What Are The Different Types of EV Chargers?

If you own an electric vehicle, you must know the difference between different types of charging solutions in order to make the most of your vehicle. Electric Vehicles have different charging connectors, and some require a specific kind of plug, so you won’t be able to physically connect them to a charger if the plug isn’t compatible. Chargers differ not only in terms of the charging power they deliver and how quickly they can replenish range, but also by the type of plug they use.

In terms of charging power, EV chargers can be categorized in three groups: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each group corresponds to a different range of charging power that is determined by the charger’s design and the power of the electrical grid it is connected to.

Level 1

Using a Level 1 connection to charge your electric vehicle is the slowest way to do it. There is no special equipment required to install AC (Alternating Current) charging in your home or any modifications that need to be made to your electrical system, and it ranges in power from 1 kW to about 2 kW.

The Level 1 battery charging method involves plugging your car’s AC adapter into a wall socket at home or in your garage. In order to prevent overheating or trip of the circuit breaker, you shouldn’t have any other high-demand appliances plugged into the same outlet.

Its greatest advantage is its simplicity-you do not have to install any additional equipment to connect your vehicle to a Level 1 charger. Also, by using this method of charging, you’ll have a longer-lasting EV’s battery pack since it doesn’t put a lot of thermal load on the cells (it heats up the batteries the least of all the levels of EV charging).

Some big-battery electric vehicles and some new plug-in hybrids can take more than 40 hours to fully charge, while others are more than 8 hours to fully charge. Typically, AC adapters are not of high quality and have low efficiency (especially if you live in an area where the local electrical grid is 120 volts). It is BMW’s preference that you do not use the Level 1 charger it provides every EV with on a regular basis, since it refers to it as an “occasional use charger.”

The charging rate of your electric vehicle will not exceed 5 miles per hour using a Level 1 connection. In Europe, where regular wall outlets deliver 230 volts, the charging rate will be slightly faster.

Level 2

Your home needs a Level 2 charger because it charges significantly faster than a Level 1 charger (between 5 and 10 times faster, depending on which chargers you’re comparing). Moreover, it is safer than a Level 1 charger because it has a separate electrical connector that goes straight into the breaker box, reducing the chance of an overcurrent occurring and leaving your house in the dark. Moreover, you can also take advantage of a more powerful 208-to-240-volt connection and higher amperage this way.

Chargers that can deliver 19.6 kW or more, however, will require a separate three-phase 400-volt connection. In Europe, Level 2 chargers use 230 V, but for more powerful stations (like those capable of delivering 19.6 kW or more), it is necessary to upgrade to 230 V.

There are various types of Level 2 chargers, including wall-mounted chargers (also known as wall boxes), pedestal chargers arranged in public charging stations and even sidewalk chargers in some urban areas or on the sides of parking lots. It is usually necessary to have your own charging cable, although you will be able to find the cables at most stores

It is very rare to see chargers exceeding 22 kW, but 3.6 kW is the norm; you usually see them charging up to 11 kW. Level 2 chargers are shorter than Level 1 chargers when it comes to charging your electric vehicle’s battery, which is typically able to be fully charged in about 5 to 10 hours depending on the charger’s power and the size of the battery pack.

Most home chargers don’t go any higher than 40 amps, which is enough for a 9.6 kW charge. Level 2 chargers can deliver up to 80 amps of current, but most home chargers don’t go over 40 amps. There are special heavy-duty wires needed if you want a 48-amp charger that delivers over 11 kW to your EV, and installation will cost more. That is why you rarely find these more powerful chargers—they cost a lot more to install for a marginal increase in charging power.

It depends either on the charger’s power or on the vehicle’s onboard charger whether Level 2 charging power can be maximized. Plugging an EV into a charger with a maximum AC charging power of 19.2 kW will never exceed 7.6 kW when the peak AC charging power of the EV is 7.6 kW.

Having a Level 2 charger is a big advantage because it produces better charging power and lowers charging times, but it also heats up your electric vehicle’s battery pack. You should not see a significant impact on battery longevity if you plug in and leave your EV plugged in every night (although you should still set a charging limit so it doesn’t charge 100% every time).

Level 3

Unlike AC to DC converters, rapid chargers or fast chargers (also known as Level 3 chargers) provide Direct Current (DC), which goes directly into the vehicle’s battery without passing through the onboard charger. 

