Purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is an excellent way to cut your carbon footprint and transportation costs. Installing an EV charging station in your Richmond, Virginia home can save time. However, finding the right one could prove challenging. Are all EV charging stations the same? Are there universal EV charging stations? Which charger will work best with your vehicle? The following answers several of the most common EV charging station questions.
Where and How Do Most People Charge Their Cars
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that only 20% of electric car charging occurs in public spaces. Instead, most Americans with EVs are charging up right at home. With the correct plug, charging cable, and connector, you can prepare your vehicle for the next day’s travel while sleeping. To accommodate approximately 80% of EV drivers that rely on residential charging stations, the J-1772 connector was created.
What Is the J-1772 Connector?
The J-1772 connector or J-plug is the international standard connector for electric vehicles throughout North America. Thus, if you own a domestic car, your EV charger will work with any residential station with a J-plug. However, as you shop your options in EV charging products, you’ll find other factors that matter just as much as the J-1772 connector, if not more. For instance, a top concern among consumers is how long charging will take. As a result, EV chargers come in three basic types:
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
While Level 1 chargers have the lowest upfront cost but have the slowest charging speed because level 1 chargers offer a simple, universal setup without an actual charging station; instead, drivers connect their cars directly to the standard 120-volt wall outlets using J-plugs. As a result, although a Level 1 charger takes just five to six hours to power the average hybrid vehicle’s battery up, it can take as long as 50 hours to charge an EV battery from entirely empty.
Level 2 and Level 3 Chargers
There are currently more than 50,000 public Level 2 charging stations throughout the United States, and Level 2 chargers are also the preferred choice for residential EV charging. These chargers offer a better balance of performance and affordability. However, they require a dedicated 240-volt circuit.
All electric vehicles manufactured within North America can use Level 2 chargers with J-plugs, including Tesla models. Although each Tesla model comes with the company’s Supercharger connector, this component is connected directly to a J-1772 connector plugged into the outlet. Level 2 chargers are great for overnight charging. These systems can completely power an empty battery up within just four to 10 hours. Another way to compare the capabilities of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers is by assessing how much range they can add per hour. For example, while Level 1 chargers add just four miles of range per hour of charging, Level 2 chargers can add up to 25 miles.
Also known as DC fast-charging stations, Level 3 chargers get the job done within the shortest time. These stations can power an empty battery to 80% within 30 to 60 minutes. However, they’re expensive to install and not ideal for daily, long-term use.
There Are Three Different Types of Level 3 EV Connectors
While all North American vehicles can use any Level 1 or Level 2 charger due to the advent of the J-1772 connector, Level 3 chargers don’t rely on this universal feature. Moreover, many vehicles have different plugs for connecting with Level 3 charging stations. For instance, Honda, Volkswagen, Mazda, GM, Ford, and BMW automobiles connect with Level 3 chargers using CCS plugs. CCS plugs are the most common connector types for Level 3 charging. Tesla models consistently rely on Superchargers or the proprietary connectors of these vehicles. Mitsubishi models, older Kia EVs, and Nissan autos connect to Level 3 charging stations using CHAdeMO plugs.
Smart Charging Stations: What They Are and Why You Might Want One
You’ll also have access to smart charging stations when shopping for an EV charging station for your home. These are EV chargers that are Internet-connected. Not only can you manage their activity right from your mobile phone, but you can also collect valuable data about each of your auto’s charging sessions. This will inform you of your battery’s health, its ability to receive and retain a charge, and your ongoing power use, among other things. When shopping for Level 2 chargers, you’ll find ample options with intelligent charging capabilities.
Surprisingly, despite the simplicity of Level 1 charging stations, Internet connectivity and the benefits of smart charging are still available. Accessory cables for Internet connectivity can come included with these stations, or they can be purchased separately. Regarding compatibility issues, ensuring that your smart charging station will work with the type of mobile phone, tablet, or another connected device you intend to use for remote monitoring is essential.
How to Find the Perfect EV Charging Station for Your Home
If you drive a hybrid vehicle and want your EV charger home, you can cut costs and keep your setup simple with a Level 1 charging station. These low-cost systems are easy to set up and sufficient for meeting the modest power needs of hybrid batteries. They also work well for EV owners who don’t drive their autos daily and have ample time to keep their vehicles charging.
Level 3 chargers work well for companies and professionals on the go. However, their higher current ratings and faster charging speeds have notable drawbacks. The greatest among these is that daily, ongoing use of Level 3 chargers expedites battery degeneration and shortens battery lifespans.
For most homeowners, Level 2 charging stations are the ideal choice. They’re affordable and power vehicles up within a reasonable amount of time. Moreover, they come with J-1772 plugs, and thus, they can be used to power multiple autos in two-car and three-car households. With a Level 2 charger, if you sell your EV and purchase another one, you won’t necessarily have to upgrade your charging equipment.
For many consumers, upgrading to an EV came with plenty of careful research. Selecting an EV charger is much the same. You should consult with your vehicle manufacturer and refer to the brand’s recommendations for EV charging. You should also consult with knowledgeable electricians who are well-versed in the latest EV technologies. When we handle these installations, we match our clients with products that fit their budgets, lifestyles, and ongoing charging needs. We consider continuing battery health, ease of use, convenience, and long-term value.
We can help you find a charger that works perfectly with the vehicle make and model you own. We can also assist you in finding options that are both flexible and scalable enough to meet your future needs. We offer HVAC, plumbing, and electrical service. If you’re ready to install a residential car charging station in your Richmond, Virginia home, give Davis & Green a call.