Level 2 vs. Level 3 EV Charging Stations: What’s the Difference?

As the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem has evolved to meet the various needs of drivers and their lifestyles, different kinds of EV charging stations have emerged, including Level 2 and Level 3 options. As multifamily and commercial properties explore which option aligns best with their buildings, residents and tenants, there are several key factors to consider.

Power requirements

Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt electrical source, much like an oven range or clothes dryer. Level 3 chargers require a 480-volt electrical source, which is also used to power industrial motors and heating applications. For comparison, a standard wall outlet delivers 120 volts. When selecting chargers, it’s crucial to consider the power available to the property so owners and managers can deliver solutions that are not only reliable and effective, but safe.

Level 2 Charging Station

Physical specifications

When it comes to size, a Level 2 charger is much smaller than a Level 3 charger, which can clock in at upwards of 500 pounds. Each charger is also equipped with varying plug types – a Level 2 utilizes a J1772 plug while a Level 3 uses CCS and CHAdeMo plugs.

Level 3 Charging Station

Installation cost

It’s no surprise that there is a significant cost difference between EV chargers, with a Level 3 charger potentially costing upwards of 200 times more than a Level 2 charger. A property’s overall installation cost will vary by project and depend on factors like charger specs, labor, physical placement, mounting requirements and any potential electrical upgrades that may be required. Local rebate and incentive programs often cover both charger types, though details will vary by provider.

Charging time

Drivers using a Level 2 EV charging station can typically expect to return to a fully charged car after a couple hours. A Level 3 charging station, also called Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC), can deliver a full charge in approximately 30 minutes. These timeframes are estimates and will vary based on the car and battery type.

Use case

Level 2 charging stations are most commonly found in locations of longer dwell times, like multifamily communities and office buildings. These locations enable drivers to conveniently charge their EVs while doing something else for a couple hours, like relaxing at home or working during the day. Level 3 charging stations are often found along busy transportation corridors and used by drivers who are on the go and looking to get back on the road as quickly as possible. Level 3 chargers can also be a great solution for fleet and other enterprise needs.

Partnering with Chargie

Successfully navigating these considerations will help property owners and managers determine which EV charging station works best for their building. In some cases, the right solution may be a combination of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers. Partnering with an expert provider like Chargie streamlines the process from beginning to end – we help properties design the most effective charger layout, take advantage of all rebates and incentives, handle all installation work, and manage and monitor the system 24/7. Reach out to learn more.

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