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- By Caroline McNally
Choosing the type of electric car charging infrastructure that fits best for you or your business can be an intimidating process with numerous options and types to choose from. However, it does not need to be that complicated and can be simplified into three different types of chargers based on their level of power output. In this blog we will delve into all you need to know about these three charging levels from the various components of the chargers, charging times, to the different types of power supplies and outputs.
Electric car chargers come in three basic models. The first being level 1, then level 2, and lastly level 3. Level 3 chargers are also known as direct current fast chargers or DCFC for short. Level 1 chargers are the simplest in design with just 2 cords and a battery pack. Level 1 chargers are primarily used in residential settings with one to two electric cars and takes an average of 8 hours to fully charge an electric car. Level 1 chargers are comprised of only a battery pack and utilize the most basic level of power, known as alternative current or AC, as they are generally only used to charger 1-2 electric cars once or a couple of times a day. Due to the simplicity of a level 1 charger, all chargers come with a wire connecting to the car and a plug that connects to a standard household 120-volt outlet. Once the charger is plugged in, the outlet then releases power in a path from the residential unit to the battery pack via the outlet and then to the electric car via the wire.
Level 2 and level 3 chargers are similar in function in that they both require much more power input than a level 1 charger. This is due to them both having shorter charging times than that of level 1 chargers. Level 2 chargers are comprised of a battery pack, 1-2 wires (or ports) to connect to the electric car, and a wire to plug into an outlet much like a level 1. However, because of their dual functionality that allows them to be used in both residential and non-residential settings, level 2 chargers require a 240-volt outlet. In residential settings, it is the same power outlet that a refrigerator requires and in non-residential settings the charger can be hardwired to a power supply. A level 2 charger’s duality in usage and high-power output makes it both user friendly and time efficient.
Level 3 chargers, also known as DC Fast Chargers, have the quickest charge time and most power output out of all three types of chargers. Unlike level 1 and level 2 chargers, level 3 chargers require a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) electric power transmission system to deliver power to the electric car. HVDC transmission systems use direct current for electric power transmission and allows power to flow in only one direction delivering power to electric cars at high speeds. The complexities of a level 3 charger require it being hardwired to an electrical source to deliver power from the source to the car. Once hardwired, the path of electricity follows through an alternative current, or AC, to an AC/DC converter where the power is converted to direct current for speed; the power is then stored in the battery of the charger. Once an electric car is connected to the level 3 charger, the power travels through a high-voltage direct current electric transmission to the car.
While making the decision about what type of electric car charger is right for you may seem complex, Maverick Electric Vehicle Services are on hand to guide you through this process. Our engineers and electricians are well versed in the complexities of electric car chargers and will advise you in making the best decision suited to your needs. Contact our team today for comprehensive and thorough guidance throughout your whole electric vehicle charging infrastructure installation.