Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. are estimated to reach over 1 million by the year 2020. Electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), receive energy from the electrical grid through Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), more commonly known as EV chargers. Components of EV chargers can include a standard 3-prong wall outlet connector, a power supply cable, a charge stand or wall mount, a vehicle connector, and protection components to deliver energy efficiently and safely to the vehicle.

There are two main types of EV chargers, one of which provides alternating-current (AC) electricity to the vehicle, with the vehicle’s onboard equipment converting AC to the direct current (DC) needed to charge the batteries. The other type is Direct Current (DC) output EV chargers, sometimes known as ‘fast chargers’. Read more information on EV charging infrastructure here.

There are also two types of AC EV chargers – Level 1 and Level 2, both covered in the scope of the ENERGY STAR Specification. Level 1 chargers utilize a 120 V wall outlet and provide 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging time, while Level 2 chargers require a 208 or 240 V wall outlet and provide 10 to 60 miles of range per hour of charging time.

Driving an EV and choosing ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers to charge it offers the following benefits:

Savings. For every mile driven, it costs on average half as much to drive an EV compared to a standard gasoline-powered vehicle. Compare the cost of fueling a gasoline vehicle to an EV here. Consumers and businesses can save additional money by choosing an ENERGY STAR certified EV charger, which on average use 40% less energy than a standard EV charger when the charger is in standby mode (i.e., not actively charging a vehicle). EV chargers are typically in a standby mode for about 85% of the lifetime of the product.

Convenience. EV chargers can be installed in indoor and outdoor settings at various locations including home garages and parking lots of apartment residences, retail stores and offices. In addition to the convenience of charging at your own home or workplace, there are over 34,000 public Level 1 and Level 2 chargers in the United States. Locate the nearest one here.

Smart technology. Some ENERGY STAR certified EV charger models have Wi-Fi technology to allow for remote power monitoring and control of the charging state of the connected vehicle. With these 'smart-grid ready' products, households and property managers can also take advantage of special energy bill savings programs offered by some local electric utilities.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), typically known as EV chargers, deliver energy to both all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). PHEVs use batteries to power an electric motor and use another fuel, such as gasoline or diesel, to power an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source. Read more on the types of EVs here.

The two types of EV chargers covered under the ENERGY STAR Specification—Level 1 and Level 2—provide alternating-current (AC) electricity to the vehicle, with the vehicle’s onboard equipment converting AC to the direct current (DC) needed to charge the batteries. DC fast chargers and wireless/inductive chargers are not included in the scope of the ENERGY STAR EV Charger Specification.

Charging times of Level 1 and Level 2 EV chargers range from less than 4 hours up to 16 hours or more based on the type of EV charger, as well as the type of battery, how depleted it is, and its energy capacity. EVs typically have more battery capacity than PHEVs, so charging a fully depleted EV takes longer than charging a fully depleted PHEV.

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 EVSE. All major vehicle and EV charger manufacturers support this standard.


Level 1

Level 2

Wall Outlet

Standard, 120 V

208 or 240 V

Charge Rate

2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging time

10 to 60 miles of range per hour of charging time

Total Charge Time

8 to 16 hours

4 to 6 hours


Does not require installation of additional charging equipment

May require installing charging equipment and a dedicated electrical circuit of 20 to 100 amps

Typical Applications

- Works well for charging at home, work, or when only a 120 V outlet available
- Affordable, portable option for travel and second homes

- Most houses have 240 V service for appliances such
as clothes dryers and electric ranges
- Quicker charging option for retail and civic building parking lots

Choose whichever best describes you and your interest in EV chargers to navigate to the most relevant information:

Homeowner/EV Driver

Business Owner/Property Manager

Fleet Manager


Government Organization

For Homeowners/EV Drivers:

Ask the dealer. Level 1 EV chargers are typically offered to consumers as part of their vehicle purchase, rather than purchased independently. So, when shopping for a vehicle, be sure to ask the dealer about ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers. There are advantages to upgrading to a Level 2 charger for at-home charging after receiving the Level 1 charger (typically called a cordset) that may come standard with a vehicle. Level 2 EV chargers can provide faster charging times, which may be necessary to charge larger battery EVs overnight.

