So you've decided to opt for an electric car, well done! You are one step closer to saving the planet.
Now you face a new challenge, and let's face it; it’s a daunting one: charging your car and finding the correct connector for you.
Charging electric cars is not as simple as filling the tank with Diesel, grumbling about the price, and being on your way. Oh no.
EV charging connectors are a minefield, especially if you are new to the game. You may have heard rumors about different types of EV charging connectors and wonder what they do.
You might be asking yourself, what is the difference between these EV charging connectors? Which connectors should I be using? Are there different connectors for different electric cars or locations? Can I damage my electric car by using the wrong charging connector?
It can be overwhelming and leave you in a pool of sweat, wondering why did I purchase an electric car? There are many connectors out there, and the market becomes even more confusing if you wish to travel abroad with your vehicle. But please, do not panic!
We are here to save the day! Here at Think EV, we know the importance of the correct EV charging connector. What's more, we know the difference and are more than capable of helping you on your way.
So, be sure to keep reading! We will explain the different types of EV charging connectors talking you through when EV connectors should be used, where they should be used, and answer any questions you might have along the way!
Sit tight because the savior to your EV charging connector is on its way, and it looks a lot like Think EV.
Types of Connector
As electric cars are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, there are many different charging options available, as each country uses a slightly different current of electricity.
Anyone who has traveled abroad and fiddled about with a plug adaptor will know the pain we are referring to!
It is no different with EV charging connectors, and selecting the correct one for your vehicle and desired use is essential.
We will cover the types of connectors you will see in the US and other parts of the world so that savvy travelers can take your car with you! Or at least charge your hire car correctly!
When it comes to EV charging, there are three main types of charging available. These are rapid, fast, and slow. The different types of connectors represent the power outputs and charging speeds that your EV will access.
These charging types will have charging connectors to complete them. The types of connectors that we see are determined in types, such as type 1 connector, type 2 connector, and type 3, also known as DC fast chargers.
Here in the US, every EV manufacturer, except for Tesla, will use an SAE J1772 connector. These are commonly known as the J-plug and can be used with Level 1 and Level 2 charging.
For those Tesla users, you get an adapter cable with every car that allows access to the J1772 connector. It’s worth remembering that, as J1772 connectors are popular across public spaces. Tesla charging stations will be an exception, and non-Tesla users will need an adaptor to charge their cars there.
It is worth remembering that when we talk about the power of EVs and charging connectors, we use kilowatts (kW). DC chargers offer rapid fast charging. There are typically three types of DC chargers that you can use to charge electric vehicles.
DC charging is available in public areas where long-distance travel is common, such as on freeways. They operate on a higher voltage than Type 1 and 2 connectors (your J-plug’s compatible friends) and are therefore unsuitable for home use.
It is recommended that you do not use DC fast chargers more than twice a week. While these fast chargers can get you raring to go in 30 minutes, they can affect the lifespan of an electric car’s battery, shortening its lifespan.
Unlike the J-plug, the DC fast-chargers have more friends, and there are three different connectors that you can use with your vehicle.
Within the DC charger connectors, there are three different types. You can choose from the CHAdeMO, Combined Charging System (CCS), and Tesla’s connector. Let’s have more of a chat about these.
A CHAdeMO connector is the original DC connector and is increasing in popularity. They have a typical power rating of 50kW, and after 30 minutes of charging, you can expect 75 miles of charge.
CHAdeMO connectors do not feature a J1772 inlet, requiring you to have an additional ChadeMO inlet on the car. Usually, this means you need a larger charge port area to fit the separate charging sockets comfortably.
The Combined Charging System (CCS) uses a J1772 charging inlet, with an added two pins. It combines the J1772 connector with high-speed charging pins to deliver the fast charging and its namesake. CCS connectors are the standard across the US and developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
CCS are standard across almost all car manufacturers in the country; with you can guess, Tesla is the exception to the rule. CCS connectors have an impressive 30 minute charge time, delivering anywhere from 75-525 miles spending on the vehicle in question.
