Guide On How To Charge Your Electric Car With Charging Stations
Electric cars (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles are relatively new on the market and the fact that they use electricity to propel themselves means a new infrastructure has been put into place, one which few are familiar with. This is why we have created this useful guide to explain and clarify the different charging solutions used to charge an electric car.
In this EV charging guide, you’ll learn more about the 3 places where it’s possible to charge, the 3 different levels of charging available in North America, fast charging with superchargers, charging times, and connectors. You’ll also discover an essential tool for public charging, and useful links to answer all of your questions.
Before we get into those concepts, it is good to know the various terms used for charging stations. They usually all refer to the same thing.
- Charging station
- Charging outlet
- Charging plug
- Charging port
- EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment)
Share this guide on or and spread the knowledge!
Electric Car Home Chargers
Charging an electric car or plug-in hybrid is mainly done at home.Home charging accounts actually for 80% of all charging done by EV drivers. This is why it’s important to understand the solutions available, along with the pros of each.
Home Charging Solutions: Level 1 Level 2
There are two types of home charging: level 1 charging and level 2 charging.
- Level 1 charging happens when you charge an electric vehicle (EV) using the charger included with the car. These chargers can be plugged with one end into any standard 120V outlet, with the other end being plugged directly into the car. It can charge 200 kilometers (124 miles) in 20 hours.
- Level 2 chargers are sold separately from the car, although they’re often purchased at the same time. These chargers require a slightly more complicated setup, as they are plugged into a 240V outlet which allows charging 3 to 7 times faster depending on the electric car and the charger. All of these chargers have an SAE J1772 connector and are available for online purchase in Canada and the USA. They usually have to be installed by an electrician. You can learn more about level 2 charging stations in this guide.
For every electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, the use of a level 2 home charging station is recommended to help you charge faster and enjoy your EV’s full potential. Provincial and municipal incentives are available in some regions to help with purchase and installation costs. You can also check the following websites for more information.
- Quebec incentives for electric car home chargers
- British Columbia incentives for electric car home chargers (the program is temporarily suspended)
- For the United States, we suggest you check your government website.
The pros of home charging
To enjoy all the benefits of charging at home, you need to use a level 2 home charger.
A fully charged battery in a few hours
A level 2 charger allows you to charge your electric car 5 to 7 times faster for a full-electric car or up to 3 times faster for a plug-in hybrid compared to a level 1 charger. This means you’ll be able to maximize the use of your EV and reduce stops to charge at public charging stations.
It takes around four hours to fully charge a 30-kWh battery car (standard battery for an electric car), which allows you to make the most out of driving your EV, especially when you have a limited time to charge.
Start Your Day Fully Charged
Home charging is normally done on evenings and at night. Just connect your charger to your electric car when you come home from work, and you’ll be sure to have a fully charged battery the next morning. Most of the time, an EV’s range is enough for all your daily travel, meaning you won’t have to stop at public chargers for charging. At home, your electric car charges while you eat, play with the kids, watch TV, and sleep!
Save Big on Charging Costs
- In Quebec, it is about 30% less expensive to charge at home than at a public charger and 6 times less expensive to drive 100 km (62 miles) on electricity than on gas.
- In Ontario, it is roughly 65% less expensive to charge at home than at a public charger and 5 times less expensive to drive 100 km (62 miles) on electricity than on gas.
- In British Columbia, it is roughly 30% cheaper to charge at home than at a public charger and 5 times less expensive to drive 100 km (62 miles) on electricity than on gas.
- In the United States, it all depends on the price of electricity and gas. You have to compare the consumption of electricity in kWh/100 miles of the EV multiplied by the cost of the kWh vs. the consumption of gallons/100 miles of the gas car multiplied by the price of a gallon of gas. That way, you will be able to quickly know how much you could save on your travel costs.
Electric Car Public Charging Stations
Public charging allows EV drivers to charge their electric cars on the road when they need to travel longer distances than allowed by their EV’s autonomy. These public chargers are often located near restaurants, shopping centers, parking spots, and such public spaces.
To locate them easily, we suggest you use ChargeHub’s charging stations map that is available on iOS, Android, and web browsers. The map lets you easily find every public charger in North America. You can also see most chargers’ status in real time, make itineraries, and more. We’ll be using our map in this guide to explain how the public charging works.
