Level 2 charging is both the most common and the most practical mode of charging up one’s electric vehicle. But if you happen to be brand new to the world of EVs, then you may not be sure how various EV charging levels work. If that’s the case, then this guide is for you.
In this article from Electrly, we’ll be going over what Level 2 charging is, how fast you can expect it to charge your EV, and the various pros and cons of Level 2 charging.
How Does a Level 2 Charger work when charging my electric vehicle?
While recharging the battery of an electric vehicle, alternating current (AC) must be converted into direct current (DC) in order to perform the charge. Let's check over the fundamental process of Level 2 charging.
- National Electricity Grid - The national electricity grid is the massive network of powerlines, power stations, and electricity infrastructure that generates electricity and transports it to be used all over the country. This is what provides a Level 2 charger with the electricity that it needs in order to charge one’s vehicle when plugged in.
- Level 2 Charger - A Level 2 charger refers to the cable and plug setup. Level 2 charging facility can either be hardwired into the circuit or plugged into a 3-phase 240-v outlet.
- Vehicle on-board charger - All EVs have an on-board charger which essentially has the job of converting AC power to DC power. When a Level 1 or Level 2 charger is used, the current passes through the onboard charger, which converts the AC to DC and then sends it to the battery via the battery management system (BMS).
What Are The Basic States of Level 2 Charging?
Level 2 charging is a faster and more efficient method of recharging electric vehicles; it is recommended, in particular, for drivers who have time to charge their vehicles overnight. The following is a list of the basic electrical states that are involved with Level 2 charging:
|Level 2 Charging
|Alternating Current (AC)
|From 7 kW Up to 22 kW
|240 Volts (3-phase)
|32 Amps - 60 Amps
How Fast is a Level 2 Charger?
Level 2 chargers, as mentioned above, provide between 7 kW to 22 kW of charging power. On average, charging a vehicle for an hour with 7 kW will recharge a vehicle with 25 miles range, 11 kW charges 37 miles range, and 22 kW charges 75 miles range. Based on these numbers, users can expect their electric car to charge from 0 to 100% in 3 to 8 hours depending on the kW per hour and size of the EV battery.
What Charging Cables and Connectors Do Level 2 Chargers Use?
Level 2 charging utilizes the J1772 socket and Mode 3 setup. This is true for most EVs, aside from Teslas which use a proprietary charging connector. In terms of charging levels, Level 1 and Level 2 charging of an electric vehicle utilizes the same sort of plug.
You can also take a look at our Electric Vehicle Charging Cables and Connectors Guide for more details about EV charging mechanisms, cable setups, and dedicated plugs.
Pros & Cons of a Level 2 EV Charger
- Fast charging speed - Level 2 EV charging’s main appeal is the faster charging speeds. Compared to Level 1 charging which can take 2 to 3 full days to charge a vehicle, Level 2 charging only takes 3 to 8 hours, which is relatively more efficient and reliable.
- Additional electric setup - Because Level 2 EV chargers use a 240-volt plug, they must be installed by certified professionals. This makes Level 2 chargers less convenient since it requires quite a bit of additional setup before use.
- High upfront costs - Getting a Level 2 charger properly set up can also be fairly expensive. Depending on your situation, installing a Level 2 charger at your house can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $2,000 considering the cost of devices, materials, and labor involved.
How To Choose The Right Level 2 Home EV Charger
Some consumers might wonder which Level 2 Home EV charger they should purchase. After all, there are options available when choosing a charger: most newly purchased EVs come with a charger, so as a result many drivers simply use the OEM charger.
But in some cases, it might seem beneficial to purchase a third-party charger instead. This is because some third-party chargers are just plain better in terms of connectivity and charging capabilities. For example, the BMW Turbocord Charger and Chevy Bolt Chargers have both been heavily scrutinized for their chargers’ poor performance.
If you are looking for a reliable, powerful, and easy-to-use third-party Level 2 charger, consider Electrly! We offer various professional charging products for residential uses with decent charging performance.
Installing Level 2 Charging Stations for Commercial Uses
With EVs really taking off in recent years, charging stations have been a great source of income for many businesses. Whether you’re looking to start a charging station business or looking to build additional charging facilities at your property, providing charging services at your existing business can be a great revenue generator.
Here are some important aspects to consider when dealing with Level 2 commercial charging businesses:
Cost - Installing a single commercial Level 2 charging unit costs up to $6,000, so installing a 4-8 unit charging station can be anywhere from $24,000 to $48,000. There are also ongoing maintenance costs as well, which can add up.
Location - If you happen to be located in a high-traffic area, then installing charging stations might be perfect! However, those that are less busy areas might not be the best candidates for EV charging stations. Additionally, if you lack a big enough parking space to accommodate charging stations, then this might not be a great fit.
Equipment Internal Network - A simple, easy-to-control charging management system is a must for building a time-proven charging business. The backend system can help you monitor, track and control every aspect of a commercial charging station including power usage, price management, remote maintenance, etc.
Energy Efficiency - Selecting charging equipment with high energy efficiency is also important, as it directly lessens energy waste during the charging process and can reduce the cost of operating in the long run.
Online Billing & Payment Feature - When building a charging station, creating a simple and comprehensive customer experience is the key to success. Users want to have a convenient charging experience. As a result, providing all-in-one smartphone access for customers to charge, pay and go is a must for EV charging businesses.
1. What are the financial considerations of having Level 2 charging at home?
When charging at home, the majority of the cost factor is the installation expenses. While cheaper than installing a commercial charging station, residential Level 2 charging stations can still cost several thousand dollars. It’s estimated that the charging station itself as well as the labor and material costs.
Additionally, using a charging station at home on a regular basis will increase one’s utility bill. It’s been estimated that charging one’s vehicle uses up to about 13.4 kWh of electricity daily. On a weekly basis, that adds up to 93.8 kWh. The final cost will depend on the time of day that you charge as well as the cost of electricity in your area.
2. Does the Level 2 charging work with all electric vehicles on the market?
Yes. Almost all of the commercially available EVs in the United States are able to use Level 2 charging with a J1772 socket. Also, plug-in hybrid vehicles, which are essentially ICEs that also feature smaller EV batteries under the hood, are also compatible with Level 2 chargers with the same charging port.
Teslas are unique, as they utilize a single proprietary plug that supports Level 1, 2, and 3 charging. That being said, they also come with a J1772 adapter, which allows Tesla owners to charge their vehicles at non-Tesla charging stations.
3. Will Level 2 charging damage my vehicle battery?
Technically speaking, Level 1 charging is better for the overall battery life of electric vehicles, but it is also less convenient. Level 2 charging, while not as good for a battery’s health as Level 1, is by no means going to significantly impact the lifecycle of an EV battery in the long term, at least to a noticeable degree.