Level 2 charger fueling a fully electric EV at CCE Tompkins
Image by Holly Payne

Level 2 charger fueling a fully electric vehicle at CCE Tompkins

EV Charging and Battery Range

EVs rely on rechargeable batteries, which give great acceleration while reducing the harmful emissions from burning fossil fuel. Plug-in hybrid EVs rely on an electrically charged battery, and once its charge runs low, its gasoline engine kicks on.

EV Battery Range: How far can I go, and where can I find a charger?

The average American drives less than 40 miles/day. At this level of use, almost every EV can go for several days without a charge. Newer EV models routinely get 250+ miles or more before needing a charge. Like the miles per gallon range in gasoline cars, EV range varies depending on the model. In general, estimated EV battery range will diminish a little when driving on steep terrain or during extreme temperatures.

Long distance trip planning apps Locating charging stations is easily achieved with free, interactive apps like plugshare.com which points to public charging stations and is maintained by a vast network of active EV drivers who use their cell phones to comment in real time on each charging station 's condition and availability [SEE SIDE PANEL]

There are three types of EV chargers

Level 1 chargers can take all night, or longer, to fully charge an EV. These chargers come with the EV (they look like glorified extension cords) and can plug right into a regular 120V outlet. 80% of EV owners plug into their Level 1 at home, either to "trickle charge” (add a few miles of range) or to refuel overnight while they sleep.

Level 2 chargers provide a full charge in 4-7 hours and can be used by all EVs (both BEVs and PHEVs). These chargers are frequently installed in private homes, but require a 240V outlet (like those used for a clothes dryer) and must be installed by a licensed electrician to determine safe electricity loads and best placement. Level 2 chargers (either networked or not) are most common for public charging. They have popped up at Tompkins County dealerships, area malls, the TC Health Department, Cayuga Medical Center, municipal town halls, police stations, Dryden High School, Cornell Cooperative Extension, etc. For home installations of Level 2 chargers, there's a federal tax rebate that offers 30% of the charger value up to $1,000

Level 3 Chargers (“DC Fast Chargers”) can fully charge an EV in about 20 - 60 mins. They work for most BEVs (all-electric EVs), but cannot be used to charge PHEVs (plug-in hybrids). Note that different plug-in EV models have plug adapters that range in compatibility with different chargers. plugshare.com and other apps are set up to help you match with the closest compatible charger. .

New York State is currently extending its EV charging network by installing hundreds of Level 3 chargers for long distance driving (at highway rest stops, convenience stores, etc. across the state). Frequent use of DC fast charging can negatively impact battery performance and durability, and manufacturers recommend using them somewhat sparingly. Tesla Level 3 "Superchargers" have a different adaptor and there are several variations within the rest of the fully electric brands. In 2022, Tesla committed to opening their Level 3 chargers to other interested companies, meaning that soon, non-Tesla EVs will be able to use the Tesla app to charge (for example, to charge outside Trader Joe’s in Ithaca). Level 3 chargers may be harder to find in less-traveled areas. [ plugin.com can help!]


Holly Payne
Environment Educator
607-272-2292 x243

Last updated May 17, 2023