What Types Of Electric Vehicle Charging Options Are Available In North America?
With an increase of electric vehicles appearing in the news over the past few years, many people are starting to look into the differences between them and the internal combustion engine. One of the most important changes that will be coming to households, urban areas, work environments and more will how to charge an electric vehicle with the use of a charge station or cord. JPL’s experts are here to help fleet managers gain an understanding of the different types available, what they are like, how long they take to charge, and what to expect from them.
Types Of Chargers
Car Plug Type
For people who live in apartments, condos and some work places, Level 1 charging may suffice if the location doesn’t have any built-in charging stations as long as there are standard 110-V outlets available. New, higher-output 240-V charging stations are becoming popular with homes due to increased EV ownership over the past few years and as people prepare for the future. Charging station options will be more cost-effective compared to the charge cord by offering a more efficient.
The power output for the Level 1 charging cords are 110-V (between 12 and 16 amps based on location electricity efficiency) which in turn is an average of 6 to 10 kilometers per hour of charging. This means anyone who uses the charger overnight could drive 48-64 kilometers the following day. A five prong connector is used to attach the power cord to the vehicle.
Car Plug Type
Level 2 chargers are permanent installations used at residential and commercial locations with plug types similar to what a washing machine would be plugged into. They offer a higher output – up to 240-V – compared to the Level 1 maximum of 110-V. Extra features can be found with these permanent installations. There are two different types of Level 2 chargers – non-networked and networked.
These Level 2 chargers are found installed inside or outside of single family homes and are powered by the residents electrical subpanel. The electricity used by the chargers will be applied directly to the owner’s electricity bill, removing any need for a separate meter. Installation of a dedicated 240-V EV charging circuit will offer the best value for most people a smaller budget.
These Level 2 chargers produce between 16-40 amps of power, allowing for a 23 to 56 kilometers per hour charge rate. The install cost for these units is slightly lower compared to networked chargers as there is less work to install, not as many features needed and are easy to manage.
Networked chargers are commonly found indoors and outdoors at commercial and workplace locations where payments are usually required – or at shared multi-dwelling homes where the electric bill is split between the residents. If there is one charger between drivers at a location, there are features to help monitor usage between them. Many public charging stations are free to use. For those that charge a pay-per-use fee, the average cost would be $1 an hour or $2.50 a charge.
Same as non-networked chargers, they produce 16 to 40 amps, delivering 3 to 56 kilometers of driving charge per hour. The power output is adjustable to help with load balancing between multiple units in one area, and limiting the charging amount and time-of-day to maximize time-of-use electricity rate structures.
Some extra features found on networked chargers include:
Remote access control
Ability to accept multiple forms of payment
Load balancing across multiple chargers
DC Fast Charging
The highest-powered EV charger currently on the market are DC fast charging stations. They are often found along major travel routes, urban locations (where EV owners might not have a charge station at home) and very rarely at homes where the owner does a high amount of driving (most residential buildings might not meet electricity requirements). Some of the urban locations would include any place someone might spend up to an hour – restaurants, shopping centers and rec areas. A commercial electrician is required to install DC fast chargers due to electrical loads and wiring requirements. It’s not recommended to use DC fast charging stations more than twice a week maximum as the high charge rate can affect the lifespan of an EVs battery if done too often.
Most chargers on the market can reach 25-50 kWs of power. There are chargers available that have input values of 600-V and 100 amps or higher (50-60 kW). This can fully charge today’s EVs that have an average battery size of 320 kilometer in close to an hour (290 km per hour charge on average). The newest generation of DC chargers coming out can produce 150-350 kW of power.
All models of EVs in North America (except Tesla) use the SAE J1772 connector. Older Tesla models before the Tesla 3 that did not have the J1772 socket came with an adaptor cable that allowed for charging at J1772 stations. If you’re looking to buy a vehicle from an outside source, make sure to do research and ask questions to ensure an adapter is available if needed. There are three types of connectors available for the DC station: CHAdeMO, CCS or Tesla. Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations have only one standard: SAE J1772.
DC Connector Types
Three of the most common types of DC connectors found across the world are CCS, CHAdeMO and Tesla.
The Combined Charging System connector will work on DC ready EVs, but will not fit into AC (J1772 in North America) only vehicles without an adapter. The CCS DC plug-in has become the accepted standard by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in North America, removing the need to find adaptors for DC charging while out on longer trips. The manufacturers include General Motors (all divisions), Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Honda, Kia, Fiat, Hyundai, Volvo, smart, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce and others.
Developed by the Japanese utility company Tepco, it’s the official standard connector for DC fast charging stations. There are only two manufacturers that sell EVs with this connection – Nissan and Mitsubishi – which sell the Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi Outlander. Kia switched to CSS in 2018. An additional inlet is required to help accommodate two separate charging sockets as the CHAdeMO connections do not share part of the connector with the J1772.
Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charging Tesla uses the same proprietary connector that accepts all voltage. For DC fast charging there’s no need to have a different connector as the other standards require. Tesla has installed and maintains an exclusive ‘Superchargers’ with locations found around the world that only their DC fast chargers can use due to an authentication process which identifies the vehicle as a Tesla before granting charging access. Since the Tesla 3, both CCS and CHAdeMO have been manufactured on the vehicles to make charging more affordable and standard for owners.
Are You Ready?
Check with your provincial and federal government to see if there are any rebates available to help reduce the cost of installing an EV charging station. Currently British Columbia is offering a great rebate to reduce the cost of chargers for anyone looking to get a jump on their future EV purchase.
Thinking of purchasing or updating a fleet over to electric? Jim Pattison Lease has an expert EV team waiting to answer your questions and can guide you through a detailed analysis of your fleet’s needs. Contact us today!
ANNOUNCEMENT During this time, our team continues to be available to fully support your business fleet needs and our pre-owned vehicle sales locations remain open to the public. For details on our COVID-19 safety protocols, click here.