A Complete Guide to Level 2 Charging Stations

Recent Posts
California Drivers Express Concern with Lack of EV Charging Stations
ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week 2024
Russia's Increased Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
The Rise of EV Charging Stations in Nigeria
The Need for Increased EV Charging Infrastructure
Chinese Enterprises Shine at the Smarter E Europe Exhibition
A Complete Guide to Level 2 Charging Stations

A Level 2 charging station, also known as Level 2 EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment), refers to equipment that can charge an electric vehicle’s battery much faster than a regular 120V outlet. Level 2 stations operate on 208-240V power and typically deliver 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging.

Compared to Level 1 charging, which operates on 120V household power and only provides 2-5 miles of range per hour, Level 2 charging is 3-6 times faster. However, Level 2 is still considerably slower than Level 3 DC fast charging stations that can add 60-200 miles of range in 15-30 minutes.

The maximum power for Level 2 charging is 19.2kW, though most home Level 2 charging stations operate at 3.3-7.2kW. This allows an EV battery to be fully recharged overnight in most cases. The most common Level 2 connectors are SAE J1772 and Tesla. J1772 is considered the North American standard for Level 1 and Level 2 AC charging.

Level 2 stations provide a nice middle ground between the slow trickle charge of Level 1 and the blazing fast speeds of DC fast charging. For many EV owners who charge primarily at home, Level 2 delivers sufficient overnight charging speed. Level 2 stations are also widely deployed in public locations like parking garages, shopping centers, and workplaces.

Benefits of Level 2 Charging Stations

Level 2 charging stations offer faster charging speeds than Level 1 charging, while still being more affordable and widely available compared to Level 3 fast charging stations. This makes Level 2 a good middle ground option for many EV owners.

Some key benefits of Level 2 charging stations include:

  • Faster Charging Than Level 1: Level 2 stations can charge EVs around 2 to 5 times faster than Level 1, with charging speeds of around 10-20 miles of range per hour. This allows EV drivers to charge in a few hours, rather than potentially over half a day with Level 1.
  • More Affordable Than Level 3: Installing a Level 2 station at home costs around $500-$800 on average, significantly cheaper than the $15,000-$50,000 for commercial DC fast charging stations. The charging units themselves also cost less than Level 3.
  • Wide Availability: Level 2 stations are commonly found in public places like shopping centers, parking garages, airports and workplaces. Many EV drivers also install Level 2 charging at home for overnight charging. This wide availability makes finding a Level 2 station convenient.

So for drivers that need faster charging than Level 1 can provide, but don’t necessarily need ultra-fast Level 3 speeds, Level 2 offers a nice middle ground both for public and home charging. The faster speeds compared to Level 1 plus the affordability and availability of Level 2 stations make them a popular choice for many EV owners.

Drawbacks of Level 2 Charging Stations

Level 2 charging stations have some drawbacks compared to faster Level 3 charging stations. The main drawback is that Level 2 charging is slower. While Level 3 charging can add hundreds of miles of range per hour, Level 2 will only add around 10-20 miles of range per hour. This means fully recharging an electric vehicle with a Level 2 station can take many hours.

Another drawback is that Level 2 charging stations require some installation and possibly electrical upgrades. Most homes will need a 240-volt outlet installed to support a Level 2 charger, which adds to the upfront cost. Businesses and public charging networks also require permits, construction, and electrical work to install Level 2 chargers. Overall, Level 2 charging stations are less convenient compared to Level 3 fast charging, but provide a balance of speed and affordability.

Cost of Level 2 Charging Stations

Level 2 charging stations require more hardware and installation costs compared to slower Level 1 charging options, but provide faster charging speeds. Here’s a breakdown of the costs associated with Level 2 charging stations:

Hardware Costs

The charging unit itself ranges from $400 to $1000 depending on the brand and features. Higher-end networked stations with wifi connectivity, mobile apps, and intelligent charging capabilities cost more. The charging cable is around $300-500.

Other hardware like the mounting stand, connectors, and cable management add another $100-300. Additional costs come from electrical components like the circuit breaker, wiring, and conduit for a hardwired station.

Installation Costs

A basic Level 2 installation with an existing 240V outlet nearby can cost $500-1000 for parts and labor. Running new wiring and conduit from the electrical panel raises costs to $1200-2500. Commercial installations are more complex and can cost $3000-$8000.

