Level 1 (L1) Charging
Level 1 equipment provides charging through a 120 volt (V), alternating-current (AC) plug and requires a dedicated circuit. Generally speaking, Level 1 charging refers to the use of a standard household outlet.
Level 1 charging equipment is standard on vehicles and therefore is portable and does not require the installation of charging equipment. On one end of the provided cord is a standard, three-prong household plug. On the other end is a connector, which plugs into the vehicle.
Depending on the battery technology used in the vehicle, Level 1 charging generally takes 8 to 12 hours to completely charge a fully depleted battery. The most common place for Level 1 charging is at the vehicle owner’s home and is typically conducted overnight.
Level 2 (L2) Charging
Level 2 equipment offers charging through a 240V, AC plug and requires installation of home charging or public charging equipment. These units require a dedicated 40 amp circuit.
Level 2 charging equipment is compatible with all electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. Level 2 chargers have a cord that plugs directly into the vehicle in the same connector location used for Level 1 equipment.
Depending on the battery technology used in the vehicle, Level 2 charging generally takes 4 to 6 hours to completely charge a fully depleted battery. Charging time can increase in cold temperatures. Level 2 chargers are commonly found in residential settings, public parking areas, places of employment and commercial settings.
DC Fast Charging (DCFC)
DC (Direct Current) chargers are the largest and fastest EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) for charging an electric vehicle. In DC fast-charging, the EV battery (which is also DC) is directly connected to an external AC to DC power supply.
DC Fast Charging provides charging through 480 Volt AC input and requires specialized, high-powered charging equipment and special equipment in the vehicle itself. DC Fast-Charging can deliver an 80% battery charge or 60 to 100 miles of range for most EV models in about 20-30 minutes of charging. This is the format used most often in public charging stations, especially along heavy traffic corridors.
While Level 1 and Level 2 charging is standardized, multiple charging plugs exist for DC Fast Charging depending on the vehicle manufacturer. It is important to know which type of DC Fast plug your electric car may have and locate charging opportunities accordingly.