Guide To EV Chargers: Types of Charging & Their Pros and Cons

Highlights :

  • EV chargers come in three types – Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also known as DC Fast Chargers)
Guide To EV Chargers: Types of Charging & Their Pros and Cons

Electric Vehicle (EV) started its impressive run a few years back and took the automobile industry by storm. About 10.5 million new BEVs and PHEVs were added during 2022 alone, an increase of about 55 per cent compared to 2021 (6.5 million). With the new mobility technology on roads came new “refuelling” technology as well – the EV chargers. As per International Energy Agency (IEA), the publicly accessible chargers worldwide approached 1.8 million charging points in 2021. In addition, there are private in-garage charging points as well.

Have you ever wondered what exactly this EV charger is, and how it charges up an EV? Is it as simple as charging your cell phone or is it a more complex phenomenon? This article will answer everything you need to know about EV chargers.

EV Charger – What is it?

An electric vehicle derives its electric energy from batteries. Its battery is the most crucial component of any electric vehicle. The price of an EV is impacted mostly by the battery compared to any other component. These batteries are charged using EV chargers.

At its most basic, an EV charger pulls an electric current either from an outlet, at homes or garages, or from the grid it’s connected to and delivers that electricity to the vehicle, just like any other appliance or device you charge by plugging into the wall.

Levels of EV charging

An electric vehicle can be charged using various types/levels of chargers – Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 (also known as DC fast charging or Rapid charging). Based on the type of charger, the charging time may vary – from over 30 hours of charging (Level 1 chargers) to about 30 minutes (DC fast chargers). The vehicle can be charged at a home charging station, a public charging station, or at a workplace charging station.

Level 1 EV Charging

Level 1 charging can be understood as the most basic charging type. Most EVs come with a Level 1 electric car charger which offers the slowest charging speed among the three options and is mostly used in private home charging points.

The biggest merit would be that it is a low-cost option. However, the biggest demerit is the slow charging it offers. The Level 1 charging cable uses a standard 120-volt wall plug. Owing to this, charging is extremely slow and is typically reserved for home charging during overnight hours. For instance, to charge an EV with about 300 kms of range, it will take around 35 to 50 hours to fully charge. However, Level 1 chargers are just enough for daily EV use.

Level 2 EV Charging

Compared to Level 1, Level 2 offers much faster charging and is very reliable. The charger can give EVs up to 300 kms of range in a charging time of just about 10 hours. Level 2 electric vehicle chargers use 240-volt outlets (the same kind that appliances like washers and dryers use) and are usually preferred to be installed in garages to charge the vehicles overnight. Public Level 2 charging stations are also common at locations where drivers tend to park, like workplaces or commercial parking lots. Level 2 charging can generally charge even the biggest EV batteries overnight.

IEA - Slow Publicly Available Chargers 2015-2021

IEA – Slow Publicly Available Chargers 2015-2021 (numbers in thousands)

It must be noted that an EV battery can only accept DC power. Level 1 and Level 2 chargers deliver alternating current (AC) to an electric vehicle, which is then converted to direct current (DC) by the EV battery. Level 3, or DC chargers, make an altogether different statement on this point.

Level 3 EV Charging – DCFC

Level 3 chargers are also known as direct current fast chargers (DCFC). These are the fastest charging options available as of now. Since a DCFC uses direct current instead of alternating current (AC), it bypasses the onboard charger to deliver DC power directly to the electric vehicle, with up to 400-900V of maximum power, charging the vehicle up to 80 per cent in just about 20-30 minutes. Charging speed dramatically decreases beyond 80 per cent and may take around as much time for a full charge.

IEA - Fast Publicly Available Chargers 2015-2021

IEA – Fast Publicly Available Chargers 2015-2021 (numbers in thousands)

However, DC fast charging generates heat and increases battery temperature. It is generally advised to not use DC fast charging which has the potential to impact EV battery life adversely. It must also be noted that EV batteries have an acceptance rate, or maximum power rating, which limits them to a specific number of kilowatts they can accept. Plus, DC fast charging is expensive. However, Level 3 chargers are particularly great for time-conscious road-trippers or urban drivers who can’t easily refuel at home.

Different Types of EV Plugs

EVs feature unique charge terminals that resemble outlets on the vehicle. The plug you use to connect your EV can have different shapes. Knowing what type of plug your automobile uses is essential because not all public charging stations will work with all plug types.


EV Chargers Plugs

Except for a Tesla, most EVs (Level 1 and Level 2) use a J1772 socket for charging (also known as a J-plug). Except for Tesla cars, EVs (again) use either CCS (which stands for “combined charging system” and is the most prevalent) or CHAdeMO plugs for quick Level 3 DCFC, depending on the brand of the vehicle. For all types of charging—including at Tesla Supercharger stations—Teslas use the same specialised plug. They also include a J1772 adaptor as standard.

"Want to be featured here or have news to share? Write to info[at]

Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.