Charging equipment for plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs or EVs) is classified by the rate at which the batteries are charged. Charging times vary based on how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery, and the type of EVSE. The charging time can range from 15 minutes to 20 hours or more, depending on these factors.
AC Level 1 Charging
2 to 5 miles of range per 1 hour of charging
- AC Level 1 EVSE (often referred to simply as Level 1) provides charging through a 120 volt (V) AC plug. Most, if not all, plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will come with an AC Level 1 EVSE cordset so no additional charging equipment is required. On one end of the cord is a standard NEMA connector, (for example, a NEMA 5-15, which is a common three-prong household plug) and on the other end is a SAE J1772 standard connector. The SAE J1772 connector plugs into the car’s J1772 charge port and the NEMA connector plugs into a standard NEMA wall outlet.
- AC Level 1 is typically used for charging when there is only a 120V outlet available, but can easily provide all of a driver’s needs. For example, 8 hours of charging at 120V can replenish about 40 miles of electric range.
AC Level 2 Charging
10 to 20 miles of range per 1 hour of charging
AC Level 2 equipment (often referred to simply as Level 2) offers charging through 240V (typical in residential applications) or 208V (typical in commercial applications) electrical service. Most homes have 240V service available, and because AC Level 2 EVSE can charge a typical EV battery overnight, they will commonly be installed at EV owners’ homes for home charging or are used for public charging equipment. This charging option can operate at up to 80 amperes and 19.2 kW. However, most residential AC Level 2 EVSE will operate at lower power. Many such units operate at up to 30 amperes, delivering 7.2 kW of power. These units require a dedicated 40 amp circuit.
AC Level 2 equipment uses the same SAE J1772 connector and charge port that Level 1 equipment uses. All commercially available PEVs have the ability to charge using AC Level 1 and AC Level 2 charging equipment. Although Tesla vehicles do not have a J1772 charge port, they do sell an adapter.
DC Fast Charging
- 50 to 70 miles of range per
20 minutes of charging
Direct-current (DC) fast charging equipment, sometimes called DC Level 2 (typically 208/480V AC three-phase input), enables rapid charging along heavy traffic corridors at installed stations. There are three types of DC fast charging systems, depending on the type of charge port on the vehicle: a J1772 combo, CHAdeMO, or Tesla.
- The J1772 combo is used by Chevrolet and BMW and is unique because a driver can use the same charge port when charging with Level 1, 2, or DC Fast equipment. The only difference is that the DC Fast connector has two bottom pins.
- The CHAdeMO is the most common of the three connector types and is used by Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Fuji.
- Tesla vehicles have a unique charge port and connector that works for all their charging options including their fast charging option, called a supercharger.
Future AC Charging Options
An additional standard (SAE J3068) is under development for higher rates of AC charging using three-phase power, which is common at commercial and industrial locations in the United States. Some components of the standard will be adapted from the European three-phase charging standards and specified for North American AC grid voltages and requirements. In the U.S., the common three-phase voltages are typically 208/120 V, 480/277 V. The standard will target power levels between 6kW and 130kW.
Inductive Charging or Online EV
Inductive charging equipment, which uses an electromagnetic field to transfer electricity to a PEV without a cord, has been recently introduced commercially for installation as an aftermarket add-on. Currently available wireless charging stations operate at power levels comparable to AC Level 2.
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, global revenue from communications equipment and services associated with electric vehicle (EV) charging networks is expected to total more than $3.5 billion from 2015 to 2024.
“The market for PEV charging equipment is still quite young, but the growing base of PEVs and government efforts to encourage their spread will support millions of connected charging stations over the next decade,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Eventually, connected charging sites will become points that allow drivers to charge their vehicles remotely and could hold other potential uses, such as utility-driven demand response programs.”
The residential market for charging stations is the largest of the EVSE installation types worldwide and many PEV owners purchase their own charging station alongside their vehicle, according to the report. However, to date, few of these stations have communications capabilities; as a result, clusters of unconnected chargers can wreak havoc on a local utility’s grid infrastructure and load curve, and PEV owners are oftentimes left unaware of EV-specific rates or other programs that could drive down their bill.
The report, Communications Technologies for EV Charging Networks, examines the outlook for PEV and EVSE infrastructure and associated communications equipment and services. The study outlines regional considerations and describes the connectivity requirements for four segments of charging sites: residential, workplace, public, and private/fleet. Global market forecasts for communications equipment and services tied to EVSE infrastructure extend through 2024. The report also examines the major categories of communications technologies employed in EVSE networks, as well as the key vendors, service providers, and utilities active in the EVSE space. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.