Ownership: Electric car charging 101 - PressFrom - US

OwnershipElectric car charging 101

01:05  27 february  2019
01:05  27 february  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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~95% of electric car charging is done at home. There are a couple of common ways to charge at home. One is to simply plug into a standard If you want to charge faster, you probably want a home charging station (aka “ Electric Vehicle Service Equipment,” or EVSE) — I know, it’s a weird name.

Level 2 chargers allow you to charge your electric car in just a few hours while you sleep, work, enjoy a meal, or spend time with your family. Benefits of Level 2 charging : + Charge nearly 3 to 5 times faster than a Level 1 cordset and get more miles in less time.*

lt's telling that you're sending me emails asking if your current EV charger will work with the Bolt/Leaf/Tesla/Taycan that you're buying next. First, it shows that EV dealers obfuscate charge compatibility (something I've experienced myself in researching this topic), and second, it shows that the EV market has matured to the point that it has a number of sequential buyers, just like the traditional car market.

Here's a quick summary of the connections and charges that are out there for electric cars.

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3. WORKPLACE CHARGING . Some companies have installed electric car chargers in their garages and parking lots for their employees’ use. They’re most typically Level 2 chargers , which is not particularly a disadvantage considering a car can be connected over the course of an

EVSE First, that thing on your garage wall or sticking up in a parking lot that you call a charger is probably not a charger. It's an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment, or EVSE, device. Basically, a smart outlet. The charger itself is in your car, carefully designed and mated to the specific battery it uses.

Electric car charging 101 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. EVSE

The first task your car's built-in charger tackles is taking the AC current supplied at most charging locations and converting it to the DC current that batteries can ingest. This is similar to what your phone's charger does with AC from a wall outlet, converting it to the 5.0 volts DC that is part of the USB standard. Unfortunately, electric cars don't have a spec like USB to make their charging uniform.

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Electric car batteries use DC power, so the AC power that comes from a home needs to be converted to DC before it can be used by the car . EVSE stands for Electric Vehicle Service Equipment and is a fancy term for the charging equipment that will be installed in your home.

Electric car charging 101 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. J1772

AC or DC, there are three levels of EV charge:

Level 1

Electric car charging 101 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. vlcsnap-2019-02-22-15h40m11s331

This is basically 120V AC house current, capable of up to two kilowatts of power. It's a survival charge, good enough to get sufficient range to drive to a Level 2 charger. If you need a full charge from Level 1, book a room. It will take 24 hours or more for most EVs.
Electric car charging 101 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. vlcsnap-2019-02-22-15h40m22s704

Level 2

This is a charge from a 240V AC source, capable of up to 90 kilowatts of power. This level of charge is what carmakers are talking about when they say you can fully charge overnight, typically within six to eight hours.

Level 3

This one is a little messy. It can refer to a 480V AC connection, continuing the pattern of doubling the voltage available in each successive charge level, but in the US, Level 3 usually means a DC power source. It's very powerful and requires no messy, inefficient conversion from AC. Tesla Superchargers are the best known example of Level 3, putting out 120 kilowatts of direct current. Porsche has said they will up the Level 3 ante with 350 kilowatt Level 3 charge locations when the Taycan arrives, and Tesla has plans to beef up their Superchargers in 2019. The key to these and other forms of Level 3 DC charging is a charge measured in minutes, not hours.

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Electric cars cost more than conventional, combustion engine vehicles (not for long though), yet the costs of charging are much lower than of fueling with gasoline. Read more about charging power, range anxiety and other charging necessities: check out other EV Charging 101 posts from our blog.

Electric car owners often hold multiple charging station provider accounts to cover various needs when traveling. If you only drive your EV in and around the city, a ChargePoint account is Electric vehicle drivers who hope to save time with DC fast- charging will usually pay more for the convenience.

Electric car charging 101 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. vlcsnap-2019-02-22-15h40m30s844

Now, to connect to any level of charge source in the US, you'll need one of the four major charge connectors.


Clumsily named after a Society of Automotive Engineers specification number, J1772 is the most common charge connector in the US and can transfer either Level 1 or Level 2 power levels.

It has three large pins that correspond to AC line, neutral and ground, just like your power cords at home, and two smaller pins for data communications between the car and EVSE.


Add a couple of DC fast-charge pins to the bottom of a J1772 and you get what's called a CCS or Combined Charging System connector.

It's sort of an ungainly thing with those grafted-on DC charge pins, but it's good enough for Porsche which will use it in the new Taycan.


This connector probably would have vanished from the US EV market were it not for Nissan using it alongside J1772 in the Leaf, still the best selling EV of all time.

CHAdeMO is a DC fast-charge connector only, with two big pins carrying DC current and two quad-pin data terminals for analog and digital communication. The Tokyo Electric Power Company explained CHAdeMO's cryptic name as "a pun for 'O cha demo ikaga desuka' in Japanese, meaning 'Let's have a tea while charging.'" I kid you not.

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EV Charging Etiquette. Types of Electric Vehicles . EVgo has an electric car fast charging station nearby to fast charge your BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, Tesla or other EV. Why EVgo. Exclusive Offers. EV Charging 101 .

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Then there's Tesla

Tesla has the most elegant charge connector of all. It's proprietary, of course, packing in pins for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 DC charging along with data communication, all in a slim, elegant handle.

You won't find Tesla's connector at any non-Tesla charge location, however, but they provide an adapter to translate the common J1772 connector pins into a Tesla connector.

Third-party EV charge companies tell me there's a further twist to charging a Tesla Model 3: If you go to a non-Tesla Level 3 charge location the car won't accept the fast charge due to a blocked data handshake. Tesla could conceivably change that at any time with a software update but until then, you'll need to find a Tesla Supercharger if you want to do a major charge on your Model 3 in minutes, not hours.

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