What’s Inside a Level 2 EV Charging Station?

February 18, 2024

Level 2 EV home charging stations continue to grow in popularity with the homeowners that our team at Save Home Heat Company serves in the Denver-Boulder metro area. This is due in large part to the convenience and reliability of having a dependable EV charging source at home as an alternative to public charging stations, combined with the charging speed that a Level 2 charging station provides.

Just as there’s a growing number of EV brands to choose from, the selection of charging stations is also increasing. As you shop for your first EV or if you’re considering upgrading, we feel that gaining an understanding of home charging stations is a good thing to put on your reading list. In this post, we’ll provide an introduction to the primary internal components that Level 2 EV charging stations have in common.

an ev being charged

What Is a Level 2 EV Charging Station?

blink 200 charging station

Also referred to as a fast-charger, a Level 2 EV charging station is a 220 volt, permanently installed EV charger. Compared to the 110 volt, plug-in-the-wall basic Level 1 chargers that come standard with many brands of EV, a Level 2 charger can replenish an EV’s battery as much as three to five times faster, depending on a range of factors. A Level 2 charger can accomplish in one afternoon what a basic 110 volt charger often requires at least half a day or longer to achieve. Your EV charging station must be properly matched with your brand and model of electric vehicle.

For the sake of this discussion, we won’t dive into the even faster, commercial grade, Level 3 charging stations, whose higher voltage requirements (480 volt) are rarely, readily available for residential applications.

What Are the Primary Components in a Level 2 EV Charging Station?

While few brands and models of Level 2 EV charging station are identical, there are several internal components that are consistent across the board. Here’s an introductory overview to those key components:

Power Supply

The power supply in a Level 2 charging station is where 220 AC (alternating current) voltage from the home’s electrical panel is converted to appropriate DC (direct current) voltage to charge your EV. The charging station is wired to its own dedicated, labeled breaker switch in the electrical panel, and all wire and breaker sizing is determined and installed per National Electrical Code (NEC).

Licensed Master Electrician - Save Home HeatThink of the power supply as a fancy transformer, if you like, one that plays a critical role in the charging speed and electrical efficiency of your charging station.

An Electrical Voltage Quick Refresher

As a quick review, AC voltage is what we think of as typical household electrical current. 120 volts AC (120 VAC) is the voltage delivered to most household circuits, switches, and electrical outlets, including the outlets that we plug TVs, computers, lamps, phone chargers, toaster ovens, most microwave ovens, and many other devices into. 220 volt AC voltage is also common in homes, but is reserved for higher electrical-draw appliances such as certain models of dryers, air conditioners, heat pumps, electric water heaters, electric heaters, hot tubs, well pumps, stoves, and of course, Level 2 EV charging stations.

Eaton Cutler Hammer LogoThere are typically far more 120 volt electrical circuits in your home than 220 volt circuits. The 120 volt circuit breaker switches normally take up one slot in your electrical panel, while 220 volt breakers take up two spaces.

Charging Cable

Simply put, this is the electrical cable that connects your charging station to your EV when it’s being charged. The charging cable, whether for a home charger or a public charging station, is normally permanently hard-wired into the charging station, with a fancy ‘male’ plug at the end that connects to the EV during charging.

It’s important to make sure that the cable on your charging station is the correct match for your model of EV, and is also a good match for your charger location in relation to where you park your EV. Get the right length charging cable for your specific circumstances. There are normally different lengths available and in some cases, different flexibility levels may even be an option. The advantages of a more flexible charging cable include easier handling and storage, especially in colder conditions. However, greater flexibility can also impact the durability and longevity of the cable. Greater care in handling is recommended.

drawing of an ev being charged with a wall charger

The quality of the charging cable plays an important role in the efficiency and speed of charging, and is important to help ensure your long-term safety.

Connectors: Plug and Socket

The plug at the end of the charging cable and the socket that it plugs into on the EV are regionally universal, pin-style connectors that match virtually all types of charging stations and EVs in that market. In the U.S. and most of North America, plugs and sockets known as Type 1 EV connectors are very prevalent. In other parts of the world, such as Japan and Europe, there may be different plug and socket designs in use. Leviton logoWhen selecting a Level 2 charging station, double check to make sure the charger has the correct plug design to fit the socket on your EV, before pulling the purchasing trigger. It should, but it never hurts to play it safe!

Control Board

The control board is the brains of the Level 2 EV charging station. It ‘speaks’ directly with the EV’s onboard computer, and closely monitors and regulates the charging process and the DC current delivered to the EV’s battery, all in real time. While directing the charging process, the control board also makes sure that the EV battery is safe and performing efficiently.

The control board typically is comprised of multi-purpose, solid state circuitry that monitors voltage and current sensors, relays, and other critical components.

Adjustments made during the charging process are based on a range of factors that include ambient temperature, the battery’s charge level, specifics of the battery, and more.

home garage with a ev charger on the wall

Hands-On Owner Controls

Blink floodlight cameras - logoAlso known as the user interface, the owner-operator control board is where the homeowner can monitor and manage their EV charger. This can be done either on the EV charging station itself, or very commonly, connecting with the charger remotely via a mobile app. Other control options are coming to market, such as card-style activation.

Quality Components & Expert Installation Are Key!

In summary, all of the components in your Level 2 EV charging station are crucial to the reliable, efficient, long-term performance of your EV, as well as to the performance and longevity of your charging station, itself. It’s important to make sure that the Level 2 charging station you’re investing in meets the same quality standards you set for your vehicle, and is 100% the correct match for your needs.

Equally important is having detail-oriented, skillful installation of your charging station performed by an experienced electrical team, from the electrical panel and your new circuit breaker switch, to the connecting wiring, to the actual charging station. In the Denver-Boulder area, our electrical team at Save Home Heat provides expert assistance on the charging station side of things.

newly installed ev charging station in a garage

Financial Incentives for EV Charging Stations

This bares mentioning nearly every time our team writes about EVs because the federal, state, and utility provider incentives currently available are so significant that we feel we’d be doing our readers a disservice by not revisiting them routinely. Here’s a quick overview, with plenty of helpful links that we featured in a post about a year ago:

Tax Incentive Updates

The IRS offers federal tax credits for new clean energy vehicles purchased in or after 2023. The State of Colorado is also on board with additional tax incentives.

Be sure to consult your trusted tax advisor regarding EV tax credits that may be available for you to use.

Xcel Energy Incentives & Programs

Xcel Energy offers several different electric vehicle programs, including EV purchase or lease rebates, rebates for installing wiring for a charging station, as well as EV charging programs tailored to homeowners.

Installing Level 2 EV Charging Stations in the Denver-Boulder Area

IECRM electr. assoc. _proud member_ logoAt Save Home Heat Company, we install a wide range of EV charging station brands, including Charge Point, Juice Box, Tesla, Leviton, Rivian, Blink Charging, Siemens, and many others. We can supply properly matched, quality charging stations from our supply network, and also gladly install owner-supplied EV chargers.

To receive a free, highly informative, low-pressure install quote for a Level 2 EV charging station for your home in the Boulder-Denver metro area, please reach out to our friendly team at Save Home Heat today!

Please contact me to schedule an EV charging station install quote!