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Electric vehicle chargers (otherwise known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment – EVSE) are a fundamental part of the plug-in electric vehicle system. Currently, there are three major types of EVSE: AC Level 1, AC Level 2, and DC Fast Charging. For an overview of the types of EVSE, see the Alternative Fuel Data Center’s page on plug-in electric vehicle infrastructure. For a map of the public EVSE available in the U.S., see the Alternative Fuels Station Locator.

Idaho National Laboratory, supported by the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), collects data on how EVSE function and interact with vehicles so that researchers can continue to improve the technology. The laboratory collaborates with electrical utilities and manufacturers to test different types and several different models of EVSE in the laboratory, including AC Level 1, AC Level 2, DC fast charging, and wireless charging. In addition, several plug-in electric vehicle on-road demonstration projects supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gathered on-road and in-use data from both vehicles and charging infrastructure.

AC Level 1 and Level 2 Laboratory Testing

AC Level 1 EVSE provides 2-5 miles of range per hour with a 120 V input. AC Level 2 EVSE provides 10-20 miles of range per hour with a 208 V (commercial) or 280 V (residential) input. Both AC Level 1 and Level 2 use a wire to connect the vehicle and grid, otherwise known as conductive charging.

These reports document the results of unbiased and independent laboratory testing of Level 1 and Level 2 EVSE.

DC Fast Charging Laboratory Testing

DC Fast Charging provides 60 to 80 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging, with a 480 V AC input. DC fast charging also connects the vehicle to the grid via a plug. This report describes the unbiased and independent laboratory testing of the Hasetec DC fast charging system.

Wireless/Inductive Charging

Inductive charging, also known as wireless charging, uses an electromagnetic field to transfer electricity to a PEV without a cord. Inductive EVSE transfers power at about the same level as an AC Level 2 charger. This report describes the unbiased and independent laboratory testing of a wireless charger.

Bi-Directional Energy Transfer (Vehicle-to-Grid)

Bi-directional energy transfer occurs when electricity can flow either from the grid to the vehicle or from the vehicle back into the grid (vehicle-to-grid). While not common now, vehicle-to-grid energy transfer could be useful in the future for stabilizing the grid, storing renewable energy, or providing emergency back-up power.VTO has supported work to help develop this capacity and set protocols for manufacturers to carry it out consistently.

Interactions with the Electrical Grid

Large-scale adoption of plug-in electric vehicles has the potential to have substantial effects on the overall electrical grid. These papers examine how EVSE may interact with the grid and possible effects.

Charging Infrastructure Reports