Many customers contact us or come to our store to ask what would be the most suitable 240V (Level 2) charging station for the electric car they have just purchased or are eagerly waiting for.
So, what are the variables to consider in order to make the right choice of charging station for your electric vehicle?
First and foremost, it’s essential to know that in North America, all cars use the same type of connector for Level 1 (120V) and Level 2 (240V) charging, which adheres to the SAE J1772 standard, except for Tesla, which uses its own NACS format. However, Tesla provides an adapter with the vehicle upon purchase, allowing it to be compatible with the standard SAE J1772 connectors used for Level 2 charging.
Note: In the recent weeks, most electric vehicle manufacturers (Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Rivian, Volvo) have reached an agreement with Tesla to adopt its NACS charging port format, which allows for Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging using the same plug. This format is considerably smaller than other connectors and enables faster charging. As a result of this agreement, futur owners of these car brands will be able to benefit from Tesla’s extensive charging network in the future.
Here are the selection criteria for a residential 240V (Level 2) electric vehicle charging station:
Maximum Charging Capacity of the Car
Before proceeding further in the process, it’s important to know the maximum charging capacity of your car (expressed in amperes) for Level 2 charging.
Most plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are limited to 30A, while fully electric vehicles (EVs) may allow for charging at 48A or even higher.
It’s essential to check this, as the capacity may vary even within different variants of the same car model. For example, for a Tesla Model 3 or Tesla Model Y Standard Range (SR), the maximum charging power is limited to 32A, whereas it’s 48A for the Long Range (LR) or Performance version.
However, even if your electric vehicle can accept higher charging power, it doesn’t necessarily mean you must opt for a more powerful charging station. Remember that you often have the entire night to charge your car, and the battery is rarely completely empty.
For instance, recharging an electric vehicle with a 60kWh battery, completely depleted, will take approximately 8 hours with a 30A charging station and about 5 hours with a 48A charging station.
Electrical Panel Capacity
Before purchasing a charging station, it’s always a good idea to consult an electrician to ensure that your electrical panel can handle an additional circuit breaker of the power required for the charging station installation.
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Anticipating future needs:
Even if your current vehicle cannot accept a high charging power, it’s possible that your next one will. So, it can be interesting to plan ahead. Moreover, a more powerful charging station can be used with a less powerful vehicle without any issues, as the car communicates its maximum charging capacity to the charging station.
Charging Station Features:
- Cable Length:
- Depending on the location of the charging station, the length of the cable connecting it to the charging gun can make it easier or more challenging to reach the vehicle for charging. The most common cable lengths are 16 feet and 25 feet.
Type of Electrical Connection:
There are 2 types of electrical connections:
- Plug-in Type – Allows you to plug and unplug the charging station yourself for portability. For example, some people may install their charging station in the garage during winter and move it outside for the summer or take it to their cottage. There are 2 plug formats available: NEMA 6-50 (Welder) or NEMA 14-50 (Stove). The latter format is more popular, and some charging station manufacturers have stopped offering the NEMA 6-50 format. For this type of charging station, which requires a 240V power outlet, the maximum permitted power is 40A.
- Hardwired Type – Allows you to choose a more powerful charging station (48A and above).
- Standard or Smart Charging Station:
- Standard Charging Station – Simply plug in the charging station, and the vehicle charging process starts immediately. No access control is possible.
- Smart Charging Station (requires WiFi at the charging station location) – Requires the use of a mobile application to control access to the charging station and obtain charging session statistics. It is also possible to connect multiple charging stations to the same electrical circuit and share power between them.
Cable Flexibility in Extremely Cold Weather:
Some charging station brands come equipped with a cable that remains more flexible than others in winter, especially in extremely cold conditions when installed outdoors. Charging stations manufactured in Canada, such as EVDuty, TechnoVE, and FLO, use a flexible cable from the company Phoenix Contact to handle such circumstances.
Origin of Manufacture:
Although it does not necessarily influence the quality of the device, some consumers prefer to prioritize a charging station that is assembled in Canada. Among the charging stations made in Canada, notable brands include EVDuty, TechnoVE, and FLO.
Price and Subsidies:
Price is undoubtedly an important criterion, but generally, charging stations with similar features have similar prices.
It is also important to ensure that the selected charging station is eligible for government subsidies if you have recently purchased a new vehicle. In our case, all the charging stations we offer are eligible for the $600 subsidy from the Roulez Vert program.
Warranties for charging stations vary from one manufacturer to another. Some offer a 3-year warranty on the cable and charging station, while others provide up to a 5-year warranty on the charging station.
The ability to quickly reach customer service and receive assistance to address any issues with the charging station is undoubtedly important. Charging stations manufactured in Canada have an advantage in this regard.