Which EV Standard Is Right For You?
You’ve made the decision to install EV charging technology, now comes the hard part. How do you know which EV standard is right for you? There are three basic types of EV charging equipment. Each brings its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Level 1 is the lowest power charger. It uses a normal 120-volt connection, similar to a standard household outlet. It’s the slowest charging option available and tends to be more suited to overnight charging.
Use cases for these may be residential developments, office complexes, and airport parking facilities, where vehicles are parked for long periods of time. Level one chargers are by far the most affordable, typically cost between $300 and $600 each. The long charge time is a significant downside that keeps most commercial development away from this charging type.
Level 2 is the most common charging station, is 240 or 208-volt technology that can fully charge a standard commercial vehicle in anywhere from four to ten hours. Typical level 2 stations cost between $2,000 and $13,000.
Level 2 chargers are a good choice for multifamily complexes, restaurant, and retail establishments, parking facilities serving entertainment venues, and last mile fleet electrification. They may also be a good choice if you want your EV charging spaces to turn over frequently.
Level 3 charging stations are by far the fastest and most expensive. These chargers are also known as “DC Fast Chargers.” These chargers typically require 480-volt input and can charge a commercial battery electric vehicle in 20 minutes to 1 hour.
The average cost of a fully installed level 3 EV charging station is around $50,000 to $80,000, and installation will likely require coordination with a utility company to provide a new service to your site. Level 3 and greater chargers will likely find most of their use case in high-turnover situations such as interstate/roadside charging stations or where large amounts of power are required, such as first-mile fleet electrification.
Brands of vehicles that are being charged should not play a major role in your decision about which level of charger your site needs. Most OEM manufacturers use the universal level 2 J1772 connection or one of two DC CCS or Chademo connectors.
Some car manufacturers use their own proprietary connector, but most provide an adapter to allow them to charge at most level 1 and 2 stations. What type of charger your site needs should be based on how you intend to use the spaces, monetization strategies, and installation economics.