What are the Different Levels of Electric Vehicle Charging?

There’s not too much confusion on how to fill a car with gasoline. We’ve been doing it for decades, after all! That said, a lot of new people entering the electric vehicle space are trading in trips to the pump with charge sessions at electric vehicle stations. Because not everyone knows how this works, it can keep some from considering a purchase. If you know how easy and simple the process actually is, you might decide that 2022 is the year for you to finally buy an electric vehicle. Still wondering how it works? Well, don’t wonder any longer! Here’s a comprehensive look at the different levels of electric vehicle charging and how each level works.

How Many Levels of Electric Vehicle Charging Are There?

Electric vehicle (EV) charging takes place in three levels or tiers. There is Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging. Level 3 is the fastest or most powerful, but we’ll save that for later. Firstly, let’s overview how this process actually works and what you do to choose different levels.

When you plug in your EV, your car will ask you how much electricity it should take to charge itself. Essentially, you are asked what sort of level you want to charge at. This process is great because you have control over how you charge your vehicle depending on the situation you’re in. Let’s dive into how each level works and what sort of power it uses.

What Do the Different Levels of Electric Vehicle Charging Mean

Let’s start with Level 1 charging. This level is what you’ll use with a common outlet you’d find around the house. It uses 120 volts and takes about an hour to charge 3-5 miles onto your EV. If you’re doing the math in your head, then let me help you out. That’s a long time to charge for your vehicle. For that reason Level 1 charging works best with hybrid vehicles that use both electricity and gasoline.

Level 2 charging is faster, utilizing 208 to 240 volts of electricity to charge at a speed of 12-80 miles per hour. You can often find Level 2 chargers at stores and malls. While you won’t be able to charge to full during a 2-hour trip to the mall, you would be able to go from nearly empty to fully charged overnight with one of these chargers. Installing one at home can be costly, especially if you look into the cost of a 100-amp dedicated charging unit, but 40-amp chargers are installable at home and cheaper.

Lastly, Level 3 charging takes place at an impressive 400-volt to 900 volt rate. That means per minute, you can charge your vehicle 3-20 miles at a time. These are the charging stations you’ll find around town that are branded and built by Tesla for example. These are darn near impossible to have at home unless you spend a small fortune.


Hopefully, this helps show you the various levels of charging rates for EVs in a way that makes sense. You won’t always have access to Level 3 charging, and Level 1 isn’t always that practical. Level 2 is really that sweet spot that gives you the electricity you need to keep going. Not to mention, there are a lot of great opportunities to install Level 2 Charging in communities and even at home. With this knowledge, it’s time to get started on looking into buying an EV!