Electric Vehicle Charging: Traditional vs. Portable

Electric Vehicle Charging

More people than ever before are considering the cost savings, versatility, and environmental benefits of driving an electric car today. So much so, that electric car sales in the U.S. increased by 81% in 2018.

With that said, there is one issue that remains top of mind for EV owners and potential EV owners…..


EV owners often experience anxiety when thinking about their charging situation. Many people ask: Where can I charge my electric car? What if I run out of charge in the middle of my trip? What is the difference between level 1, 2, and 3 charging stations? Which connectors are compatible with my EV model? And the list goes on…

At SparkCharge, our goal is to eliminate the guessing game and empower EV owners by creating an on-demand charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Here, we’ll break down the traditional methods of EV charging and discuss why portable charging is the most effective solution going forward.

Electric Vehicle Charging Levels

It’s important to understand the different levels of electric vehicle charging, and how quickly each of them can juice up your EV.

Level 1:

  • Level 1 charging refers to charging an electric car with the initial cable supplied at purchase. This charger can be easily plugged at one end into any 120V outlet, with the other end of the charger plugged into the EV.
  • A 30kWh electric vehicle would take around 20 hours to fully charge. (A total charge of 100 miles at 5 miles of range added per hour)

Level 2:

  • If you charge your electric vehicle with a charger sold separately from the car, then you are moving into the level 2 territory. This charger is a little more advanced, as it will be plugged into a 240V outlet. To set up this kind of voltage, you will need electrician support.
  • A 30kWh electric vehicle would take around 8 hours to fully charge. (A total charge of 100 miles at around 12 miles of range added per hour)

Level 3:

  • Commonly called DCFC, or DC Fast Charge, is the quickest and most effective means for you to juice up your EV. So, which makes and models can access this level of charging? Look for the CHAdeMo connector, the SAE connector, and the Tesla connector.
    • Asian: The Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-Miev, and so forth. These cars will come with a CHAdeMo connector.
    • American & European: The Chevrolet Bolt, Chevrolet Spark, BMW i3, Mercedes, Volkswagen, etc. These cars come with a SAE Combo CSS standard connector.
    • Tesla: Tesla cars use their own Tesla connector, which provides you with access to level 3 charging. You can use the CHAdeMO adapter for access to alternate stations, with more plans for a SAE Combo option on the way.
      • A 30kWh electric vehicle could take less than 1 hour to fully charge. (A total charge of 100 miles at around 50-100 miles of range added per hour depending on the type of level 3 charger)

Electric Vehicle Charging

Electric Vehicle Charging Connectors

For each level of charging, different connectors or cables are used.  There are many different types of charging cables but the most common are: Type 1, Type 2, CHAdeMo, and CCS.

Type 1/SAE J1772: SAE chargers are commonly used for charging at home and have a capacity of 240 volts AC. As explained above, this is Level 2 charging and is common on PHEVs.

Type 2: A Type 2 connector, or a mennekes connector, is commonly found in Europe. This adapter can charge between 3kW and 50kW and is known for its circular shape and flattened top. Often times, this adapter can be used in an ordinary domestic socket and is supplied by the car manufacturer.

CHAdeMO: CHAdeMo is a charging standard that is used exclusively for fast, or Level 3, charging. Some car manufacturers that are CHAdeMo compatible include: Tesla, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia, etc. This connector can deliver up to 62.5kW.

Combined Charging System (CCS): This type of connector combines two DC pins arranged below the Type 2 AC connector and uses 3 of the Type 2s pins. Automobile manufactures that support CCS include: BMW, Daimler, FCA, Ford, Jaguar, General Motors, Groupe PSA, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, MG, Polestar, Renault, Tesla and Volkswagen Group.


Electric Vehicle Charging Standards

Where Can I Charge My Electric Car?

The three most common places where you can charge your electric vehicle are: your home, at work, or at some public charging location.

Charging Your Electric Vehicle at Home

If you elect to charge your EV at home, you will have the option for either a level 1 or level 2 charge. Since level 2 will provide you with a stronger charge, most homeowners pay extra to get one installed.

Although home charging may seem like a convenient option, make sure you’re aware of the potential drawbacks:

  • The cost to purchase an at-home charging station is around $500 – $700
  • As previously mentioned, you will need an electrician to set up a level 2 station. This could run you anywhere between $1,200 to $2,000
  • Charging your EV at home can have a negative impact on the local electrical grid
  • You can expect a higher than normal electric bill each month

Additionally, many electric vehicle owners are not homeowners, which means you might not have a means to juice up your EV overnight. That’s why we’re going to look at your other options.

Charging Your Electric Vehicle in Public and at Work

If you charge your car in a public space or at work, you can expect to be receiving a level 2 charge (since 90% of all charging stations are level 2).

Let’s discuss some of the intricacies charging situation.

  • A lack of level 2 infrastructure and slow charging speeds usually equates to long wait times… Not ideal if you’re in a hurry.
  • By hogging a charger for a full work day you can expect that:
    • Your EV will not actually be completely charged.
    • Your fellow coworkers who are EV owners will not be happy with you!
  • They can be a bureaucratic mess when you need to get utility companies and local businesses involved in the building of new stations.
  • Current charging stations are very expensive to implement, with costs as high as $60,000.

Electric Vehicle Charging

We believe we can speak on behalf of all EV owners when we say that there is nothing more frustrating than pulling up to a charging station just to find it blocked by a non-electric vehicle or broken down completely. Which is why we created a new option…

Why Portable Electric Vehicle Charging is the Answer

At SparkCharge, we believe you shouldn’t have to constantly worry about your next charge. That’s why we’re partnering with automotive OEMs, roadside assistance providers, on-demand car care companies, and fleets to offer our portable, ultrafast (Level 3) charging station to EV owners.

Gone are the days of pre-scheduling your charges before a long road trip, or worrying about locking down a charging station in your work parking lot.

Our goal is to create an on-demand EV charging infrastructure where, with just the push of a button, range can be delivered to you. Imagine being able to open an app to order range on the spot. Or ordering range from a towing service in the middle of a road trip instead of having your car towed.

SparkCharge: Portable EV Charger

As a result, range anxiety, otherwise known as the constant fear of running out of charge whilst on the road in your EV, will cease to exist.

The convenience model is changing the way that the world does business. We believe charging your electric vehicle shouldn’t be any different.