Electric Vehicle Charging For Dummies
LEVELS & TYPES
The first thing to realise is that unlike petrol and diesel vehicles there are a number of different ways to charge your car. There's essentially two pieces of key terminology you need to understand and apply to your vehicle
Charging Levels – the power at which you can charge your electric vehicle, grouped into a few key bands (Levels 1 to 3)
Charging Types – the physical plug connector type that plugs into your electric car
What are the different levels of EV charging?
Unlike petrol stations, there are a few different levels or charging rates. While they all provide electricity they do so at different speeds. The charging rates are referred to as “Levels“ - typically, the higher the level, the faster the charging.
The best way to think of charging rates the amount of range in kms added for every hour connected.
Level 1-2 also known as Destination Chargers
Level 3 also known as (DC) Fast Chargers
The Difference between L1, L2 and L3
This is best suited for smaller battery sizes such as those in PHEVS (Petrol-hybrid electric vehicles) or when longer charging time is available. Level 1 charging at work could also be a supplement for people driving over 40km per day, or even a substitute for those who can't charge at home(because they don't have a garage or fixed parking place, for example). EVolution recommends only choosing this charger if you drive under 4000km a year.
The vehicle is connected directly to the electrical network via specific socket and plug and a dedicated circuit. This is the most common home and public charging level. Level 2 allows for a wide range of charging speeds, all the way up to 19.2 kilowatts (KM), or about 70 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 2 charging is much quicker because it is done at higher voltage and at higher amperage. But it requires more rugged equipment and more robust wiring to handle the extra electrons and the heat they generate.
All manufacturers recommends that you install a level 2 charging station at home. Level 2 EVSE charging equipment may cost more to buy, but there's more to be gained. there's the obvious time savings and the increase in convenience. EVolution recommends this type of charger (for example, the Cylon, Zappi or the HALO) for home installations and for business charging. Find these type of chargers here.
DC Level 3 requires significant panel and service upgrades and consequently is the most expensive to deploy.
Typically 70km of range for every 10 minutes of charging. These stations require more power than your house, which is generally more than you'll need for your daily commute. EVolution recommends Level 3 DC Fast charging for petrol station operators, motorways, street side charging, fleet vehicles and for certain commercial users. DC Charge stations range in price from as low as $25,000 for a stand-alone (not networked with other stations) and go up to $60,000 for a smart, networked charge station. Hosts purchasing multiple units qualify for volume pricing.
Level 1 - 110v AC EVSE
Up to 2.4kw
7-10 km/hr of charge
Level 2 - 240v AC EVSE
Level 3 - 300c DC Charger
10-100 km/hr of charge
60-800 km/hr of charge
AC vs DC Charging: What’s The Difference?
AC charging is done at the lower Levels 1 or 2. When you do this there is an AC to DC inverter inside the car that converts the AC power (provided by the power point) into DC power allowing it be stored in the battery.
Most Level 3 charging is DC. This means the electricity by-passes the AC/DC inverter and is put straight into the battery allowing for more efficient charging. The picture below is of the Nissan LEAF charge ports which illustrates it perfectly
CHAdeMO DC Charge Port
Type 1 AC Charge Port
While the charging stations themselves are referred to with “Levels” the physical plugs you plug into the cars are normally referred to as “Types”.
Type 1 / J1772
Type 2 / Mennekes
Most manufacturers choose a standard and stick with it, so, for example, Mitsubishi and Nissan universally use the Type 1 J1772 connection. However, some manufacturers equip their vehicles with different connectors depending on region. BMW and Hyundai is a good example of this and it gets even more complicated in such countries as NZ where cars from different markets are imported. So there could be two identical cars side by side one with a J1772 connector and the other with Mennekes.
If you are not sure what connector you have then selected your vehicle from the EV Cars Guides Menu above. If you're still not sure don't hesitate to send us a pic and we will help you choose your cable or charger accordingly.
Note: We sell adaptors from Type 1 to Type 2 and vice versa so whichever charge station to rock up to we can provide the correct cable so you can get a charge up in every occasion.
DC Fast Charging / Level 3: up to 200kw
Note: other than a Chademo to Tesla adaptor (available from Tesla direct there is currently no way to adapt between these Level 3 protocols.