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What is EV Charging and How Does it Work?

What is EV Charging and How Does it Work?

By Vanessa Peng

Research has found more people will be buying electric vehicles (EVs) vehicles than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles in the near future. 

The main difference between  EVs and conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles? EVs produce zero emissions, while ICE cars push carbon emissions into the air as soon as they are turned on. 

EVs are clean because they run on electricity, not gasoline or diesel. Instead of fueling up, EVs need to be charged. In this article, we will answer what is EV charging and explain how it works.

What is EV Charging?

Just like a cell phone, EVs need to be charged in order to have enough power to continue to run. EV charging is the process of using an EV charger to deliver electricity to the car’s battery. EV chargers tap into the electrical grid to electrify EVs. 

EV drivers can charge at home, public charging stations, and workplace charging stations. 

Commercial EV charging applies to EV fleet, multi-family units, and workplace charging stations. Commercial EV charging stations can be used by employees and customers. Many commercial EV charging stations are open to the public as well. 

How does EV charging work?

An EV charger pulls electric current from the grid and delivers it to the electric vehicle through a connector or plug. An electric vehicle stores that electricity in a large battery pack to power its electric motor.

To recharge an EV, an electric vehicle charger’s connector is plugged into the electric vehicle port.

EV batteries can only accept direct current (DC) power. Read more about commercial EV charging by checking out our ultimate guide here.

What are the different levels of electric vehicle charging?

There are three main types of electric vehicle charging: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 – mostly known as DC fast charging.

Level 1 charging can be done through a standard 120-volt wall plug, which can be found throughout U.S. homes and garages. Level 1 charging is extremely slow and is typically used at home for an overnight charge.

Level 2 chargers use 240-volts and are usually found at public charging stations. A Level 2 charger is much faster than a Level 1 charger. 

DC fast chargers use 480+ volts and are the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle. 

Level 1 and Level 2 chargers deliver alternating current (AC) to EVs, which is converted to DC by the car’s battery. On the other hand, a DC fast charging station delivers DC directly to the electric vehicle and the electrical current does not need to be converted. Level 1 and Level 2 chargers recharge EVs much slower due to the AC/DC conversion process.

There are three types of DC fast charging: Combined Charging System (CCS), CHAdeMO (“CHArge de MOve”), and Tesla Supercharger. CCS allows AC/DC charging through the same port, cars with CHAdeMO have a separate port for AC charging.

Not all EVs can charge through a DC fast charger.

How long does it take to charge an EV?

How long it takes to charge an electric vehicle depends on the type of EV charger you are using. 

Level 1 electric vehicle chargers will charge an EV at a rate of 2 to 5 miles per hour. Level 2 charging does 24 miles per hour. DC fast chargers can recharge 80% of an EV’s battery in an hour.

How fast are Tesla Superchargers?

There are more than 25,000 Tesla Superchargers in the world. Tesla says its fast-charging network is the largest in the world. 

Tesla Superchargers can charge a Tesla battery in about 30 minutes. Tesla Superchargers are located in convenient locations including shopping malls and businesses. 

Tesla Superchargers exclusively charge Teslas, but can charge non-Teslas with an adaptor. 

How does the cost of charging compare to gasoline?

According to research on the cost of charging electric vehicles from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), electric car drivers could save as much as $14,500 on fuel costs over 15 years by driving an EV instead of an ICE vehicle. 

Researchers note the cost to charge an EV depends on where you are charging, vehicle use, region, and time of day. The 2019 study found the national average to charge an electric vehicle was $0.15/kWh. 

How do I get started with EV charging?

The electrification of your facility can easily become overwhelming, but it won’t be if you connect with us, an experienced and reputable  EV charging company. We can get you connected with our team of EV charging specialists who can help you figure out what type of commercial EV charging you need and how to save on chargers and installation costs. Connect with us to start your electrification journey: (800) 834-8737!

Reap the benefits of EV charging.