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Charger Types and Speeds

EVs can be charged using electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) operating at different charging speeds.

Level 1

Level 1 equipment provides charging through a common residential 120-volt (120V) AC outlet. Level 1 chargers can take 40-50+ hours to charge a BEV to 80 percent from empty and 5-6 hours for a PHEV.

Level 2

Level 2 equipment offers higher-rate AC charging through 240V (in residential applications) or 208V (in commercial applications) electrical service, and is common for home, workplace, and public charging. Level 2 chargers can charge a BEV to 80 percent from empty in 4-10 hours and a PHEV in 1-2 hours.

Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC)

Direct current fast charging (DCFC) equipment offers rapid charging along heavy-traffic corridors at installed stations. DCFC equipment can charge a BEV to 80 percent in just 20 minutes to 1 hour. Most PHEVs currently on the market do not work with fast chargers.

Level 2 and DCFC equipment has been deployed at various public locations including, for example, at grocery stores, theaters, or coffee shops. When selecting a charger type, consider its voltages, resulting charging and vehicle dwell times, and estimated up-front and ongoing costs.

The figure below shows typical Level 2 and DCFC charging stations1

At left: An electric vehicle plugged into a Level 2 charger. At right: An electric vehicle plugged into a direct current fast charger in a mall parking lot.
Level 2 chargers (left) are common in home, workplace, and public settings and can charge a BEV from empty in 4-10 hours. Direct current fast chargers (right) are common as public chargers and along highway corridors and can charge a BEV to 80 percent in under an hour. (123RF and Washington State Department of Transportation photos)

EV Charging Minimum Standards Rule

FHWA, with support from the Joint Office of Energy & Transportation, unveiled new national standards for federally funded EV chargers in February 2023. These new standards aim to ensure that charging is a predictable and reliable experience for EV drivers. This includes ensuring that drivers can easily find a charger, do not need multiple apps and/or accounts to charge, chargers work when drivers need them to, and are designed to be compatible in the future with forward-looking charging capabilities.

The rule establishes minimum technical standards for charging stations, including required number of charging ports, connector types, power level, availability, payment methods, uptime/reliability, EV charger infrastructure network connectivity, and interoperability, among other standards and requirements.

Overview of EV Chargers

The below table summarizes the typical power output, charging time, and locations for PHEVs and BEVs for the different charger types. For more information on the power requirements of different chargers, see the Utility Planning section of the toolkit.

Overview of EV chargers: power output, plug type, and charge time for light-duty vehicles. (Adapted from the Alternative Fuels Data Center)
  Level 1 Level 2 DC Fast Charging
Connector Type2

J1772 connector

An SAE J1772 plug, also known as a Type 1 plug or a J plug, has 5 pins.

J1772 connector

An SAE J1772 plug, also known as a Type 1 plug or a J plug, has 5 pins.

CCS connector

A Combined Charging System (CCS) connector uses the J1772 charging inlet, which has 5 pins, and combines it with 2 larger high-speed charging pins below it.

CHAdeMO connector

Schematic of a CHAdeMO connector plug.

Tesla connector

Schematic of a Tesla connector plug.

Voltage3 120 V AC 208 - 240 V AC 400 V - 1000 V DC
Typical Power Output 1 kW 7 kW - 19 kW 50 - 350 kW
Estimated PHEV Charge Time from Empty4 5 - 6 hours  1 - 2 hours  N/A
Estimated BEV Charge Time from Empty5 40 - 50 hours 4 - 10 hours 20 minutes - 1 hour6
Estimated Electric Range per Hour of Charging 2 - 5 miles 10 - 20 miles 180 - 240 miles
Typical Locations Home Home, Workplace, and Public Public

1Note that charging speed is affected by many factors, including the charger manufacturer, condition, and age; air temperature; vehicle battery capacity; and vehicle age and condition..

2 Different vehicles have different charge ports. For DCFC, the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector is based on an open international standard and is common on vehicles manufactured in North America and Europe; the CHArge de Move (CHAdeMO) connector is most common for Japanese manufactured vehicles. Tesla vehicles have a unique connector that works for all charging speeds, including at Tesla’s “Supercharger” DCFC stations, while non-Tesla vehicles require adapters at these stations.

3AC = alternating current; DC = direct current.

4Assuming an 8-kWh battery; most plug-in hybrids do not work with fast chargers.

5Assuming a 60-kWh battery.

6 To 80 percent charge. Charging speed slows as the battery gets closer to full to prevent damage to the battery. Therefore, it is more cost- and time-efficient for EV drivers to use direct current (DC) fast charging until the battery reaches 80 percent, and then continue on their trip. It can take about as long to charge the last 10 percent of an EV battery as the first 90 percent.

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Last updated: Thursday, June 22, 2023