A Lotus Eletre, the fastest-charging current production EV, can be charged this way in as little as five minutes. Charging times can be reduced from hours to minutes.

DC fast-charger oomph typically ranges from 50 kW to 350 kW in the US and Europe. With a peak charging power of 242 kW, the Hyundai Ioniq 6, one of the fastest electric vehicles currently available in the US, can charge at over 860 miles per hour if plugged into a Level 3 charger of that level. In 18 minutes, the vehicle can be charged 10 to 80 percent, much faster than most other electric vehicles.

However, fast-charging an electric vehicle can harm its battery pack. Fast charging comes with a cost. Fast charging at a public Level 3 charger is quick and convenient, but it’s not recommended as your go-to charging solution for everyday use, since it’s more likely to suffer accelerated degradation as a result of excessive usage.

A fast charger usually comes with its own cable, which is thicker than one from a slower charger, so you don’t need to bring one from your own device.

Types Of EV Charging Connectors

An EV charger that is classified as Level 1 will have a regular wall plug on one end and a J1772 connector on the other. In the US, Tesla’s chargers utilize the company’s proprietary NACS connector rather than a J1772, but in Europe, all electric vehicles (including Teslas) have Type 2 AC chargers.

The Tesla NACS connector is expected to be adopted by several automakers in the near future, and if the trend continues, it may become the standard for all new electric vehicles (EVs) in the US, replacing the CCS connector based on J1772.

CCS connectors are used for fast charging in most non-Tesla EVs sold in the US, but they differ from the ones used in Europe. In spite of the fact that both are called CCS, they aren’t actually compatible—if you imported an electric vehicle from Europe into the US, you wouldn’t be able to charge it without an adapter—the former is based around J1772, while the latter is a Type 2 plug with extra pins.

There is an older-style charging connector, currently being phased out, on the 2024 Nissan Leaf sold in the US, as well as on the first-generation Kia Soul EV and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Electric Car Home Chargers

It’s important to understand the differences between the solutions available, as well as their pros and cons, when it comes to charging an electric car at home. Home charging accounts for 80% of all charging done by EV drivers.

Home Charging Solutions: Level 1 & Level 2

Home charging can be classified into two types: level 1 and level 2.

  • Using the charger included in the car to charge an electric vehicle (EV) is called level 1 charging. With one end, you plug it into a standard 120V outlet, and with the other, you plug it directly into your vehicle. It can charge 200 kilometers (124 miles) in 20 hours.
  • In spite of the fact that level 2 chargers are often purchased together with the car, they’re sold separately. As these chargers are connected to a 240V outlet, they allow charging three to seven times faster depending on the electric car and the charger, so they require a slightly more complicated setup. Usually an electrician has to install these chargers because they have a SAE J1772 connector and are available for online purchase in Canada and the USA. This guide will explain level 2 charging stations in more detail.

The use of a level 2 home charging station is recommended for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to help them charge faster and maximize their potential. You can also check out the following websites to find out how you can qualify for provincial and municipal incentives that may help with purchase and installation costs.

  • Incentives for home chargers for electric cars in Quebec
  • Incentive programs for home chargers for electric cars (temporarily suspended) in the province of British Columbia
  • Check your government’s website for information about the United States.

The pros of home charging

It is essential that you use a level 2 home charger in order to reap the benefits of home charging at all times.

A fully charged battery in a few hours

When compared to a level 1 charger, a level 2 charger allows your electric car to be charged five to seven times faster for a full-electric vehicle or up to three times faster for a plug-in hybrid vehicle. As a result, you will be able to use your electric vehicle more efficiently and reduce the number of times you need to stop to charge.

When you have limited time to charge an EV, a 30-kWh battery car (standard battery) takes around four hours to charge to full capacity, which allows you to maximize your driving experience.

Start Your Day Fully Charged

It’s normal to charge your electric car at home when you get home from work. Just connect your charger to the car when you get home, and you’ll wake up the next day with a fully charged battery. At home, you can charge your electric vehicle while you eat, play with the kids, watch TV, and sleep, since most EVs have a range that is enough for all your daily driving.

Save Big on Charging Costs

The low electricity cost of home charging also makes it an attractive alternative to public charging stations and gas stations.