CCS offers power ratings of between 50kW to 350kW. It is worth noting that 350kW CCS chargers are still in their infancy, with only a handful currently available. We can expect to see them become more widely available as time goes on and demand increases.
The final type is the Type 2 DC connector, also known as the Tesla Superchargers. The connector accepts all voltages, so you won’t need to worry about a separate connector or adapter here.
These are reserved for Tesla superchargers, providing a DC charge via a Type 2 connector. From these connectors, you can expect to see power between 150kW to 250kW.
Type 2 DC connectors can charge quickly too. Within 30 minutes of charging, you can see anywhere from 180 to 500 miles. These superchargers are in their infancy but will continue to roll out over time.
You will need to be an exclusive Tesla owner to access the fast charge, although some changes will be made in the future.
Which Ones Used for which Situations
Now that we have covered the different types of EV charging connectors, you must be wondering, but how will I know when to use these and what connectors should I use?
Don’t worry; we know just how challenging it can be! This is why we are going to cover what situations you should use the connectors in.
Type 1 Connector
Type 1 connectors typically feature 5-pins and are standard across America.
They don't have a locking mechanism and are single-phase only, with some of the lowest power ratings out of the charging connectors.
The AC connector has a typical power rating of. 3.7kW to 7W with a charging rate of between 12.5 miles to 25 miles per hour charging.
It is worth noting that the charging times can vary depending on the car and the size of the car's battery.
You should use your type 1 connector at home or charge in public. Due to the slower charge rates, though, you can expect to see it take some time.
These connectors are great for use overnight though, when you aren’t in a rush for the charge, simply hook up your car and leave it powered up!
Type 2 Connector
Type 2 connectors are the most common connectors seen on newer cars. It is expected that this will continue, and new electric vehicles will continue to be fitted with them.
Type 2 connectors feature seven pins and an inbuilt locking mechanism, capable of carrying three-phase power.
They can deliver more power than type one connectors, offering 3.7kW-7kW and up to 22kW when using three-phase power. The extra power makes them a popular choice across the country.
You can expect to see anywhere from 12.5miles to 75 miles of charge per hour. Again, this will vary on the size of the car and its engine size.
Type 2 connectors are great for use at home or during public charging, thanks to their popularity.
Type 2 connectors offer a faster charge depending on the battery size of your vehicle and the power available. These are popular options across the country and one to consider.
As we have mentioned, DC fast chargers will provide incredible mileage from just a short burst of charging.
It makes them fantastic options for people undertaking long-distance drives, preventing you from needing to pull over for frequent charging.
Most commonly, you will see DC fast chargers on freeways, allowing you the charge you need for long-distance driving, although they are popping up across the country. Due to the higher voltage of 480 used in DC fast chargers, it is best to limit your use of them.
If used more than once to twice a week, DC chargers can harm your battery, shortening its life in some cases. We would also not recommend using a DC fast charger overnight. These are best suited to shorter bursts of charge, such as 30 minutes to one hour before resuming your journey.
Instead of a standard, consider these chargers as when speed and distance are needed.
Which Ones Used for Home/Public/Portable Charging
Knowing what charger connector to use when you are out can be challenging, especially if you are new to the world of electric cars.
So let's take a look at your options, so you know what is best.
While you are out in public, the most common connector you will see is Type 2. Public charging stations in particular use Type 2 connectors to charge electric cars.
Thankfully, these are compatible with almost all EVs and PHEVs, allowing you to charge your EV with ease.
You will also see DC charging available in public spaces like we mentioned earlier, where long-distance travel occurs. You can use these to charge your EV, providing you have a suitable connector.
As we mentioned earlier, there are three connector options for DC fast charging, CCS, CHAdeMO, and Tesla’s Superchargers. Again, with Tesla, only Tesla vehicles can use the SuperCharger.
