EV Charging Stations
How Do Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Work?
With electric vehicles growing in popularity, the number of EV charging stations is simultaneously increasing. While many new EV drivers will worry about draining their battery without a nearby charging station, public and at-home charging capabilities have improved creating a grid of available electric charging locations. With normal combustion engines, you don’t have the ability to refuel while you’re home for the night, or while you’re shopping near a public charging station, making EVs even more convenient.
You can search for a map of local and national electric vehicle charging stations from the United States Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center. This data shows nearly 50,000 public locations across the country and this number continues to grow consistently.
Types of EV Chargers
There are three types of chargers for electric vehicles, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging capability. Keep reading to learn more about what differentiates these three levels of charging, and where each level can usually be found. It is important to note that charging times are just rough guidelines and estimates as electric vehicles don’t charge at a constant rate. When looking at charging times provided by major automobile manufacturers, know that these times are unable to be verified with current technology.
Level 1 charging often refers to traditional three-pronged power outlets that are commonly available. You may plug your desk lamp or computer charger into a level 1 charger. This level is less commonly used because of how long it takes to charge a vehicle. If you only really need about 20-30 miles of charge while you’re at work, this level of charging can be useful.
Most electric vehicle owners prefer level 2 charging both at home and at public charging stations. Level 2 chargers provide 240 volts of electricity and need an external device that plugs into any receptacle that can supply a 40 amp circuit. For example, according to Chevrolet, Level 2 charging can add 25 miles of charge per hour when charging a Chevy Bolt EV.
Level 3 charging is often referred to as DC fast charging and is the fastest charging option available. Level 3 chargers are only found in public charging stations and can cost anywhere between 40 cents and 60 cents per kWh, or $10-$30 per full charge. How long do these chargers take? For example, according to Chevrolet, you can add 100 miles of electric range to a Chevy Bolt EV in about 30 minutes with a DC fast charger.
Electric Vehicle Type
Yes, with Level 1 charging you can use a traditional power outlet to charge your vehicle.
Depending on the level of charging, a full charge can take 30 minutes (Level 3/DC fast charging) or half a day.
The important thing to note is that Level 2 chargers require 40 amps. For instance, you can plug a Level 2 charger into a receptacle like an electric clothes dryer.
The different levels refer to various power levels of each charging capability. Level 1 is the least powerful and Level 3 is the most powerful but it typically costs money to use at public charging stations.
While it may cost far less than fueling a car with gasoline, no matter if you charge your car at home or use a DC fast charger, you will be paying for electricity. At home, the price will depend on your electricity bill, whereas public charging ports will often charge you before you can use them.
According to the United States Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are about 50,000 public charging stations in the US. It is important to know that these are individual stations and the number of charging ports (including at-home chargers) is far greater.
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