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Level 1 (120V) v.s. Level 2 (240V) Charging
Typically, Level 1 (120V) charging is ideal for extended parking situations such as residential charging, workplace charging, and at airports, hotels, or colleges. Conversely, Level 2 (240V) charging is most effective for shorter-duration parking (1-3 hours) at locations like restaurants and gyms.
It's important to remember that your EV's range is solely determined by your vehicle's battery size. A faster home charger doesn't automatically provide increased range.
This page will dispel common misconceptions and provide factual insights about Level 2 charging.
Myths about Level 2 (240V) EV Chargers
A Level 2 (240V) charger will future proof your parking space.
The truth: Historically humans are bad at predicting the future, especially based on past experiences (i.e. gas vehicles). There are countless predictions on the future of mobility; Some say we will have efficient robotaxis or even flying ones, some say micro-mobility will be the dominant mode of transportation or as people drive less, our parking garages will be transformed into living spaces. No one actually knows what the future holds but what is absolutely certain is that Level 2 (240V) charging will never future proof any structure no matter how you look at it; Specially because vehicle to grid (V2G) technology is just around the corner and handful Level 2 charger on the market currently supports it so all your investment into a Level 2 charger will go to waste when V2G goes mainstream.
Bottom Line: Level 2 'Future proofing' is nothing but an old sales tactic used to lure the gullible into buying something they don't necessarily need.
A Level 2 (240V) charger will add more value to your property.
The truth: Having an EV-ready parking space will definitely add value to your property; However a Level 2 (240V) charger is an overkill product that adds more expense to your property than value. Speed of your charger has a loose correlation with the added value (it follows the law of diminishing returns) so you may as well go with the most efficient option and pocket the difference.
Besides, having an outlet (Level 1 charger) at your parking space not only has the benefit of charging your EV but also provides unlimited side value propositions such as providing the ability to charge an e-bike, battery conditioning your 'Lamborghini' (trickle charging) or even vacuuming your vehicle to just name a few. A level 2 charger is a single purpose device, what if your buyer didn't have an EV!
Bottom Line: True value is in having proper & reliable access to electricity at your private parking space, the rest is law of diminishing returns.
Myths on speed of charging for Level 2 (240V) v.s. Level 1 (120V)
Level 2 (240V) is faster which is why you need it! Or alternatively Level 1 (120V) is painfully slow!
The truth: This is a such naive way to look at electric mobility simply because we need to start burying gas mentality when planning for electric mobility. Slow is a relative term; nothing is, nor needs to be, faster than putting gas in your vehicle, but you can't gradually put gas in your vehicle overnight while you are resting, can you!?
During Napoleon times, if someone knocked on your door and offered you an amazing technology that would make your horse eat faster before the rest of the horses arrived, you would simply laugh at them and say "my horse is here all night, why would I need to feed it faster!?" In fact 95% of your vehicle's (ie horse) lifetime is spent parked so a simple 120V outlet anywhere you park (or where you park majority of the time) can keep your battery at 100% capacity.
What if I want to travel further distances now or in near future? Shouldn't I have a faster charger?
The truth: You can travel as far as your battery capacity allows regardless of how fast your home charger is. An electric vehicle only needs to top-up what it has used since the last charging session, not the whole battery! As battery technologies improve, EVs will start having bigger batteries which will allow them to have a bigger buffer to travel further distances if need be.
Electric vehicles are like smart phones on wheels; If your lifestyle is in such a way that your phone constantly runs out of battery before you get home to charge it, a wise person would opt for a phone with a bigger battery not a faster charging cable at home! Don't let some Level 2 sales people sabotage your common sense!
Bottom Line: A Level 2 charger will never magically give you more range. If traveling far distances daily is in your lifestyle, be sure to purchase an EV with a large battery capacity!
Speed of Charge
Myths on reliability and support for Level 2 charging
Level 2 chargers are more reliable and field tested.
