How valuable is a level 2 EV charger? This is a common question we receive from buyers of EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The answer is yes. 85% of the EV chargers we sell are level 2 EV chargers and increasingly, given the size of batteries for even plug-in hybrids, we see level 1 EV chargers being a backup in the vehicle trunk only. I break down the price difference, convenience, and value of a level 2 EV charger versus a level 1 residential EV charger.
A level 2 EV charger is a charging station that typically provides a charge range of 20-28 miles of range per hour of charging. It will run at a voltage between 208 volts and 240 volts, and it will typically connect to a 14-50 NEMA receptacle, 6-50 NEMA receptacle, or hardwire 48 amp EV charger directly into the electrical panel.
#1 Value of a level 2 EV charger – Speed, i.e., faster full charges
A level 2 EV charger will charge a typical full electric vehicle in 6-8 hours. A level 1 EV charger will typically take 20-30 hours, depending on the size of the EV’s battery.
A level 2 EV charger will charge an EV at least 5 to 8 times quicker than a level EV charger. A level 2 EV charger is typically only about $100 more than a level 1 EV charger.
#2 Value of a level 2 EV charger – Convenience
A level 2 EV charger will help avoid the need to use commercial EV charging stations. In my experience and listening to customers, commercial EV charging stations are unreliable (broken, payment problems), are often busy or are very heavy. Fast charges from a level 2 EV charger will provide full charges more quickly to avoid reliance on commercial EV charging stations.
#3 Value of a level 2 EV charger – Peace of mind
As an EV owner, the number one uncertainty is range. An overnight charge (when you are asleep anyway) will always result in a full charge. Most EVs have a range of 195 to 260 miles, so you have peace of mind with a level 2 EV charger when you hop in your vehicle.
#4 Value of a level 2 EV charger – Reliability
I have found some articles talking about level 2 EV chargers being more reliable than level 1 EV chargers. The failure rates of both types is approximately the same. Level 2 EV chargers are more reliable since they are installed on a dedicated circuit, which means other appliances are not added to the circuit, which can result in reduced power or a circuit trip. Level 1 EV chargers are on a regular 5-15 3-pin residential circuit.
In summary, a level 2 EV charger is a purchase that will pay itself back many times over, providing speed, convenience, and reliability. A level 2 EV charger will also save money over time since it allows you to complete an overnight charge at electricity rates of $0.06 – $0.12 cents per hour compared to peak times which a level 1 EV charger would inevitably use to complete a full charge (these can be 3 to 4.5x the costs of super off-peak overnight EV charging.
P.S. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have further questions. Happy to help.