Electric car charging explained

Electric vehicle charging is split into three broad categories for EVs – the higher the level the faster the charge.

Level 1 – electric car charger

Level 1 is the slowest type of charging and is for when you only need to top your electric vehicle up. Level 1 chargers are your basic power outlet in the wall.

The Hyundai Kona will take about 29 hours to charge when using a basic power outlet. If you’re not driving much, or don’t plan to drive every day the slow charger should be enough to make sure that your electric car has the charge it needs to get you where you need to go.

Level 2 – electric car charger

Level 2 charging has a dedicated electrical circuit for charging and will charge an EV much faster than just a standard wall outlet. These are the most common types of chargers for home charging and public charging, and can range in speed from 3.6kW – 22kW. Level 2 chargers use an EV’s on-board charger to charge – so the speed that each electric car will charge will be determined by the on board charger capacity.

As part of our EV pilot we have installed a level 2 home charger in each of our EV pilot participants homes. Using a level 2 charger, the Hyundai Kona will charge in about 10 hours to full with its on-board 7.2kW charger. That means coming home and plugging the Kona in to charge overnight will mean that the car will be at nearly maximum charge each day.

Level 3 – electric car charger

Level 3 charging is the fastest category of EV chargers. These charging stations are known as ‘rapid chargers’ and by-pass an EVs on-board charger, using direct current (DC) to directly charge an EV. That means the higher the capacity of the charger, the faster an EV using a level 3 charger will charge.

The Hyundai Kona that we are using in our EV pilot can plug into a level 3 rapid charger up to 100kW – which will charge it to 80% in an impressive 53 minutes!

What electricc car charging level is best for me?

It really depends on how you’re using the electric vehicle and where you’re going. For EVs remember that you’re not heading to a petrol station periodically, but you’ll be plugging in the EV to ‘top up’ often. So for most people, getting a level 2 charger installed at their home means that their electric vehicle will be fully charged after plugging it in overnight.