Level 2 EV Charger: What It Is and Where to Find It – NerdWallet

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Level 2 charging adds about 25 miles of range per hour to an electric car. This is about five times faster than Level 1 charging, but at least eight times slower than Level 3 charging, also known as direct current, or DC, fast charging. 3 out of 4 public chargers are Level 2 chargers. It is also the most powerful type of charger you can install in a residential space.

difference in charging types

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Level 1 charging is the slowest, adding about 5 miles of range per hour. But it’s highly flexible: Almost every new EV comes with a Level 1 charger, and you can plug it directly into a standard electrical outlet. Charging at home is usually cheaper than charging from a public charger, so it’s also a budget-friendly option.

Level 3 charging is fast. You can add hundreds of miles in less than an hour. However, this is usually the most expensive option, and charger locations tend to be concentrated along Interstate Highways or other major routes. These high powered chargers cannot be installed at residential places as well.

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Level 2: Combination of Level 1 and Level 3

Level 2 charging is a middle ground between the other two types of chargers:

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It connects to your car with the same connector as Level 1 charging, but it can bring most batteries up to 100% overnight.

The connector is universal and works on nearly every new EV. However, Tesla uses a proprietary connector. Tesla makes adapters that allow drivers to connect to standard connectors.

The chargers can be installed in residential locations, but they are also popular public chargers: there are approximately 100,000 Level 2 charging ports available in public locations across the country.

Public chargers appear in a variety of locations, including parking decks, retailers, downtown and workplaces.

Installing a Level 2 Charger at Your Home

Although your car’s connection is the same as Level 1 charging, Level 2 charging taps into a more powerful 240-volt connection where it connects to your home’s electrical system.

Before you install Level 2 hardware, you’ll need this type of connection. If you don’t, be sure to check local building codes, which may list additional requirements. In most cases, you’ll need a professional electrician to install it.

Because the Level 2 connector is nearly universal, you can shop if you’re looking to install one:

Some car manufacturers offer their own Level 2 chargers.

Buy direct from the manufacturer of the home charger.

Compare options at an electronics store, home improvement store or online marketplace.

🤓nerdy tip

Between the hardware and hiring an electrician, installing a Level 2 charger can cost a few thousand dollars. But you could pay less if you qualify for tax breaks or other government programs that seek to expand EV use. The Department of Energy maintains a database of state and federal incentives; Search to find what’s available where you live.

Where to get level 2 charger away from home

If you want to charge away from your home, you have a thousand options:

Nationwide charging networks like Electrify America and ChargePoint have apps and maps with which you can quickly find nearby locations.

Search services like PlugShare, which compiles locations from multiple charging networks.

The US Department of Energy has a detailed map of charging locations across the country.

GoElectricDrive, a website maintained by the Electric Drive Transportation Association, has a website and an app that lists the locations of public chargers.

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