By Andy Seepersaud
More than 80% of the charging of an electric vehicle takes place in a home, and it is typically here that the greatest residence time occurs combined with the easy charging overnight when most vehicles remain inactive. Although charging overnight provides a large amount of time for recharging, this may not be enough time to provide a full battery charge, as such EV owners should strongly consider a Level 2 EV charging station as the optimal choice for recharging.
What is level 2 charging and why is it important?
Most new EV models are equipped with a level 1 charger that can be connected to any standard 120V socket. This option adds 2 to 5 miles of range on average per hour and is the slowest option for charging. Level 2 charging stations use a 208 or 240 V connection. This higher voltage allows a larger power supply directly from the electrical panel, which can add an average of 15 to 30 miles (depending on vehicle model) extra range per hour. This provides an advantage for motorists who want to recharge their EV in shorter time intervals, which on average saves over 15 hours of waiting time compared to a Level 1 EV charging station to achieve a full battery.
Indoors or outdoors?
Consumers should also consider whether they plan to place their charger indoors or outdoors. If they choose outdoor location, they will want to ensure that the charger is weatherproof and can operate in temperatures that suit their climate, as some chargers may not work efficiently in extreme heat or cold conditions. Some chargers available in the North American market are able to withstand temperature ranges from -40 ° F to 122 ° F. When placing a charger outside, electric drivers should also consider whether the charging cable will remain flexible during extreme temperatures, so they can extend it to their vehicle without breaks or errors.
The role of smart features
Smart features allow a user to stay connected to their charger via their mobile device or desktop. These features will usually allow the user to see their activity, usage history and status of a upload session from a user portal. Smart chargers also allow you to schedule features that help you take advantage of your local utility’s energy-saving programs outside of peak periods, as well as receive new software and firmware updates to ensure compatibility with new EV models.
A non-smart charger or “dummy” Level 2 charger does not offer any of the above features, though it will still be able to deliver a faster charge compared to their level 1 counterparts. Users could potentially be locked out of new software and firmware updates, which could prevent compatibility with new EV models, which could force some to reinvest in a new charger in the future.
A charger housing designed with more durable materials may have better resistance to potential impacts and resist wear over time, helping to prevent charging interference or breakage. Some use plastic, glass front panels or aluminum. Especially when looking at outdoor installations, electric drivers should look for chargers that are resistant to water, heat, ice and corrosion.
The quality of the plug is also an important consideration, as it must withstand heavy electrical transmissions, which can wear over time and affect the quality of the charge and the connection to the vehicle. High quality connectors are designed to last for over 10 years and / or 10,000 charge cycles.
Electric charging stations are a long-term asset, and electric drivers should keep this in mind when shopping for their station. In addition to the purchase cost, it is important to consider installation costs, discount eligibility and maintenance over the years. Depending on the design and construction of the charger, as well as the required current, the installation contractor determines the installation costs.
Depending on the available space in a home’s electrical panel, upgrades may be required, which can significantly increase installation costs. Since most electric car drivers can fully charge their vehicle in 6-8 hours with a 30A charger, they may not need a higher power – to install a 30A charger, a dedicated 40A switch is recommended. Finally, drivers should consider where the charger should be located and the distance to the electrical panel: The farther away from the panel, the higher the installation costs.
This article is supported by FLO.
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