Wondering About Level 2 vs. Level 3 EV Charging? Here’s What You Should Know
EV charging options are highly flexible, and can accommodate the individual needs of homeowners, business owners, and property managers. However, with many options available, you may be wondering about the differences between common EV charging options, such as level 2 vs. level 3 charging capabilities.
At TCA Electric, we install a wide range of electric vehicle charging stations to suit the needs of commercial and residential buildings alike. This includes many popular brands such as FLO, ChargePoint, and Tesla, as well as different classes of EV chargers. If you’re interested in EV charger installation, here’s what you need to know about Level 2 vs. Level 3 charging.
What’s the Difference Between Level 2 vs. Level 3 Charging?
The primary difference when comparing Level 2 vs. Level 3 charging is speed. As the name implies, Level 3 EV chargers provide more charge in less time compared to Level 2 chargers.
A Level 2 charger can typically charge an electric vehicle within 4–10 hours of charging. The precise amount of time depends on a wide range of factors, including which Level 2 charger you have, what EV you own, and how low the batter was when you began charging.
Level 3 chargers work much faster. Also called “direct current fast charging,” or DCFC, Level 3 chargers can fully charge an EV within 20–30 minutes on average. This is significantly faster than a Level 2 charger and adds incredible convenience to the electric vehicle ownership experience.
Why Are Level 3 Chargers So Much Faster?
The secret to Level 3 chargers’ fast charging lies in the name: direct current. Rather than using alternating current (or AC) like Level 2 chargers, Level 3 chargers provide more power in a shorter amount of time by converting AC to DC, or direct current.
The difference in the amount of power they can provide is striking. While the average Level 2 charger can deliver around 12 kW of power per hour, and up to 19.2 kW with the fastest chargers, Level 3 chargers can provide anywhere from 50–150 kW of power, depending on whether your EV allows it.
Are Level 3 Chargers Worth It?
With great power comes great cost. While the speed of Level 3 charging is truly impressive, the upfront cost of installation will be prohibitively expensive for most homeowners.
Installing a single Level 3 charging port will typically cost at least $50,000, and often much more than that as major upgrades will be required to the building’s electrical systems to support the power demands. This difference in cost is significant, and the improved charging time simply doesn’t make up for the difference in most situations.
Level 2 vs. Level 3 Charging: Which Is Best?
That said, there are certainly situations where Level 3 charging makes more sense. While homeowners will find these chargers prohibitively expensive, those looking to add EV charging to a workplace, multifamily property, or public parking spaces may see major benefits.
When it comes to workplace EV charging in particular, Level 3 charging stations may be necessary to convert a full fleet of vehicles from gas to electric. Businesses that rely heavily on vehicles to transport goods and materials simply can’t wait 4–10 hours to recharge their vehicles. In these cases, the convenience and cost savings in the long term are more likely to make up for the upfront cost of these systems.
For homeowners, however, the winner between Level 2 vs. Level 3 charging is usually pretty clear: a Level 2 charger still makes the most sense, at least until DCFC chargers become more affordable with time.
TCA Electric Installs Level 2 and Level 3 Charging Stations!
Whether you’re a homeowner with a single EV or a business owner with a fleet that sees daily use, TCA Electric is the leading EV charging expert here in Vancouver. We have experience installing all types of EV charging systems, and our team of licensed and qualified electricians is happy to work with you to plan your new charging setup.
If you’re looking to free yourself—or your business—from the gas pump, reach out to our team today!