CaptD
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:45 am

Level 1 vs level 2 charging

Sat May 08, 2021 2:31 pm

I have recently acquired a 2018 Soul with a 30 kWh battery. The user’s manual says something like “Kia recommends a level 2 or normal charger as best for your high voltage battery.” For my usage, I think I am going to be able to get away with the “trickle charger” that came with the car. Is a level 2 charger really better for the battery, or just more convenient for most people?

IanL
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:57 pm
Location: Jersey, English Channel Islands

Re: Level 1 vs level 2 charging

Sat May 08, 2021 2:36 pm

CaptD wrote:... Is a level 2 charger really better for the battery, or just more convenient for most people?


A lower charge rate will not heat the battery as much, so you will not be as reliant on battery cooling, and that should prolong its service life. If you will not be inconvenienced by the speed of the trickle charger, that's the way to go.

notfred
Posts: 550
Joined: Thu May 07, 2015 2:28 pm

Re: Level 1 vs level 2 charging

Sun May 09, 2021 4:43 am

While there's no problem with the battery there are a coupe of things to be aware of with level one charging.
First if you are preheating or precooling then it may not be able to supply all the power required, so some of your battery charge may be used.
Secondly it is not as efficient. There's a fixed amount of power that the car takes to run all the electronics while charging that's not going in to your battery. Because you are are charging slower for longer then that is more of a percentage of the power that you are using.
Neither of these are big issues, just things to be aware of when deciding to stick with level one charging.

CaptD
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:45 am

Re: Level 1 vs level 2 charging

Tue May 11, 2021 2:17 am

Thanks to all. I just found an article on the Clipper Creek site that says that level 2 charging is almost 5% more efficient, perhaps for the reasons that notfred mentions. That is probably why Kia recommends it.

MassDeduction
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 pm

Re: Level 1 vs level 2 charging

Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:46 pm

CaptD wrote:Thanks to all. I just found an article on the Clipper Creek site that says that level 2 charging is almost 5% more efficient, perhaps for the reasons that notfred mentions. That is probably why Kia recommends it.

Additional advantages to level 2 include the fact that, while level 1 heats the battery less, it heats it for a longer period of time. Depending on the climate, there are arguments both for and against level 1, given that fact.

Level 2 has a distinct advantage: it's more convenient/possible to give the car a cool-down time before you commence charging. A period of 90 minutes or so before you commence charging allows the cell temperatures to even out, and may give the BMS a more accurate sense of how each cell is faring and allow it to get a better idea of the health and state of charge of each cell. That may aid it in balancing and charging the battery pack. In hot weather, level 2 charging being faster would allow more time for the pack to cool down before the charging commences, if you set it up that way (I do). Similarly, in a heat wave you might wish to charge the car in the coolest period of the night, and level 2 could do the entire charge during that chunk of time, whereas level 1 may stray past it.

Overall I've gone from thinking level 1 was better, to now thinking level 2 is better overall. I suppose the ideal is to have both and use each strategically depending on circumstances.

Another important thing to remember is that fast charging is bad, but so is fast discharging (such as driving aggressively). Slower charging to 100% would generally be worse than faster charging to 80% or less. So charging isn't the be-all, end-all. But it's definitely an important piece of the puzzle.

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