How convenient is a portable EV charger that you can take anywhere with you? Very convenient you say, right? But what are the options when it comes to this type of charging device? In this article, we’ve taken a look at the portable electrical car charger, exploring its benefits as well as its different types.
Is there a Portable Charger for Electric Cars?
Or rather, can you get a portable charger for an electric car? There answer is yes and the scope of these chargers is quite broad. Options range from simple level 1 plug-in device to gas powered units and—more recently—battery-based backups.
A portable EV charger may also be a low powered level 1 charging device with only a few kilowatts of output for at-home use, or a large but mobile EV charging unit that offers what’s popularly called DC fast charging.
These devices offer the benefit of convenience, and are necessary where public or commercial EV chargers are not easy to find, such as remote places. Businesses may also invest in these chargers to take care of their fleets, or as a way to offer roadside services to stranded EV owners.
A portable EV charger is the type of charger that you can take anywhere with you—any time. That means it’s not hardwired to the power source, and can be used with either an outlet or a charging station. A portable charger EV is also either an AC or DC type:
1. Portable AC EV Charger
A portable AC EV charger is called so for supplying power in the form of AC, or alternating current in full. To use it, you only need to insert or plug it into an AC outlet or AC-based charging port. This type of charger is also usually either a simple level 1 charger, or a more advanced (and faster) level 2 mobile unit—as explained below.
Level 1 Portable Charger
A level 1 portable charger comes with plug for connection with a standard outlet. If you’re in the US, this is usually a 120V outlet. That makes it a slow device that can charge your car for up to 24 hours or more.
This is also the type of charger that your EV will come with. And while it may suit your charging needs based on how far you drive each day, many people find investing in a level 2 mobile EV charger more fulfilling.
Level 2 Portable EV Charger
A level 2 portable EV charger is a faster alternative, with the ability to charge your car in as low as 3-5 hours. That means an average range of 20 to 30 miles per charging hour. Being portable, these chargers are not permanently wired to the power source. Instead, they are plug-in devices that you can use anywhere.
2. Portable DC EV Charger
A DC EV charger is extremely fast and capable of supplying up to 350 kW of electricity. Normally, it charges your EV in as little as 20 minutes, which makes it a much more convenient option during stop overs, especially when taking long trips. A portable EV fast charger is no exception. Here’s what you need to know about this charger type:
- Given the higher energy requirements, any portable DC EV charger must supply enough power without limiting itself to a conventional source. These chargers, therefore, often come installed with a generator. The type of fuel used varies depending on the manufacture, but can be gas or even propane.
- In the recent times, portable EV charging stations that use batteries as the power source have been developed. These relay on a pack of batteries, typically Li-ion, to charge an EV and are more of emergency backups than charging stations.
- Portable DC EV chargers are mostly used by companies that need to effectively manage their fleet of electric vehicles, or businesses that intend to offer roadside assistance services. They are also a great option for people in remote places where public charging stations may not be available.
Portable EV Price
The price of a portable EV charger largely varies based on the type and features. An AC-based device is the less costly option—although that also depends on if the charger itself is a level 1 or 2 type. Below, we’ve outlined the cost estimates for the different types of these devices.
- A level 1 portable EV charger is an economical way to juice up your EV battery without having to hardwire the charger to any circuit. This type of charger costs anywhere between $200 and $500.
- The portable EV charger price increases when it comes to level 2 devices. In this category, you can expect to spend up to $1000 or more, depending on the particular device’s power output and features.
- Portable electric car charging stations that offer DC current charging are the most expensive options, costing several thousand dollars. This type of device is also available in different features, from a wheeled unit that you can more around with your hands to large chargers that can only be hauled on a vehicle.
It’s good to note that the price of a mobile EV charger for roadside use depends on its size or power output. So, one low-power unit will cost several hundred dollars while a heavy-duty option may go for several thousand dollars.
A portable EV charger can provide the much needed convenience when it comes to your electrically powered vehicle. You carry these with you anywhere, and charge your EV anywhere so long as you have access to a power source. It acts as a backup in times of emergencies where roadside charging stations are unavailable or even not working, providing you with a few more miles before you can find one.