There are three main things to know about public charging: the 3 different levels of charging, the difference between connectors and the charging networks.
Charging Station Connectors
Charging Station Networks
Tesla supercharger connector
Fast Charge Your Tesla ModelS/3/X/Y with EVgo
Discover Chargers On-the-go. Download the EVgo App
Sign Up and Charge Today
Access EVgo’s network of high-power charging stations with the CCS Combo 1 Adapter, the CHAdeMO adapter, and the integrated Tesla connectors at hundreds of EVgo fast charging stations across the U.S.! You can pay as you go, or sign up with an EVgo subscription plan to unlock discounted charging rates.
Explore our options to find the right fit for you.
Introducing EVgo Autocharge
No tapping, no cards. Just plug in and charge.
EVgo Autocharge allows EV drivers to start a charge by simply plugging in, no extra steps needed. It makes charging faster and easier. To get started, download the EVgo app.
Update: The new Tesla CCS Combo 1 Adapter is now available for use on the EVgo network. Most Tesla models are compatible with the adapter, but please log into your Tesla account to verify. With the CCS Combo 1 Adapter, Tesla Models S, 3, X and Y are eligible to enroll in Autocharge.
Tesla Charging Options with EVgo
EVgo welcomes Tesla drivers to fast charge at any one of our 850 EVgo stations using your own CCS Combo 1 Adapter (offering charging speeds up to 250 kW), Tesla CHAdeMO adapter (up to 50 kW), or the Tesla connectors (up to 50 kW) available at select regions across the US, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC, Virginia, Texas, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Denver, New York, Phoenix, Florida, Georgia, and Massachusetts.
Types of Tesla Connectors
Learn more below about each connector used with an EVgo charging station
SAE J1772 Charging Adapter
Standard L2 charger adapter that comes with the purchase of any Tesla vehicle. The charge rate will vary by the charger and the state of charge of the Tesla battery.
Integrated Tesla Connector
Customers can use a Tesla connector directly from the charger at select sites. The charge rate will vary by the charger with speeds up to 50kW.
A CHAdeMO adapter can be used at EVgo fast chargers by connecting to the EVgo CHAdeMO connector with charging speeds up to 50kW.
Tesla CCS Combo 1 Adapter
CCS Combo 1 Adapter offers charging speeds up to 250 kW from the CCS connector. It can be purchased from Tesla by signing into your Tesla account to ensure your vehicle is compatible.
GM’s electric vehicles will gain access to Tesla’s charging network
General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks during the opening of contract talks with the United Auto Workers on July 16, 2019, in Detroit.
DETROIT — Electric vehicles made by General Motors will be able to use much of Tesla’s extensive charging network beginning early next year under an agreement the two companies announced Thursday.
In addition, GM will adopt Tesla’s connector, the plug that links an electric vehicle to a charging station.
The Chevy Bolt, GM’s popular electric vehicle, is on its way out
GM joins Ford in shifting its electric vehicles to work with about 12,000 of Tesla’s roughly 17,000 chargers, and both Detroit automakers are pushing to make Tesla’s connector the industry standard. GM CEO Mary Barra and her Tesla counterpart, Elon Musk, made the announcement during a Spaces conversation.
Their discussion comes two weeks after Ford CEO Jim Farley joined Musk to announce that Ford’s electric vehicles would gain access to much of Tesla’s EV-charging network, the largest in the nation. Farley also said Ford would switch to Tesla’s charging network connector rather than to a different one that is used by the rest of the industry.
Tesla has a new master plan. It’s not a new car — just big thoughts on planet Earth
At first, GM and Ford EV owners will need an adapter to hook into the Tesla stations, which have their own connector. But both GM and Ford will switch to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard connector starting in 2025.
Tesla has about 17,000 Supercharger stations in the U.S. There are about 54,000 public charging stations in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy, but many charge much more slowly than the Tesla stations.
Like Ford, we see this as an opportunity to expand access to charging, Barra said, adding that GM hopes the rest of the industry will move to the Tesla charging connector, which is different from the standard one used by most other EVs.
Nice Car, But How Do You Charge That Thing? Let Us Count The Ways
Musk said that GM and Tesla vehicles would have an even playing field at the charging stations.
