Two Nissan Leaf EV vehicles charge at different stations.

What’s the difference between level 2 and level 3 EV charging?

If you’ve been getting interested in the world of EV vehicles and the apparatus used to power them, you’ve probably come across the monikers Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Level 1 seems to be falling to the wayside, and the phrases most commonly on electric drivers’ lips these days are “level 2” and “level 3.”

What do these “levels” refer to? What’s the difference between level 2 and level 3 chargers?

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The main differences between level 2 and level3 EV charging set-ups are the charge speeds, voltage levels, and plug types. The designation can apply to both public and personal chargers. Both level 2 and level 3 are different from level 1 in that they take more effort to set up and are only compatible with 240-volt outlets. They cannot be plugged into a standard 120-volt-rated outlet.

Level 2 EV Chargers

Level 2 chargers are currently the most popular choice for home and public use. These stations typically provide 10 to 20 driving miles per hour to your vehicle. Some provide more.

The residential version of level 2 chargers has a 240-volt AC plug. The commercial version has a 208-volt plug.

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Level 3 EV Chargers

Level 3 chargers are also referred to as a “DC fast charger” or “CHAdeMO charger.” As you probably guessed, this level of charging station will juice up your EV the fastest.

The speed of a level 3 charger is due to both its 480 volts of strength and DC plug configuration, which sends electric currently directly to the vehicle’s battery. This results in a charge rate of 40 to 50 miles per 10 minutes.

Level 3 chargers are generally reserved for commercial use, as installation requires more effort and expertise. Note that they are not compatible with all EVs.

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