Understanding the three levels of EV charging

What you need to know about charging electric vehicles at home and on the road. 

One of the most common questions the Next Ride team gets is, “how do you charge an electric vehicle (EV)?”. There are three easy answers to this!  Let’s break down the three options, or levels as they are known, of charging:

    • Level one – A standard 120-volt wall outlet that offers 7-9 km per hour of charging.
    • Level two – A 240-volt specialised outlet that offers 30-45 km per hour of charging.
    • Level three – A 480-volt Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) that depending on the capacities of the EV and the charger can bring an EV’s charge from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in as quickly as 15 minutes

    That’s the quick overview, but let’s dig into what each of these mean in the real world.

    Level one 

    A level one charger is a standard wall outlet that would be the same as you would use for plugging in any appliance. While these are readily available, they do charge slowly, adding about seven to nine km of range per hour the vehicle is charging. Any EV or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will be able to connect to these–they’re best suited for overnight charging and vehicles making shorter commutes.

    Level two

    Next up is a level two electric vehicle charger. Typically, electric vehicle owners will have one of these installed around their house or workplace or they’ll use one that’s publicly available. Level two electric vehicle chargers deliver between 30 and 45 km worth of range per hour of charging. They’re also universal so their plug heads will fit into any electric vehicle sold in North America except for Tesla’s which will require an adapter.

    Level three

    Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC) are often referred to as level three chargers. They’re industrial level chargers that can charge an EV from zero to 80 per cent full in about 30 minutes. You’ll typically find them near highways as they’re best used for longer trips.

    There are two different cables at each DCFC, and the brand of electric vehicle you drive will determine which of the cables you use. Tesla is the exception again, as these vehicles require the use of an extra adapter. Tesla does, however, have its own network of fast chargers called Superchargers which they’ve been installing across the globe since September 2012.

    Ready to go to the next level?

    Now that you’ve learned about charging an EV why not see what it’s like to test drive one. Book your spot with the Next Ride team today and feel the thrill of driving electric.

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