We will provide support equally to both, he said. The most important thing is we advance the electric vehicle revolution.
Tesla opens its charging connector design in pursuit of making it the North American tandard (NACS)
According to the data by Scrapehero.com, Tesla had 1,498 Supercharger locations across the United States at the end of September 2022. The number of Destination Chargers in the country stood at 3,904 locations.
This makes it around 5,402 Tesla public charging locations in the US as of Sep 2022. There are small and large Tesla Supercharger locations, some have 4-5 charging stalls and some have up to 100 stalls. Each stall has 2 connectors, so the actual number of available charging connectors is very much significant.
The closest competitor of the Tesla NACS connector is the Combined Charging Standard connector called CCS in short. Since CCS is widely used in Europe, Tesla transitioned its charge port to CCS back in 2018.
According to Tesla, if there is 1 CCS charging connector in North America, the Tesla NACS has 2 charging connectors available. Tesla outnumbers CCS by a ratio of 2:1 in this region already.
One other reason is the compact design and lighter weight of the Tesla charging connector compared to the bulky and heavy CCS charge connector.
Interestingly, Tesla revealed the maximum charging capacity of its NACS charge connector as 1 MW DC. The current peak charging rate at Tesla Supercharger V3 connectors is 250 kW.
To be able to hold the load up to 1 MW, the Tesla NACS connector is potentially able to charge even larger electric vehicles like pickup trucks and large SUVs.
Tesla recently revealed the charge port of the Cybertruck, and it’s the same NACS design. Tesla claims that the large battery pack of the Cybertruck will be able to deliver up to 500 miles (~800 km) of range and the electric pickup truck will be charged with the same charging cable and connector.
Even if Tesla introduces the next generation of V4 Tesla Superchargers next year along with the Cybertruck, the automaker will not need to upgrade its connectors or cables. And the Cybertruck will be able to charge quickly.
Stay tuned for constant Tesla updates, follow us on: Google News | Flipboard | RSS (Feedly).
By Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on @IqtidarAlii
replies on “Tesla opens its charging connector design in pursuit of making it the North American tandard (NACS)”
If the legacy car companies had taken Tesla up their offer of the Supercharger Network in 2012 (at cost power) none of this angst regarding charging standards would exist
We Plugged a Ford, a Hyundai, and a VW into Tesla’s Magic Dock Superchargers. Only Two Vehicles Charged.
We recently promised to bring you more information once we were able to test the Magic Dock that allows non-Tesla EVs to charge at Tesla Superchargers. Here’s the follow-through. We just gathered up three of our long-term electric vehicles, a Ford F-150 Lightning. a Volkswagen ID4. and a Hyundai Ioniq 5 and embarked on an eight-hour journey (including two hours of charging and a lunch stop) to get our hands on the nearest Magic Dock Supercharger in Santa Cruz, California.
Solving a Parking Puzzle
As this is written, there are only a handful of Superchargers stations in the U.S. with the Magic Dock installed. These Superchargers are all existing locations that have been retrofitted with the new adapter that makes it possible for non-Tesla EVs with a CCS DC fast-charging port to plug in. As soon as we pulled up, we spotted a problem: The design of the cable and the orientation of the chargers are optimized for Tesla vehicles, which have a charging port located at the driver-side rear corner. Most non-Tesla EVs with a charging port located on the driver-side rear or passenger-side front corner will have no problem parking and plugging in. For EVs that don’t have charging ports located in these optimal positions, though, there may be some challenges. You might have to get creative while pulling into a spot for the cable to reach, or use a pull-through spot when available.
See all 32 photos 32 photos
For example, despite having its charging port on the driver’s front fender, the F-150 Lightning has such a long nose the Supercharger’s short cable didn’t reach when we pulled into the spot normally. Consequently, we parked the truck at a 45-degree angle, occupying an adjacent empty space. Although a significant portion of the truck extended into the adjacent space, we weren’t obstructing another Supercharger.
The ID4 and Ioniq 5 have their charging ports located closer to the passenger-side rear corner, making it easier to get the port within reach of the cord. However, these ports are not situated on the same side as Tesla vehicles. To avoid blocking access to other chargers, we reversed these vehicles into two spots adjacent to the F-150, positioning them at an angle. We also attempted to back them in normally, which only worked when we parked in the spot for an adjacent charger. This means one vehicle effectively blocks the use of two Superchargers. When a station is crowded, these parking gymnastics and the resulting blocked chargers are sure to be source of friction between Tesla drivers and anyone driving a competitor’s EV.