Operating Costs

Electricity costs for Level 2 charging varies by location, utility rates, and amount of usage. Charging a 60 kWh EV battery to full would use around 18 kWh and cost $2-4 depending on electricity rates. With Level 2’s faster speed, more sessions can lead to higher costs.

Maintenance is minimal but stations may need occasional software updates or replacement parts after years of use. Network fees also apply for stations with cellular/wifi connectivity.

Installation of Level 2 Charging Stations

Installing a Level 2 charging station at home requires some electrical work and permitting. Here’s what you need to know:

Electrical Requirements

Most Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt electrical circuit, which provides more power than the 120-volt circuits used for standard wall outlets. Installing a 240-volt circuit requires running new wiring from your electrical panel to the location of the charging station. The amperage of the circuit will depend on the maximum amperage draw of the EV charger, usually between 30 to 50 amps.

Permitting

Most local jurisdictions require an electrical permit to install a 240-volt circuit for an EV charger. The homeowner will need to apply for the permit by providing details about the electrical work being done. An inspector will visit to ensure the circuit is properly installed before giving final approval.

Hiring an Electrician

Unless you have professional electrical training, hiring a licensed electrician is highly recommended for installing a Level 2 charging station. They will ensure proper wiring gauges are used, electrical codes are followed, and the installation is done safely. Make sure to get quotes from multiple electricians before selecting one.

The total cost of purchasing the charger, hiring an electrician, and getting a permit can range from $600-$1200 for a basic Level 2 installation. More complex installs with long wiring runs or multiple chargers can be more expensive. But the convenience of home charging is usually worth the investment for regular EV drivers.

Public Level 2 Charging Stations

Public Level 2 charging stations provide EV drivers with conveniently located places to charge while out and about. These stations are typically found at locations where drivers tend to park for moderate lengths of time, such as shopping centers, downtown areas, hotels, restaurants, museums, etc.

The major charging networks that operate public Level 2 stations in the U.S. include ChargePoint, EVgo, SemaConnect, Greenlots, and Electrify America. Each network has their own mobile app that EV drivers can use to locate stations, start a charging session, and make payments. Payment is commonly done through the app, RFID card, or credit card.

When using a public Level 2 station, proper etiquette is important. EV drivers should move their vehicle once fully charged to open the spot for others. It’s also courteous not to unplug someone else’s vehicle. If all stalls are occupied, wait for a spot to open rather than unplugging a vehicle before it’s finished charging. Being considerate and following posted time limits allows everyone access to these shared public charging resources.

Home Level 2 Charging Stations

Installing a Level 2 charger in your home garage is convenient for daily charging and takes advantage of lower off-peak electricity rates overnight. However, there are some important factors to consider first.

Garage Installation

The garage is the ideal location for home Level 2 charging as it protects the EV and charger from weather while charging overnight. The charger can be wall mounted or installed on a stand. Ample space is needed to maneuver the EV into position and access the charging port.

Electrical Capacity

A dedicated 40-amp to 60-amp circuit is required to deliver the power needed for Level 2 charging. An electrician must assess the home’s electrical panel and wiring to handle the increased load. Upgrades to the electrical service may be needed to support charging two EVs.

Charging Habits

Home Level 2 charging adds roughly 25 miles of range per hour of charging. So overnight charging can easily replenish a day’s worth of driving. However, charging habits must align with the capacity of the electrical system. Simultaneously running other high-wattage appliances while charging could overload the circuit. Staggering charge times is recommended for multiple EVs.

Level 2 Charging for Businesses

Installing Level 2 charging stations offers numerous benefits for companies looking to provide EV charging access to employees and customers. With more electric vehicles on the road, having charging infrastructure helps attract and retain talent while demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

Employee and Customer Charging

Providing Level 2 charging stations for employees encourages EV adoption by eliminating range anxiety during the workday. Employees can conveniently charge their EVs while at the office. Some businesses allocate certain spots for employee charging only. Others have chargers that can be used by employees and visitors. Either way, it’s a workplace perk that shows investment in employees.

For customer-facing businesses like hotels, restaurants, and retail stores, putting in Level 2 chargers provides an amenity to patrons who drive EVs. They’ll appreciate being able to top up their charge while dining, shopping or staying overnight. Offering charging access enhances customer service and satisfaction.

