The popularity of electric vehicles is certainly growing in Canada. According to Electric Mobility Canada, EV sales in Q2 2019 grew by 34 per cent over the same time last year. With about 120,000 EVs currently on our Canadian roads, the demand for convenient and accessible charging stations is on the rise. EV charging stations are popping up across the country from public spaces to rest stops along major highways. Businesses in the commercial and hospitality industries are offering EV charging to increase traffic and EV drivers. If you’re thinking about installing an EV charger in your home or as a value-added service for customers, Graybar Canada is here to help. With so many EV chargers to choose from, we wanted to break down the basics for you.
Essentially, EV chargers can be broken down into three levels: 1, 2 and 3. There are several EV charging manufacturers in the market space and each come with their own features, benefits and price points. At Graybar Canada, we carry two EV charging brands to cover all levels of use: Sun Country Highway and ChargePoint.
Level 1 EV chargers are mainly used in households as they only require a standard 120-volt outlet. These chargers are portable and don’t require special installation. The downside is that charging can be slow, taking anywhere from 8 – 20 hours to fully charge a dead EV battery. If you don’t have a long distance to travel every day and have time to plug-in, a Level 1 charger may be right for you at home.
In summary, Level 1 chargers have the following features:
- Charge using a regular 110/120-volt wall outlet
- Slowest speed of charging
- Popular in households
- 8 – 20 hours to charge a dead battery
- Charges 8 km per hour
Level 2 chargers are the most common and have become the standard for most commercial, industrial and hospitality businesses such as data centres, hotels, shopping malls and condos. They are much faster than Level 1 EV chargers because they are wired to a 240-volt outlet – just like a clothes dryer or an oven. A certified electrician needs to install a Level 2 charger as this type requires different infrastructure to operate safely and efficiently. If you regularly drive long distances and don’t have a lot of time to recharge, upgrading to a Level 2 charger may be a necessity.
Some of the features of the Level 2 charger are:
- 220/240-volt power
- 5 -10 hours to charge a dead battery
- Installed by a certified electrician
- Popular in industrial, commercial, hospitality and multi-unit residences
- Charges 30 km per hour
Level 3 EV chargers, or DC fast chargers, are found mostly in commercial and industrial spaces and along major routes such as the 400 series highways in Ontario. With 480-volts of power, a Level 3 charger can take your EV’s battery from zero to fully charged in about 20 minutes. Level 3 chargers aren’t as popular as Level 1 and 2 because of the higher price tag and installation requirements. If you’re a business that caters to drop-in customers such as a rest stop, restaurant or retail store, having a Level 3 charging station can put you a step ahead of the competition.
In summary, Level 3 EV chargers have the following features:
- Fastest charge
- 480-volt power
- Charges 100 km per hour or 80% charge as 50 kW
- Used mostly in businesses and public areas
- 20 mins to charge a dead battery
Over the next four years, it’s estimated that 60 new electric vehicle models will be released to the Canadian marketplace. With more EVs on the road, the selection of chargers will increase, and battery life will continue to improve. The current range of an EV is about 500 km, but over the next five years it’s estimated to increase to 700-750 km per charge. When comparing the overall cost of an EV to a standard gas or diesel vehicle, there are certainly long-term savings and benefits. Because of their zero emissions and lower maintenance costs, EVs are going to be a part of the future of transportation. The next few years will certainly be an exciting time as more EVs hit the road.
If you want to learn more about EV chargers or aren’t sure where to start, contact Graybar Canada’s Energy Division today. One of our trained specialists can help find the right EV charging solution for you.