Own an EV? Why You Should Consider Investing in a Level 2 Charger

Residential EV Charging installation

Between climate change and soaring gas prices, investing in an EV was already a wise move. Well, now that you have one, how do you get the most out of your electrified vehicle?

EV ownership is a big step in a new direction for most people and it comes with a lot of confusion and more than just a few questions. Some of the most common questions relate to charging your EV and residential EV charging station installation.

Your Options for Residential EV Charging Stations

Level 1 EV Chargers

When you buy or lease an EV, it comes with what is known as a level 1 charger. This EV-compatible charging cable connects to your standard 110-volt 15-amp electrical outlet (like what you would plug a blender into).

A level 1 charger is convenient because you don’t need any special installation as long as you can access an outdoor outlet. The downside of a level 1 charger is the time it takes to get a full charge.

Level 2 EV Chargers

EV owners can also opt to have a level 2 EV charging station installed. These 240-volt chargers dramatically reduce the time it takes to charge your ride. However, in addition to buying the unit, they also require a 40-amp circuit and, in most cases, professional installation.

Level 1 Vs. Level 2 Residential Charging Stations

Charging at home provides security, comfort, and accessibility rather than relying on a limited number of commercial charging stations. You can charge up overnight, in-between errands, or any time it’s convenient for you.

Is the cost of buying and installing a level 2 EV charging station worth it or is the level 1 charger enough to keep your vehicle powered up? Let’s compare the two based on charging time, cost, installation, and features.

Charging Time

When it comes to charge speed, level 2 residential EV charging stations are a substantial improvement over the EV charging cable that comes in stock with your electric vehicle. A 400 km range EV battery can take up to 36 hours to fully charge using a level 1 charger and a level 2 charger will provide the same charge in about 8 hours.

It’s not a just time to full charge that you need to consider. Plugging your EV into a level 1 charger for a quick boost will only add about 8 km of RPH (range per hour) compared to over 40 km that you would get using a level 2 EV charging station.

Cost

This one is pretty easy to break down. Level 1 chargers current come free with your EV (although there are rumours that some manufacturers like Tesla may soon start charging for these cables).

Fixed level 2 residential EV charging stations start at about $700 and climb quickly depending on amperage and smart-charging features. When it comes to monthly charging costs, a level 2 charger may be able to reduce your charging costs by providing more control over when and how long you charge at peak times. Additionally, some local utility companies are offering substantial rebates on purchasing and installing level 2 residential EV charging stations.

Installation

There is no installation required for a level one charger, provided you have access to an outdoor outlet; if not, having an electrician add one is relatively inexpensive usually under $1,000.

A level 2 residential EV charger installation requires a 240-volt outlet, like the kind used to run your washer and dryer and this will require electrical work and professional installation. The total costs of buying and installing the unit can range from a few thousand on the low end to several thousand for more complex installations, however, that is before you factor in the rebates.

Features

A level 1 charger is as basic as they come. They are essentially large cell phone chargers and there are no special features or smart-charging capabilities.

Level 2 residential EV charges can offer a wide range of smart features including Wi-Fi connectivity, scheduled charging, phone apps, and load-balancing for multi-vehicle charging.