Electric Vehicle – Charging Levels
When you recharge your electric vehicle, it takes some of your precious time. If you slow charge, it takes a lot of time, of you quick charge, it takes significantly less. How much time do you have to spare to charge your vehicle? If you are asleep or at work, you can allow your car to be recharged for hours on end. But if you are just visiting, or just passing through?
You have roughly three types of charging defined; Level 1 till 3. Level 1 is what most people will use at home and takes the longest. Level 3 charging is the quickest and is geared towards charging your vehicle if you have longer trips to make.
A Level 3 charger from Epyon
Level 1 charging is when you are charging your vehicle at the conventional wall outlet, in the Netherlands that is the common 220 Volt outlet. At the current state of technology this takes approximately 8 hours to charge the average vehicle with level 1 charging. Now obviously, 8 hours can be a long time if you have to wait for it, especially if you are eager to drive home again and waiting for the battery indicator to signal you’re full.
Level 2 charging is similar, but at roughly the double power rate. Here in the Netherlands, such connections are not too common, but when you have for example other high power appliances in your house (when you use electricity to cook with for example) you often have such a connection available. Level 2 charging uses this higher rate of power to lower the time that is required to fill up a battery again. Often you’ll see that it takes ‘just’ four hours to charge up fully again (taking an average electric vehicle, like the Nissan Leaf).
Level 3 charging is often referred to as quick or fast charging. This uses a significant larger power than Level 2 charging and it allows you to charge your battery in the period of half an hour. This is not the type of charging you will be doing a lot and you will most likely not need such a charging unit at home.
So in general, at home people will be using Level 1 or 2 chargers, same as for at wok or other locations where you are likely to park for longer periods. In places where you park while on a longer trip, for example restaurants or gas stations along the highway, Level 3 chargers are more likely to pop up.
Another, last, but important note on these levels; as the technology stands today, all batteries prefer to be charged at slow charging speeds, i.e. Level 1. The slower, the better. If you quickly charge a battery, the chemical reactions in the battery pack are forced so quickly and can result in irreversible damages in the battery.