What’s a Watt? class 2: Charging

One of the recurring questions we usually receive at the many events we attend is “How will I charge this car at home?” So for all of you out there, here’s a detailed answer.

There are presently 2 major ways in which you can charge your cars at home, these are usually referred to as level 1 and level 2 charging. The third option,  Level 3, is usually limited to public charging.

Level 1 (120v): This is the most basic form of charging. Using the cars supplied charger,  you insert the charging nozzle (also known as the J1772 plug) into your cars charging port, and the other end into your wall outlet. Since outlets supply 120v of power, charging batteries on this port is slower. For instance, charing an all electric Nissan Leaf will take you around 14- 15 hours, while charging a Plug in Hybrid Chevrolet Volt would fully charge in around 8 hours.

Level 1 charger; Charge time 7-14 hours

Level 2 (240v): To speed up charging, most electric vehicle owners usually install a designated electric vehicle outlet. This outlet which in many homes is used to power the AC or other energy intensive appliances cuts the charging time in half, enabling you to charge a Nissan Leaf from 0%-100% in 7 hours and a Chevrolet Volt in just under 4. While in some cases auto manufacturers will include this unit in the price of the car, this charger can also be purchased separately.

Level 2 charger; Charge time 4-8 hours

Level 3 (480v): Level 3 charging or “Fast Charging” as it is sometimes referred to is becoming readily available in many parts of the country. These public charging stations require extensive infrastructure work, and for this reason have limited availability. This new charging technology enables drivers to fill 80% of the battery in about half an hour making it a great option for long trips. One of the places were this technology has been deployed is the I-5 Electric Highway a 1,300 mile stretch running from the California border to Canada via Oregon and Washington. Along this route fast chargers have been placed at 60 mile intervals to allow drivers a pit stop for themselves and their cars.

Level 3; Charge time 30-45 min.

For a complete list of chargers see Plug In America

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