Language selection


Electric vehicle charging

Making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV) is exciting, but what about charging? Charging an EV is simple but there are a few new elements to consider. These include charging levels, home and public charging, connectors, and network operators. Best of all, many EV drivers can charge their vehicles at home.

EV charging basics

EV chargers deliver electricity to the on-board batteries of both all-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). There are two main types of EV chargers: Alternating current (AC) chargers provide electricity to the vehicle via Level 1 and Level 2 chargers. Direct current (DC) chargers, also known as Level 3 fast chargers, provide electricity to the vehicle at a much faster rate.

All BEVs and most PHEVs are compatible with all charging levels (1–3). It’s important to check if your PHEV is capable of DC fast-charging.

EV charger options

Options Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
(fast charger)
Input 120 V 208/240 V 480 V
Outlet type Standard electrical outlet (for example, phone charger) Special electrical outlet (for example, stove or dryer plug) DC outlet (not found in homes)
Time to chargeFootnote * 8–50+ hours 4–10 hours 25–30 minutes
(per hour of charging)
Footnote *
3 km to 8 km 16 km to 50 km Up to maximum driving range of vehicle
Typical uses Home charging and back-up situations Home charging, charging at businesses and public spaces Charging at dedicated stations, public spaces, and highway corridors

The ins and outs of EV charging connectors

Level 1 and 2 connectors

Most EV chargers and vehicles have a standard connector and receptacle known as the SAE J1772. Any vehicle with this plug receptacle can use any Level 1 or Level 2 EV charger in Canada and the United States. All major vehicle and EV charger manufacturers support this standard**.

**Tesla vehicles come with a proprietary connector that requires a separate Tesla to J1772 adapter (included with purchase) to use standard Level 2 chargers. Likewise, Tesla’s proprietary Level 2 chargers can be used by Tesla vehicles without an adapter but can also be used with other vehicles using an adapter.

Level 3/DC Fast-Charging Connectors

Depending on the make and model of your EV, you may have one of three fast charger connector types; however, they are not interchangeable. It’s important to know the DCFC connector type used by your vehicle before charging at a Level 3 station.

SAE Combo connector: This connector, which combines the AC (SAE J1772) and DC charging inlets into one, is used by most automakers except Tesla.

Compatibility: Check vehicle specifications

Icon, circle Description automatically generated

CHAdeMO: DC-only connector; not widely used by vehicle manufacturers, except Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Compatibility: Check vehicle specifications

North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector: Developed and deployed by Tesla, NACS combines AC and DC charging in one connector.  NACS became available to all car makers in 2022, and is now being adopted for multiple non-Tesla makes and models.

Compatibility: Check vehicle specifications

It’s worth noting that electric vehicle charging systems continue to evolve towards greater compatibility for all connector types. Still, as access to this technology continues to improve, it’s important to become acquainted with your vehicle’s specifications, as well as the compatible charging options available in your driving range.

Simply Science producer Joel Houle talks to zero-emission vehicle expert, Yves Madore, about electric vehicle charging.

Want to learn more about charging an EV?

How do you charge an electric vehicle? What are your options? How long does it take to charge? Is it safe? Check out NRCan’s Simply Science ZEV video series to learn more about charging a ZEV, typical home charging stations, and the different options available to consumers.
Watch Charging Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV Series – Part 2)

Looking for an electric vehicle charging or hydrogen refuelling station?

Station locator

Page details

Date modified: