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How to Answer Top EV FAQs This Season at Your Dealership

Posted 05/09/2023

It's a new car-buying season and many new car buyers want to take advantage of the federal government’s electric vehicle tax incentives. With many customers considering their first EV, it's up to the dealership sales representatives to answer questions and address knowledge gaps about this new technology. To help, we have compiled some of the most common frequently asked questions asked by dealership customers and new EV owners before buying their first EV.

What is the difference between Level 1, Level 2, and Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations?

Before we begin, it should be noted that the term “charger” is a bit unique when talking about EVs.  Each EV comes with an on-board charger inside the vehicle. Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations simply provide alternating current (AC) electricity to the vehicle’s on-board charger, which then converts AC to direct current (DC) electricity and charges the battery.  The on-board charger is different from an external EV charging station, also referred to as EV Supply Equipment or EVSE. In most cases, the word "charger" refers to a charging station or cable that delivers power to the vehicle.

Level 1 chargers

These are the charging cables that come with most EVs. They are small enough to carry in a vehicle truck and plug into a regular 120 volt wall outlet.  Generally speaking, they will take 12+ hours to fully charge an EV. (It could be several dozen hours if they are charging a battery from empty.)

Level 2 chargers

These are the next step up in charging equipment. For a faster home charging experience, EV drivers can purchase Level 2 chargers such as the Blink HQ 150 or HQ 200. In addition, most commercial public, multi-unit, and workplace charging stations will be Level 2 chargers.  Depending on the model, Level 2 charging stations provide up to 80amp to fully charge an EV in 4-8 hours, though some vehicles may take longer. Level 2 chargers can either plug into a 240 volt electrical outlet, or they can be directly wired into an existing electrical system. Multi-unit and public chargers will virtually always be hardwired into an electrical system.  As seen in the graphic above, AC Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations send AC power to the onboard charger, which then converts to DC power to charge the battery. 

DC fast chargers (DCFC)

Unlike Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, DC fast chargers can charge a vehicle in under an hour. That's because DCFC transfers DC power directly from the energy grid into the vehicle battery, bypassing the onboard charger. DC fast chargers provide 100 to 500 amps of power to battery electric vehicles.  Due to the installation and electrical costs, most DCFC are installed for commercial fleets, near highways, and at other public parking facilities.

How long will it take to charge my EV?

It depends. Factors that affect the amount of time it takes to charge a vehicle include:

  • The type of charging station used (L1, L2, DCFC).

  • How powerful the vehicle’s onboard charger is.

  • How full/empty the vehicle’s battery is at plug-in.

  • How much power the vehicle’s onboard charger is capable of receiving.

According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), using vehicle that has a 60-kWh battery, a Level 1 charger can take up to 40-50 hours for a full charge, a Level 2 charger can take 4-10 hours, and a DCFC can fill a battery to 80% in 20 minutes to an hour. While many drivers expect to charge to 100%, regenerative braking features can send power from the wheels back to the battery. Note that for DCFCs, the DOT says: “Charging speed slows as the battery gets closer to full to prevent damage to the battery. Therefore, it is more cost- and time-efficient for EV drivers to use direct current fast charging until the battery reaches 80 percent, and then continue on their trip. It can take about as long to charge the last 10 percent of an EV battery as the first 90 percent.” When talking to your car buyers, it's important to mention that 80% of charging will be done at home, and many workplaces are now installing commercial chargers as an employee amenity.

How do I find a charger?

Finding a charger is relatively easy. Chargers will obviously be easier to locate in urban areas.  Drivers can use a service such as: 

Most drivers, when using a networked public or home charging station will use an app for charging. Some new drivers may find a demonstration helpful on how to locate a charger using these popular charging apps.

Can my Tesla use non-Tesla charging stations?

Yes, but Tesla drivers must use an adapter.

Can I use a DCFC?

No, if you have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Yes, if you have a battery electric vehicle (BEV). In order to use a DCFC, you will need to make sure you have the matching charging port. While there is a standard plug for Level 1 and Level 2 charging, there are multiple charging standards for DCFC.  The DOT says this about the different charging port types:  “Different vehicles have different charge ports. For DCFC, the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector is based on an open international standard and is common on vehicles manufactured in North America and Europe; the CHArge de Move (CHAdeMO) connector is most common for Japanese manufactured vehicles. Tesla vehicles have a unique connector that works for all charging speeds, including at Tesla’s “Supercharger” DCFC stations, while non-Tesla vehicles require adapters at these stations.”

How much will it cost to charge my EV?

It depends.  This is because pricing varies by location and by who owns the charger. Many public chargers are owned by the property host, not the station manufacturer/network provider.  For example, Blink charging stations are often owned by the site host, who is responsible for setting the price for the power. Due to Blink's flexibility, some site hosts can also participate in other business models where Blink sets pricing. That price can depend on factors such as how much a site host pays for electricity, local utility sourcing, time of day, availability of specialty pricing for certain groups (such as employees or residents), and how many other chargers are located nearby.  Generally, you will see three different types of pricing:

  • Free 

  • Price per kilowatt hour based on how much power you consume

  • Price per hour based on how much time you spend charging

Regardless of the type of pricing, you should be able to see the price on the station’s screen or in the locator app.


There are bound to be many questions about EVs for your automotive dealership salespeople from new-to-EV customers. With a little preparedness, your sales team will be able to help these new customers get into the perfect EV to suit their needs. With the federal used and commercial EV tax credits now eligible for residents’ 2023 taxes, even those who want to buy a used vehicle can purchase their first EV! Now is the time for automotive dealership salespeople to familiarize themselves with EV terminology and get comfortable answering all the questions that are bound to come their way. 

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