Ask the retailer. EV charger Level I and Level 2 products are also sold at independent retailers. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when shopping for one (mainly sold online).

Hire a contractor. Contact a licensed electrical contractor to evaluate whether your home’s wiring, electrical outlets, and other hardware can support the charging requirements of your EV. Your car dealer may also have access to a third-party or contractor network that may be able to conduct a home assessment.

More information for EV drivers, or those looking to purchase an EV, can be found here.

For Business Owners and Property Managers Looking to Host an EV Charging Station:

Attract customers. Many customers believe it is important to frequent environmentally responsible companies. Choosing ENERGY STAR, a brand recognized by over 85% of U.S. consumers, makes your parking lot not only the first impression, but one of your best marketing tools.

Increase employee satisfaction. Enhance employee productivity and satisfaction by accommodating EVs that can take advantage of carpool lanes and other financial incentives. Companies that offer workplace charging may be able to attract and retain employees who want to charge EVs during the day. In addition, it is very important to many employees—even those who don’t drive EVs—that their employers take a proactive approach to transportation planning.

Generate revenue. There are various ways to collect revenue for charging, such as subscription-based, pay-per-charge, and pay-for-parking systems. Ask the EV charger manufacturer for more information about compatible service offerings for ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers.

Seek the guidance of a local contractor. Installation varies from simple to complex. For some customers it may be simple to install a new two-pole circuit breaker, wiring, and the EV charger. For other customers it can get more complex including service upgrades, new load center, complying with code, long wiring distances, conduit through walls, and transformer upgrades.

Recoup installation costs. There are various incentives at the local, state, and federal level for EV charging equipment and installation.

  • Check with your state and local governments for resources, financing programs, and tax incentives to make installing and operating EV chargers affordable and easy. This case study highlights how the number of EV charging stations in Vermont grew from 17 in January 2013 to 111 in January 2016, at a variety of charging venues, including retail, parking (short term and long term), workplace, dealerships, hotels, education, leisure, and hospitals.
  • Many electric utilities have supported the adoption of EVs and EV chargers, particularly through public infrastructure development. Check with your local electric utility for up-to-date information on programs. Your utility may also have a Demand Response (DR) program that will allow site owners to take advantage of lower pricing during off-peak hours.

Maintain equipment with low annual maintenance costs. EV chargers may require periodic inspection, testing, and preventive maintenance typically performed by qualified electrical contractor. Annual maintenance costs can vary but are generally low.

Better understand the benefits of workplace charging here and learn more about providing EV charging stations for public use here.

For Fleet Managers:

EVs offer a way to reduce operating costs, demonstrate environmental responsibility, and comply with fleet policies. Learn more about charging a fleet of EVs with EV chargers here. For procurement language that can be used to aid fleet managers with purchasing ENERGY STAR EV chargers, please see here.

For Utilities:

Meet customer needs. Residential and commercial customers are interested in EVs, which need to be charged at home, at work, or in public locations. Utilities can help educate customers about their charging options, including ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers that save energy compared to other models. Utilities across the country provide incentives, including rebates for EV charging equipment and reduced electricity rates during off-peak hours. Many utilities are installing infrastructure for public use within their service territories.

Understand load impacts. Wi-Fi-enabled “smart” EV chargers or those separately metered can provide the utility with information about how customers use electricity specifically for charging EVs, including when and for how long. Some ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers have this capability.

For Government Agencies:

In addition to serving as an information resource for individuals and organizations within their jurisdiction, government agencies may provide EV charging for their employees or the public. Better understand the benefits of workplace charging here and learn more about providing EV charging stations for public use here. Agencies providing grants, rebates, or other incentives can encourage the use of energy-efficient technology by incorporating language that requires or gives preference to ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers. For procurement language that can be used to aid in the purchasing of ENERGY STAR EV chargers, please see here.