Chargers & Charging

Source: US Department of Energy

Charging hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric vehicles (EVs) requires plugging into an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE).

Charging times vary based on how empty the battery is, how much energy it holds, battery type, and the type of charging equipment used.

Charging Equipment Levels

Level Voltage Current
Hours to Charge Miles Per Hour
of Charging
Phase Standard 
Level 1
220V 12 1.44 8 - 20 2 to 5 Single NEMA
Level 2
208/240V 32 6.7/7.7 3 - 8 25 Single SAE
Level 3 (DC) 480V 400 192 0.5 Full Range Three CCS or CHAdeMO

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Level 1 equipment uses a 120 volt (V), alternating current (AC) plug (up to 15 amperes and 1.8 kW) and requires a dedicated circuit. Level 1 EVSE is portable and does not require installation of charging equipment. On one end of the cord is a standard, 3-prong household plug. On the other end is a connector, which plugs into the vehicle. Level 1 charging can take from 8 to 20 hours for a full charge, adding about 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging time, depending on the vehicle.

Level 2 equipment uses a 240 V, AC plug (up to 80 amperes and 19.2 kW) and requires the installation of a charging unit. However, most residential level 2 EVSE will operate at lower power, using 30 amperes and delivering 7.2 kW of power. Level 2 charging can take from 3 to 8 hours to reach a full charge, adding about 25 miles of range per hour of charging time, depending on the vehicle. Level 2 charging is the most common form of charging in the US, especially in residential applications, as Level 2 chargers can typically charge an EV overnight.

Level 3 equipment, also known as DC fast chargers, offer a significantly faster charging option,operating at a higher voltage and current than Level 2. Level 3 charging can take less than 30 minutes to reach a full charge, making it ideal for public, on-the-go charging. Level 3 charging stations will be installed in public locations.

Connectors & Plugs

Modern charging equipment and vehicles use a stand connector and plug receptacle based on the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1772 standard. Vehicles with this plug receptacle can use any Level 1 or Level 2 EVSE. Major vehicle and charging system manufactures support this standard, which should eliminate drivers’ concerns about whether their vehicle is compatible with the infrastructure.

In the US, Combined Charging System (CCS) and CHAdeMO are the two standard connector types for Level 3 (DC fast charging) EVSE.

Tesla chargers deviate from these standards, but adapters are available so that Tesla drivers can use standard, non-Tesla connectors.


For a list of charging units and other accessories, view Plug In America's accessory graph.

For more information, consider this EV charging overview from FreeWire Technologies