A great EV car charger can do wonders for the driver’s convenience. Over 70% of EV drivers charge their vehicles at home, eliminating the need to visit public charging stations if they’re driving long distances. But finding the best EV car charger can be a daunting task. Thankfully, Hearst Autos Gear Team put together this buyer’s guide to help you find the right one for your needs and budget.
The Level 1 charger is the standard home charger that comes with most plug-in electric vehicles. It connects to the J1772 charger port on your car. While this might seem like a simple way to recharge, it can be quite slow. It takes up to 20 hours to charge a fully depleted battery with a Level 1 charging station. A Level 2 charger is much faster, completing a full charge in 3 to 8 hours. These units can be installed at home or in public parking areas and workplaces. A best ev car charger can do wonders for the driver’s convenience.
These units are compatible with all electric and plug-in hybrid cars, including Nissan, Mitsubishi and some Kia models. They also work with Tesla EVs when equipped with a CHAdeMO adapter. These stations utilize a 240-volt AC outlet in North America and 230-volt outlets in Europe, although they may be limited to 80 amps (Level 2) in North America and 22 kW (Level 2) in Europe. They can include features like RFID cards, load balancing and OCCP networking.
Level 2 charging stations add electricity to the battery pack of an electric car at much faster speeds than Level 1 units. Depending on the battery type, best ev car charger configuration and circuit capacity, Level 2 charging can add between 14 and 35 miles of range per hour of charge. These charging stations are commonly found at public and workplace charging stations, as well as in homes. Using a Level 2 charger can save you time, reduce your carbon footprint and increase the resale value of your electric vehicle.
In addition, many home EV drivers choose to charge their cars at home because they can access their vehicles anytime they need. This can be especially useful if you live in an area where there are no public charging stations. To install a Level 2 charger, you need a dedicated 240-volt electrical outlet on a circuit. This requires a licensed electrician, who may be able to offset the cost with rebates or other incentives offered by local or state utilities.
In a wireless charging system, EVs park on a power receiving pad that transfers energy to their battery. There are no cables to be lifted out of the boot or fiddled with – it all works from a distance and is completely convenient for the driver. As well as convenience, a wireless system can also help to protect the electric grid. Optimised power electronics and coil designs keep energy loss to a minimum, meaning that wireless charging systems can have an efficiency rate of 90-93%.
There is a lot of research going into this technology, and some automakers have been testing it for years. However, it has yet to make any significant inroads into the automotive industry.
Electric vehicles are cleaner, quieter and more environmentally friendly than gas-powered cars. But not all EVs come with the same plug technology and charger compatibility. CHAdeMO (Charge de Move) is a charging standard created by a consortium of car makers. It is common on EVs from Nissan, Mitsubishi and some Kia models. The CHAdeMO standard offers a maximum of 62.5 kW at present and is set to increase its charging power. But even with this capacity, a typical CHAdeMO charge can take up to 50 minutes or so.
However, CHAdeMO has been gaining traction in Europe and Japan due to its low cost of installation. And it has now introduced a new protocol capable of supporting 400 kW rapid charging. But it is still up in the air whether CHAdeMO will become the only ‘fast’ charging option. Other competing standards – CCS 1&2, Tesla, and the Chinese GB/T standard – are all looking to expand their market share.