What Is A Level 3 EV Charger? Here Are All The Facts


There are quite a few options when it comes to charging your electric vehicle. These chargers come in three different levels, level 1, level 2, and level 3. Generally, the lower the level, the slower the charger will charge an electric vehicle. The more common chargers are level 1 and level 2 chargers as they can be used in almost all homes. Each one of these levels provides a dramatic difference in the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle and all have their specific uses. 

What is a level 3 EV charger? A level 3 EV charger is the highest level of charging for an electric vehicle. A level 3 charger is able to transfer the most amount of power and charge in the quickest amount of time when compared to other chargers. Level 3 chargers can only be found in commercial and public use as they are expensive to install and require large amounts of energy.

It is important to know the differences between the chargers so you know what charger is best to use depending on the different situations and times when you need it. Level 3 chargers have lots of pros, especially their extremely fast charging time when compared to other charging levels.

These charging can commonly be found at public charging spots because of their fast charging times, it is nearly impossible to see one of these in a residential setting. However, there are a few things you have to be careful of when using them. Not knowing these things shouldn’t hurt you or your vehicle, but knowing them could help you make better decisions when it comes to your electric vehicle. 

What Is A Level 3 EV Charger?

Level 3 chargers are the least common chargers out of the 3 levels, but they do have the quickest charging time. The charging time with each level varies depending on what vehicle you are charging and what brand of charger you are using. Level 3 charging rates beat the other two levels by a long shot when it comes to charging times. A good average for a level 2 charger would be about 9 hours to completely charge the vehicle. A level 3 charger can charge it to 80% in about 40 minutes, and it will reach 100% in about one and a half hours.

Level 3 chargers can only (usually) be found in public and commercial settings as they are not readily available for residential homes yet because of the need for a large amount of energy as well as the huge cost for the unit and installation. There are different kinds of level 3 chargers that have different connectors as well as different power outputs. Most level 3 chargers use around 100 amps or more to charge an electric vehicle. As mentioned before, the more common level 3 chargers that you can expect to see more often are the Combined Charging System and the Tesla Supercharger.

Chargers are evolving to keep up with the fast pace of battery technology. As the batteries get larger, it is important that charging also gets faster, as it could take large amounts of time to fill up a large battery. Level 3 chargers are a huge advancement in the electric vehicle realm.

Although it is incomparable to the time that it takes to fill up a gasoline car, it has made filling up an electrical vehicle faster and easier than ever. Between 30 and 40 minutes is all that is needed for a level 3 charger to get your vehicle back on the road. When this is compared to a level 2 charger, it could take around 6 hours to do about the same. This makes it quite easy to see how exceptional this type of charger is.

Where Can I Buy A Level 3 EV Charger?

It is very unlikely you will be able to install a level 3 charger in your home. There is a huge amount of energy that almost all homes cannot support as well as huge costs when it comes to buying and installing a level 3 charger. Level 3 chargers seem to slowly be making their way into homes but currently, there really aren’t a lot of options. There are just a few wall mounted level 3 chargers, and in all honesty, they cost almost as much as a vehicle, which is why they really are not common anywhere. Although it is possible to purchase one, costs will vary tremendously and installation will also cost a large amount of money.

Obtaining a level 3 charger would not be the most difficult task in the world, even if you had an excess amount of money just sitting around. Most DC fast charger units cost well over $25,000 and installation may double that price. A Tesla Supercharging unit will cost you about $60,000 for just the unit, expected labor costs can bring your total payment up to $250,000 in some cases. A quick search online will give you some options for level 3 chargers, but it may be in your best interest to speak with a licensed electrician as well as certain companies that install level 3 chargers so you can at least have an idea of what to expect (for your wallet’s sake).

If you do want to install a high-power charger, it is probably best to do some research and find a good level 2 charger as it will be less stressful as well as easier on your pockets. You can find lots of different level 2 chargers at a variety of power ranges to fit whatever your needs are. It is slower than an electric car and even when using this charger, it is best to have a lot of time available to charge as it cannot do lots of energy in a short amount of time when compared to a level 3 charger. Expect the total price to buy and install a level 2 charger anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 depending on what kind of charger you buy and the cost of labor where you live.

How Much Does A Level 3 EV Charger Cost To Install At Home?

In theory, you could install a level 3 charger, now it would be more difficult if you tried to use your home as a power source so it may be easier if you just put it on a little piece of land near your home. If you really wanted to install a level 3 charger, you can expect huge prices.

Installing a normal DC fast charger will probably cost you upwards of $50,000. A Tesla Supercharger however will probably cost around $250,000 after installation and labor costs are added. There are lots of different reasons for this and the price will vary depending on where you live. A few reasons for such high prices will be the material, the charging unit, installation of high voltage lines, and other miscellaneous labor expenses.

The materials alone may cost around $35,000 or more, depending on where you buy the charger. There is no set price for installing these in residential areas as they are generally bought and installed in bulk for commercial areas. If you are wondering if you could install a level 3 charger by yourself then it may be best to rethink that, as there are so many different electric needs and problems that need to be solved, and if you don’t have a lot of experience in that area then there would not just be safety concerns but an accidental illegal installation of one of these chargers. It would be easiest if you hired electricians as they can deal with any permits and paperwork that needs to be handled as well as the work, even though this will cost you more money.

