This is the most readily available but slowest type of charging, which uses a regular 120v household outlet. Most EVs will come with this equipment, and it is helpful when you’re at a travel destination, and your car can sit and charge for a while, such as at a cottage or hotel. This equipment typically charges 8 to 12 amps, equating to about 5-6 kilometres of range an hour, depending on your vehicle and a few other environmental factors.
For EV drivers who drive short distances every day this level of charging could be enough to “top up” the battery each night.
This type of charging requires the installation of a dedicated 240v circuit from your electrical panel to your garage or parking spot. These can be installed with an outlet (like a stove or dryer) or hardwired to your charger, and installed indoors or outdoors (check with the manufacturer to ensure the equipment is outdoor rated if required). This equipment typically charges at 240v, 8 to 80 amps depending on factors such as your electrical panel capacity and budget. This equates to about 16-120 kilometres of range an hour.
Always consult a licensed electrical contractor to help determine your needs.
Level 2 chargers are also currently the most common type of public charger installed at businesses, or other spots around the city. Some can be free in order to promote EV adoption and draw you to their business or service, or cost a small fee typically billed per-hour. In the Ottawa area the fees are usually $1-2/hr. You can expect anywhere from 16-50 kilometres of range an hour.
Level 3 chargers, also called “DC Fast Chargers” are only available in commercial settings. It is not possible to install a Level 3 at your home. These are the fastest EV chargers available, but can have different speeds measured in Kilowatts (kW). The speeds can range from 24 to 250kW, and your car may have different maximum speeds. These chargers can fill a modern EV’s battery in under 20 minutes.
They are typically located in a parking lot close to amenities and highways, and operated by a network such as Ivy, Flo, ChargePoint, Electrify Canada, Tesla (Tesla vehicles only for now), or others. Currently, most are billed per-hour approximately $17-24/hr in the Ottawa region. There are changes underway to allow these networks to charge per Kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity which is much more equitable as EVs can charge at different maximum speeds. The current system of billing by time would be the same as filling a gas car and paying by the minute as opposed to by the litre.