What Is EV Charging: How It Works

There is a great concern with the consumption of fossil fuels, and while we need them to sustain the current power needs of our planet, new technologies are quickly gaining traction. Alternative energy is the key, including the power of wind, waves and sun to be harnessed and stored in batteries.

Electric vehicles allow us to turn away from gas and rely on an electrical charge to carry us to our destinations. This is a wonderful way to decrease our local footprint and be part of the solution, but as the popularity grows, so does the need for the charging infrastructure.

Do you understand how an EV car works? And what is EV charging?

EV Charging vs Gas Stations

We have all grown up with the combustion engine. It can safely store and use fuel to power the engine, and we have gas stations across the land ready for our hard-earned dollars. We pull up to the station, fill our tanks and dive on, which is how it has always been done. While this is what we know and are used to, a new eco sheriff in town doesn’t have gas.

EVs don’t use petroleum-based fuel but rather a battery that stores energy. To “fill up,” we need to plug it in.

EV Battery

All vehicles have batteries, and the ones we are most familiar with are boxed batteries, sized for our model and make of vehicle. This can start the engine, transfer energy to the alternator and regulate voltage, among other things. It cannot, however, power the vehicle.

An EV battery is a large lithium-ion that can hold a lot of energy. Once fully charged, they power our vehicle until it runs out, and then it needs to be recharged again. It is anything from a basic system but is easy to understand in concept.

EV Charger

An EV charger is a delivery system that pulls current from the grid and charges an onboard battery in our EV. We are all familiar with charging our smartphones by plugging them into an outlet, and this is very much the same, only bigger.

Most electric vehicles can be plugged into a standard power cord, but this charging level takes a long time. There are also commercial EV charging stations in many areas around towns and cities, and they are being installed to meet the demand.

Where Are EV Charging Stations?

Like with everything else in life, there are different levels of chargers for your EV. These are:

  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3 (DCFC)

Where you charge is also important, and this can be home charging or commercial charging. Some places of business even provide charging hubs where you can charge for free as you shop.

Home Charging

With home charging, you have either level 1 or level 2.

Level 1

Level 1 uses the supplied charger that the car came with, and this is an adaptor that you can plug a standard 120v power cord into. The other end plugs into an outlet in your house. Charge times vary but are about 10km of charge per hour.

Level 2 EV Charging

Level 2 charging is an after-market charger plugged into a 240v outlet and can charge up to 7 times faster than level 1. This gives you a faster and bigger charge so you can go longer distances between charges.

It is best to charge at night while your EV is not in use, and you can wake up the next morning fully charged and ready to take on the day. Remember that you are using electricity for charging, which will be added to your home’s usage and billed to you.

Commercial Charging

Commercial charging is for those driving around town and low on a charge. If you own an EV, then you have probably researched the location of charging stations, and they are easy to look up online or with an app.

You can charge with all three levels, but level 1 is not worth the effort because it is too slow when you are not home. Levels 2 and 3 are best used when out with your vehicle, with level 2 being the most common. You will see these outside shopping malls, restaurants and other common places where people park for extended periods.

Level 3 EV Charging

Level 3 charges the fastest and is less common, so if you want to use these, you must map out where they are in your travels. They are best for longer road trips. While you may find some free EV charging stations, most charge you for using them, and the cost varies. It is best to check out your filling stations to find the most convenient and affordable.

This is EV charging at its basic, and once you charge up your new vehicle a few times, it will seem easy. We are all learning this new way to harness energy, and as the world transitions to EVs, we can leave behind the gas behind us.

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