Everything you need to know about charging your EV

Photo: Electrify America

Photo: Electrify America

By Nicholas Yekikian

If you own an EV you’ve probably heard of things like Level I or Level II charging, Tesla Supercharger stations, DC power and even more jargon that drivers of cars with internal combustion engines don’t necessarily encounter. Borrow’s job is to make owning an EV as easy as possible, and here we’re going to provide a comprehensive guide to make your transition into an electric car a bit less… jolting.

They say its Watt you know: the different levels of charging
Let’s start with some basic info about charging up at home as a baseline: First, wattage is simply a way to describe the process of energy transfer. One Watt is one AMP multiplied by one Volt. Most homes in North America have sockets that can push 6.81AMPS at 220 Volts during peak usage. That’s about 1800 Watts, and since a kilowatt is 1000 Watts, a typical outlet in an American home outlet runs about 1.8kW.

To charge a Tesla from flat to an 80% charge at 1.8kW would give you about three miles of range for every hour you spend charging your car – that means it’ll take something like 50 hours to fully charge a large battery electric vehicle. This is what you would typically referred to as “level one“ charging and is best used overnight at your home. Tesla and other third party companies will sell you upgraded wall charges that vastly increase the rate at which you can charge an EV. Tesla’s website says that at 19.2kW (more than 10x what your standard outlet will push) a Tesla will charge at the rate of about 44 miles of range per hour of charging.

Level one is just the start. Level two charging is what you’ll find in most public parking spots and business parks and use a 250 Volt power source. As a result, the wattage for these is upped from 1.8kW to around 6 or 7kW. It’ll deliver current at a much faster rate and will charge up an EV at rate of about 22-25 miles of ranger per hour. Plug it in while you’re at the mall and come back after a few hours for some extra range for the drive home.

The fastest way to charge your EV or level three fast charging or DC fast charging. The wattage is upped again to 50kW. These chargers will juice your EV from flat to an 80% charge in about 30 minutes. Tesla supercharger stations are just level three stations that are unique to the Tesla brand. This is easily the fastest way to charge up and is great if you’re pressed for time on a long road trip.

Now, what about connectors?
Right. At the moment there are three different kinds of connectors that are currently used in EVs. They are SAE Combo (CCS), CHAdeMO and Tesla’s proprietary connector. The Tesla connector is, as you’d imagine, limited to Tesla’s cars, but the others work between different brands.

•The SAE Combo connector is compatible with  BMWs, Volkswagens, Chevrolets, and all other upcoming American and European cars.

•The CHAdeMO connector is compatible with Nissans, Mitsubishis and KIAs.

There is a move to standardize the connector across the industry, but, at the moment, nothing has been released and any plans to do this are in their infancy.

Where can I fast charge?
Great question. If you want to take advantage of places to charge your EV really quickly, you’ll need the services of a charge point provider. Some of the most common brands that supply these services are ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America and Tesla’s Supercharger stations (that only work if you have a Tesla). There are a host of other, smaller companies, so it might be best to do a little research on what’s available in your area. All of these companies have mobile apps to make finding a place to charge a cinch.

What is Borrow?

Borrow is an electric vehicle subscription company with one goal: to make driving an EV as simple and accessible as possible. It’s the only vehicle subscription service of its kind and is bringing the future of car ownership to its customers today.