of a Type 2 EV charger with two extra power contacts allowing for quicker charging. This type of charger allows for fast charging applications and is used mainly by newer electric trucks and cars.
In fact, its versatility is making newer vehicles switch from using CHAdeMO to CSS. They are commonly used in public charging stations and deliver power at a speed of up to 350 KW, and are compatible with both AC and DC charging.
What is a level 2 EV charger?
A level 2 charger offers better charging and saves time than a level 1 EV charger. Therefore, it’s paramount to have a clue of what a level 1 charger is first. Level 1 chargers most times are offered by car manufacturers at the time an EV is purchased. And they are mostly installed at home at 120 standard outlets.
They output up to 1.2KW and can give a driving range of 4 miles per hour charge. And will fully charge your EV in 11-20 hours. With this little knowledge of what a level 1 charger is, now let’s talk about a level 2 charger.
A level 2 charger can be used at homes and at charging stations and requires a charging source between 208 and 240 volts and a circuit standard 60 amp circuits. It charges an EV at the rate of 6.2KW to 19.2KW, with many EV level 2 chargers delivering an average of 7.6KW. A level 2 charger allows a vehicle to drive for up to 32 miles per hour charge.
With a level 2 charger, you can get your EV fully charged between 3-8 hours, assuming the vehicle was fully drained. So typically, a level 2 charger offers more than a level 1 charger. A level 2 charging time is eight times faster, delivers more power at a go, and gives a better driving range.
They are mostly used at charging stations since they allow charging to be done quickly. A level 2 charger can be connected to an outlet or hard wired into your electric system but usually needs a standard 240 Volts as a power source.
So note that while you can use the level 2 charger at home, it requires a standard 240 Volts outlet which is standard in most newly built homes—the same outlets that dryers and ovens use. So consider hiring an electrician to install one for you, or better still, go for a level 1 EV charger provided that you don’t have one at home.
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 EV chargers?
Type 1 chargers utilize single-phase plugs and can charge an EV at 7.4KW. And they are commonly used by American EVS. Type 2 chargers, on the other hand, can utilize one or up to three phase plugs, depending on your car’s charging capacity.
They are standard on European, and Asian EVs built from 2018 upwards. While both are AC chargers, Type 2 chargers charge faster than type 1 chargers and can output up to 43KW.
Which level 2 charger is the best
There are several level EV chargers that can charge your electric vehicle at home. Technically, charging at home is more convenient and saves costs than using a charging station. However, there are factors one must consider to get the best fit for your car.
The level 2 charger output, the outlet you’re connecting the charger to, and the charging capacity your EV can handle are the two crucial considerations you cannot afford to slip. This means you can’t just pick any charger. With various level 2 chargers in the market, making a choice may be daunting. Hence, we have outlined some of the best level 2 EV charger to narrow down your choice.
01. ChargePoint Home Flex EV charger
The charge point charger is common among many level 2 charging stations in America. And thankfully, it now offers one for home use that works exactly like those in charging stations. The level 2 charger from charge point has an app that makes charging operation seamless and even compatible with Alexa.
Through the app, you can set your charging schedules and see charging information like charge rate, charge time, and total output during each charge. It allows for the integration of Alexa so you can charge via voice commands. You can also set charging times through the app, which helps manage electricity costs during higher rate times. Plus, the app also allows cost tracking excellently.
While a level 2 charger needs at least a circuit of up to 60 amps, the charge point charger can be adjusted to work with 50 amps circuits. Basically allows output settings between 16-50 amps. The company claims its charger charges nine times faster than other chargers in its class which is a good selling point. And even gives up to 37 miles per hour charge. However, it is more expensive than other level 2 chargers.
- Can be used for indoor and outdoor charging
- Compatible with Alexa
- Charging amps delivered can be adjusted so it can work with even 50 amps circuits.
- More costly than other level 2 chargers in its class
02. Grizzl-E level 2 EV charger
If you’re looking for something durable yet can withstand harsh weather conditions, then the Grizzl-E level 2 EV charger is a good option. It not only comes in handy in charging EVs at home, it can be used outdoors to charge lawn or farm applications.
Not only is this charger a smart ass, but also one of the most affordable chargers in its class. It can be plugged or hardwired directly into an outlet of 240 volts and allows for power output adjustment—16, 24, 32, and 40 amps. It can also be detached from the bracket, hence very easy to transport.
According to Grizzle, the charger could work through any app with an open charge point protocol. And particularly, two apps were promised to work with the charger —Amp Up and Charge Lab apps. However, only Charge Lab worked after the charge got a firmware update, according to the Grizzl-E level 2 EV charger review done by CarAndDriver.
While charging operations such as changing power output or wifi connections can be done via the app just like other levels 2 chargers, it appears Grizzl-e recommended app couldn’t. Instead, one will need to remove the charger’s faceplate (front cover) to make any changes. Because its cable is so thick, it becomes stressful to fold and place back on the wall mount.
