What is a Level 3 Charging Station?
Level 3, or DC Fast Charging – Level 3, sometimes referred to as DC Fast Charging or DCFC (direct current fast charging), ranges from 200 to 800 VDC (direct current volts) and can recuperate up to 60-80% of an electric vehicle’s range in as a little as 30 minutes. This is a fantastic solution for charging on the go. However, there are still some major challenges Level 3 EV charging stations face, making them an impractical choice for most residential and commercial charging areas. You will typically find Level 3 stations purchased by your state government along interstate highways.
Level 3 Charging Stations Don’t Make Commercial Sense
- Specialized Infrastructure – Direct current fast charging involves electricity in its original form instead of the modified version, thus having a much higher voltage and higher power requirements than other types of chargers. Buildings and other installation sites will usually require specialized electrical infrastructure to safely support electric load capacities. Specialized infrastructure may also require new transformers, additional utility services, and recurring maintenance, all of which can increase costs.
- Cost – Owning and managing a Level 3 station is incredibly expensive, ranging from between or upwards of $15,000-50,000 USD. In addition to the specialized infrastructure and technical equipment, it would also entail ongoing utility and maintenance costs. Due to its more complex nature and possession of more function-critical components, the maintenance of Level 3 EVSE is generally more costly than Level 2 equipment itself.
- Interoperability – There isn’t one standard plug for all EVs. In the US, there are four competing standards: CHAdeMO, Tesla, SAE J1772, and CCS. Different electric vehicles may also have differing charging ports. Depending on the vehicle, not all of them may be compatible with Level 3 EVSE since there isn’t a set standard for direct current fast charging.
Level 3 Charging Stations Are Not Suitable For Your Home
Not all EV charging stations are created equal. Just because a charger is a Level 3 does not mean it will automatically be the highest quality charger. When purchasing EVSE, there are other factors besides speed you should take into consideration.
- Electrical Capacity – Indeed, DC fast charging can reach up to 80% state of charge in less than 30 minutes. However, even DC charging can take over an hour since that last 20% charges much slower than when filling from 20-80%. Additionally, DC fast charging requires large amounts of power to be dispensed through the system in a short amount of time, causing concern that excessive demand can strain the power grid. It typically costs a lot more to use power quickly than over time.
- Costs – The aforementioned high costs of commercial Level 3 charging infrastructure, installation, and maintenance also apply to residential EV charging.
- Need – Unlike gas stations, there is no need to make trips specifically to charge up an EV. Over 80% of EV charging takes place at home instead of in public. There is very little need to charge that fast at home since the car sits there for hours. For more information on EV charging times, you can view our EV charging times page.
It is incredibly impractical to install a Level 3 DC charger at home. Instead, investing in a Level 2 charger will provide you with the most long-term benefits.
Different Levels of EV Chargers Comparison Table
|EVSE Level||Locations||Power Range (Amps)||Connectors||Current Type||Avg. Costs|
|Level 1 Charger||Residential, Public||8-20 Amps||J1772, Tesla||AC Charging||$379-$495|
|Level 2 Charger||Residential, Commercial, Public||12-80 Amps||J1772, Tesla||AC Charging||$329-$2700|
|Level 3 Charger||Specialized Public, Utility, or Government-Mandated Areas||100+ Amps||CCS, CHAdeMO, Tesla||DC Fast Charging||$15k-$50k+|
Benefits of Level 2 Charging Stations, Home and Commercial
Level 2 charging stations utilize alternating current charging (AC charging), the same type of power used for common home appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines. AC charging involves a modified form of electricity that is easier to generate and more cost-effective when traveling long distances. Their overall convenience and efficiency make Level 2 chargers the most popular choice for home, commercial, and workplace EV charging. Learn more about the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 charging here.
- Efficiency – Level 2 chargers are more efficient than their Level 1 counterparts. Depending on the EV, some only need a couple of hours to recharge to full battery capacity. Some Level 2 EV chargers can charge up to 5-7 times faster than their Level 1 counterparts! Vehicle onboard chargers tend to be their most efficient when charging at capacity. For example, a 7.7kW onboard charger would be the most efficient charging at 32Amp and 240 volt supply (7.7kW).
- Versatility – Level 2 charging stations can be installed in most residential, commercial, or public spaces without needing specialized infrastructure.
- Affordability – Level 2 EV chargers are NOT significantly more expensive than their Level 1 counterparts. Instead, Level 2 chargers come in a diverse range of power, features, and prices. In fact, because of their variety, it can be easier to find a reasonably-priced Level 2 station that suits your vehicle needs and maximizes efficiency.
- Financial Incentives – Many state governments and private businesses provide generous tax benefits, rebates, and incentives for installing a Level 2 charging station. You can review ClipperCreek’s List of EVSE incentives by State to learn more about the benefits you may qualify for.
Bonus: Can I Charge My EV with a Tesla Supercharger? – Tesla Superchargers can only charge Tesla vehicles. On the other hand, if you own a Tesla, you can use just about any EV Charging Station, not just Tesla branded stations. Tesla vehicle purchases include an adapter that can be used to adapt the Tesla connector to an SAE J1772 connector to be used with a J1772 station. ClipperCreek charging stations are known for being universally compatible with all electric vehicles, Teslas included (with adapter).
Find your EV charger.
Need help? Call us at (877) 694-4194 and our world-class customer service will help you find the perfect charger for your car.
Why Choose ClipperCreek? ClipperCreek, now a division of Enphase Energy, is recognized as the gold standard for quality, reliability, and service.
- Universal Compatibility – ClipperCreek charging stations are compatible with every plug-in vehicle, including Teslas.
- High-Quality Products – The high quality of ClipperCreek products reflects our values: excellent performance, long-lasting durability, and competitive pricing.
- Safety – All ClipperCreek units are safety certified after passing extensive rounds of independent laboratory testing. Most ClipperCreek stations are safe for both indoor and outdoor installations. To learn more about EVSE safety, please visit our blog here.
ClipperCreek Level Two Charging Stations
Please visit ClipperCreek’s store to browse our extensive selection of Level 2 charging stations, with different power levels, price points and many other features:
Have More Questions? ClipperCreek is known for our extended warranty support and world class customer service. You can use the information below to contact our product specialist team to assist you with finding the right charging stations for you: