The 2021 Chevy Bolt EV has an estimated driving range of 259 miles, which will take over 50 hours to fully charge from 20 to 100% using a level 1 charger. A level 2 charger will prove to be a good investment if you want to reduce charging times significantly.
The best level 2 charger for a 2021 Chevy Bolt is the Wallbox Pulsar Plus; it is powerful, easy to install, convenient to use, connects to your smart devices, and is reasonably priced, considering all its features.
You may want to consider other options if:
- You’re on a tight budget.
- You only have one EV.
- You don’t need Wifi connectivity.
- You need portability.
Aside from recommending the best level 2 chargers for your 2021 Chevy Bolt, this article will briefly discuss why you should upgrade to a level 2 charger, as well as factors you need to consider before making your purchase.
- Why a Level 1 Charger May Not Suffice for Your Chevy Bolt
- Factors You Need To Consider Before Buying a Level 2 Charger
- Best Overall Level 2 Charger: Wallbox Pulsar Plus
- Best Portable Level 2 Charger: Lefanev 32 Amp EV Charger
- Best Affordable (And Most Versatile) Charger: Megear Level 1-2 EV Charger
- Overall Scoring
Why a Level 1 Charger May Not Suffice for Your Chevy Bolt
North America’s average commuting distance is 26 to 31 miles (41.84 to 49.88 km). Considering this, a typical level 1 charger will take between 6 to 8 hours to recoup the energy consumed on a daily drive. Aside from the hassle of charging your EV so often, getting only 31 miles (49.88 km) on an overnight charge might not be enough for longer trips.
Even if your commute to and from work is within a 30-mile (48.28 km) range, you can lessen range anxiety by ensuring your battery has enough juice to get you to your destination– just in case you find yourself unexpectedly needing to go to additional locations outside of your regular routine.
On average, a level 1 charger with an output of 12 amps can only add 3 to 4 miles (4.82 to 6.43 km) of range per hour spent charging. A level 2 charger will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend charging, or increase the number of miles it adds per charging session.
|Power Output (Amps)||Voltage||Power Output (kW)||Range Added Per Hour (Miles)||Time that is taken to charge Chevy Bolt (65kWh) battery from 0%|
|12||120v (Level 1)||1.4||4.1||46.4 hours|
|16||240v (Level 2)||3.8||11||17.1 hours|
|*30||240v (Level 2)||7.6||22||8.6 hours|
|32||240v (Level 2)||7.7||22.3||8.4 hours|
|40||240v (Level 2)||9.6||27.8||6.8 hours|
Factors You Need To Consider Before Buying a Level 2 Charger
How Complex (and Costly) Is Installation?
Level 2 chargers use 240-volt outlets since they require more power than Level 1 chargers that only use 120-volts. Given the additional power needed to run a Level 2 charging station at your home, you must ensure that your residence has the electrical capacity.
According to the National Electrical Code, your home’s electrical circuit should be at least 25% greater than your charger’s power output.
|Required Circuit Rating||Charger Power Output|
|20 amps||16 amps|
|30 amps||24 amps|
|40 amps||32 amps|
|50 amps||40 amps|
You can check how many amps your home can still accommodate by opening the electrical panel and checking for an unused circuit breaker. However, it is always best to consult a professional electrician considering the hazards and risks involved with electrical work.
Check out this related article that I wrote about the Best Tire Repair Kit for Every Tesla Model. This is somewhat related to this post.
In some cases, you may need to ask your electrician to install an additional panel or circuit, aside from the outlet that will run from the charging station back to your home’s power panel.
Installation costs can vary depending on how far the charger is from the power panel and how difficult it is to route the wiring. Expect to pay anywhere between $850 to $2200 for labor and materials.
Here’s a helpful YouTube tutorial that shows how a level 2 EV charger is installed:
How Much Power Do You Need?
How fast a charger can restore an EV battery’s energy greatly depends on its power output. Level 2 chargers have power outputs that range between 16 to 80 amps.
A powerful charger with 80 amps may sound enticing if budget is not an issue, but aside from the fact that you probably don’t need that much power, you need to check if your EV can actually handle it.
The 2021 Chevy Bolt has a maximum acceptance rate of 30 amps, so it isn’t necessary to get a more powerful charger, not unless you plan on expanding your EV fleet in the future.
Can You Settle for a “Dumb” Charger?
There are now smart EV chargers that come with apps and connect to your mobile devices via Wifi and Bluetooth. These smart chargers allow you to review and monitor charging sessions, schedule charging, control the charger remotely, and much more.
On the other hand, there are dumb chargers that will not have all the features of a smart charger but still do a brilliant job in performing their primary function, which is to charge your EV. These chargers also cost significantly less compared to smart chargers.
As an added bonus to this article, I’ve created this easy-to-use charging calculator. Simply input your model, charging wattage, and charging percentage, and you will get the estimated time it will take to charge a Tesla in terms of hours. You can play around with numbers a bit just to see how charging time changes:
Tesla Charging Calculator (Time):
Estimated Time It Takes To Charge Your Tesla
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Best Overall Level 2 Charger: Wallbox Pulsar Plus
The Pulsar Plus Level 2 Charger (available on Amazon.com) has the features and performance to fulfill any EV owner’s needs.
