Have you recently bought your first EV, and you’re still struggling with some of the new jargon that you didn’t have with petrol and diesel cars? While there are a couple of things to learn, especially with EV charging, don’t worry — it’s not that difficult, and our quick guide will help you catch up in no time at all. You can call an electrician to install your EV chargers, but make sure you learn the basics of EV charging first!
Charging levels and charging types
The two main things you may have heard and not understood about EV charging are charger types and charger levels. The “type” people are referring to is simply the kind of charger plug that’s compatible with your vehicle — while the “level” is the amount of power your charger can supply to the car, and how fast it can be charged as a result.
EV charging levels
Every EV charger out there falls under one of these three categories, or levels:
- Level 1 — portable EV charger
- Level 2 — wall chargers
- Level 3 — Fast DC chargers
If you can’t or won’t install a wall charger in your home, and you don’t mind waiting for your car to be charged longer, a portable EVSE charger will probably suit you just fine. For people that don’t drive their cars long-distance, and pretty much need them for their daily commute, it’s the most sensible solution. However, if you can’t afford to wait for a longer charge or you drive more than 4000km per year, consider a wall charger instead.
These are the aforementioned wall chargers — the most common solution among EV owners with a house. Homeowners who don’t live in an apartment can install these and charge their vehicles pretty much like any other battery-powered device. However, while the 240-volt power does bring your car up to full juice far faster than with a portable charger, these require a bigger up-front investment.
The last level are DC-based fast chargers — usually found in Commercial EV Charging venues, like petrol stations or parking spaces. These are fast enough to power up your car in minutes, but they consume too much electricity for the average household.
Now that you know all the charging levels for EV, you should research your car’s charger type as well.
First, there are the AC chargers — divided into Type 1 and Type 2. The former was compatible with older EV and some of the newer Mitsubishi ones, while Type 2 is the current standard that most Australian and European EV use.
Then, there are the DC chargers — CSS and CHAdeMO, respectively. The latter is an abbreviation of the French phrase “Charge de move”, while CSS stands for “combined charging system”. The CSS chargers use both AC and DC currents, which is how they got their name — they’re widely used by the likes of Ford, Volkswagen, BWM, Hyundai, etc. On the other hand, CHAdeMO chargers work with Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi cars.
The final piece of the puzzle is the entirely separate Tesla Supercharger. It’s an AC/DC charger, and it’s the fastest one on the market — however, as you might expect, it only charges Tesla cars.