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Electric Vehicle Charger Levels and Speeds

Many factors influence electric vehicle (EV) charging speed, including the EV battery’s state of charge, battery deterioration, use of power while charging, ambient temperature, and power level of EV charging equipment. EVs can be charged using three charging levels: Level 1, Level 2, and direct current fast charging. 

Level 1

The slowest, Level 1 equipment, provides charging through a common residential 120-volt (120V) alternating current (AC) outlet. Level 1 chargers can take 40-50 hours to charge a light-duty BEV from empty, 5-8 hours to charge an electric motorcycle, and 5-6 hours to charge a PHEV.

Level 2

Level 2 equipment offers 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 light-duty BEV from empty in 4-10 hours, an electric motorcycle in 1-4 hours, and a PHEV in 1-2 hours.

Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC)

An EV charger with a long cord in a parking lot. The sign on the EV charger says, “Electric Vehicle Parking Only.”
Level 2 chargers are common in home, workplace, and public settings and can charge a BEV from empty in 4−10 hours. (Source: Kelly Buckland)

The fastest speed, direct current fast charging (DCFC) equipment, enables rapid charging along heavy-traffic corridors at installed stations. DCFC equipment can charge a light-duty BEV to 80 percent in 20 minutes to 1 hour and some electric motorcycles in 5-30 minutes. Most PHEVs and some electric motorcycles currently on the market are not capable of using DCFCs.

Level 2 and DCFC equipment have 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 upfront and ongoing costs, discussed further in Installation Planning.

Shown at right and below are typical Level 2 and DCFC charging stations. 

A row of four DC fast chargers next to empty parking spaces.
DCFC chargers are common as public chargers and along highway corridors and can charge a BEV to 80 percent in under an hour. (Source: Joint Office of Energy & Transportation)

Overview of EV Chargers

The below table summarizes the typical power output, charging time, and locations for the different charger types. 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 was a previous standard for Japanese-manufactured vehicles. Tesla vehicles have a proprietary connector that works for all charging speeds, including at Tesla’s “Supercharger” DCFC stations, while non-Tesla vehicles require adapters at these stations.

Note that charging speed slows as the battery gets closer to full to prevent damage to the battery; therefore, it is more cost- and time-efficient to charge the battery part-way rather than to 100 percent. For example, with direct current (DC) fast charging it can take about as long to charge the last 10 percent of an EV battery as the first 90 percent. For more information on the power requirements of different chargers, see Utility Planning.

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 Type

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.

Typical Power Output 1 kW 7 kW - 19 kW 50 - 350 kW
Estimated Light-Duty PHEV Charge Time from Empty1 5 - 6 hours  1 - 2 hours  N/A
Estimated Light-Duty BEV Charge Time from Empty2 40 - 50 hours 4 - 10 hours 20 minutes - 1 hour3
Estimated Electric Range per Hour of Charging 2 - 5 miles 10 - 20 miles 180 - 240 miles
Typical Locations Home Home, Workplace, and Public Public

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

2Assuming a 60-kWh battery.

3 To 80 percent charge.

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, drivers experience consistent price communication and payment methods, chargers work when drivers need them, and chargers are designed to be compatible with future 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.


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