What Are The Different EV Charger Types?
Charging an EV is nowhere near as easy as filling up with petrol or diesel, let’s just make that clear from the start.
With an EV you have to make sure you stop at a charging point with the correct charger, EV charging connector and socket on your car.
That’s why you have to do your research before setting off and make sure you understand the various chargers and connectors out there.
Let’s get right into it…
What Type Of EV Chargers Are There
There aren’t loads of different EV charging types and below were going to explain what each one is, how it works and what type of connectors you need when EV charging.
Rapid & Ultra Rapid
Ultra rapid charge points are by far and away one of the quickest ways to charge an electric car. You can have your electric car changed to 80% capacity in about 40 minutes at these public chargers due to the direct current rapid chargers which are usually rated at 50kW.
Most people don’t tend to have these at home and they’re commonly found on motorway service stations.
The UK infrastructure continues to grow but at the minute there are over 3500 UK rapid charging points to stop at.
Ultra-rapid chargers are what you’d expect, they charge your EV even quicker. They tend to be over 100kW and can charge your EV to 80% in 20 minutes which is ideal. These are the most scarce electric car charging points and are found at some motorway stations across the UK.
Rapid & Ultra Rapid Connectors
Below are the different connectors you can use for rapid and ultra-rapid charging:
Combined Charging System (CCS)
This EV charging connection is the most commonly used for rapid and ultra-rapid charging. It allows up to 350kW DC and there is a combined AC and DC port within the CCS car sockets. Make sure you have the correct combination for your electric cars as there are different formats for CCS sockets.
CCS sockets are used by electric cars such as the Audi E-Tron, BMW i3 and the Volkswagen I.D3.
Allowing up to 50kW DC, this connection is used mainly by Nissan and Mitsubishi. At the end of 2020, it was estimated there were over 35,000 CHAdeMO chargers worldwide with that number only likely to increase as EVs become more popular.
Nearly all EVs have a type 2 socket on them but not all can use AC rapid charging, especially some of the older models. If you do have a type 2, this allows up to 43kW AC.
Normally, a rapid charger will have two cables that have two connectors on them, the CCS and CHAdeMO. You simply pick the plug that is compatible with your EV.
The next level down, fast chargers will usually charge at speeds between 7kW and 22kW. These are the most commonly found electric vehicle charging points found at home and can take anywhere from two to eight hours to charge your EV.
Fast Charger Connectors
There are only two types of connectors to charge an electric car and you can see them below:
An older EV will usually have this socket and it can charge up to 7kW AC. Electric Cars such as Ford Focus Electric, Citroen C-Zero and Kia Soul EV all have this type.
A large majority of EVs have a type 2 connector as it can charge up to 22kW AC which is the most common. This will have your electric vehicle charged in a couple of hours.
Slow EV Charging
Slow charging is pretty self-explanatory, it will charge your electric vehicle but it will take a lot longer than the rest. On average it will usually take about 12 hours to fully charge an EV from a dedicated EV charging unit because it only has a charging speed of up to 6kW AC.
They are the second most popular charger in the UK but are only advised to use in an emergency. A slow charger also includes the three-pin 3kW charge points that are normally found at a charging station on streets in the lamp posts. You also shouldn’t use an extension lead with a three-pin charger.
Slow Charger Connectors
Again, usually found on an older EV, they charge at a rate of up to 6kW AC.
The majority of EVs made in Europe have a type 2 EV charging connector and have a rate of up to 6kW AC.
UK Three-Pin Plug
Most electric vehicles come with an EV charging cable that can be used for three-pin charging. It has a rate of up to 3kW AC and is most commonly used at home but can be used in most public charging points.
CEE Plug (Commando)
Mainly used by campers, the plug often connects large vehicles to the main electricity supply. They are often red and up to 6kW, if you have an adapter, you can also connect it to an EV charging cable and charge up to 22kW.
Exclusive to Tesla EV drivers, Tesla has its own network of public chargers and charging stations across the world with over 2500 for you to choose from. The network is called superchargers and most points are found on motorways and hotels in the UK.
EV charging has never been easier for a Tesla owner with your own infrastructure, you will have less waiting time and over 25,000 charging points to choose from globally.
Going up to an impressive 150kW, EV charging has never been easier and you can have your EV battery in the Tesla charged to 80% in about 30 minutes. The two connectors they use are the Tesla CCS and the Tesla Type 2.
AC & DC Meaning
AC and DC can sometimes be confusing and if you put them together, you’ve got the band! What we mean by these are the following:
AC – Alternating Current – This is the standard electricity that comes out of a socket but the direction of the electricity changes due to the positive and negative sides constantly switching periodically which then affects the direction of the flow of electricity.
DC Charging – Direct Current – This is when electricity flows in one direction, rather than changing like AC.
When purchasing an EV charger, it’s important you understand the different ones and what type of connectors you may need depending on which EV chargers you buy, plus the make and model of your electric car.
We hope this guide helped with some of those queries. A fast charger is, without doubt, the most popular for an EV as they are available on the market and they still charge your EV in a reasonable time. If you want an ultra-fast, it will cost a lot more on the bills, whilst a slow can take up to 12 hours to charge, which is fine if you are willing to wait.