Difficulty Level: Intermediate | Time Required: Five minutes | Tools Required: None | Related Parts, Products, Services or Technology: A 120-volt outlet for level-1 charging, A home power grid with a 240-volt outlet for level-2 charging
Available Dual Level Charge Cord allows a vehicle-controlled electrical connection to your home or charging location. The Dual Level Charge Cord allows you to swap between three- and four-pronged plugs to best fit your available wall outlets.
Not all home grids support 240-volt charging, so it is recommended you consult a professional electrician before attempting 240-volt charging.
How the Dual Level Charge Cord works
The Dual Level Charge Cord allows a vehicle-controlled electrical connection to your home.
You can use the standard three-pronged 120-volt plug (NEMA 5-15) for Level 1 charging at your home (up to 1.4kW). The larger four-pronged plug (NEMA 14-50) is a 240-volt plug that provides Level 2 charging (7.7kW), similar to AC charging stations you may find in public.
You can switch between three- and four-pronged plugs by simply removing the plug from the control box and snapping in the desired plug. Make sure the switchable plug assembly is fully seated into the Dual Level Charge Cord’s control box for correct operation. The plugs will take some effort to fully remove and insert but will fit snugly once snapped in.
Do not use adapters or extension cords of any kind with the Dual Level Charge Cord. For 240-volt charging, the cord is designed to work on a dedicated 40-amp or greater circuit. If you are unsure of your home’s circuit capacity, consult with a qualified electrician.
The Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Charging
There are two types of charging you can do at home:
- Level 1 charging† is ideal for topping off your vehicle’s charge after making short trips or conveniently adding range even when you don’t have access to Level 2 or DC Fast Charging.
- Level 2 charging is faster than Level 1 charging but requires a 240-volt outlet and a home power grid that supports Level 2 charging. For most homes, this level of charging requires professional installation to support it.
Setting Up the Charge Cord
You’ll notice the Dual Level Charge Cord has three parts:
- A three-pronged plug, similar to what most electrical devices use.
- A four-pronged plug, similar to those used by large home appliances such as electric ovens.
- A control box with a 22-foot cord ending in the coupler that plugs into your electric vehicle.
o The control box has screw hooks on the back, so you can mount it on a wall.
Follow these steps to set up the Dual Level Charge Cord.
1. To get started charging your vehicle with the Dual Level Charge Cord, identify a suitable wall outlet in good condition.
a. In most cases, you’ll only have access to the common three-pronged outlets.
It is important to use the default vehicle charging setting until you confirm with a professional electrician that the receptacle and circuit you intend to charge from is suitable for EV charging. Faster charging can overload circuits and can potentially cause damage to the circuit or start a fire. It is recommended that you use a dedicated individual branch circuit for EV charging.
b. If your home or parking location supports Level 2 charging, you can use the four-pronged plug provided for faster charging.
2. Once you’ve identified the type of outlet you’re plugging into, snap the corresponding plug into the bottom of the control box (the bottom is the opposite side of the end the vehicle charging cord comes out of). The plugs will require some effort to fully seat but will fit snugly once snapped in.
If you have trouble snapping the plug into the control box, ensure that you have correctly aligned the connector by matching the "barn" shape of the plug end to the opening on the control box.
3. Plug the attachment plug into the electrical outlet.
4. The Dual Level Charge Cord will perform a short boot-up routine and be ready to charge your vehicle.
How to Charge Your Electric Vehicle with the Dual Level Charge Cord
1. Once the Dual Level Charge Cord is assembled and plugged in, open the charging port door to access the charging port. The process is similar to accessing the fuel filler in a gas or diesel-powered vehicle.
2. Plug the cable’s vehicle coupler into the charging port.
3. Your vehicle is equipped with a Charging Status Indicator light to let you know that the coupler is connected properly and that the vehicle is charging. The indicator may look like one or more of the following:
a. A light around or near the charging port.
b. A light on the instrument panel, visible through the windshield when outside your vehicle.
c. Animated lighting on your headlamps and/or taillamps.
d. Consult your Owner’s Manual to best understand the charging status indicator on your specific vehicle.
4. To remove the charge cord, press the latch release button located at the top of the vehicle coupler to interrupt charging and free the vehicle connector for unplugging.
Important Electrical Safety Considerations
There are a few important safety considerations to know before charging your electric vehicle with the Dual Level Charge Cord:
- Level 2 charging with 240-volt plugs is faster than Level 1 charging with a three-pronged plug, but not all home grids support 240-volt charging. It is recommended you consult with a professional electrician before attempting 240-volt charging.
- Electric vehicle charging speed depends on the voltage of your wall outlet, the current capacity of the plug you are using, battery condition, vehicle settings and outside temperature. Due to charging regulations, you will need a hardwired charge station to maximize your vehicle’s capabilities.
Related Links and Resources
Not currently, but General Motors is working to develop other plug sets. The Dual Level Charge Cord currently offers flexibility between home charging and public charging stations. It is not recommended to use custom or aftermarket plug sets, because GM Charge Cords are designed with thermal sensors that monitor the temperature at the wall receptacle. Non-GM designed adapters interfere with this safety feature. This could create a risk of fire, melting or smoke.
Electric vehicle charging speed depends on the voltage of your wall outlet, the current capacity of the plug you are using, battery condition, vehicle settings and outside temperature. Your vehicle may be capable of faster AC charging rates of 11.5kW or above (up to 19.2kW). Charging regulations limit EV charging via standard wall plugs to 9.6kW, so you will need a hardwired charge station to maximize your vehicle’s capabilities.