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To those new to electric vehicles, one of the biggest, and most obvious differences between traditional petrol or diesel-powered cars and electric cars (or EV’s) is how they refuel or recharge.

Of course they need electricity rather than petrol or diesel, but how do you know which electric vehicle can take what charging plug, what speed can it charge at, and do all chargers and cars have the same plugs?

So, in this guide we’ll give you a basic introduction to charging an electric vehicle in Australia.

Key Terminology

There’s a ton of jargon, industry terminology and acronyms when it comes to charging an electric vehicle. You don’t need to know it all, but a basic understanding helps.

We have:

  • Charging Levels – the power, and therefore speed, at which you can charge your electric vehicle, grouped into a few key bands (Levels 1 to 3)
  • Charging Types – the physical plug connector type that plugs into your electric car

What are the different levels or speeds of electric vehicle charging?

While all electric vehicle chargers provide electricity to a vehicle, they do so at different speeds, or ‘Levels’, depending how their type of electricity connection.

What is the difference between AC and DC charging?

EV Charging
Thousands of chargers. Source:

Another very important point with EV’s is that they can charge via both AC and DC. The battery inside is DC but depending on where you’re charging you might charge it with AC or DC.

Typically AC charging is done at the lower Levels 1 or 2. When you do this there is an AC to DC inverter inside the car that converts the AC power into DC power allowing it be stored in the battery.

Most Level 3 charging is DC. This means the electricity by-passes the AC/DC inverter and is put straight into the battery allowing for more efficient charging.

The charging rates are referred to as “Levels“. The higher the level, the faster the charging – in most cases.  

  Level 1
EV Charging
Level 2
EV Charging
Level 3
EV Charging
Example: A regular power point in your house A home or public wall charger A high powered public DC Fast Charger
Power: 1-2.4 kW 3.6-22 kW 10-150 kW
Charge Rate: 7-15 km/hr of charge 15-100 km/hr of charge 60-800 km/hr of charge

Level 1 Chargers – up to 2.4kw AC

Level 1 charging is essentially just charging your electric car from a regular power point. This is a common and easy way to charge, especially for those renting a vehicle at home or in holiday accommodation without a dedicated charger.  

While a Level 1 Charger won’t charge your car very fast, if you’re not driving too far each day it can be fine for many people.

If you left your car charging overnight – for example for 10 hours – then you’d be gaining around 100-150 kms of range depending on your vehicle.

As most people don’t drive anywhere near that distance everyday they shouldn’t have any problems. Each morning they’ll wake up with a “full tank” and be good to go.

Level 1 chargers are also good for plugin-hybrid vehicles that have a smaller battery capacity – although these aren’t available to rent through evee. They can also be very handy if you just can’t find a Level 2/3 chargers the wild, as normal power outlets are everywhere, ensuring you won’t be stuck in an emergency.

A Level 1 charger is usually included with all vehicles, including those available to rent through evee – so you can plug in at a wall-socket, as long as it is close enough to the car, the wiring and outlet is relatively modern and you have permission from whoever pays the bill.  

Level 2 Chargers – up to 22kw AC

EV Charging

Level 2 chargers are higher power so you can charge more quickly. You will find Level 2 chargers commonly in public places with free charging, such as the Tesla Destination Charger network, and you can also install them in your home too.

Whilst most Level 2 chargers at home would range from 3-15 kW, many public Level 2 chargers go all the way up to 22 kW. Many EVs will take a maximum of 12kw from a Level 2 charger, although are some are specced with greater capability, and giving a good amount of power these chargers could fully charge most electric cars in 3-5 hours.

Level 3 Chargers – DC Fast Charging

Finally we have the fastest chargers, including the ‘ultrafast’ chargers which currently top out at around 350kW, and while most vehicles on the market are unable to charge that fast, many will max out at above 100kW and charge to 80% within around 30 to 45 minutes.  

Level 3 chargers enable the fastest charging rates, and as they can charge your car extremely quickly they take up a huge amount of power. Some examples of Level 3 charging are Tesla’s Supercharger Network, along with Chargefox and Evie Networks. They are most useful when travelling long distances – you’ll pay for the convenience of a fast charge vs lower level, slower chargers, and at a per km cost closer to that of petrol or diesel.

You’ll hear the terms ‘Fast DC Charging’, and ‘Ultrafast DC Charging’ and variants of these – in short, DC Fast Charging covers off charge rates of 50kW to 150kW – enough to mostly charge a Standard Range Tesla Model 3 in around 1 hour at 50kw or 25-30 minutes at 150kw for around 400kms of driving.

What types of EV charging plugs are there?

While the charging stations themselves are referred to with “Levels” the physical plugs you plug into the cars are normally referred to as “Types”. So for example you can use a “Type 4” plug with a “Level 3” charger.

There are four types of plugs as defined by the appropriate international standards body. You’ll most commonly see Type 2 / Mennekes, followed by J1772 and CHAdeMo.

EV Charging

Australia was previously using the Type 1 / J1772 plug type up until around 2017/18, when new cars started deliveries with Type 2 / Mennekes, which is the European standard. Now almost all charging stations out there are Type 2 compatible, with older Type 1 equipped vehicles needing an adapter cable.

If you’re charging at a Level 3 charger most will have either the CCS (Type) 2 and CHAdeMO plugs, allowing you to use the one that fits your car – CCS2 is the most common, and in use by the Tesla Model 3.

EV Charging

Summing up

The state of electric car charging in Australia has matured greatly in the last few years, with all new models now coming with the industry standard Type 2 / Mennekes plug as standard, and in most cases (except Nissan) offering CCS2 charging for fast Level 3 charging at fast or ultrafast DC chargers.

In most cases, you’ll be able to rent an electric car via evee, collect it and charge it easily at a vast range of public chargers. If you are going off the beaten track, use to help plan your trip.

Your evee host will help with your charging questions before your rental or at the time of collection too.