Isn’t it downright confusing?
You want to switch from gasoline to an electric vehicle (EV), and all the information on EVs and how they work is already overwhelming. Then again, you hear about level 3 EV charging stations. What does that even mean?
If this is you, you’ve picked the right article, and there’s no need to keep flustering. Secondly, level 3 EV charging stations might not be for you, or it might – more on that later.
The race to reduce the carbon footprint of fossil fuel cars has been on for a while now, and the traction is commendable. Heck, my grandmother wants to get one.
However, considering possible charging scenarios and their implications is undoubtedly worth its while. If you must enjoy your EV ride, you might as well put its charging possibilities into perspective.
I. What is Level 3 EV Charging?
Charging an EV battery to full capacity can take a few hours to 25 hours. It depends on your battery’s power and how far you’ve depleted its charge. However, the critical deciding factor is the charging station you’ve employed to charge it. Naturally, Level 3 charging stations are the fastest way to charge your EV battery, irrespective of the size and the level of depletion. It is faster than level 1 and level 2, making it only minutes to get your battery from 0 – 80 %. Nevertheless, you might not be able to take advantage of this charging level as certain factors like the power and infrastructure required for it are usually above the one provided for residential dwellings.
II. What is the difference between Level 3, Rapid, Fast, Ultra-fast, and DC Charging?
The terms and words often used in an emerging industry can sometimes be confusing as professionals might not quickly agree on a generally accepted term. Several terms might be referring to the same thing as the case with the EV industry. The term rapid charging can also be called level 3 charging by someone else, while another can refer to it as DC charging and yet another as fast charging or even ultra-fast charging. However, the concept of these charging terms is that the charging station converts the current from the grid or supply source before transferring it to the EV.
III. Is Level 3 Charging Suitable for Any Electric Vehicles?
The capacity of different EV battery differs and mostly dictate the amount of electric power input it can handle. While some can take as much as 430KW, some can only handle 70KW and, as such, might not be advisable to subject such to level 3 charging. On the other hand, Tesla can handle level 3 charging stations as their proprietary charging station, also known as Superchargers, are high-powered chargers.
IV. What do you Need to Know When Investing in Level 3 Charging Stations?
One type of individual that goes for level 3 charging stations is investors who want to set up a public charging station as a business. But the thing is, specific requirements must be fulfilled before they can successfully set up this business. These requirements include
Budget – The cost of setting up and running a level 3 charging station can be significantly high, especially when compared with levels 1 and 2 charging stations. It can be as high as 15,000 to 50,000 US dollars which does not cover specialized infrastructure, special equipment, and maintenance costs.
Unique infrastructure – The 480 volts of electricity required for a level 3 charging station is far above what residents and municipalities obtain. As such, it will require special infrastructure built with the help of the local power distribution authority. Also, the need for safety will require a special plot to locate this charging station.
Versatility – Since level 3 charging plugs are different for different brands of EVs based on the country of manufacture. The need to install it with options for other brands of EV, including CHAdeMO, SAE J1772, Tesla, and CCS, to be able to use it will be a factor to consider.
V. Is Level 3 Charging Suitable for Your Home?
Every EV charging station is manufactured with a power requirement and charging capacity and, as such, has its limits. The suitability of a particular charging station, regardless of its charging speed, is subject to specific critical requirements. Other factors that determine the suitability of a charging station include
- Charging Speed – While the charging speed is essential, it should not be isolated as the most crucial factor in selecting a charging station for your home. In most cases, home charging stations are often used overnight as it is the resting time of the day with lower off-peak tariffs.
- Electrical Capacity – while the first 80% of a battery can build up fast, the last 20% can still take more than 1 hour to complete as it begins to charge slowly to save the battery’s lifespan. Also, the power grid can be unnecessarily stressed since home supplies are not often built to discharge power at the high rate required by level 3 charging stations.
- Cost – Installing level 3 charging stations is pretty expensive, and the infrastructure required can be very demanding.
- Actual Needs – Charging at home is usually done at night when the load demand on the grid is less. This approach often takes away the need to rush the charging, and the battery would have been filled between a period of 6 to 7 hours. Hence, there is usually no need to get a level 3 charger as a level 1 or 2 can adequately do the job.
VI. Understand the Difference Between Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3
The main difference between the three levels of charging boils down to their charging speed, which depends on the output of power from these charging stations. The higher the energy produced by the charger, the faster the battery charges.
- Level 1: Your Basic Wall Plug
As the slowest of the three types of charging stations, the Level 1 charger has the lowest power output, between 1.3 to 2.4KW. The reason is that the power supplied to the home charging socket is about 120 volts making it the slowest charger.
- Level 2: Perfect for Home and Commercial Uses
Even though a level 2 charging station is faster than a level 1, it’s still less than half the speed of a level 3. Its charging output is around 7.4 to 22KW, and you’ll often find it in most parking lots and public charging stations. However, it only takes one hour to charge a 75 miles range.
- Level 3: The Awesome Road Trip EV Charger
Being the fastest charging station, the level 3 can charge an EV battery with an output of 50 to 350 KW giving up to a 298-mile range for an hour of charging using a 350kW output.
In the end, you want to critically examine your requirements of cost, actual need, electric capacity, and charging speed when thinking of installing a level 3 charging station in your home. Since using a level 1 charging station often uses an off-peak period throughout the night to get the job done, installing a level 3 charger in your home might not be necessary. Ultimately, once your charging needs are met, the remaining requirements will often be met. Now that you know what a level 3 charging station can do and how to assess its suitability, what is your next move?