Load Management

With multiple EVs using Level 2 chargers, businesses must consider load management. The electrical capacity should be evaluated to handle simultaneous charging sessions without overloading the system. Load balancing systems are available to dynamically distribute power across ports. Staggering charge times is another approach, such as having employees only charge during certain periods.

Some companies install solar panels or battery storage systems to help offset EV charging loads. Especially for 24-hour businesses, managing the electrical demand is key for Level 2 charger implementation.

Promoting Sustainability

Installing EV charging stations allows companies to tout their sustainability efforts. Charging infrastructure demonstrates a commitment to reducing carbon footprints. Marketing materials can highlight the investment in green technology to attract environmentally-conscious talent and customers.

Providing electric vehicle charging access helps normalize EVs and encourages adoption. Businesses act as change agents in the transition to more sustainable transportation. For many companies, the investment pays dividends through talent acquisition, customer loyalty and public perception. It’s both good for the environment and good for business.

Level 2 Charging Station Models

Level 2 charging stations come in a variety of models from different manufacturers. Here are some of the most popular options:

ClipperCreek

ClipperCreek is one of the leading brands for Level 2 charging stations. Some of their most popular home models include:

  • HCS-40 – A compact and affordable option with a maximum power output of 32 amps. It charges EVs like the Nissan Leaf in under 4 hours.
  • LCS-25 – ClipperCreek’s smallest and most portable model at just 10 lbs. It can plug into any standard 110V outlet.
  • LCS-50 – A powerful 50 amp station that can charge Teslas and other long-range EVs faster.

Key features of ClipperCreek stations include rugged metal housing, lack of fans or vents for quiet operation, and Made in America quality.

ChargePoint

As a leading network provider, ChargePoint offers Level 2 stations designed for public, commercial, and home use. Models include:

  • Home Flex – WiFi-enabled home station with flexible power settings from 16 to 50 amps. Works with Alexa.
  • Commercial Flex – Future-proof stations for businesses, 32-80 amps. Network connected.
  • ChargePoint Express 250 – DC fast charging with 65kW power output.

ChargePoint stands out with smart technology like power management and access control features.

Tesla

Tesla offers its own proprietary Level 2 charging stations. The Wall Connector provides up to 44 amps for faster charging. It has a 24-foot cable and WiFi connectivity to Tesla accounts. There is also the Portable Connector which comes standard with Teslas for plugging into various outlet types.

New Models

Several new Level 2 models have recently been released or announced. These include:

  • Wallbox Pulsar Plus – An affordable 48-amp home station with WiFi, sleek design, and flexible power settings.
  • Siemens VersiCharge – A modular and future-proof system for residential or commercial use. Offers 20-80 amps capacity.
  • EVMatch Home – A new 40 amp station focused on customization with removable color faceplates.

As EV adoption increases, we can expect more innovation and options for Level 2 charging. Key improvements will focus on smarter technology, increased power output, and flexible configurations.

The Future of Level 2 Charging

The future looks bright for Level 2 charging as the technology improves, infrastructure expands, and policies provide more support.

Improving Technology

As EVs become more prevalent, there is increased demand for faster and more efficient Level 2 charging. Manufacturers are developing new charging stations with improved capabilities. For example, some can now charge at higher power levels like 19.2kW, providing an 80% charge in under an hour. Newer Level 2 stations also have “smart” capabilities like WiFi connectivity and apps to monitor charging status and control stations remotely. Many experts expect continued enhancements to cut charge times and boost convenience.

Expanding Infrastructure

More Level 2 charging stations are being installed to meet rising EV demand. Businesses, municipalities, homeowners, and other entities are adding charging in parking lots, curbside, garages, and driveways. Federal and local programs provide funding incentives to accelerate infrastructure growth. Industry groups project the number of public Level 2 chargers in the U.S. will grow from around 100,000 today to over 1 million by 2030. Accessibility and availability of Level 2 charging is increasing across neighborhoods, cities, highways, and regions.

Supporting Policies

Government initiatives and policies are aiming to promote Level 2 charging installation and use. Tax credits, rebates, and grants are given to offset costs. Building codes increasingly require EV charging pre-wiring and infrastructure. Regulations encourage workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, retail centers, and other facilities to provide public Level 2 charging access. Utility rate structures and demand charge exemptions make operating costs more affordable. As supportive policies spread, Level 2 charging is becoming more financially viable and compelling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *