EV Charging Guide | What to know when buying an electric car

New electric vehicles are being introduced continuously these days and in our experience, most are worth promoting. If you are wondering which one to buy, here is our list of the best electric cars and SUVs However, as much as it is better to switch to an EV sound for environmental, economic or general autonomous reasons, there is an elephant in the room: charging. Shell or Chevron is often forced to be foreign to those accustomed to filling every time and they have many glasses and measurements. Finding the right charger is certainly more complicated than choosing between 87, 89 and 91 octane.

While it’s easier than ever to use your smartphone’s mapping apps to find nearby electric car charging stations, the hard part is knowing: will that station work on your EV? Is charging your car fast enough at a reasonable time? What about Tesla, which always works like its own?

As the earth slowly moves away from the gas pump and towards the recharging cable, everyday EV drivers need to figure out things like charging station details, kilowatt (kilowatt) rating and the type of connector. Welcome to North Station.

Levels 1 and 2 vs. DC Fast Charging

There are three main types of EV charging stations, starting from the highest level Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charge, sometimes incorrectly called Level 3. Speaking of misuse, EV drivers sometimes refer to charging stations as “chargers”, although the actual charger is a device that stays in the car and converts. DC power from AC power grid which can use battery. Technically, devices installed near parking spots are called Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), but we understand that the “charger” has a nice, logical ring.

However, the lowest charging rate is called Level 1, using a standard 120-volt outlet (which you want to plug in a toaster or vacuum cleaner). Level 2 chargers, common for home and destination charging, use 240-volt outlets such as those used by cloth dryers in your home. Although DC fast chargers require their own high-voltage wiring. Level 1 charging is mostly for personal residence or business, so what you see on a digital map can be Level 2 (on some maps I’ve seen, like the built-in navigation in Polyester 2, Level 2 stations are called “slow”) or a DC fast charger ( Often labeled “fast”).

Kilowatt

There is another unit that determines how fast your EV will charge once you plug it in. The kilowatt rating of a station – almost always written as kW – basically describes how fast a charging station can keep electrons from the grid in your car. The higher the number, the faster. Extension cord-style level 1 EV charging cables that can be plugged into standard household outlets in the US can handle up to 1.9 kW (although most operate at 1.4 kW). Level 2 can reach up to 19.2 kW, while new DC fast chargers are fully available in other cases with 150-kW and 350-kW ratings.

The amount of power that an EV’s battery can hold depends more on the charging station’s kilowatt rating, a good rule of thumb is that Level 1 allows a range of approximately five miles to be added within an hour of charging. Level 2 is about 25 miles per hour while charging. For DC fast charging, numbers can add up to 100 to 200 miles per hour.

As mentioned, charging speed is not only defined by a charging station. The 2022 Nissan Leaf, for example, can be ordered with two fast charging speeds. The lower trims have a 50-kW limit, while the upper trims can take up to 100 kW. Maximum charging speed so you should research and consider when comparing multiple EV models.

Connector type

The above-mentioned kW ratings come from the definition set by SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers), which is responsible for a number of standards in the auto industry. SAE also sets an important value called J1772, which was created to enable EVs to connect to the same plug. Today, every new EV sold in the United States except Tesla (see below) uses the J1772 connector locally for AC charging. But it’s a little more confusing when it comes to DC fast charging.

This is because DC fast charging requires a connector for a non-Tesla EV that adds something to the standard piece of plastic on the J1772 connector business end. The good news is that most automakers have agreed to the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard for DC fast charging and can use it to quickly charge every new non-Tesla EV sold in the US.

Until recently, some EVs sold in the United States used the CHAdeMO fast charging standard. The most popular of these was the Nissan Leaf, so if you are shopping for a used leaf, you need to double check that any fast charger found on your map can plug into your EV. Now, though, Nissan has moved away from CHAdeMO in the US, so if you don’t have an old page, adjust your search settings to filter CHAdeMO stations, and you should be fine.

Tesla

With a decade of selling high-end EVs under its belt, Tesla has learned a thing or two about providing drivers with the charge they need to get around. When the Model S was launched 10 years ago, Tesla launched its Supercharger Network, a series of DC fast chargers that only Tesla drivers can use (for now, however; there are signs in Europe that at least some of these stations are opening in other EVs). The first superstations were rated at 90 kW, with new and upgraded stations ranging from 150 kW to 300 kW (including 350 kW on the horizon). Tesla has started selling a CCS adapter for its supercharger stations in some markets, but if you own a non-Tesla EV, you shouldn’t expect to be able to use the supercharger. Alternatively, you can buy adapters for Tesla to plug in non-Tesla chargers.

Payment for Charging: Payment vs. Free, Easy vs. Not Easy

How you pay for your universal charge depends on the EV and charging station you are using. Some stations require you to sign up for an account on their network before making a payment, while others simply accept a credit card like a gas station. Even better, some car and charging networks let you simply plug in – the car and the station talk to each other, exchange your credit card information and it goes away. Nice and easy.

However, there is a decent chance that you will get some amount of free charging. For example, customers of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV get $ 500 credit for charging the EVgo network, while anyone who buys the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 will get two years of free unlimited 30-minute fast charging sessions at Electrified America stations. You can see more details in our specific guide here for free EV charging divided by car brand.

Tesla famously offered free, lifetime charges to early Model S buyers on its supercharger network, but it ended in early 2017. Tesla drivers now manage to pay for their time at the supercharger via a credit card linked to their Tesla account, which the car communicates with them. Charging station after plug in.

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