Single-phase vs. three-phase power

November 1, 2021 6:38 pm

Ten years ago no one would’ve thought that electric vehicles would be in the spotlight. Sales of EVs went up during 2021, reaching their highest ever point. Every year more drivers are willing to give electric cars a chance and wonder how to charge an EV, and where to do it. That’s when single-phase and three-phase power comes into the picture. 

Electric vehicles use batteries to run and those batteries need to get recharged. Chargers can either use alternate current (AC) or direct current (DC). Alternate current has two classifications: single-phase, where power flows through a single conductor; and three-phase power, in which the power flows through three different conductors.

Types of EV chargers

When it comes to EV charging, there are many words and terms you’ve probably heard and don’t know what they actually mean. For example, single-phase and three-phase chargers. Both offer the ability to recharge an electric vehicle through different outlets. 

The biggest difference between single-phase and three-phase chargers is how fast they charge. The speed, measured in kW, is what determines how fast an electric car will charge. Depending on the electrical wiring in your home, this will be the maximum charging speed you will achieve. Let’s talk a bit more about the different types of EV chargers in the market.

We find Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 (also known as DCFC) chargers. Level 1 and Level 2 chargers convert alternating current (AC) through the EV’s onboard converter, while DC fast chargers recharge the electric vehicle’s battery with direct current (DC) power.

How long does it take to charge an EV battery?

L1 is the slowest level charging and it’s frequently found at homes since all EVs come with a Level 1 kit. The cord that comes with your vehicle can be plugged into your regular wall outlet. It takes around 24 hours to charge a battery using these types of chargers.

Level 2 can be found in residential areas but are most commonly located in public spaces. They’re faster than L1 chargers and can get an EV battery to its 100% in about 8 hours or less, depending on the vehicle you have.

There’s a significant difference between L1 and L2 with L3 (DCFC) charging stations. A Level 3 charger can take between 20 to 60 minutes to charge most conventional electric cars to its full capacity. These stations are bigger and require special cables and connections, so they’re usually found at shopping malls and parking lots. 

If you’re wondering where you can find a charger, at EVCS we offer a monthly plan with a fixed fee, plus an easy-to-use mobile app and website, where you can look up your nearest charging station.

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