With the advent of electric vehicles, it is hoped that the air quality would improve significantly, especially in the UK. The UK is the one of Europe’s largest markets for electric vehicles. Almost 10 percent of car registrations were of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles and the number is rising.
Electric cars are a good replacement for fuel-based vehicles but there is a catch. While refuelling is a simple process which doesn’t take a lot of time, charging the electric vehicles can be a complicated matter because of various factors.
Each electric vehicle has a different charging capability and receptivity. People need to consider which type of connector works best for your electric vehicle and the level of electric vehicle charging you prefer. Different levels of charging have different charging speeds and ranges. As a general rule, every 10 amps at 240V of charging produces 10 miles of range per hour.
Levels of Charging
Electric charging belongs to three levels; Levels 1, 2 and 3. Charging speed and range increases as you go up the levels and consequently greater power is transferred to your vehicle. The type of electric vehicles also determines the charging speed on every level.
When you connect an electric vehicle to a charging point, there is a sort of communication flow between the point and the vehicle. After determining the power limit of the charging unit, the car is then powered up to the maximum capacity of the car itself and the charging unit.
Read on to find out more on different types of electric vehicle chargers.
Level 1 (120-Volt)
Level 1 charging, also known as slow charging, uses the charger that comes with the electric vehicle. These charging cables can be plugged into any household outlet capable of 120-volts with the other end connected to the vehicle. Level 1 charging is the least efficient way to charge the electric vehicle. The charging range can reach up 3-5 miles per hour.
Charging Usage Level 1
Although slow, level 1 charging is ideal for if you want to charge your electric vehicle overnight. Although it won’t be enough if you have to travel over long distances, it is perfect for daily driving. If you have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), you might want to consider level 1 charging as the PHEVs have relatively smaller batteries than other vehicles.
Level 1 charging can be done with a three-pin socket too however there are some drawbacks. The demand for electric vehicles has risen tremendously and because of the slow charging speed, it may not be suitable for everyone. People who need their vehicles charged regularly either at home or their workplace should install a dedicated electric vehicle charging unit.
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Level 2 (240-Volt)
Level 2 charging is the most common public charger available for charging electric vehicles daily. The equipment for level 2 charging can be installed in most places like, home and workplace. It can also be installed in public spaces train stations, shopping plazas and others.
Charging Speed and Range
These chargers do not come with the electric vehicle and are sold separately. They are relatively more difficult to set up as model of the car and the type of charger has an effect on the charging speed. The charging range starts from 25 miles per hour but with the right model and equipment, it can reach 60 miles per hour too.
Charging Usage Level 2
Level 2 chargers connect to a 240-volt charging unit and can charge your vehicle 3 to 7 times faster than normal if you have a battery electric vehicle (BEV). It is normally used for quick charging whether you are at home or at workplace. A level 2 charging can fully charge your electric vehicle overnight, regardless of having a completely drained battery.
How to Have Maximum Efficiency
To have the maximum efficiency of level 2 charging, you would need to have a 100-amp 208-240V dedicated circuit and a heavy supply line connecting from the breaker box. With these equipment, Level 2 charging will be able to generate up to 80 amps of power.
A 40-amp charger, generating 9.6 kW to the electric vehicle is suitable for most people. But the 48-amp charger can charge your vehicle faster, however you need to have a heavier gauge wire.
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Level 3 (400-900 Volt)
Level 3 charging is mostly used for driving for a long distance. They are mostly available on highway corridors and other commercial locations.
Level 3 charging is the most efficient charging available for your electric car. The charging range starts from 3 miles per minute and goes up to an astonishing 20 miles per minute. Level 3 charging uses direct current (DC) while Levels 1 and 2 use alternating current (AC).
Level 3 charging costs thousands of pounds hence it is not recommended for residential areas. The installation cost alone can exceed the price of your electric vehicle. Level 3 charging is also known as DC Fast Charging and Superchargers (called by Tesla).
Barring Tesla, almost all the electric vehicles use J1772 connector for Level 2 charging. Tesla, on the other hand, allows electric vehicles to be charged by making adaptors. This is feasible for vehicles using J1772 and CHAdeMO connectors. All electric cars are not capable of using Level 3 charging but often people can have them as an upgrade feature, depending on the model of your electric vehicle.
Electric vehicles are proving to be an effective solution to combat air pollution. Not only are electric vehicles more sustainable in the long run, they also have noticeably better performance than many fuel-based vehicles.
There is no fixed answer for what type of electric charging is best. It all depends on the model of your electric vehicle and the type of charging you require. DC Fast Charging is an extremely expensive charging unit yet it provides the fastest charging. Level 1 charging is quite slow but it is ideal for daily usage as you can use it for overnight charging. Before buying an electric vehicle and electric charging points, we recommend you do proper research on all aspects.