We also experimented with approaching from the opposite side of the charger to enable the cable to reach the ID4 and Ioniq 5 by parking normally. Unfortunately, the presence of a concrete wheel block on the ground prevented us from getting the cars close enough for the cord to reach. Nevertheless, parking behind a charger could be a viable solution if a wheel block or similar obstruction isn’t there.
See all 32 photos 32 photos
The Tesla Charging Experience, Now Available For Your Ford and VW
Besides the parking problem, we encountered no issues with the actual fast-charging process for our F-150 Lightning and VW ID4. Using the mobile app, we selected the Charge Here icon and identified the post number located at the bottom of the Supercharger stall. We then selected the Unlock Adapter option, allowing us access to the Magic Dock. Grab the regular Tesla NACS charger’s handle, push it up into the adapter, and then pull the whole shebang out. Voilà—Tesla’s proprietary fast-chargers can now charge almost every EV on sale today.
Tesla’s V3 Supercharger has the capacity to deliver up to a 250-kW charging rate for Tesla vehicles, but the actual power delivered is dependent on the electric vehicle’s ability. A sticker on the stalls in Santa Cruz indicated that V3 Superchargers are rated for 500 volts and 350 amps. With our F-150 and ID4, we experienced fast-charging performance comparable to other 150-kW and higher DC fast chargers. For instance, an EVgo station reported a charging rate of 132 kW (374 volts and 355 amps) at 56 percent state of charge for the F-150. The Tesla Supercharger was able to provide the same charging power.
Breaking the Magic
Unfortunately, charging the Hyundai Ioniq 5 wasn’t so easy. Despite making seven attempts at three Supercharger stalls, we were unable to initiate a charging session with the Hyundai. The Tesla mobile app repeatedly displayed the message, We ran into an issue charging your vehicle. Please unplug, select another stall, and try again. We’re unsure of the exact problem, but we’ve heard of other Ioniq 5 owners having similar issues and are looking into an explanation. Given the Ioniq 5 had only 8 percent charge remaining, we used the F-150 Lightning’s 240-volt outlet to provide the vehicle with some extra juice to ensure it could reach the next non-Tesla charging spot. ( You can learn how to set up F-150 charging here. )
See all 32 photos 32 photos
Cool Magic Trick But Hindered by Logistic Problems
Our hands-on experience with the Supercharger with Magic Dock was a mixed bag. When it worked, it certainly lived up to its primary function of delivering fast charging with reliable power and an intuitive interface. During our two successful charging sessions with the F-150 Lightning and VW ID4, we experienced no challenges initiating the charging process. The Tesla mobile app was responsive, providing clear instructions and images on how to use the charger effectively. Additionally, the charger provided the F-150 Lightning and VW ID4 with as much power as they requested, indicating that the Magic Dock was indeed a clever way to enable a simple one-cable solution for adding CCS charging capability to existing Superchargers.
See all 32 photos 32 photos
However, we’re not used to Supercharger sessions failing, as they did for the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The network’s reliable and consistently fast charging is what sets it apart from every other fast-charging provider. Regardless of whether the problem lives with Hyundai or Tesla, both parties need to recognize their reputations are affected by these headaches.
And while the Magic Dock is a slick feature, logistical problems with parking orientation remain a significant issue. The majority of Supercharger sites are designed specifically for Tesla vehicles, and when pull-through spots exist, there are typically only a few. As illustrated above, parking orientation can present a major headache when an EV’s charging ports are not optimally located, sometimes leading to drivers taking up two spots or blocking a stall. Furthermore, the Tesla app’s understandable inability to differentiate between available stalls and those that are inaccessible due to suboptimal parking orientations may lead to frustration among users.
Although we’re glad Tesla is opening up the existing Supercharger network to non-Tesla EVs, we believe only a small number of drivers would enjoy solving a logistical parking puzzle before being able to fast charge their EVs. We hope Tesla will prioritize building more new sites and redesigning layouts that are compatible with all brands of EVs.