As electric vehicles gain popularity, more people are considering the convenience of charging them at home. While home charging is typically done with AC chargers, the question arises: Can you use a DC fast charger at home for your EV? Let’s explore the possibilities and limitations.
What is a DC Fast Charger?
The DC fast charger, also known as the Level 3 charger, offers the fastest charging speed but comes with a higher cost. Its power output ranges from 50 kW to 350 kW.
Given their expense and exceptionally high power capacity, DC fast chargers are primarily employed in commercial or industrial settings or positioned at highway entrances.
A public Level 3 charger can provide an electric vehicle with a charging rate of 3 to 20 miles of range per minute, enabling a full EV charge in approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
Nonetheless, a significant drawback of these DC electric car chargers is their limited availability across the country. Now, let’s explore whether you can use a DC fast charger at home for EVs or not.
Can You Use DC Fast Charger at Home for EV?
In short, no, you cannot use DC fast chargers at home for EV charging. They are intended for use in industrial and commercial environments, primarily due to their demanding power needs and associated costs. These Level 3 chargers necessitate a 440-volt DC power source, which is typically beyond the capabilities of residential properties. Additionally, running such a high-power charging unit in most households would pose safety concerns.
Another factor preventing the installation of DC fast chargers in homes is their exorbitant cost, often exceeding $50,000. This is largely attributed to the intricacies involved in their installation and ongoing maintenance. Now, let’s learn about the places where electric car DC charging is available.
Where is Electric Car DC Charging Available?
After learning that you cannot use a DC fast charger at home for EV, let’s see where this fast DC electric car charging is available. To access Level 3 DC fast chargers, you’ll need to visit public fast-charging stations typically situated at:
- Highway rest stops
- Shopping centers
- Car dealerships
Using a public DC charger involves a pay-per-charge model, typically ranging between $0.40 and $0.60 per kilowatt (kW). Some prominent providers of DC fast-charging stations nationwide include:
- Tesla Supercharger
- Electrify America
Also See: What are EV Charging Phases?
How Does a DC Fast Charger Differ from Other Charging Stations?
The following points show the difference between DC fast chargers and other charging stations:
1. Charging Speed:
The most significant contrast between a DC fast charger and other charging stations lies in the speed at which they replenish your EV’s battery.
Among the EV Charging Levels, the Level 3 charger stands out as the swiftest charging option, capable of recharging your EV at a rate ranging from 3 to 20 miles of range per minute. Conversely, a Level 2 charging station offers a more modest speed, delivering only 14 to 35 miles per hour of charging.
DC fast chargers employ primary connectors, exclusive to specific EVs, restricting compatibility to a particular connector type.
In contrast, Level 2 charging stations feature a universal connector plug known as the SAE J1772 EV plug, compatible with all-electric cars in the United States. Even Tesla vehicles can use this connector as all Tesla models now come with an adapter.
One notable drawback of DC fast chargers is their limited installation locations, typically found at shopping centers or near highways. In contrast, Level 2 charging stations can be installed in diverse settings, including homes, workplaces, and various public locations.
Furthermore, there is a considerable disparity in the availability of DC fast-charging stations compared to Level 2 stations. The U.S. boasts approximately 5,000 DC fast-charging stations, while Level 2 stations number over 43,000, comprising roughly 120,000 Level 2 charging ports.
Also Read: Do Electric Cars Lose Range Over Time?
How Fast Do Electric Cars Charge at Home?
The charging speed of electric vehicles at home varies depending on the type of charger employed. As you have already learned you cannot use DC fast charger at home for EV, these are the charging rates for different charger types that actually work for home charging:
1. Level 1 Charger
Utilizing a standard 120-volt AC outlet, this charger can take more than 24 hours to achieve an optimal 80% battery charge, at a rate of approximately 9 kilometers per hour. Level 1 chargers represent the slowest charging option and are typically used for emergency charging or for vehicles equipped with smaller batteries. Further, to speed up the charging process, follow the EV charging rules.
2. Level 2 Charger
Employing a 240-volt AC outlet, this is the most prevalent charger type for home, workplace, and public charging. Level 2 chargers can charge a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) to 80% from empty in 4-10 hours, while a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) can reach the same level in 1-2 hours. This is how fast electric cars charge at home using a Level 2 charger.
In conclusion, although DC fast chargers offer rapid charging for electric vehicles, they’re not usually meant for home use because of their high power needs and cost. Residential EV owners are better served by installing Level 2 AC chargers, providing efficient overnight charging and convenience for daily commutes. For more EV content, keep exploring our blog posts.
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