Most people have had the experience of fueling their car up at the pump. We have all lost the gas cap, pulled into the station on the wrong side, and wondered if the static electricity from getting out of your car will really light a fire and cause a 3-block wide explosion. While we can all relate to this on one level or another, most people can’t relate to plugging in their car to charge. So, it’s a good idea to understand the different types of EV chargers and how you can prepare your home or business for the future of electric cars and understand the micro real estate that underlies the EV chargers.
As the world shifts to electric vehicles (EV), many are at a loss when it comes to what to do at a charging station and if there’s a difference. Unlike gas-powered cars, EVs only need one type of electricity, because there only is one type of electricity. But that doesn’t solve any of the confusion. When it comes to EVs, there are different models that require different charging connectors. Further, there are different types of EV chargers altogether.
While you may not have an EV just yet, that doesn’t mean you can ignore these worldwide changes. Businesses, homes, apartment buildings, and all types of properties are now installing EV chargers to prepare for the future of transportation. In response to the change, many property owners see an opportunity in installing EV chargers. EV chargers bring in additional business, they add value for existing customers, and can even mean additional revenue streams.
While the EV and EV charger markets are foreign to most, they won’t be for much longer. Rather than falling behind the times, here is an overview of the different types of EV chargers and how business owners should prepare for the change (and how micro real estate is leading the charge!)
The Three Different Types of EV Chargers
As of 2022, there are three types, (often called levels) of EV charging, although Elon Musk could change this with a tweet (we’ve seen it). For clarity, these levels are simply named Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also called DC Fast). In general, the higher level of the charger, the faster the EV will charge, and the more power is delivered to the EV. As the Level of the charger increase, so does the investment required to install it, but also the more money that it could potentially return.
The rate at which these EV chargers can charge an EV can depend on the make of the charger and the EV itself. For EV chargers, this can fluctuate due to how well the EV charger is maintained, the technology being used, the grid the EV charger works on, and other technical factors. Further, EVs can charge at varying speeds since each EV is built to accept different levels of power differently.
When an EV is plugged into an EV charger, the EV and EV charger work simultaneously to optimize the charging experience. The EV tells the charger how much energy is needed, and the charger determines how fast it can charge the car based on its current energy access and the capabilities of the EV model. Therefore, there is never a need to worry that an EV will be overcharged. Simply put, the EV will not allow the charger to deliver an excess of power, which is a good liability mitigation for micro CRE owners too.
Level 1 Charging: 120-Volt
Locations: Home & Public
Charging Speed: 3 to 5 miles per hour of charging
Connectors: Tesla, J1772
Level 1 chargers are the most common in households since they can use a basic 120-volt household outlet. Luckily, any EV can use a Level 1 charger that can be plugged into any regular wall outlet. Level 1 chargers are the slowest chargers and can take days to fully charge an EV. On average, a Level 1 charger will add between 3 and 5 miles of power per hour of charging.
Level 1 charging is a great option for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) since they have smaller batteries. However, when it comes to regular EVs, the batteries are too big to be charged in a reasonable amount of time and can take up to 40 hours to fully charge more modern EVs. While Level 1 chargers are good for EV drivers who drive short distances, they are not practical for homes or businesses that are looking to service modern EVs.
Level 2 Charging: 208-Volt to 240-Volt
Locations: Home & Public
Charging Speed: 12 to 80 miles per hour of charging
Connectors: Tesla, J1772
Level 2 chargers are the most common found in public and are perfect for businesses and property owners (including rental properties like VRBOs). Level 2 charging is expensive to acquire since it needs additional equipment, even at home. While it is more expensive to install than Level 1 chargers, it can be installed anywhere there is electricity, including office buildings, public parks, residential areas, and depending on the proximity to a 240V power source, it may be inexpensive enough for many homeowners.
Level 2 chargers are perfect for commuters who are looking to charge their EVs while running errands or sitting at their desk at work. Level 2 chargers can give an EV anywhere from 12 to 80 miles of power per hour charging, an immense upgrade from Level 1 chargers. This means that most EVs can get a full charge between 8 to 14 hours depending on the EV and EV charger’s capabilities.
Level 2 chargers can deliver up to 80 amps of power, but it requires an upgrade to the existing infrastructure. These upgrades mean that a 100-amp dedicated circuit with its supply line is needed when installing a Level 2 charger. However, some owners opt for less powerful EV charging capabilities and limit the charger to only delivering 40 amps of power. This can help lower the cost of infrastructure upgrades since less expensive circuits are required.
Level 3 Charging: 400-Volt to 900-Volt (Supercharging & DC Fast Charging)
Locations: Public only
Charging Speed: 3 to 20 miles per minute of charging
Connectors Used: Tesla, Combined Charging System (Combo), & CHAdeMO
Level 3 charging is the most advanced EV charger on the market. With the ability to give EVs a full charge in less than an hour, this level of EV charger is the most competitive when compared to traditional gas fueling stations. Unlike Level 1 and Level 2 EV chargers that use alternating current (AC), Level 3 chargers take advantage of direct current (DC). Because of this technological shift, the voltage experienced for Level 3 chargers is much higher in comparison.
