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EV Charging Levels:
What is Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 EV Charging?

December 2023

When comparing EV charging solutions, it’s important to understand the different levels of charging available. Each level is unique with specific power requirements and different charging speeds. Additionally, some applications require a particular level of charging, especially if the charger provider plans on applying for EV incentives.

To help you navigate the different levels of EV charging available, we will use this post to delve into the defining characteristics of each level along with some pros and cons to consider when making your charger selection.

Currently, there are three levels of EV charging available: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also known as DC fast charging).

What Is Level 1 EV Charging?

Level 1 EV charging is the most basic form of electric vehicle charging. This type of charger is typically included with the sale of an electric vehicle and can be plugged into a 120v household outlet. Although Level 1 charging is simple and convenient, its charging rate is incredibly slow and much less efficient than a Level 2 charger. 

Level 1 usually charges 2-4 miles of range per hour, limiting its use to short-range owners who travel less than 20 miles per day and can charge their vehicle overnight. Another key factor to keep in mind is that Level 1 chargers usually do not qualify for EV incentives and they are usually short-range or plug-in hybrids.

Level 1 Key Considerations:

  • Can only be used in home applications
  • Most accessible form of EV charging, but also the slowest and least efficient
  • Best for short-range drivers who can charge overnight
  •  Does not qualify for utility or government incentives

What is Level 2 EV Charging?

Level 2 EV charging packs a more powerful and efficient punch than Level 1 chargers. Found in both home and commercial applications, this type of charging uses 240 volts and can charge an EV battery 6-8 times faster than a Level 1 charger -- making this level ideal for eliminating range anxiety for drivers traveling longer

It is important to note that the charging rate available among Level 2 chargers can vary drastically: some have a power output as low as 6.0kW at 24 amps while others have a power output as high as 19.5kW at 80 amps. If installing a Level 2 charger at home, you may need to purchase new charging equipment specifically
designed for this level of charging and/or upgrade the electrical capacity of your home’s electric panel.

Although Level 2 chargers are typically more expensive than their Level 1 counterparts, they usually qualify for government and utility EV incentives that help offset the costs of the charger and its installation.

Level 2 Key Considerations:

  • Can be used in both home and commercial applications
  • Usually qualifies for government and utility incentives
  • Faster and more efficient than Level 1 charging
  • Ideal for commercial property owners who want to earn revenue
  • Best for park and charge applications such as apartment complexes, shopping centers, hotels and office buildings

What is Level 3 EV Charging?

The fastest and most powerful form of EV charging is Level 3, also known as DC fast charging. Only found in commercial and gas station settings, Level 3 charging is ideal for long road trips that require a charging stop in between the destinations. Level 3 charging output rates range from 50kW to 350kW, adding 100-250
miles of range in 30-45 minutes. These chargers use a specific socket designed for handling the higher voltage (400v-800v) and are not compatible with home electrical capacities.

Level 3 Key Considerations:

  • Fastest form of EV charging
  • Not compatible with home applications
  • Best for commercial applications located along major roadways in between travel destinations
  • Utilizes a specific socket to handle the higher voltage


In conclusion, grasping the nuances among Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 EV charging is vital for selecting the appropriate EV charging solution. From the convenience of Level 1 to the speedy capabilities of Level 3, each level offers advantages for various charging applications. By understanding each level, you are empowered to make the right selection for your unique charging application and needs.

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