One of the most significant factors that you need to think about when considering an electric vehicle is how you will run it. Electric vehicles obviously run off electric charges and will need to be recharged to give you the mileage and range you need to go about your daily lives.
As a result, you have to think about how you will charge your electric vehicle. Many EV manufacturers will recommend specific chargers, charging stations, and points to keep your vehicle juiced and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Some of the most common EV chargers are called Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, but what are the actual differences between the two? That’s what we are here to find out!
When we think about electric vehicles, we often worry about the efficiency of the charge, battery, and whether you can get a reliable charge.
Most electric vehicles will come as standard with a Level 1 charger, but is this worth using, and should you switch to an aftermarket Level 2 charger? First, let’s take a look at what exactly each EV charger is.
What is a Level 1 charger?
A Level 1 electric vehicle charger is a cord or charger that usually comes with the electric vehicle when you purchase it. It is a basic and standard charger that you can plug into your home’s regular 120 Volt, 20 Amp circuit wall outlet. This is the same outlet that you would charge a phone or electronic device at home.
A Level 1 charger is, therefore, able to deliver an electrical current from the household outlet to the electric vehicle to charge the battery and provide you with mileage or range.
These chargers can be plugged into and are compatible with most electrical vehicles sold in North America except for Tesla vehicles, which require their own adapters that you must purchase from Tesla. That being said, new Teslas also come with their own chargers that are compatible with 120 Volt outlets to recharge the vehicle.
What Is A Level 2 charger?
On the other hand, you have Level 2 chargers. These work in the same way as Level 1 EV chargers, but the main difference is that Level 2 chargers deliver an electrical current from an outlet or hardwired unit to your electric vehicle via a connector. Electric vehicle Level 2 chargers also require a 208 to a 240 Volt, 40 Amp circuit to work and recharge your car.
As it works with 240 Volts, the Level 2 charger is typically faster and better than a Level 1 EV charger, as it can deliver from 6.2 kW to 7.6 kW to the vehicle.
In contrast, a Level 1 charger can only deliver about 1.4 kW to your electric vehicle. This means that a Level 2 charger has faster charging times and can recharge more effectively than the Level 1 EV charger.
The only difference is that the Level 1 charger is more compatible. Every home or building in the US will typically have 120V outlets, which means that a Level 1 charger can work the same basically anywhere.
For many homes in America, you may have to have 240V outlets specially fitted or installed to properly use a Level 2 charger.
Which EV Charger Is More Efficient Level 1 or Level 2 Chargers?
You will want to use a Level 2 charger for your electric vehicle when it comes to efficiency. These are far quicker and more efficient for charging your car and much more reliable.
As previously mentioned, you can get about 7.6 kW (kilowatts) with a Level 2 charger instead of about 1.4 kW with a Level 1 charger. This is a stark difference when it comes to power, reliability, and speed.
A typical Level 1 charger will give you about 4 miles of range every hour of charge, whereas a Level 2 charger can give you about 32 miles of driving range per every hour of charge.
So that means that the typical charging time to fully charge an electric vehicle with a Level 2 charger is about 3-8 hours, whereas the average time to charge an electric vehicle fully using a Level 1 charger will be about 12-20 hours or more depending on the vehicle.
So, if it’s speed and efficiency that you are after, a Level 2 EV charger will be best for you. However, if you simply recharge your vehicle overnight and do not cover a lot of mileage every day, you can plug in your EV with a Level 1 charger while you sleep and run it that way with no problems.
Does A Level 2 Charger Use More Electricity?
A Level 2 charger uses 240V wiring, which uses less current than 110V or 120V wiring. 240-volt outlets have two 120 volt wires and use these simultaneously, with a neutral wire to power a single receptacle. On the other hand, a 120V outlet has a 120-volt wire and a neutral wire to deliver power. This makes a 240 V outlet more efficient.
For the most part, it will cost you the same to operate and use a 240V outlet as it would to use a 120V outlet. What you typically pay for is the wattage used by the electric device rather than the amps!
Should I Use A Level 1 or Level 2 EV Charger?
The answer to this depends on how you use your electric vehicle. Factors such as the way you drive, the driving range you need every day, and how much you use your car directly affect how often you need to charge it.
If you use your electric vehicle frequently and need to recharge often, then a Level 2 charger will be better for you as this can recharge much quicker so that you do not have to wait hours to get back on the road. However, you may need to change the outlets in your home to accommodate a 240V outlet for a Level 2 charger.
On the other hand, if you do not drive all that much and simply charge your EV overnight or when you are at home for the evening, then the long waiting times of a Level 1 charger will not affect you, and you can plug in your EV overnight to a standard household outlet.