Reviewed by Ogbo Godfrey
For new EV owners, the driving thrill and charging experience through diverse electric car chargers is unparalleled in uniqueness and variety.
Do you ever wonder if there are different electric car chargers and their functions? We all know how important it is to charge an electric car before you find yourself in the middle of nowhere looking for a place to charge. However, various chargers and connectors are available on the market, each with unique features.
If you want to end up with a fully charged battery and avoid being stranded, choose the suitable charger. As we have different gas stations, you can also get other electric car chargers; each has advantages.
You’ve found the right place if you’re curious about the various options for charging your electric vehicle. Let’s take a closer look at each electric car charger.
How do Electric Cars Charge?
Each electric car usually has a charging connector to recharge the battery to an external power source. While charging, the battery receives electrical energy from the charging source and stores it to use later.
Additionally, if you check an electric car, you will find connectors on the front or back to plug the charging cable in. Each charging cable has a connector that fits perfectly into the car’s charging port, ensuring a secure connection.
There are also different electric car chargers, including Level 1 chargers, Level 2 chargers, and DC fast chargers, to Tesla Superchargers. The charging ends once the battery fully charges, or you can also the charging level you want it to stop at.
Some electric vehicles and charging stations usually include intelligent features that let you schedule when you want to charge. While using a smartphone app, this feature can also allow you to watch the charging process from afar.
List of the Different Types of Electric Cars Chargers
Electric car chargers refer to any device or station providing electrical power to EVs to recharge their batteries. You can get different electric car chargers, each with advantages and disadvantages.
In most cases, the higher the charger level, the greater the power output and the faster the new car will charge. Below are some of the most common types of electric car chargers:
Level 1 Chargers
The most common type of electric car charger you can find is the Level 1 charger. All you have to do to use this charger is plug the car into a typical 120-volt AC outlet.
Now, you may be thinking, “What’s the catch?” The issue is that Level 1 chargers aren’t the quickest method to charge your electric vehicle. Thus, while it is convenient, it is not fast enough. These chargers typically range from 2–5 miles per hour of charging time.
- Level 1 charging is convenient because you can use it almost everywhere you find a typical household outlet. Also, you don’t need any complex charging facilities. You can plug it in overnight and let it charge while you sleep.
- You can also charge your devices without breaking the bank by plugging them into your regular wall sockets at home. All you have to do is connect the charging cord to your electric car to charge the vehicle.
- Level 1 chargers are helpful as a backup in case of an emergency, unlike the other different electric car chargers. For example, a standard wall plug can provide enough power to get you to the next charging station if you’re on the road without access to a
- The first reason why Level 1 Charging falls short is that it takes too long to charge. This charger moves the slowest of all the others. You can only add 2-5 miles of range for every hour spent charging. Therefore, you might not be satisfied with its charging speed, especially if you are in a rush.
- Level 1 Chargers are perfect for overnight charging at home compared to the different electric car chargers but are unsuitable for some situations like road trips. You may find the slow charging rate frustrating, especially if you are on the road and need a quick boost.
In a nutshell, Level 1 chargers are convenient for quick overnight charging or in case of an emergency. However, you should check the different types of electric car chargers, such as Level 2 or DC fast chargers, as they are suitable for longer trips.
Level 2 Chargers
Level 2 charging is a standard and versatile option compared to the different electric car chargers. These chargers are popular because they serve as a balance for EV car owners who want a good mix between fast charging speed and convenience.
Level 2 chargers charge faster and are perfect for people who charge their EVs frequently. Although these chargers require an independent circuit, you can easily install them in homes and public spaces with 240-volt AC power.
However, how fast it charges depends on the battery capacity of your electric car, and the charging station’s power output will determine how long it takes to charge. For Level 2 chargers, an average hour of charging will add 10-60 miles to your battery’s power range.
If you are looking for chargers, you can use while sleeping or working, unlike the different electric car chargers, this is for you.
- Level 2 chargers charge your battery faster than Level 1 chargers and let you drive with more battery range.
- You can find them in public areas like shopping centers, offices, and public charging sites. This availability makes it easy for you to charge their cars when you are not at home.
- Level 2 chargers also use 240-volt outlets, which are popular in many homes. This volt outlet makes setting up a home charging station easy and can save you money.
- Installing a Level 2 charging station in your home might be difficult, and you may need the help of an electrician. One potential drawback is that it takes longer than plugging in a Level 1 charger.
- Although Level 2 chargers are faster than Level 1 chargers, they are still not ideal for long trips. Also, the charging speed won’t be fast enough to boost your car while on road trips.
- While Level 2 charging stations are available in several places, you may still not find them in some areas compared to the different electric car chargers. This scarcity may be a cause of concern for you, especially if you rely frequently on public charging stations.
- Additionally, you don’t want to be in a situation where you are stuck at a charging station. Most electric vehicles use a single Level 2 charger at public charging stations. Therefore, you could waste more time when the station is occupied.
Level 3 Chargers or DC Fast Chargers
These chargers are a high-speed charging solution for electric vehicles (EVs) that stands out among the different electric car chargers we mentioned previously. You may prefer this to the others because of its fast-charging time.
DC Fast Chargers can quickly charge EV batteries using a direct current (DC) power supply. These chargers are superior to Level 1 and Level 2 chargers because they supply high-voltage DC power straight to your EV’s battery.
With this supply, there is no need for your vehicle’s onboard charger to convert AC to DC. Since their charging durations are short, most EV drivers prefer it for long trips or when rushing somewhere.
