Should I Buy a Level 2 EV Charging Station?

Elon Musk’s vision of an entirely electric car market is coming into form.

Just a few years ago, a former Daimler chairman was quoted in an L.A. Times article by calling Tesla “a joke that can’t be taken seriously compared to the great car companies of Germany.” They aren’t laughing now after 325,000 buyers put down reservations for the Tesla Model 3 in its first week.

Already though, the cost of electric car batteries have dropped from $1,000 per kWh to $350 per kWh over the last five years. As the battery and thus the vehicle becomes more affordable, the presence of electric cars will only continue to grow.

With that has come the need for home charging stations.

Just about all electric vehicles will come with a Level 1 Charger. This is your baseline charging system, where the car connects with a 120V outlet in your home and takes about an entire night for a full charge.

If you’re mostly driving throughout the city, then that’s probably all you need. But if you’re always on the go, and use your electric vehicle for distance trips too, then you should look into a Level 2 Charging Station.

We need to quickly say that the chargers don’t actually increase the capacity of your car’s battery, that’s already established when it’s manufactured. Level 2 chargers simply direct more of your home’s current when you hook it up, enabling a much faster charging time.

To give an idea, the Nissan Leaf takes 25 hours for a full charge on a home outlet; with a Level 2 hook-up, it takes 7 hours. Or compare it to the Chevy Volt, the hybrid-electric vehicle that takes 11 hours on Level 1 and just 3.2 hours on Level 2.

Sticking with the Nissan Leaf, an all-night charge on Level 1 current will give it about 105 miles. If you drive more than that, you will be comforted with a Level 2 charge, which gives you the same mileage in half the time (4-5 hours with Level 2 Charging). This means you can go about your day without having to come home and charge, or have to find a public charging station to hook up to.

Good thing is, costs on installing residential stations are becoming more affordable. Many people go with the Level 2 charge off the bat and just factor it into the costs of buying the car.

However you choose to do it, we at Prairie Electric are one of the only providers of electric charging stations in Portland and Vancouver. If you’re ready to get the most out of your electric vehicle, give us a call to get started.

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