Electric Vehicle Charging FAQ
If you are thinking about purchasing or leasing a new electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), you know it must be plugged in at some point. What are the charging options available? EV charging can be boiled down to three types: Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charging. You can charge at home, at work, or at a publicly available charging station. Confused? Don't be, just continue reading as we break down the world of EV charging.
What is Level 1 Charging?
Level 1 charging is plugging your car into an ordinary 120 volt (AC) household electrical outlet. Ideally, this outlet should be on a dedicated circuit.
Level 1 charging is the slowest way to charge an EV battery so it is best used when charging your car overnight or when you arrive at your destination. Typically it takes 8-20 hours to fully charge a battery that has been depleted.
Level 1 charging equipment is standard to all EVs, there is no additional equipment that is required to be installed. Just plug your car into a dedicated outlet at home or at work. For most EV owners, Level 1 charging satisfies their charging needs but does require the owner to plan their charging schedule accordingly.
What is Level 2 Charging?
Level 2 charging is a step up from Level 1 charging because it uses 240 volts (instead of 120 volts) and is similar to what an electric clothes dryer uses. Level 2 charging requires installation of home charging equipment or public charging equipment.
Level 2 charging hits the sweet spot for quickly topping off or fully charging a vehicle as it typically takes 3-6 hours to fully charge a battery. Level 2 charging is compatabile with most commercially available EVs.
Level 2 charging equipment can cost $500-$2,000 depending on how it is installed, but there could be incentives for installing Level 2 charging depending on the state you live in. Some dealers will also bundle the equiment and/or installation with the sale of the vehicle.
Level 2 charging is typically found at public charging locations, the workplace and private homes.
What is DC Fast Charging?
DC fast charging sometimes known as Level 3 charging (or in the case of Tesla's own charging stations, the Tesla Supercharger) requires dedicated equipment which uses 480 volt direct current.
DC fast charging can provide a 50-80% charge in 30 minutes or less. Unfortunately, not all EVs can support DC fast charging. It is best to check with your manufacturer to determine the charging methods supported.
DC fast charging stations require more power than available in a residence so these are typically found at highway rest areas or other public charging stations. Because of the fast charging times, planning driving breaks at DC fast chargers makes a long road trip feasible.
Where do I find a public charging station?
Locating your nearest publicly available electric vehicle charging station is easy! You can use the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Alternative Fueling Station map to locate publicly available electric charging stations throughout the state.
Connecticut also continues to explore ways to expand hydrogen refueling infrastructure to support the transition to fuel cell electric vehicles.
How do I charge my vehicle at my workplace?
Encourage your employer to install an EV charging station by explaining the six elements of a successful workplace charging program.
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Content last updated January 6, 2020