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.

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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

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.

Level 2

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

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

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