- Most affordable smart options
- Power output can be adjusted
- Durable and charge safely in any outdoor condition—rain, snow, or ice
- Tricky app integration
- App doesn’t work as promised, so one needs to remove the front cover to change output or wifi connections
- Heavy cable makes handling difficult
03. Juice box level 2 EV charger
The Juice box level 2 charger is available in 40 and 48 amps but can be configured to even six amps. It comes with so much digital functionality and is compatible with google assistant and Alexa from Amazon.
The juice box charger also utilizes a smartphone app to monitor charging activities.
Through the app, you can track data like power used and charging times so you can maximize cheap rate windows from your utility. You can also schedule charging times and get notifications through the app. However, the app cannot state how much you’re spending on charging.
Another high point of this juice charger is its ability to share current equally. Here, it can ideally charge two EVs from one circuit simultaneously. And, it can be plugged in or hard-wired into an outlet. Technically, the Juice charger, because of its high-tech build, is thought to be safe only when installed in the garage. However, it can also be installed outside without fear of being damaged by harsh climatic conditions. The charger utilizes a 25-foot-long cable, which is considerably long. So depending on the distance between your charging outlet and your car, you may not need an extra level 2 EV charger extension cord.
- Compatible for both indoor and outdoor use
- Can charge two EVs simultaneously from a single switch
- 25-foot cable
- Can’t tell how much you’re spending on charging
- Uses a hard cable which isn’t flexible
04. Lectron level 2 EV charger
Another high-quality smart option that comes at a really affordable rate is the Lectron 32 amp level 2 charger. It has a small LED screen that helps display charging information like voltage, amperage, temperature, power used, and charge time but does not have Wifi connectivity. If you want wifi, you would need to pay extra.
It’s one of the best portable level 2 EV chargers, hence very mobile.
It also comes with a led indicator light that alerts users of any faults detected in the system. The Lectron level 2 charger has a maximum amp rating of 32 but can be adjusted to 16, 13, and even 10 amps, depending on your wall circuit amp.
It comes with just one plug cable but no wall mount. Users can, however, take care of the hook management by mounting a hook to the wall. There is also an even cheaper variant that delivers 16 amps and a stronger one that outputs 40 amps. So users can choose which best fits their outlet and vehicle charging rate and not spend on unused charges.
- One of the most portable options
- Effortless to store
- Affordable option
- Uses a 21-foot-long cable
- Wifi connectivity comes at an extra cost
- No wall mount
05. Wall box pulsar level 2 EV charger
This 40 and 48-amp level 2 charger has amazing functionality, making it a top option. It features a power-sharing function that splits power equally, allowing the charging of multiple EVs without overloading your electrical systems, and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and google home.
It has a wall box app that allows you to regulate charging activities. With the app, you can set charging schedules, monitor power used, charge times, adjust power output, and do other things remotely via the app. The charger comes with an extra 25-foot cable, so you won’t need to buy an extra level 2 EV charger extension cord.
- Compatible for indoor and outdoor use
- Power multiple vehicles simultaneously
- Additional 25-foot cable
- Can only be regulated through the app
06. Bosch level 2 EV charger
The Bosch level 2 EV charger comes in two variants—EV300 and EV3000, both of which are UL and cUL compliant. The EV300 is an affordable option with a fast charging time — four times faster than a standard plug outlet. The EV3000, on the other hand, according to the company, has a charging rate four times faster than the level 2 chargers found at charging stations.
The affordable EV300 can be used indoors and outdoors and comes with a 16-foot cable. Though its cable is not as long as most in its class, it has a low maintenance charging preference. The EV300 doesn’t use an app, instead allows users to use their vehicle to preset charging times and charging duration. It also comes with a small indicator light that notifies users of the battery status.
Bosch EV3000, in contrast, provides DC charging faster than those in standard AC charging stations. Using a CSS connector, this charger can be used with any passenger EV in North America. In only an hour, the charger can charge EVs up to 20-80%.
Both the EV300 and EV3000 let users adjust charging settings to their preference and can be used both indoors and outdoors. As they allow for safe charging in different climates, including sleet, snow, and rain.
- Gives users choices to make —300 or 3000
- Allows for charging preference
- Fast charging
- No app allows operation via charger and vehicle
Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs
Q: Is a level 2 charger worth it?
A level 2 charger is worth it. But you will understand its worth more when compared directly to the standard level 1 charger that comes with a new EV. A level 2 charger charges about eight times faster than a level 1 charger. Typically, a level 2 will output between 6.2KW-19.2KW and fully charges an EV between 3-8 hours.
Whereas a level 1 charger outputs 1.2KW and gets your EV fully charged within 11-20 hours. A 1-hour charge with a level 2 charger can allow you to drive for 32 miles, whereas a level 1 charging for the same duration gives a range of only 4 miles per hour charge. A level 2 charger is, however, more expensive.
But with the comparison of the level 1 vs. level 2 EV charger, it’s safe to say that a level 2 charger is worth the extra cost. What about convenience? Having your level 2 charger is like having a gas station in your home and available when needed. Plus, it helps you save on electricity when charging your vehicle at lower rate periods.
Q: How many amps are needed for a level 2 charger?