The price tag may seem steep at first glance, but once you consider all the pros and features the Pulsar Plus has to offer, the price is actually quite compelling.
The design of the Pulsar Plus is stylish and compact, making it look aesthetically pleasing on any wall. Although the finish is mostly plastic, the build quality is outstanding.
This model is only available as a tethered option, which means the cable is not detachable from the unit. Most customers prefer tethered chargers for added convenience and safety. However, if you need the flexibility of charging a type 1 and type 2 EV, you will need to look for an untethered charger.
The Pulsar Plus has a power-sharing feature that allows you to connect 1 or 2 chargers to the same circuit for those of you who have more than one EV.
In terms of tech and features, the Pulsar Plus has Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity. This charger works with the Wallbox app, which allows you to schedule and monitor the charging. The app works with Google Assistant and is also one of the easiest to use in the market.
Bottom Line: The Wallbox Pulsar 2 is one of the best Level 2 chargers you can buy. It ticks all the boxes in terms of design, ease of installation, and the app makes it a breeze to use.
- Design: The compact and stylish design makes it pleasing to look at and suitable for any wall.
- Convenience: The absence of an earth rod makes installation more affordable, and the Wallbox app is very straightforward to use.
- Features: Connectivity with smart devices is easy thanks to Wifi and Bluetooth. Its compatibility with Google Assistant is also a huge plus.
- Lack of flexibility: There is no option for an untethered set up for customers who switch between type 1 and 2 EVs.
|Model Name||Wallbox Pulsar Plus Level 2|
|Power Output||16-40 amps|
|Outlet Type||NEMA 14-50 / Hardwired|
|Cable Length||25 ft (7.62 meter)|
Best Portable Level 2 Charger: Lefanev 32 Amp EV Charger
The Lefanev 32 Amp EV Charger (available on Amazon.com) strikes a great balance between affordability and convenience from Amazon.com.
It isn’t exactly a smart charger since it does not have WiFi connectivity and Alexa integration, nor can you schedule charging. However, it does have an intelligent chip that automatically repairs minor charging problems and displays the error on an LCD screen which also displays real-time current and voltage, charging amount, and time.
As a portable or plug-in unit, the 32 amp model will require a NEMA 14-50 socket and uses a SAEJ1772 charge port, similar to the one used by all home electric vehicle charging stations in the US. You can simply unplug this charger and place it in the trunk of your EV should you need to charge away from home.
Bottom Line: The Lefanev Portable 32 Amp EV Charger is an excellent option if you need portability and power. It may not have smart features such as scheduling or remote capabilities, but it is still a top contender in swiftly charging your EV. The bonus is, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Fast charging: The Lefanev Portable 32 Amp Charger provides all the power you need to charge your Chevy Bolt in the least amount of time.
- Durable: Its IP66 rating gives you the peace of mind to use it in various outdoor conditions.
- Flexibility: You can take the charger on the road with you and plug it into outlets that shouldn’t be hard to find throughout the US.
- Reasonably priced: Features like the LCD screen and the intelligent chip makes this a compelling option against other mid-tier priced Level 2 portable chargers.
- No smart features: Those who seek the ability to schedule charging and operate the charger remotely will be left wanting.
|Model Name||Lefanex Portable 32 A EV Charger|
|Outlet Type||NEMA 14-50|
|Cable Length||25 ft (7.62 meter)|
Best Affordable (And Most Versatile) Charger: Megear Level 1-2 EV Charger
If you want to charge your EV a little faster without having to spend too much money, the Megear Level 1-2 EV Charger (available on Amazon.com) is an excellent choice. For an affordable price, the Megear EV charger can still charge your EV 3 times faster than a Level 1 charger.
A unique feature of the Meager EV charger is that it gives you the versatility of switching from Level 1 to Level 2 charging, depending on the outlets available to you. It comes with a Level 1 adapter cable, which will allow you to charge your car with any standard 120v outlet.
Bottom Line: The Megear Level 1-2 EV charger may not be as powerful as other Level 2 chargers, but its price and the added versatility of being able to charge almost anywhere more than makeup for its power deficiency.
- Affordability: The Megear Level 1-2 EV charger is extremely affordable when you consider the quality and overall value of the product.
- Versatility: The ability to switch from Level 1 to Level 2 charging give you the peace of mind of being able to recharge anywhere you go.
- Limited power output: The Megear has a maximum output of 16 amps, making it just a little faster than Level 1 chargers.
|Model Name||Megear Level 1-2 EV Charger|
|Power Output||16 amps|
|Outlet Type||NEMA 6-20|
|Cable Length||25 ft (7.62 meter)|
|Value For Money||Power||Features||Usability and Versatility||OVERALL SCORE|
|Wallbox Pulsar Plus||5||5||5||4||4.75|
|Lefanex Portable 32||5||4||4||4||4.25|
|Megear Level 1-2 EV Charger||5||3||3||5||4.00|
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