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Isn't Level 1 (120V) Charging Slow? Don't We Need A Faster Level 2 (240V) Charger?
Isn't Level 1 (120V) Charging Slow? Don't We Need A Faster Level 2 (240V) Charger?

Fact: An electric vehicle only needs to top-up what it has used since the last charging session, not the whole battery!

Mohammad Akhlaghi avatar
Written by Mohammad Akhlaghi
Updated over a week ago

Short Answer

This circle shows the minimum distance (50 miles = ~75 km) most electric vehicles can travel from Downtown New York while charging overnight using a Level 1 120V outlet. The reason we say minimum distance is because the maximum distance depends on the maximum capacity of your battery on the vehicle and nothing else. Having a faster charger doesn't give you more range, only a bigger battery does.

New York Circle.JPG

And if you need to travel further than your battery capacity, you need a bigger battery, not a faster charger!

If your phone constantly runs out of battery before you get home to charge it, you will get a battery pack or an outlet at your destination, not a faster charging cable at home! Don't let some Level 2 sales people sabotage your common sense!

According to Forbes, "If an office can put in 5 low-power chargers for the cost of one Level 2 charger, that might be the better choice since most cars travel only 40 miles/day."

More Details

Electric vehicle ownership is a different life-style. Just like you have to plug your cellphone in every night before going to bed, you will also get used to plugging your vehicle in when you park every-night. It only takes 2 minutes!

Based on these two facts:

Taking into account the speed of charge for Level 1 charging:

Level 1 (Plugzio devices) will fully charge 95% of electric vehicles in under 4 hours when plugged in every day.

Besides that, having a faster charger at home/work is not only a waste of money its also a waste of energy as more pressure is put on the electrical grid and increases the chance of electricity price hikes.

People often panic when they hear that it takes 12 hours to fully charge your vehicle (picture below from BC-Hydro). There may be an internal misconception that, just like putting gas in a vehicle, you have to stand there for 12 hours to get your tank full. That is FAR from reality:

It only takes 5 minutes to charge an electric vehicle.

Here is the scenario:

You get home, park your vehicle, plug in the charger and leave. You come back the next day to a fully charged vehicle! Unplug the charger and off you go.

The problem with stating aggregate charging hours (as picture above) is that, unlike gas vehicles, electric vehicles almost never go from empty to full (that's a gas vehicle habit). Electric vehicles owners are like honey bees, they go from charger to charger. So the range almost never goes to zero before you start thinking (panicking) about getting a charge.

This is a side by side chart of charging using Plugzio (Level 1) vs Level 2 fast charger. As you can see from the chart, after the second day, the faster speed of Level 2 charger will be irrelevant!

You only have to fill up what you have used during the day, NOT the whole tank!

According to BC-Hydro, average distance driven on a daily basis in British Columbia, Canada is 30km, so effectively speaking, Plugzio Level 1 (120V) charging is fast enough for 95% of the vehicles out there.

Three very important extra notes about charging in general:

  1. Your range is directly related to how big your battery is, NOT the speed of your charger. So don't get deceived by the false advertisement about fast chargers. If you only travel 60km on a daily basis, it won't matter at all if your charger is Level 3 or Level 1. You will come back to a fully charged vehicle the next day regardless. Your ultimate range is dependent on your battery size, NOT your charger.

  2. The range values don't take into account Regenerative Braking which adds range to your vehicle. Your electric vehicle will add range to your battery as you brake, effectively charging your vehicle on the go. So Level 1 may give you 70km over-night, but you may be able to drive even more the next day due to regenerative braking.

  3. You have to take into account that you often will find a charger at your destination as well. Remember, electric vehicles owners are like honey bees, they go from charger to charger. Therefore your effective range in a day is more than what your home charger can provide!

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