There are some level 3 chargers that are being developed which are planned to be much cheaper but are still not largely available. There is also the problem of level 3 chargers damaging the battery on your electric car if they are being used repeatedly. Because of the high input of energy put into the battery of the electric vehicle, the battery slowly gets damaged after this continually happens.

It is generally better for the battery to charge it slowly, which is why almost all chargers in homes are level 2 chargers. It may sound a little inconvenient if you own an electric car, but it is the best choice for your car if you are considering the long run. It is impossible to say if a switch to residential level 3 chargers is going to happen but for many people, a faster charger at home would be more than welcome.

What Is The Difference Between A Level 1, 2, And 3 EV Charger?

All levels of chargers are capable of charging an electric vehicle, but there are many differences between them. These chargers can all be bought individually and come in many different models within their own levels, depending on where they are from. One of the biggest differences is the amount of energy they are capable of sending out, because of this, their times are also very different from each other. These chargers are all used in their own specific ways but ultimately accomplish the same goals. 

Charger LevelPower Range (Amps)CurrentEstimated EV charging time
Level 18-20 AmpsAC3 days
Level 212-80 AmpsAC9 hours
Level 3100+ AmpsDC40 Minutes (80%)

The biggest difference is the power range, or amps, that each charger uses, the more amps the quicker the charge. Level 3 chargers also use a DC electrical current as compared to the level 1 and 2 chargers which use AC. Because of this, the charge is capable of charging much quicker and has higher energy output. Just by looking at the table, we are capable of seeing that there are quite big differences in the chargers. They may also look different physically as the higher the level the charger is the larger it has to be generally.

Because of the differences in the chargers, they all seem to have adopted a role when it comes to charging electric vehicles. Generally, level 3 chargers are used for a quick charge whenever one is needed as well as for long-distance travel so you can quickly get back on the road.

Level 2 chargers are the most commonly used charger with electric vehicles, they can be installed in a house or plugged into a high-energy outlet which allows them to charge the car fully overnight. Level 1 chargers are usually free with the purchase of an electric vehicle and are usually used in an emergency or more commonly used to charge a plug-in hybrid as the battery is smaller. 

Is A Level 3 Charger At Home Actually Worth The Cost?

Justifying installing a level 3 charger at home may be a little difficult. As discussed before, the price to install a level 3 charger is quite high, usually around $50,000 or more. Currently, that investment is a little steep for a quick charger at home while a level 2 charger can be installed for much cheaper. Level 3 chargers are usually just used commercially because there is a need for quickly charging an electric vehicle. There really isn’t a reason to install one at home because for most people, a level 2 or level 1 charger is capable of charging it just enough to get where they need to go and it can be plugged in overnight so it is ready in the morning. 

Being able to quickly charge your vehicle would be a luxury but for the common person, it is not a luxury that can be afforded. Even if you can afford it, there is no point in buying one if you only have one electric vehicle. Although 80% of charging is done at home, long times have become the norm and generally don’t inconvenience you if you plan your charging times around your schedule. Level 2 chargers are usually what most electric vehicle owners decide to invest in when it comes to picking out a charger. As of right now, level 1 and level 2 chargers are what you can expect when it comes to residential charging.

In the future, this may change, but there is no way to know for certain. One reason they may not become common is that it is actually healthier for the battery to be slowly charged when compared to being quickly charged repeatedly. If installation costs decrease and level 3 charging becomes okay to use repeatedly, then it could be a good estimate to assume that level 3 chargers could eventually be found in residential homes but with the technology and material that is needed currently it isn’t a viable option.  

What Level Are Most Public EV Charging Stations?

Most electric vehicle owners have used a public charger but only about 20% of charging occurs at public chargers while the other 80% occurs at home. Only two levels of charging are generally found when using public chargers, level 2 charging and level 3 charging.

The most common public charger is a level 2 charger, as these chargers can be found in many different locations and much more abundantly than level 3 chargers. Level 2 chargers are found in places where you are likely to spend a longer amount of time since it takes longer to charge your vehicle with them. Some level 2 chargers can even be used for free depending on where you live and the choices of whoever owns the chargers. 

Level 3 chargers can usually be found with the help of a map, or many different apps and websites will help you find one if there is one near you. When using a level 3 charger, you will probably have to pay for it. On average, it will cost around $22 to completely charge your vehicle on a level 3 charger, but this price will vary depending on your vehicle and what kind of level 3 charger you are using.

Tesla vehicles used to be able to charge for free for a while and they had different programs that allowed you to get free miles while using a Tesla supercharger, but these programs have been phased out and there aren’t many places that allow free use of superchargers anymore.

Level 2 and 3 chargers are placed strategically in certain places and along certain roads to allow energy to be available for every electric car user. Companies will try to place level 3 chargers in places where you don’t plan on spending a long time, such as just off the highway in a little town. They may have little shops around them or restaurants but they are meant to get you on your way quickly. Level 2 chargers are placed in places that you will spend a long time at like hotels or shopping centers. Usually, there is some thought that goes into where these stations are located which allows you not to worry too much about having to stop for a charge.

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