How Do Electric Car Charging Stations Work – On average, U.S. Electric car owners drive about 31 miles a day; most new EVs can meet several times that range on a single charge. The US Department of Energy estimates that over 80 percent of EV charging happens at home, where EV owners conveniently set up their own chargers.
Most EV owners can also fill up their batteries at their workplaces, giving them more options. With this, fewer people depend on public charging. However, as of 2019, there are approximately 17,500 public/commercial electric vehicle charging stations across the U.S.
Over half of the EV U.S. sales are in California alone, and there are currently 21,948 public electric vehicle charging stations in California servicing over 655,000 EVs. So for many EV owners, charging is rarely a problem.
Hopefully, this article will answer your questions like; how do electric car charging stations work, how to use electric car charging stations and how to fill up an electric car.
How Do Electric Car Charging Stations Work
First, Electric vehicles have three different charging levels as classified below;
EV Charging Levels
Level 1 chargers: Level 1 describes the regular 110-120 volt (V) wall outlet in the EV community. This is also the same voltage you’d normally use to power most of the appliances in your house, like the microwave or your phone charger. There are the slowest and would take several hours to fully charge EV batteries.
Level 2 chargers: The EV community refers to the level 2 chargers as the destination charging station. It is a much better EV charger than the level 1 chargers and is easy to find on most highways. It’s also the most affordable option with 220-240 V. Publicly available Level 2 chargers typically charge at a rate of about 6 kilowatts (kW).
Level 3 chargers: This is the fastest chargers and is also known as DC fast chargers. They have a capacity of 400 V or more, typically charging at a rate of 50-60 kW. The downside here is that the increased charging speed entails increased prices. Level 3 charging is the most expensive option, typically costing $30 to recharge for a 200 miles range.
Tesla Superchargers: the availability of Superchargers scattered across the United States is definitely one of the big selling points for Tesla electric vehicles. These super-fast charging stations are designed to charge a Tesla battery in about 30 minutes and are installed across the continental U.S. the Tesla Superchargers are designed exclusively for Tesla vehicles, and Tesla owners receive 400 kWh of free Supercharger credits each year which entails about 1,000 miles of driving.
EV Charging Plugs
Just as they are different kinds of EVs, they are also distinct charge ports for them. This means that the shape of the electric car plugs varies. There are basically three classes of EV plugs or connectors, namely:
- The CCS (combined charging system, also known as SAE Combo or Combo)
- And the Tesla charging plug.
P.S: All EVs sold in the U.S. after 2000 use the J1772 plugs for Level 2 charging. It is only for Level 3 charging that the plug shape varies.
EV Charging Stations Cost
In the U.S., commercial electricity rates are higher than residential retail rates; thus, charging your car at home and paying via your electric utility company is probably the most convenient way to go about it.
For EV charging stations cost, it is dependent on your location. According to the EIA report, the July 2019 national average for commercial electricity is only $0.11 per kWh; however, in California, you get the highest rate of $0.19 per kWh.
Furthermore, finding a publicly available EV station to charge your EV battery is easy; apps are also available to help you. You can try PlugShare or Google Maps or use EVmatch or AmpUp for peer-to-peer charging.
How Long Does it Take to Fully Charge a Tesla?
In summary, public charging stations are owned or operated by private charging companies, utilities, or local governments. You should be aware that some charging companies might require membership registration before using their EV stations. Fortunately, some of the charging companies also have partnership agreements which ensures that you can use one account to fill up at another’s stations. Furthermore, many EV charging stations also have useful map apps that allow you to find and get directions to their closest public charging stations. EV charging is getting easier by the day and will only get better.