Level 2 EV Charger: What Is It and Do I Need One?
To make the electric vehicle lifestyle as convenient as possible, you need to understand the best EV charging options while your EV is parked at home. For most, that means having a level 2 EV charger installed for daily use.
Many EVs come with a level 1 charger that is compatible with any standard 120-volt (regular old three-prong) outlet that you’d find in your home or garage. As convenient as this sounds, it can take days to fully charge an EV battery with a level 1 charger. For those that use their EVs multiple times a day, that could mean running out of juice and being forced to utilize a more expensive, inconvenient public charging station.
Is there a better way to charge your EV? Let’s dig in to find out.
Types of EV Chargers
Two types of charges are currently available for charging electric vehicles at home:
- Level 1 EV charger
- Level 2 EV charger
Level 1 chargers are compatible with any 120V outlet, and all EVs typically come from the factory with this charger on board. This means, right off the lot, you can take your EV home, plug it in, and start charging it. This is also called “trickle charging” because, you guessed it, the charge speed is about as slow as a tiny trickle of water.
Level 2 chargers come in the form of plug-in or hardwired stations which are installed on their own, dedicated 240 volt line. These are either mounted to the wall or plugged into a specialized outlet (such as a NEMA 14-50 Outlet). You may be familiar with 240V outlets already as most homes have these for equipment like clothes dryers or an oven. As such, these outlets are not easily accessible and are intended for residential use only, which means you’ll need to work with an electrician who specializes in electric vehicle charging stations to have either a charging station or appropriate 240V outlet installed in your home.
If your home is newer construction, it’s possible the builder may have pre-run a 240 volt line for a level 2 EV charger already. We would need to inspect what wire was run so we can determine what style of charger would be appropriate for you.
Note: Explore more about Levels of EV Charging in this previous article.
Do I Need a Level 2 EV Charger?
While you don’t need a level 2 EV charger to own an EV, living with your EV on a daily basis will be considerably more convenient if you take the plunge and install a level 2 charging station. In fact, some would argue that until the electrical infrastructure catches up in the United States, it’s not worth owning an electric car (especially in the more rural parts of our country) unless you have a level 2 charger at home.
Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles that you fill up with gasoline when empty, EV owners aim to keep their cars topped up (recharged) at every opportunity. Since EVs spend the most considerable amount of time at home overnight, most people use this time to recharge their batteries so there is plenty of power for the next day’s activities.
EVs use massive battery packs that take considerable power to charge up. The larger the battery pack (and thus the heavier the weight of the car), the longer it will take to recharge.
Level 1 EV chargers take anywhere from 40-50 hours to fully recharge a standard EV, which works out to 2-5 miles of range per hour. On the flip side, a dedicated level 2 EV charger can fully charge an EV in approximately 6-10 hours, depending on your model of electric vehicle, which works out to 10-44 miles of range per hour.
That’s 5 to 7 times faster than a level 1 EV charger.
Owning a level 2 EV charger means that when you plug in your EV at the end of the day, you can be certain that you will have a full charge the next day. Level 2 EV chargers also ensure that you can get a quick boost in the middle of the day, stay topped up for a night out on the town, and avoid waiting in line at a public charging station.
EV Charger Installation Experts
Gulfstar Electric specializes in the expert installation of all levels of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging systems for EV owners in the Tampa Bay area. As a fixture in the Tampa Bay community, we’ve done thousands of installations across Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas Counties with reviews from our customers that make us proud.
Our team of professionals are certified installers or preferred partners for some of the best brands in the EV industry:
- Clipper Creek
If you’re new to the world of EVs or just looking to get the best level 2 EV charger installed for your current EV, give us a call or submit a work request today!