Since the technology is so new, expensive, and demands a lot of energy, it is extremely rare to find Level 3 chargers in the home, for now. While this could change in the future, it would require homes to have a high-voltage supply of energy which would be huge, expensive upgrades to the public electrical grid.
Level 3 chargers are not cheap and can cost businesses tens of thousands of dollars. While your business or property might want the newest technology out there, it may not be feasible or wise. Fast chargers are great for long road trips but aren’t quite necessary for driving around town.
For instance, when you fill your tank up now, do you always buy a full tank? Even if you do, the point is that many drivers don’t need a full tank to get home, and the same is true with EVs. If your property is looking to invest in EVs, Level 2 chargers are likely the best place to start as they are affordable and give your customers the charge, they need to continue their day and get home to their charger.
EV Charger FAQs
Can all EVs use the same type of EV charging connector?
No, but there are only a few that are in circulation. Currently, in the U.S., there are two types of EV charging connectors used for Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, the J1772 connector, known as the “J-Plug” and the Tesla connector. For Level 3 chargers, there are three types of connectors that are used, the Tesla, the Combo (see above), and the CHAdeMO.
Most businesses with EV chargers will likely have a J-plug on their EV charger unless there is a Tesla charging station on your lot. In that case, businesses may want to have a Tesla charging adapter on hand to accommodate Tesla owners. However, most Tesla owners already own a charging adapter. Further, you should not have to worry about Level 3 chargers for the foreseeable future.
This is important for businesses to understand since so many EVs on the road are Teslas. While Tesla owns and operates its own EV charging network, it is recommended that businesses be prepared to accommodate Teslas.
Can a Level 2 Charger be Installed in a Home?
Luckily, most homes in the U.S. can easily add a Level 2 charger in their home without the need to upgrade their electrical infrastructure. The only requirement is that a Level 2 charger needs a dedicated 240-volt circuit similar to those needed for an electric clothes dryer.
The other good news about Level 2 chargers is that they’re relatively easy to install, at least compared to the cost of the EV itself. Level 2 chargers typically cost around $250 to $1,000 for the equipment and another $200 to $1,000 for installation services. However, installation can become costly if you need to add an additional circuit or make any other major electrical upgrades.
What level of charging cable came with my EV?
Every EV comes with a portable charger connector so you can use your EV at almost any EV charger. Some cables are Level 1, but most newer models are Level 2. The cables you receive are likely all you need, but it can depend on the level of chargers you have access to and the model of your EV. EV owners should check the power output of their common chargers and compare it to their charging needs based on how many miles they drive in a typical day or week.
Can any EV use a Tesla Supercharger?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. While Tesla owns and operates the most expansive EV charging network, including fast chargers, Tesla superchargers only work for Teslas. Further, there is no adapter or way for other EVs to connect to Tesla superchargers that are currently available.
What is the Typical Cost to Charge on a Level 3 Charger?
Almost all Level 3 chargers are owned and operated by private companies that can change the price of electricity depending on grid demands, consumer demands, and other factors. Not only can the pricing vary, but how the customer is charged can vary as well. Some companies charge the customer by how long the vehicle is connected to the charger while other companies charge by the amount of power transferred to the vehicle – it may also need to be clarified who pays for the insurance of the EV charger in the contract between the property owner and the EV charging company.
Charging your EV on a Level 3 charger will always cost more than charging it on a Level 1 or Level 2 charger, usually 2 to 3 times as much. When charged at this rate, fueling your EV exclusively from a Level 3 charger can be just as expensive as fueling your car on gasoline.
Are there Ways to Lower the Cost of Level 2 Chargers?
Similar to gas companies with their credit card incentives, Level 3 charging companies do offer incentives to returning customers. Rather than issuing credit cards with money back for gas purchases, EV charging companies commonly offer memberships that offer fueling discounts.
Like the gas companies, these memberships are competitive and only apply to a company’s EV chargers, making it difficult for drivers. Further, it usually doesn’t pay for drivers to have multiple memberships since the savings on electricity would likely never outweigh the cost of multiple subscriptions.
Depending on the EV you have, your automaker may offer discounted fueling prices with different EV charger companies. Therefore, before signing up for any membership, you should check with your automaker, which EV chargers are in your area, and if any EV charger companies are offering deals on memberships.
Preparing Your Business for the EV Generation
Whether you like it or not, the future of transportation is electric. Every business and home will likely have EV charging capabilities over the next few decades, and some new proptech companies and Leptonic, Inc. are working on the transition. While the technology is still relatively new and costly compared to traditional methods, there is plenty that businesses can do now to prepare and an EV charging station locator business can help.
While Level 3 chargers are the best technology out there, Level 2 chargers are more affordable and still well equipped to handle the needs of many EV owners. Within an hour, Level 2 chargers can give most EVs up to 80 miles of range, which is more than enough to get home from running errands or commuting from work. If you’re a business or property owner looking to jump on the EV train, installing a Level 2 EV charger is a great investment to produce ancillary income. So, the different types of EV chargers certainly make a difference for future proofing your home or business and if your business is real estate, there is ample opportunity in Micro Real Estate.
If your business is one of the best places to put EV charging stations, then what are you waiting for?