Charging your electric vehicle is a major component of any kind of EV ownership. Whether you are a homeowner, or even if you rent an apartment, using a home charging station to charge your car inside of a garage isn’t always an option. Outdoor charging is a perfectly suitable method for charging your electric vehicle, but there are some things you should know before you begin. This article will help you make an informed decision about charging outside and will serve as a guide for any questions you may have about outdoor EV charging.
Levels of home charging stations
Before getting started, it’s important to explain how at-home charging stations work. At its most basic level, home charging stations are separated into different levels. Level one chargers are those which can be plugged directly into your home’s standard wall socket. Most electric vehicles can use the same 120-volt electricity that runs through your home. As stated earlier, there are charging options that allow you to plug your car into a standard grounded outlet like the one you would find in your garage.
One of the reasons we advise against level 1 charging is that it is not nearly as effective as a designated level 2 charging unit. This is not to say that a level 1 charging station won’t get the job done, it certainly will. Level 1 charging is a slow process and the time to charge your electric vehicle will be much longer. Because the power source being used limits current draw to 120 volts, the car cannot consume power the way it has the capacity to. As a result, most electric vehicle owners will only use level 1 charging as a last resort, or as a way to charge their car overnight. In a pinch, level 1 charging will be enough power to charge your car, but be prepared for a full charge to take somewhere between 10 to 12 hours.
The level 1 method adds complexity to your charging routine. Instead of just plugging in your car and then using power throughout the rest of the house, you must be conscious of how much power you are using with level 1 chargers. Due to the current draw of the car, the outlet being used must be on its own isolated circuit where no other electricity is being used.
Before using a tier-one system, always check the circuit breaker in your home to ensure that whatever power source you are connected to is on its own isolated circuit. Sometimes after the purchase of an electric vehicle, modifications need to be made to your home’s electrical grid, especially if you plan on using a level 1 system as your primary option for charging. It is important to remember that electricity is complicated and dangerous, and if you ever have questions, always consult a professional. Or, you could skip all the circuit breaker gymnastics that come as the result of a tier-one system and upgrade to a level 2.
There is no dancing around it, a level 2 charging system will make your life easier. Aside from being a no-hassle, problem-free solution to charging your electric vehicle, a level 2 charging system is better for your EV’s battery life. Level 2 home charging stations use a 240-volt connection to power your electric vehicle, quickly and efficiently.
Unlike a level 1 charging unit, level 2 charging systems use a different kind of plug and therefore cannot be plugged directly into a standard outlet. Two hundred forty volts is the key difference between level 1 and level 2. Most electric vehicles were made to engage with 240 volts. A piece called the capacitor limits electrical powered components, like the rechargeable battery in your electric car. Think of capacitors like a gate to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park.
Based on the limits set by a capacitor, the voltage must be within a specific range. For electric components that receive and hold a charge, there is a sweet spot for a current draw that is typically the median number set by the capacitor. This sweet spot is where your electric vehicle is able to absorb and retain power at an accelerated rate. In the case of your electric vehicle, the median voltage is 240, which is what makes a level 2 charging system the perfect match for your electric vehicle.