What is the difference between Level 2 and 3 EV chargers? » Ivy Charging Network
March 15, 2024
5 min read

What is the difference between Level 2 and 3 EV chargers?

Navigating the electric vehicle (EV) charging world can seem complex with terminology like AC, DC, Level 2, and Level 3. But getting down to basics makes it simpler. This blog will break down the differences between Level 2 and Level 3 charging, laying out how each charging level affects your EV’s performance and charging efficiency. Let’s dive in!

AC and DC charging: The backbones of EV charging.

In the realm of electric vehicle charging, AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) play distinct roles. Alternating current (AC) charging supplies electricity to an electric vehicle (EV) battery using standard electrical outlets, which transmit alternating current. In this process, the current is converted from AC to direct current (DC) within the vehicle’s onboard charger before being fed to the EV battery. AC charging is typically the more accessible and cost-effective option for EV owners as it can be conveniently set up at home or work.

Direct current (DC) charging involves directly supplying electricity in the form of direct current to an EV battery, bypassing the vehicle’s onboard converter. This method offers significantly faster charging speeds than AC charging, making it an ideal option for longer trips, quick pit stops, or immediate recharge. While DC charging infrastructures are rapidly growing and evolving, they coexist with more conventional AC charging stations, forming a comprehensive network to cater to the diverse charging needs of EV drivers.


What is Level 1 EV charging?

If you’re new to the EV scene, you might start with Level 1 charging. Essentially, this is your standard 120-volt plug-in charger. It’s the slowest method (providing about 6–8 km of range per hour of charge) but also accessible. The catch? It could take over 24 hours to fully charge a completely depleted battery.

What is Level 2 EV charging?

Building our charge levels up, we introduce Level 2 charging. This charger provides approximately 25–50 km of range per hour of charge using 240 volts (the type of electricity your dryer uses) and can fully charge an EV battery in only 4–6 hours. Level 2 chargers are commonly available at public charging stations, including locations where you might spend some time—think shopping centres, restaurants, movie theatres—essentially places where your vehicle can recharge while you go about your day. They’re also common in home charging solutions, such as Ivy Home, providing a balance between charging speed and convenience. They feature J1772 which plugs into all common EVs or NACS connectors for Teslas. These Level 2 destination charging options are integral to our expansive network, ensuring accessible and simple charging solutions for every EV owner.

What is Level 3 EV charging?

For those of us constantly on-the-go, or in need of a swift top-up, we present Level 3 charging (also called DC fast charging). Designed to replenish your vehicle’s charge during extended drives and serve as important quick-charge spots along your travel path, these chargers use direct current (DC) rather than household AC power. Level 3 chargers, conveniently available at our ONroute locations along Ontario’s busiest highways, pack a powerful punch. They deliver charges up to 150 kW, translating to nearly 100 km of range in a quick, 20-minute charge! They use CCS, CHAdeMO or NACS connectors which plug into a variety for EV models (check your car's manual to find the one that's right for your vehicle!). This ensures you can swiftly resume your journey with minimal downtime.


Comparing Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging stations.

In EV charging, choosing a level is a balance between speed, convenience, and availability.

Speed and convenience.

From slow and steady Level 1 to lightning-fast Level 3, the charging speed rises with each level.

  • Level 1 is ideal for overnight home charging, providing a reliable and gradual power replenishment for your vehicle.
  • Level 2 presents an optimal balance of speed and convenience. It’s perfect for both home and public charging stations, making it a great choice for longer trips and a practical solution for daily charging needs.
  • Level 3 fast charging delivers the quickest charging experience. These chargers are optimal for on-the-go charging during longer trips, functioning as essential top-up stations along your route.

Access and availability.

Level 1 charging requires no special equipment, making it globally accessible. Level 2 chargers, often found at public stations and homes, are an expedited charging solution for when you’re taking care of errands or similar activities where you have a bit of time to spare. One such charger is the Ivy Home charger, a premium Level 2 smart EV charger that simplifies daily routines with ease—just connect, plug in, and you’re ready to go! Level 3 stations are typically located in cities or along busy transport routes, including those serviced by Ivy Charging Network.

Regardless of your chosen level, every EV charger contributes to a more sustainable environment. Your driving habits, location, and lifestyle will inform your decision. Making an informed choice means maximizing your EV’s potential and ensuring a seamless journey towards a cleaner future.

Choose your level of EV charging.

From the balanced integration of speed and convenience offered by Level 2 to the immense power harnessed by Level 3 chargers, flexibility is a staple in the world of EVs at Ivy. We understand that charging needs vary for all EV models and we are committed to continually ensuring our network supports all connector types. When it comes to EV charging at Ivy, selecting a level manifests as a harmony between speed, convenience, and ample availability in our network. Poised to electrify your driving experience? Delve into Ivy’s charging solutions and ensure you’re continually powered up for all your road endeavours.

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