Level 1 and Level 2 chargers can be very complicated at first glance. Especially for new electric car owners. Which should you use? Is a level 2 charger better than a level 1 or vice versa? Which one is healthier for your car’s battery? Electricity is the fuel that you are putting into your electric vehicle and it will still cost you money, so it is good to know what these different chargers are doing with that electricity and the amount they are putting into your vehicle.
Does a level 2 charger take more electricity? Level 2 electric car chargers do not take more electricity than level 1 chargers do, but it simply pumps the electricity into an electric vehicle at a faster rate. Level 1 chargers run off 120V and typically have an output between 12 and 16 amps. Level 2 chargers run off of 240V and generally have an output between 12 to 80 amps.
When talking about amps, what is basically being said is that the higher number of amps means the higher rate at which electricity is being put into your electric car. Being able to charge your car efficiently can help save you a lot of time and being knowledgeable about the effects of the different types of chargers can help you make your car’s battery last as long as possible. There are more things to consider when choosing between using a level 1 or a level 2 charger and I will be discussed throughout this article.
Does A Level 2 EV Charger Use More Electricity Than A Level 1?
A level 2 charger doesn’t require any more electricity than a level 1 charger, it just has the ability to put the same amount of electricity into your electric car at a faster rate than a level 1 charger could. The chargers themselves require very minimal electricity to function. They are both putting the grand majority of the electricity into your vehicle; the only difference is the time they take to do so.
For example, say you have an electric vehicle with a 105 kWh battery and you have completely drained it to 0%. A level 1 charger is going to take around 60+ hours just to charge it to 80% capacity (I chose 80% because after the charging reaches this point, the charging slows down to preserve the battery’s health). A level 2 charger would take about 24 hours to charge your vehicle that same amount.
A level 1 charger is only going to add 3.5 to 6.5 miles to your vehicle per hour of charging. A level 2 charger can triple that, adding anywhere from 18 to 28 miles per hour to your vehicle, according to freewiretech.com. The time you are going to spend charging your vehicle with a level 2 charger will be about a third of the time than what you would have to wait for while using a level 1 charger.
Why Do Public Charging Stations Charge More For A Level 2 Charge Than A Level 1?
As explained earlier, the level 2 chargers aren’t using any more electricity than a level 1 charger. You may be scratching your head now and asking yourself, “then why in the world do level 2 public charging stations cost more than level 1 chargers do?” The answer, convenience. It is the same reason that doing express shipping costs more than standard shipping, it is all about time.
Electric charger companies know that you are a busy person and that you don’t want to wait for hours on end just so you can charge your car. And since they are all big companies, they are going to try to make a little more money off of you for using the quicker method of charging. The public charging stations are paying the same price for the electricity whether you are using the level 1 charger or the level 2 charger, they are just making you pay a convenience fee for a smaller amount of time it takes to charge your car with the latter option.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Level 1 vs. Level 2 Charger?
Level 1 chargers are simple and the most compatible with the electrical systems that are most commonly around us. Level 1 chargers use 120V electricity, which is the same voltage that comes from the outlet in the wall at your house. This means that there is no need for installation and wiring of a new outlet or changing your home’s electric system to support the load of a level 2 charger. That is a pro solely in the case if you are wanting to install one of the two choices.
Installing a level 2 charger is going to be generally more expensive than installing just a simple level 1 charger. A big reason is that level 2 chargers run on 240V instead of the standard 120V as level 1 chargers do. This requires some additional wiring and installation of parts in your electrical system to support it. And if you have more questions about that, there will be another section later in the article that will talk about installing level 2 chargers in your home.
Outside of installing one of these two chargers and talking purely on a public charging basis, there are still pros and cons to both. A big pro about the Level 1 chargers is that they are generally the cheapest and can even be free to use in a lot of places. However, one of the downsides is that level 1 chargers are going to take the longest out of any charger to charge your battery.
Level 1 chargers charge your electric vehicle at a rate of about 3.5 to 6.5 miles per hour. So if you are only going on drives around the neighborhood or close by, then there is no problem with this charger. But if you are trying to do anything more than that, it might be more frustrating to use a level 1 charger all of the time because of the amount of time it will take to charge your electric vehicle.
When having to drive across town for work or if you are running around doing errands all day long, then level 2 chargers can give your car a charge quick enough to allow you to keep going all day and get home without any worries. Even if you end up using 15 or 20 percent of your battery to get to work, a level 2 charger will be able to quickly charge your car will be full and ready to go by the time you are finished with work.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Level 2 Charger At Home?
The cost of a level two charger will vary depending on which brand you get. You should be able to buy and set up a level 2 charger at a cost of anywhere from $300-$1200. The price of the labor for the installation of the charger is going to be anywhere from $400-$1000. This price will vary depending on the company and it will also depend on if your house is already set up with a system that could support the 240V outlet.
There are people who are brave enough to try and install these chargers themselves. If you already have a 240V outlet in your garage that you can simply plug the charger into then it isn’t a bad idea to do it yourself. But if you need to wire an outlet that is a different story. Doing electrical work on your home if you don’t know what you are doing can be dangerous and costly in the long run. Not only is there the danger of electrocuting yourself, but if you don’t wire things correctly, you run the possibility of shorting out your home’s entire system.
In the worst-case scenario, you could even end up causing an electrical fire in your home. I would suggest being very smart about the decision to install a level 2 charger yourself if it requires a new outlet and wiring. If you have experience then it would be okay, but don’t risk something that will end up costing you more than what it would have cost to have an expert install it and get it right the first time