Everything you should know about Electric Car Charger

Everything you should know about Electric Car Charger

Filling up with petrol or diesel is easy, but charging an electric car can seem like a complicated process. With different connectors, compatibility and power rates, it can be hard to keep up.

Home chargers are a great way to make the most of your electric car. They give you longer range each day and can be a neater addition to your house with a hidden electrical connection.

Level 1

EV owners will use Level 1 charging, the slowest option, at home and for topping off their battery between trips. This method of charging uses a cord that can plug into any standard three-prong 120-volt outlet and provides an electric current of up to 2.4 kW. This is enough to add about 3.5 – 6.5 miles of range per hour of charge time. Level 1 charging is best suited for plug-in hybrid electric cars, which have smaller batteries, but can also be used by some battery-electric car drivers who need to charge overnight, or on short trips between work and home.

Level 2 chargers plug into a special SAE J1772 charging port, which is included with all EVs (except Tesla models, which require an adapter to use other public charging networks). These are the type of public chargers that are most commonly seen, and most homes come equipped with these. Depending on the hardware configuration and circuit capacity, a Level 2 charger can add up to 14-35 miles of range in an hour of charging time.

To make full use of a Level 2 charger, you’ll need to have a dedicated 240-volt electrical circuit run from your garage or home into the spot where you want to charge. Many EV automakers recommend this, and it is fairly easy for a specialist or licensed electrician to install. This is the same voltage that your clothes dryer and some household appliances use, so it won’t affect your power bill.

When the EV and charger first connect, they do a “handshake” to establish whether they can cooperate, and then power is initiated. The EV’s onboard software decides how much of the available energy is going to be transferred to its battery, and it also determines when to stop. This helps protect the battery from overcharging, which can damage it and shorten its lifespan.

Using an app on your phone, such as EV Driver or Chargeway, is a great way to keep track of the state of your battery and how it’s charged. It can also help you find nearby public EV charging stations, and it will plan your route for your trip home from the grocery store or to visit friends.

Level 2

When most people think of EV charging, they envision plugging into a power outlet in the garage or driveway. It is important to note that https://cyberswitching.com/electric-car-charger-guide/ are not rated the same way as gasoline stations (regular, plus, or premium). Instead, the power that an EV charger outputs is measured in terms of kilowatt-hours, and each kW-hour adds about 4 miles to an EV’s range.

Level 2 chargers work with 240-volt power, the same kind of electricity used for high-power appliances like water heaters and clothes dryers. Typically, Level 2 chargers can be found at public or workplace charging stations, though some EV owners install them at home. In a home setting, a Level 2 charger plugs into a dedicated 240-volt circuit with a 4-prong outlet or a hardwired charging unit installed by a professional electrician.

A Level 2 charger offers up to three to seven times the charge rate of a Level 1 unit and can fill up an empty battery to about 80% in under 10 hours, which is ideal for overnight charging. This “sweet spot” makes it easy for most EV drivers to keep their cars charged at all times, so they never have to worry about running out of range on a long trip or an errand.

In addition to being faster than Level 1, a Level 2 charge can also be more energy-efficient, as more of the electricity from the home’s electrical system gets used to power the EV rather than wasted as heat along the charging cable. However, the additional efficiency of a Level 2 charger comes at a cost: it can cost more than a comparable gas-powered generator to purchase and install, as well as an extra monthly bill on the EV owner’s utility statement.

Another benefit of Level 2 charging is that it allows a plugged-in EV to preheat or pre-cool the cabin using the existing house electricity, instead of drawing from the car’s battery. This reduces the amount of energy drawn from the vehicle’s battery, which can prolong its life and improve regenerative braking performance. EV drivers should consult their vehicle’s manual to determine how to use the preheat feature.

Fast Chargers

The next step up from Level 1 charging, these plugs can add up to 200 miles of range in only 8 hours. They operate on 240-volt power and are available for home installation. Some of the more advanced models are known as “smart” chargers, and offer features such as Wi-Fi connectivity to allow drivers to engage a smartphone app for enhanced displays and the ability to start, stop or check on charging remotely. Other smart chargers communicate with electric companies, allowing owners to take advantage of Time-of-Use rates that can reduce costs by charging during off-peak times.

DC fast chargers are the fastest option, but require a 480-volt connection that is only available at public stations located in shopping centers and along major travel corridors. They are equipped with either a CHAdeMO, Combined Charging System (Combo or CCS) or Tesla connector and provide the highest-capacity fill-ups possible for your EV.

When purchasing an EV charger, be sure it’s compatible with your car, and choose a cable that is long enough to reach from the plug-in point to your vehicle. Some chargers come with holsters to protect the connector when not in use, and to keep it from being exposed to precipitation or dust. If a higher-powered charger is chosen, it may need to be hardwired into the electrical system and should only be installed by a qualified electrician. These units also cost more than Level 2 chargers and typically require permits. However, some local governments offer rebates or other incentives to offset the costs.

Portable Chargers

A portable charger is an emergency power reserve about the size of a small suitcase that can be used to supplement your car’s battery. Unlike a regular plug-in charger, it has bi-directional capability and can both draw electricity from your vehicle’s battery and send it back to it. These units typically have a display to show how much power is available, and some also include a USB port for charging other devices.

Whether you’re driving to work or out for a weekend adventure, there’s always the chance your battery will run low. Having a portable charger on hand can make all the difference in keeping you going until you find an EV charging station.

While the options are limited (aside from subscribing to a charging-as-a-service company like SparkCharge) in 2022, there will be suitcase-sized portable EV chargers with wheels and handles that can be hauled around to provide an extra helping of range when needed. They won’t be cheap, but adding a few miles of range per minute might make it worth the price for some. The SinKeu Portable Charger, for example, can recharge smartphones up to eight times and has enough capacity for a tablet and digital camera.

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