Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations – Types

Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations go hand in hand with solar electric systems. It makes sense to make you own electricity during the daytime to charge your vehicle at night. There are 3 categories for EV charging station.

Level 1 chargers are simple 120 VAC 20 amp outlets. They look like conventional AC outlets but with one blade turned 90 degrees. Level 1 chargers are limited to a maximum of 2,000 watts and take 10 to 20 hours to fully charge an all-electric car. This type of charger is great in an emergency when the driver is running low on charge and needs to plug into a readily available outlet.

Level 2 charging stations range from 6,000 to 12,000 watts and can fully charge a plug-in electric vehicle in 3 to 8 hours. They feed AC power to the vehicle’s built-in charger through a power cord with a J1772 plug at the end that looks like the nozzle of a gas pump. These chargers must be installed by a qualified electrician on a dedicated circuit. Many of these chargers communicate via Wi-Fi and can be set to charge when electricity cost is the lowest, usually at night. They may be controlled by the “smart grid” in the future.

Level 3 charging stations are high powered chargers that deliver 20,000 watts or more of 300+ volts DC power directly to the EV battery. These chargers will require three-phase power and be served by a large commercial service panel. When these chargers are available they will be in business locations and are more likely to be used for busses and commercial vehicles. Level 3 connectors are an option on the Nissan Leaf and other electric vehicles, even though the infrastructure to use them robustly is years away.

ChargePoint CT4000 Charging Station
ChargePoint CT4000 Charging Station

Federal tax credits and state tax credits lower the cost of equipment and installation of charging stations. Plug in America is a great resource to find federal and state incentives in your location. You can find the information in their website by visiting: https://www.pluginamerica.org/incentives