Leveling Up on Level 2 Chargers: Why They’re Worth the Investment and What You Need to Know
If you are the proud owner of an EV — or soon-to-be — you might be considering the installation of a new charging dock at your home. Having your own charging station makes it convenient and easy to charge your vehicle between uses.
One of the best home charging stations on the market is a level 2 charger. In this guide, you can learn more about why a level 2 charger is worth the investment and everything you need to know about installing this charging station at your residence.
What is a Level 2 Charger?
When it comes to EV chargers, they are categorized into three levels:
Level 1: This is the most basic form of charging equipment. Level 1 chargers are affordable, utilizing common residential 120-volt AC outlets, but they require a long period of time to fully charge a vehicle. The average EV will take 40-50 hours to fully charge on a Level 1 dock.
Level 2: The next step up, a Level 2 charger uses a 240-volt AC outlet. Because they are capable of outputting 6.2 to 19.2 kW of power, they greatly speed up the process of charging an EV. Most EVs can be charged on a Level 2 charger in 3-8 hours.
Level 3 (also known as DC Fast Chargers): Finally, Level 3 chargers use Direct Current (DC) to charge EVs. This results in a much more powerful, rapid charge. With a Level 3 charger, an EV battery could be fully charged within 30 minutes. However, due to the voltage required to operate a Level 3 charger, these are rarely found in residential use. Additionally, Level 3 chargers are extremely costly to install, making them a better fit for commercial applications.
The Benefits of Leveling Up to a Level 2 Charger
With Level 3 chargers primarily used in non-residential settings, Level 1 and Level 2 chargers are the top choices for residential applications. In many cases, a new EV owner will start with a Level 1 charger, which is the easiest to install, as the equipment can simply be plugged into a 120-volt AC outlet.
However, over time, many EV owners make the decision to level up to a Level 2 charger. Why, you might ask?
For starters, Level 2 chargers offer a much faster charge rate than Level 1. This makes them more practical for those who rely on their EV for everyday use. A Level 2 charger is akin to having your own gas station at your house. Every night, you simply plug in your EV, go to bed, and wake up to a “full tank” or, in this case, a full battery.
Additionally, with their faster charge rates, Level 2 chargers allow you to top off your battery throughout the day. If you run home for lunch, you can plug in your EV and quickly recharge your battery while you munch down on your meal.
Though Leve 2 chargers are far superior to Level 1 chargers, they are still affordable for the average EV owner. Compared to the costly Level 3, a Level 2 charger is the perfect happy medium.
Level 2 chargers are also easy to have installed. Depending on the type of Level 2 charger chosen, they can be as simple as plugging equipment into a pre-existing 240-volt AC outlet. In most cases, they do not require any major upgrades to a home’s electrical grid (more on installation below).
Finally, installing a Level 2 charger at your home allows you the flexibility to charge your car during non-peak energy hours. This can help lower the cost of charging your EV when compared to a Level 1, which will require all-day charging through peak energy hours.
How to Install a Level 2 Charger
If you are ready to level up, your next question will probably be how do you install a level 2 charger at your home?
The answer depends on a few key factors.
For starters, you’ll need to determine if you have the right outlet already in place. The equipment you purchase will indicate what type of outlet is required, but generally, you’ll need a 240-volt AC outlet located where you plan to charge your EV (e.g., your garage or in front of your house).
Not only that, but it will need to be compatible with your charging station’s plug. Most Level 2 charging stations use Nema 14/50 plugs, but some use NEMA 6/50 plugs.
The location of the outlet will also play a role in your installation process. You’ll need to measure the distance from the outlet to where you can park your EV. Make sure that the cable that your charging station comes equipped with is long enough to make the reach.
If you have all of these things in place, installation is simple. Most Level 2 charging stations can be plugged into a compatible outlet. However, there are cases where you might need to connect the station to your Wi-Fi as well to enable smart capabilities.
If you do not have the right outlet in place, or it is located too far away from where you need to charge your EV, you’ll need to hire an electrician to run new wiring and install a new outlet in your chosen location.
Don’t Forget to Search for Incentives!
When upgrading to a Level 2 charger, you might be concerned about the costs of the purchase, installation, and usage. However, don’t forget to check with your state for local incentives. Many incentives include funding for EV charging station installation and discounted power rates for charging during off-peak hours.
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By evee Life Contributor
Published November 2, 2022 7:34PM
Eveelife is an eco-oriented lifestyle platform that helps consumers make more purposeful choices about how they live and what they consume. We do it by curating content and products that help them make more conscious, carbon-free choices while amplifying their EV ownership experience.