  • Using electricity to drive 100 km (62 miles) is 6 times cheaper than using gasoline in Quebec, where charging at home is about 30% less expensive than using a public charger.
  • There is a 65% savings in Ontario when charging at home versus public chargers and a fivefold savings when driving 100 kilometers (62 miles) on electricity rather than gas.
  • The cost of charging at home is roughly 30% less than at a public charger, and the cost of driving 100km (62 miles) is approximately 5 times less than that of driving on gasoline.
  • The price of electricity and gas in the United States determines how much it costs. By comparing the kWh consumption of the electric car multiplied by the kWh cost with the gas car consumption multiplied by the price of a gallon of gas, you will be able to find out how much you could save in travel costs.

Electric Car Public Charging Stations

Charging stations in public areas are usually located near restaurants, shopping centers, parking lots, and other places where electric car drivers need to travel longer distances than their EV’s autonomy allows them to do.

On iOS, Android, and web browsers, you can use ChargeHub’s charging station map to locate them easily. We’re going to use our map to explain how public charging works in this guide. The map lets you find every charger in North America easily. It also lets you know how the chargers are doing in real time and how you can make itineraries.

In the public charging world, there are three main things you need to know: the three levels of charging, the difference between connectors, and the networks of public charging stations.

Which Levels of Charging Are Available for Public Charging?

Electric cars can be charged at level 1 and level 2 stations. These types of chargers offer the same charging power as the chargers you can install at your home. There are 3 standard charging levels used to charge electric cars. You can charge an electric vehicle much faster with level 3 chargers – also known as DCFCs or fast charging stations – than you can with level 1 and 2. However, some vehicles cannot be charged at level 3 chargers. You should therefore be familiar with the capabilities of your vehicle.

Charging Level Summary

LevelChargeHubMarkersPower (kW)Approximate Charging Time (Empty Battery)
11200 km (124 miles): +/- 20 hours400 km (249 miles): +/- 43 hours
23 to 20, typically 6200 km (124 miles): +/- 5 hours400 km (249 miles): +/- 11 hours
3 (DCFC)Typically 50, occasionaly 2080% of 200 km (124 miles): +/- 30 min80% of 400 km (249 miles): +/- 1 hour

Choosing the Right Level of Public Charging for Your Electric Car

The first thing you should do is avoid level 1 charging stations. They are too slow and aren’t adaptable to the needs of EV drivers when traveling. Using a level 3 charger will provide your EV with a lot of range in a short amount of time, so you should use this charger if you want to charge your electric vehicle as quickly as possible. In contrast, DCFC stations are only effective if your battery’s state-of-charge is below 80%. Once that point comes along, charging will slow down dramatically.

If you reach 80% of charging, you should plug your car into a level 2 charger, since the last 20% of charging is as fast with a level 2 charger as a level 3 charger, but it is far less expensive. Alternatively, you may choose to continue your journey and charge your EV to 80% at the next level 3 charger you come across. You should opt for a level 2 charger if time is not a problem and you plan to stop at a charger for several hours.

Which Connectors Are Available for Public Charging?

Level 1 and 2 Connectors

There are several different EV connectors available, the most common one being the SAE J1772 EV plug, which can be used on all electric cars here in Canada and in the USA, even Teslas, if they come with the appropriate adapters.

Level 3 Connectors

Manufacturers of electric cars primarily use CHAdeMO and SAE Combo connectors (also known as “Combo Charging System”) for fast charging.

It’s kind of like a gas vehicle that can’t fill up at a diesel pump. Since these two connectors aren’t interchangeable, a CHAdeMO port car cannot use a SAE Combo plug and vice versa.

Thirdly, Teslas require a special connector that can only be used on Tesla cars. This terminal is used on Supercharger Tesla charging stations, which are only compatible with Tesla cars.

Connector types

J1772 connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: Port J1772

Level: 2

Compatibility: 100% of electric cars

Tesla: With adapter

CHAdeMO connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: CHAdeMO

Level: 3

Compatibility: Check specifications of your EV

Tesla: With adapter

J1772 connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: SAE Combo CCS

Level: 3

Compatibility: Check specifications of your EV

Tesla: No

Tesla HPWC connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: Tesla HPWC

Level: 2

Compatibility: Only Tesla

Tesla: Yes

Tesla Supercharger connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: Tesla supercharger

Level: 3

Compatibility: Only Tesla

Tesla: Yes

Wall Plugs

Nema 515 connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Wall Plug: Nema 515, Nema 520