For fast charging, a level 2 charger needs a standard 60 amps circuit. However, there are lower amp charging stations and chargers that offer users the flexibility of adjusting to a 50 amp circuit or lower—invariably helping to save cost. However, ensure it matches your car’s charging requirement.
Q: How fast is a level 2 charger?
A level 2 charger charges about eight times faster than a level 1 EV charger. A level 2 charger typically delivers about 6.2 to 19.2KW and can charge your EV full in 3-8 hours. In contrast, level 1 outputs only 1.2KW and would take about 11-20 hours to charge your EV fully.
This is why level 1 chargers are never used at charging stations. They take a longer time to charge; hence are best used at home and used to charge EVs overnight. So before morning, the car is fully charged.
A level 2 charger, on the other hand, is suitable for charging stations since EV owners don’t have to wait too long to get some miles to take them to their destination. A level 2 charger can give you a 32-mile driving range with only one hour of charge whereas a level 1 charger can only give 4 miles per hour charge.
Q: What size breaker do I need for a level 2 charger?
In many cases, level 2 charger works with a standard 60 amps circuit breaker for the fastest possible charge. But that’s not always the case. The breaker size needed for a level 2 charger depends on the amp level delivered by the level 2 charger.
Different EV brands have different amps their charger delivers and even allow it to be adjusted. Some level 2 chargers are built to deliver 40 amps, 32, and so on, and can also be adjusted to as low as six amps.
But typically, the national electric code requires that you use electric circuits 25% higher than your charger’s amperage. For example, if your level 2 EV charger amps are rated at 32, you will need a circuit breaker of at least 40 amps. If you’re purchasing a 40 amp level 2 charger, you may need a 50 amp circuit breaker.
Q: Can I install my own EV charger?
You can install your EV charger if you’re a certified electrician; otherwise, don’t. Installing an EV needs certain things in place like dedicated charging points needing circuits that run to your consumer units. Understand that you can only use specific units and circuits that are regulated and known to electricians.
Certified electricians are also in the best position to decide what cable is best, what customer unit is needed etc. Typically, these rules are set aside to ensure safety during installations. And it’s a criminal offense not to follow these rules.
So while saving on level 2 EV charger installation cost looks like a big deal, saving yourself and your home from potential hazards is more important. Therefore, if all mentioned above looks strange, let a certified electrician handle it. Level 2 EV charger installation costs around $420-$800 for labor alone, depending on how much time is spent and the electric work that is required.
Q: Should I charge my electric car every night?
Whether or not to charge every night depends on several factors. This includes how much driving you do during the day or your charger level. If you’re using a level 1 charger, it’s ideal to charge at night. Level 1 charger has a slow charging rate and will take longer to charge your vehicle fully.
A level 2 or even a level 3 EV charger, on the other hand, charges faster. So it wouldn’t take too long to charge your vehicle fully; this you can do during the day. How much charge is left before charging is another thing to consider.
If your battery is fully drained during the day and you use a level 1 charger, charging at night will be the best for you. As you may not have the patience during the day to charge. If you have some charge left and use a level 2 or level 3 EV charger, night charging wouldn’t be necessary.
Q: Is 100 amp service enough for electric cars?
The short answer is no, but let’s get this straight. In the past, a 100 amp panel could meet electricity demands because of the types of appliances used then. However, with the updates in electrical appliances used at home, 100 amp service won’t be able to sustain it with an Electric car included.
If the charger is the only thing feeding off your 100 amp panel; then it will be enough. But that is not feasible as you’re likely to run other appliances.
Therefore, to charge an EV using a level 2 charger with other house appliances in use, you need at least a 200 amp panel.
If you live in a big house with lots of power-consuming applications, you may even need to upgrade from 200 amps to upwards. This is because the 200 amp panel may already be at its working capacity and not function when EV charging is added to its existing load. So let an electrician perform an electrical load calculation to determine if adding your EV charger will be safe. If not, upgrade.
Q: Does level 2 charging reduce battery life?
Charging with a level 2 charger will reduce battery life if done too often. Generally, a level charger provides quick charging, which is very convenient, but this surely puts stress on the battery. A high level of charge entering the battery causes the battery to overheat, affecting the battery’s health.
Usually, the lesser the amp or current entering the battery, the less heat the battery receives—one advantage of using a level 1 charger. So fast charging might be ok when done occasionally. But consistent usage of level 2 charger may reduce the battery’s charging capability and even battery life.
Charging your EV with a level 2 EV charger comes with many pros. First, the convenience is superb, as it is like having a gas pump in your home. Again it’s ready when needed and allows you to charge at lower rates and shorter time which invariably saves costs on electricity. A level 2 charger also charges faster, typically at the rate of 6.2 to 19.2, letting your vehicle complete between 3-8 hours. And with just an hour’s charge, you can get up to 32 miles with a level 2 charger.
Level 2 chargers need a standard 240V outlet with a standard circuit breaker of 60 amps, though it can be less depending on the current delivered by the charger. Also, understand that several level 2 chargers are in the market, so use only the ones compatible with your vehicle. For example, if you’re searching for Tesla charger online, type level 2 EV charger, Tesla. You should see a list of level 2 chargers compatible with Tesla cars.