DC Fast Chargers can boost an electric vehicle’s driving range by 60 to 80 miles in just 20 minutes. However, the exact number will vary based on the charger’s power output and your EV model.
One good thing about these chargers is that you can find them along highways and other routes, making them perfect for cross-country road trips. Also, public charging stations are common in bustling cities, making them accessible even to individuals with limited free time.
- Compared to the different electric car chargers available, DC fast chargers are built to supply high-voltage direct current (DC) power to the EV’s battery. They are perfect for long-distance travel, and you don’t have to wait long at charging stations.
- The speed of DC fast charging makes it easy for you to go on long trips without worrying about stopping to charge for a long time.
- DC fast chargers can accommodate high-capacity batteries on the same level as modern electric vehicles because of their high-power output.
- Due to the higher power levels required, installing DC fast chargers involves a lot of money. Therefore, you have to spend much money to use it compared to the other chargers.
- Most times, fast charging at high power levels can stress your electric car’s battery, which could shorten its lifespan. However, current EVs handle stress efficiently.
- Despite growing availability, DC chargers are less common than other electric car chargers. Due to this, you may have trouble locating a fast charger during high demand or in more isolated locations.
- Also, if several DC fast chargers are running at once in a small area, it could burden the local power supply due to the large quantity of electricity they consume.
Tesla Superchargers are unique electric vehicle chargers that are only accessible for Tesla EVs compared to the different electric car chargers. They supply Tesla EVs with direct high-voltage DC power, skipping the onboard charger while reducing the charging time.
Do you want to know the best part? In just 30 minutes, a Tesla Supercharger can add 170 miles of range which is faster than the other different electric car chargers. So, if you’re ever in an emergency when traveling, these chargers are the way to go. Also, you can find several Supercharger stations in different locations, making it easier to go on road trips and minimal charging downtime.
- Tesla cars have built-in navigation systems that can find the locations of Superchargers along a route. With this, you can determine when and where to charge while on the road.
- As Tesla continues investing in the Supercharger network, more charging stations are popping up in busy areas. This network makes them more readily available to Tesla drivers everywhere.
- The fact that Tesla Superchargers are only compatible with Tesla electric vehicles compared to the different electric car chargers is the charger’s biggest downside. This exclusivity means that ordinary EVs can’t use a supercharger, limiting the chargers’ usefulness to the electric vehicle community.
- While new Tesla owners receive some free Supercharging credits, any usage above that free allocation usually results in extra charges. These costs could cause Tesla owners to pay more for charging than they would with other public charging networks.
If you want to learn more about EV chargers, this video is for you.
What are the Different Electric Car Charger Connectors?
All the different electric car chargers have a charger connector. Also, the minimum and maximum charging rates for electric vehicles vary depending on the type of connector used.
Not to worry, most charging stations will probably have the correct one to match your car, and your car’s instructions will tell you which to use for slow, quick, or rapid charging.
Type 1 (SAE J1772 connector)
The SAE J1772 connector, sometimes known as a “J-plug,” is utilized by every electric vehicle manufacturer in North America and Japan. Almost every EV uses it except Tesla for different electric car chargers like the Level 1 (120 volts) and Level 2 (240 volts) charging. The J1772 connector has a circular shape with five pins, three larger and two smaller.
Because of these connectors’ popularity, you can find them at any charging station. If you buy an EV in North America or Japan, you can use it at any charging station that accepts the J1772 connector.
Type 2(Mennekes connector)
The Mennekes connector, often known as a Type 2 connector, is widely used as a charging standard in Europe. This seven-pin connector can take 400-volt input and output 22 kilowatts. As a Level 2 charger, it can accept single- or three-phase AC power.
The connector locks into place when coupled to the EV, which is one of the main reasons for its widespread use. It makes charging much safer and less of a headache by stopping the power cord from being dragged out of the wall during the charging process.
The CCS Type 1 connector improves upon the J1772 specification by adding two high-speed DC charging pins to the J1772 Type 1 plug. Since this is a standard North American connector, you can use it with different electric car chargers, including Level 2 and DC quick chargers.
As a result of its high-power output per unit of time, it is used by many EV owners. However, the CCS Type 2 connector is the accepted standard for DC rapid charging in Europe.
It upgrades the Mennekes Type 2 plug with two additional high-speed charging pins in this connector. You can also use it with different electric car chargers, including Level 2 and 3 units.
Before different electric car chargers like CCS connectors were made available, Japanese car manufacturers pioneered the CHAdeMO DC fast-charging connector. The CHAdeMO connector is the popular option for DC fast chargers in Japan.
Tesla’s charging plugs aren’t universal like the other electric car chargers; they change from model to model and country to country. In North America, Tesla uses its own NACS connector, which is exclusively compatible with only Tesla vehicles.
The Tesla Model S and X employ a modified CCS Type 2 plug with notches to prevent non-Tesla chargers from being used in Europe and the rest of the world.
If you’re considering buying an electric car or already have one, you must know the different chargers available. It’s important to remember that EV chargers constantly improve, and newer models could appear.
As the market for EVs grows, the chargers to support them will evolve to provide you with faster, more reliable charging options. It is also essential to learn about the different electric car chargers available if you’re considering or already driving an electric vehicle.
You can enjoy your EV charger by selecting the charger that best meets your needs. Start charging smarter, and leave a comment below if this is helpful!
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