Everything You Need to Know
EV chargers are classified according to the speed with which they recharge an EVs battery:
- Level 1 – aka trickle charger / home wall outlet
- Level 2 – AC charger
- Level 3 – DC quick/rapid charger
- Level 4 – DC ultra fast charger
Typically, Level 1 and 2 chargers are the main options when it comes to home use, with Level 3 and 4 stations generally limited to pay-per-use public domain.
Let’s break it down:
At home, you’ll pay about $2/100kms to charge your vehicle, regardless of whether you use a Level 1 or Level 2 charger.
As of April 2022, there are 236 charging stations in Victoria, BC. 91% are Level 2 chargers and 83% are free. There are often free Level 2 charging stations at places like recreation centres, high schools, universities, and municipal/city halls. Most places still require you to sign into an app such as Flo or ChargePoint to charge your vehicle, whether you need to pay or not.
Pay-per-use Level 2 charging stations typically charge by the hour, often $1 or $2 per hour. This puts the cost at around $5 for 100 km of driving when you pay $2 per hour at an approximate rate of 30 km of range per hour.
Beginning on January 4, 2021, a $1 per hour EV charging fee came into effect for all City-owned EV chargers in Victoria. Parking and EV charging fees are combined and paid for using the FLO App or using your preloaded FLO purchase card on Broad Street and in the Johnson Street parkade.
Charging at pay-to-use Level 3 charging varies wildly. You’re charged based on time, but how much charge your vehicle can accept in that time changes based on the temperature, your current charge level, and several other factors. Typically, pay-per-use chargers are installed and run by third parties such as BC Hydro, Flo, or ChargePoint. Here’s an example of what to expect at a pay-per-use charging station: a BC Hydro run 50 kW Level 3 charger at the University of Victoria costs 21.13 cents per minute + GST. This Level 2 fast Charger can be activated by using the BC Hydro EV App/RFID Card, FLO App/RFID Card, or by calling 1 866 338 3369 to have the charge initiated remotely.
A 50-kW Level 3 fast charger will add around 100 km of range in about 20 minutes, at a cost of approximately $4.50.
A 350-kW Level 4 charger, the fastest currently offered, can add 100 km in as little as four minutes, at a price of less than $3. There are zero Level 4 chargers in Victoria, currently.
LEVEL 1 CHARGING
LEVEL 1 - or trickle charging - uses a portable charging cable in a standard household (120v) outlet to charge the electric vehicle. This cable comes standard in most electric vehicles. A Level 1 cable is akin to plugging in your smartphone, albeit a very large one, before turning in for the night. It's worth noting that this is the slowest form of charging and can take upwards of 36 hours or more to achieve a full charge depending on your battery size.
- We all like free, and this one will cost you zero dollars to get started if your car manufacturer has kindly included a charge cable with your vehicle.
- You’ll pay about $2/100kms to charge your vehicle.
- If you have an old-school 2010 Nissan Leaf with 100 kms of range, Level 1 is going to work just fine. You can plug it in at night and wake to a fully charged Leaf.
- If you have a brand-new high range EV6 or Tesla, you’re going to want to invest in another option. Unless, of course, you’re happy to wait 36+ hours for the high-capacity battery to charge.
LEVEL 2 CHARGING
LEVEL 2 requires you to install a specialized station using a 240-volt outlet, like those used by ovens and clothes dryers. It should be installed by a licensed electrician. Level 2 chargers are the most efficient home charging option and are also the most common type of charging stations around town. Providing 240v power, it takes 6 to 14 hours to fully charge an EV, or 4 to 8 hours for a PHEV.
- With rebates, a Level 2 home charging station will cost you about $600 installed. The convenience is well worth it if you can afford it.
- You’ll pay about $2/100kms to charge your vehicle.
- At-home Level 2 charging capabilities is slowing becoming expected when it comes to the sale of a house. All new builds in BC are required to have charging capabilities, and many home buyers have come to expect it.
LEVEL 3 CHARGING
LEVEL 3 charging was once the fastest charging available, only recently usurped by LEVEL 4 charging in 2022. LEVEL 3 DC fast chargers are found at dedicated pay-per-use EV charging stations and charge the battery up to 150 kms range in about 30 minutes. It takes 1 to 4 hours to fully charge an EV battery, or 15 minutes to 3 hours for PHEV.
- It is the preferred solution for easy and rapid public charging in densely populated areas and travel corridors.
- A 50-kW Level 3 fast charger will add around 100 km of range in about 20 minutes, at a cost of approximately $4.50.
- Level 3 charging stations are found everywhere, with more being installed everyday. It is now possible to plan a driving route from Victoria, BC to Charlottetown, PEI using LEVEL 3 charging stations.
- LEVEL 3 chargers are cost-prohibitive to install at home, with costs currently sitting around $50,000.
LEVEL 4 CHARGING
LEVEL 4 DC Ultra Fast Chargers are somewhat new to the industry. As DC quick charge station technology improves, the price continues to drop. However, the average station will still cost $50,000-$100,000, so they’re currently quite rare. An infrastructure improves, and more EVs hit the road, prices will go down and you’ll find LEVEL 4 stations on roadsides soon.
- 800v DC fast charging from a 350-kW charger allows nearly 112 kms added in less than 5 minutes, and up to 338 kms added in under 18 minutes.
- A 350-kW Level 4 charger can add 100 km in as little as four minutes, at a price of less than $3.
- These would revolutionize EV accessibility and cause EV ownership to make sense for even the most inexhaustible high mileage motorhead.
- There are zero Level 4 chargers in Victoria, currently.
LEVEL 1 - or trickle charging - is simply a portable charging cable that is used in a standard household (120v) outlet to charge the electric vehicle.
A Level 2 charging station is the most efficient home charging option and is the most common public station. It uses a 240-volt outlet, like those used by ovens and clothes dryers, and should be installed by a licensed electrician.
LEVEL 3 DC fast chargers are found at dedicated pay-per-use EV charging stations and charge the battery up to 150 kms range in about 30 minutes.
A Level 4 DC Ultra Fast Charger can add nearly 112 kms in less than 5 minutes, and up to 338 kms added in under 18 minutes. You'll need ultra-fast charging capabilities on your EV to take advantage of this technology, like the Kia EV6.