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Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly more popular, yet a recent survey found one of the biggest challenges for drivers is the lack of charging stations when they’re on the go!
To address this, the B.C. government recently announced $26 million in new funding to be spent across the province for public EV charging stations. But this isn’t just happening across B.C.—cities like Edmonton are installing new EV charging stations, while advocates are pushing for more stations across Saskatchewan.
To keep up with the changing times, ensure that you have the most suitable EV charging stations installed in your buildings.
EV charging stations offer many benefits for your business, such as:
But not all chargers are created equal. Read on to explore the differences between the three levels of EV chargers, and to determine which charger to use where, and when.
Whether you’re looking for an EV charger for yourself, or for your residential or commercial buildings, you’ll need to know the differences between chargers to choose.
In Canada, there are three levels of EV chargers: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each level differs in charging speed, cost, and equipment.
Level 1 EV chargers are the slowest and most basic type. They use a standard 120-volt household outlet, a J1772 standard connector, and can charge an EV at a rate of about 5 km of range per hour. It can take up to 24 hours to fully charge an EV, depending on battery size.
This level is ideal for drivers who have a low daily driving range, or who don’t have access to Level 2 or 3 chargers. It’s typically used for overnight charging at home or in a workplace.
The most common type of EV charger is Level 2, which provides a faster charging rate than Level 1. Level 2 chargers—known for their convenience and speed—use a 240-volt AC power supply, which can charge an EV at a rate of about 40 km of range per hour, and a J1772 standard connector on the other end. They take around four to eight hours to fully charge an electric car, depending on battery size.
These chargers are often found in workplaces, public parking garages, and some residential settings. They’re for drivers who need a faster charging rate, or who don’t have access to a Level 3 charger.
Also known as DC fast chargers, Level 3 EV chargers are the fastest and most expensive option. They use a 480-volt DC plug, which can charge an EV at a rate of up to 200 km of range per hour, and a CCS or CHAdeMO connector.
These chargers are typically found along highways, at rest stops, and in urban areas where quick charging is needed. Depending on battery size and the station’s capacity, they can charge an EV in just 30 minutes! Level 3 charging stations often require payment or membership to use.
1.4 to 1.9 kW
Standard household outlet
3.3 to 19.2 kW
Specialized EV charging station, with a dedicated 240-volt electrical circuit
Public charging stations, parking garages, workplaces, and some homes
50 to 350 kW
Specialized DC fast-charging equipment with a high-capacity electrical connection
Public charging stations along highways and major routes
Level 2 chargers convert AC is converted to DC on the onboard charger, supplying DC power to the battery.
Level 3 chargers convert AC to DC within the charger itself, supplying DC power directly to the battery.
The level of EV charger you choose for yourself, your customers, or your tenants should be based on the charging capabilities and needs of the EVs, and the number of charging stations.
Note: not all vehicles are capable of charging at all three levels. Check your vehicle’s specifications to determine which level you’ll need.
There are several factors to consider, but typically your best option will be a faster Level 2 charger such as the Watti Electric Avenue EV charger.
Level 2 chargers need a 240-volt electrical supply, so you’ll require a licensed electrician for installation. These chargers can be mounted on a wall or installed on a pedestal, and are compatible with most EVs.
Many Level 2 chargers also have Wi-Fi, so you can monitor charging and energy usage remotely, in tandem with smart charging and scheduling functions!
Level 2 EV chargers, like Siemens third-generation VersiCharge, are your best option for multi-unit residential buildings. They charge up to six times faster than a Level 1 charger and are easy to use, and compatible with most EVs.
If you don’t want to install permanent charging infrastructure, portable chargers are another great choice! Ease and portability make this particularly useful for buildings with minimal parking spaces, as tenants can share them.
Consider these factor before choosing a Level 2 charger for your residential building:
Installing Level 2 chargers in multi-unit residential buildings can be more complex than in a single-family home. You might need to work with licensed electricians and EV-charger installation experts to determine the appropriate electrical capacity, location, and charging configuration.
It’s also crucial to choose EV chargers that are compatible with a variety of EV models, and that can withstand high-traffic charging. Many manufacturers offer commercial-grade Level 2 chargers designed for multi-unit residential buildings and public charging locations.
Level 2 chargers are also the best option for commercial spaces, since they provide a higher charging rate than Level 1, and are more affordable than Level 3. You will likely wish to install multiple charging stations, in visible and easily accessible areas. We offer a variety of options, including EV charging stations from Leviton Canada, for residential and commercial use.
When selecting a charger for your commercial space, consider:
Every commercial building has different charging needs though. For example, retail stores might want to offer short-term charging options, while longer-duration chargers may do the trick for office buildings.
Need more information on EV charging and charging technology? Read our EV Charger Guide, or shop our EV products. Or, get in touch with Albrite’s team of experts! We’re here to help get you, and your EV, on the right path forward.