Electric vehicles (EVs) may very well be the future of driving. Instead of burning fossil fuels, which are in increasingly short supply, they run off of electrical power. As power companies switch from unsustainable to renewable forms of energy production, EV cars will only become a better fit for today's modern, more eco-conscious world.
As more people across the country adopt EV technologies, though, infrastructure must change to keep up. Instead of gas stations, these vehicles need EV charging stations. With Huntsville to get six EV charging stations, other cities across the country are taking notice.
Public charging stations form an essential component of EV infrastructure, but they are unlikely to represent the only path forward. According to realtimecampaign.com, other alternatives will also be needed. This article will focus on the three types of EV chargers currently available and when they should be used.
Level 1: Private Charging Stations
Level 1 EV chargers usually come with electric vehicles. They run off of standard 120V household power and can be plugged into any outlet. Drivers then simply run the power cord from the wall outlet to their cars parked in garages, driveways, or on the street.
Currently, around 60% of EV chargers are level 1 devices. Depending on how much use a vehicle sees each day, they may be strong enough to charge a car overnight, with most offering three to five MPH charging speeds. Level 1 chargers are particularly good for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that have smaller batteries and for cars that don't need to be driven every day.
Level 2: Private Charging Stations
Level 2 EV chargers draw more power, typically requiring 208-240V dedicated circuits in homes or on DC power lines in public-facing spaces. The models offered by a company like Delta Electronics have power outputs ranging from 25 to 150 kW, much larger than the 7 to 22 kW produced by a level 1 charger. Most level 2 chargers are found in car parks, workplaces, fleet parking lots, or the lots of retail and hospitality businesses.
As EVs become more capable and powerful, commuters who travel farther distances are starting to adopt the technology. They are more likely to install level 2 EV chargers in their homes to take advantage of the faster, 12 to 18-mile-per-hour charging speeds. Check out this blog link for help deciding if it's worth the money.
Level 3: Public Charging Stations
Level 3 EV chargers are incredibly efficient. With charging speeds of 3 to 10 miles per minute, they can get most vehicles fully charged in just 10 to 30 minutes, and are usually found in the parking lots of service stations. However, an increasing number of private parking lot owners are beginning to install these more powerful 400 to 900V charging stations, as well.
Choosing the Right EV Charger
No one solution's right for everyone. Drivers who use their cars infrequently can usually get what they need from level 1 chargers. Commuters and public-facing private lots typically opt for level 2. Level 3 chargers are highly specialized and very expensive, so they'll almost certainly continue to be used exclusively as public charging stations.
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