Chargers & Charging

Source: US Department of Energy

Charging hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric vehicles (EVs) requires plugging into an electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

Charging times vary based on how empty the battery is, how much energy it holds, battery type and the type of charging equipment used.

Charging Equipment

Level 1 equipment uses a 120 volt (V), alternating current (AC) plug (up to 15 amperes and 1.8 kW) and require a dedicated circuit. Level 1 EVSE is portable and does not require installation of charging equipment. On one end of the cord is a standard, 3-prong household plug. On the other end is a connector, which plugs into the vehicle. Level 1 charging can take from 8 to 20 hours for a full charge, adding about 5 to 6 miles of range per hour of charging time, depending on the vehicle.

Level 2 equipment uses a 240 V, AC plug (up to 80 amperes and 19.2 kW) and requires the installation of a charging unit. However, most residential level 2 EVSE will operate at lower power, using 30 amperes and delivering 7.2 kW of power. Level 2 charging can take from 3 to 8 hours to reach a full charge, adding about 25 miles of range per hour of charging time, depending on the vehicle.

Level 3 equipment is still in development. It will enable a faster AC charging option that will operate at a higher voltage and current than Level 2. Level 3 charging stations will be installed in public locations. Level 3 charging can take less than 30 minutes to reach a full charge.

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Basic Charging Circuit Requirements

Voltage (VAC)
Current (Amps)
Power (kVA)
Frequency (HZ)
Phase Standard Outlet
Level 1
120 12 1.44 60 Single NEMA 5-15R
Level 2
208/240 32 6.7/7.7 60 Single SAE J1772/3
Level 3
480 400 192 60 Three N/A

Connectors & Plugs

Modern charging equipment and vehicles use a stand connector and plug receptacle based on the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1772 standard. Vehicles with this plug receptacle can use any Level 2 or Level 2 EVSE. Major vehicle and charging system manufactures support this standard, which should eliminate drivers’ concerns about whether their vehicle is compatible with the infrastructure.

At this time, no standards exist for Level 3 EVSE.


For a list of charging units and other accessories, view Plug In America's accessory graph.