Level: 1

Compatibility: 100% of electric cars, Charger is required

Nema 1450 (RV plug) connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: Nema 1450 (RV plug)

Level: 2

Compatibility: 100% of electric cars, Charger is required

Nema 6-50 connector or plug for charging stations and chargers networks for for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles

Connector: Nema 6-50

Level: 2

Compatibility: Works with 100% of electric cars, charge station required

A charging station that does not accept Tesla DCFC connectors should be checked first before you drive to it. CHAdeMO connectors may be found on some stations, SAE Combo CCS connectors on others, and both may be present on others. This is especially important for charging stations that do not accept Tesla DCFCs.

Before you plan a trip, make sure to know if your vehicle is compatible with Level 3 stations. Some vehicles, like the Chevrolet Volt, are not compatible with Level 3 stations. Our charging map enables you to filter out chargers that are not compatible with your electric vehicle using filters.

Electric Car Charging Station Network Operators

You’ll need to know which charging networks are available in your area in order to use public chargers properly. Canada and the United States have a variety of public charger operators. Station network operators are categorized into two categories. Most of them are specific to particular areas, but they can have several of them in the same place.

Networked Smart Charging Stations

Subscription to a networked charger, also known as smart public charging stations or connected stations, is required to use it. The application process for registration is generally free, and you will only be charged when using the chargers, although some of them are free to use. The charger must be activated and used with either an RFID card or the network’s mobile app.


Membership Required

USA + Canada

Blink (CarCharging)

Membership Required

USA + Canada

SemaConnect / SemaCharge

Membership Required

Activate and pay directly from the ChargeHub app

USA + Canada


Membership Required


Electrify America / Electrify Canada

Membership Required

USA + Canada

Webasto (Formerly Aerovironment)

Membership Required


Independent Public Charging Stations

There are public chargers that are installed by local businesses or individuals who wish to make charging available on their property. These chargers are not part of a network, so you do not need to be a member. Some conditions may apply to them, so you should check them carefully.

Charging an Electric Car at Work

In a lot of ways, workplace charging is similar to home charging. It is provided by employers to their employees. The employees can therefore park in parking spaces that have level 2 or level 1 charging stations during the day. You might be able to get enough power at work to cover all your travels, depending on your habits.

The pros of workplace charging

A longer electric range

The combination of work and home charging can double the daily range of your electric vehicle. Plug-in hybrids are particularly benefited from this since they are able to use the electric motor for longer distances, saving fuel and money.

Using Level 2 charging allows you to charge faster, which is particularly useful if you have part-time employees or if your workplace has employees who don’t spend all day at work.

Large Savings on Transportation Costs

It is common for workplace chargers to have electricity costs taken on by their employers, meaning employees are able to charge for free at work. If the employer charges for the charger, however, the cost is usually much less than charging at a public charger.

Government Incentives for Workplace Chargers

Many governments have implemented programs to encourage employers to install charging stations for their employees, including lowering purchase and installation costs, as well as offering benefits for the employer. Employees interested in these programs should speak to their employers about them, as many employers don’t know they exist.

  • The Quebec government is offering incentives for home chargers for electric cars
  • A program to subsidize the installation of home chargers for electric cars (currently suspended) in British Columbia
  • Check your government’s website for information on the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of EV chargers?

According to the type of charging port on the vehicle, there are three types of DC fast charging systems: With the SAE Combined Charging System (CCS), CHAdeMO, and J3400, drivers can charge with DC fast charging equipment and AC fast charging equipment through the same connector (also called SAE J1772 combo).

What are the different types of electric vehicle charger plugs?

EVs can be charged in three ways: the North American Charging Standard (NACS) that is exclusive to Tesla, the Combined Charging System (CCS) that is used by most non-Tesla EVs, and the CHAdeMO standard used mostly by Nissan Leafs.

What are Type 1 and Type 2 EV Chargers?

A single-phase plug is used for American vehicles, which can charge at a speed of 7.4 kW. A triple-phase plug is used for European and Asian vehicles from 2018 onward, and it supports charging at a speed of 43 kW.

What is the most common type of EV charger?

There are several different EV connectors available, the most common one being the SAE J1772 EV plug, which can be used on all electric cars here in Canada and in the USA, even Teslas, if they come with the appropriate adapters.

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