Again Not True
The truth: There is nothing more field tested and reliable than a 120V outlet. Having said that, It is quite obvious that more power (240V 30A) going through a device will naturally result in more wear and tear; This is precisely why Level 2 chargers come with hefty maintenance fees which usually get presented to you near the end (after you have fallen for the sunk cost fallacy).
Besides, since level 2 chargers (J1772 CP) by design have a data line going to your vehicles, they are prone to being hacked. Southwest Research institute managed to hack a Level 2 charger by using simple hardware.
Bottom Line: Opt-in for a safe, secure & reliable 120V outlet before Level 2 companies start upselling you charger antivirus software.
The plugs in parkades are not meant for continuous use by EVs.
The truth: Every 120V mobile EV charger that get delivered with your electric vehicle is rated & tested to be safely used on any outlet otherwise they would never receive the required certification to be sold. So there is no risk involved in using them in your parkade.
It's an obvious fact that if you turn on a hair dryer and a toaster on the same outlet, the worst that could happen is that the breaker will trip; electric vehicles are no different. The solution is simple and extremely inexpensive, you can, with the help of a certified electrician, either
1- Block the other outlets that are on the same circuit
2- Plug your EV to a different outlet that is not shared
3- **Run a dedicated 120V line to your parking stall**
Bottom Line: Thousands of people who charge their EVs using an outlet can confirm its safety; Don't fall for the well known scare tactics sales people often use to sell their own overpriced product.
Plugs not ready
Myths about the features of Level 2 charging
Level 2 can load-manage so its a superior technology
The truth: Shared parking spaces, such as apartment buildings, almost never have enough spare power available to allow every resident (fairness) to charge on a high-power Level 2 charger. So instead of doing the most logical action, which is offering everyone consistent low-power charging, they opt-in for an expensive technology called load management (aka load balancing). A wise council would start with predictable low-power charging from the beginning instead of investing a lot more money on a technology that as more people join the network (very soon) will offer speeds which are on-par with low-power charging.
We often see buildings invest in energy/power management systems for their building (which is a great and often necessary step) to carve out power from an overly subscribed electrical panel. The irony comes when they use this scares power on high power, load-balanced, level 2 chargers instead of opting for level 1 charging which can technically give them 5 times more number of chargers on the same panel due to it's low electrical footprint.
Bottom Line: Experience shows, It's better to have a slow but consistent charger all the time than to have a fast unpredictable charger some of the time.
Level 2 (240V) charging is just 'a little more' expensive than Level 1
The truth: On the surface, especially if pitched by a level 2 sales person, one may think level 2 charging is just marginally more expensive than level 1 charging but if you read the fine-print you will soon realize the long-term expenses are much more than the initial investment, significantly more. What is not often apparent on the surface is the fact that level 2 chargers offer much better profits for sales people (not you the 'EV owner') compared to an outlet installation!
Buying an electric vehicle charger is not like buying a bicycle rack which has a fixed cost, an electric vehicle charger has a long-term cost. Most level 2 companies structure their costs in a way that wouldn't deter sales at the beginning but overtime the true cost will become apparent (when it's too late).
Level 2 Charging total Cost: $222,000+
Level 1 Charging Total Cost: $38,640+
You will Save $183,360, enough to have 183 more L1 chargers
A little expensive
Finally let us compare some features that are very important but often get neglected!
What happens if you don't pay the on-going fees?
With some level 2 charging providers (especially the expensive ones), if you don't pay their hefty on-going fees you will have a useless brick attached to the wall. However, if you pick an OCPP charger then you may still have to jump from provider to provider for the lifetime of the device but the chance of the charger becoming useless is much lower.
With Plugzio if you decide to stop paying the minimal on-going fees, you still have a fully functional but 'dumb' outlet, no loss!
Benefits to none-EV owners - other value adds
A Level 2 charger has only a single use-case which is charging an electric vehicle; However, if you go the smart route and install a 240V outlet for your Level 2 charger (instead of a direct line to the charger) then you may be able to use the 240V outlet for an electric stove at your parking space but beside that there is no benefit for Level 2 chargers to none-EV owners.
With Plugzio you have an outlet at your parking space with unlimited use-cases.
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