You won’t even have compatibility with an adapter due to the authentication process used. We expect to see some change as EV vehicles become more popular on the road, but no change has been made.
Thankfully, you have a lot of options when it comes to public charging points. If you are a Tesla owner, be sure you have your charging adaptor if there aren’t designated Tesla charging stations on your journey.
For other drivers, grab your type 1 or 2 connectors, and you are ready to hit the road! For those longer journeys, why not treat your EV to a DC fast-charge? Just remember your connector!
At home, you will see a lot more choices with the charger connectors you can use. Most connectors will work with a 110V or 120V outlet, providing you with a range of possibilities.
Currently, DC charging is not available at home due to the high electricity required to complete the charging. They generally require 480V compared to the 120V outlets seen in most residential buildings.
Most domestic buildings cannot deliver it, and you don’t want to be the person who causes a power outage for your entire building, do you?
Stick with type 1 or 2 connectors when it comes to home charging. Although these can take longer than DC charging, you are less likely to cause any power outages.
Overnight is a good time to charge your car, or during the day if you are at home with no plans to travel.
Another area to look at is portable charging. You can purchase and use either a Type 1 or Type 2 charging connector for portable charging. When it comes to portable charging, the choice is yours.
As Type 2 chargers are popular across the country, these are often your best bet. You won’t need to worry about compatibility issues and can charge when you need.
DC fast charging is also an option, but as we keep saying, remember not to do this frequently!
For Tesla users, you will need to remember your adapter if you wish to use other charging methods! Portable chargers will use a range of different connectors, and you can check these on the charger before purchasing.
Portable chargers offer a general rate of 1 mile per minute of charge, proving their worth as handy travel companions!
Get your last-minute queries answered here!
Are all EV chargers compatible?
These days, all EV chargers will be compatible with electric cars. The primary connection used is the level 2 connector, known commonly as the SAE J1772. So, yes, you will be able to use any connector to charge your electric car problem-free.
Are all EV plugs the same?
All EV cars in North America will use the same EV plugs, yes. They will commonly use Level 2 chargers which cover all chargers made, including Tesla's supercharger. However, across the Atlantic, different plugs are used. If you plan on traveling or shipping your car overseas, you will need to consider the other pins used.
EV car brands use different standards for faster DC charging, also known as Level 3 charging, and will require a different plug at times. When purchasing your EV, you will find plug compatibility information in your manual or offered to you by the salesperson.
Can I plug my electric car into a regular outlet?
You can! Most mass-produced electric cars can be charged through a standard 110V outlet, meaning you can use a regular household outlet.
It is worth noting that using a 110V outlet will take longer than other charging ports available. If you. are charging your car overnight at home, you probably will not notice the extra time it takes.
Can I leave my EV plugged in overnight?
Yes, you can! It is common for EV car owners to charge their electric vehicles overnight, with many doing this from home. As we mentioned earlier, you will need to ensure that your home plugs and electrical system will support this charging.
Be sure to check the voltage, many EVs will use 110V or 120V plug, but the process will take longer than a charging station. It is also worth being cautious if you are using an open window to run power to your car outside, as this can be an opportunity for theft.
What are the different levels of EV charging?
There are three levels of EV charging, Level 1, 2, and 3. Level 1 is your home charging level using a three-prong outlet to charge your car in an eight-hour or overnight period. Level 1 chargers are best suited to low and medium-range plug-in hybrids.
Level 2 charging is what we see at home and in public spaces. Typically, they require a 240V circuit, and their charge rate will vary depending on the maximum current available. Usually, you can expect to see 180 miles of charge in an 8-hour time frame.
Level 2 chargers are standard in public settings, such as car parks and grocery stores. You can expect to see these chargers in most public spaces, and as time progresses will likely be fitted as standard across EV vehicles.
The final level is DC fast charging, which again is seen in public charging areas. You can see 50-90 miles added to your vehicle in as little as 30 minutes. The amount charged will vary depending on the station's capacity and the make of the electric car.
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