Category - Ev Chargers
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Paul Holdsworth, Engineer

31 Jan : Updated 19 Feb ● 7 min read

Exploring electric vehicle (EV) charger types: a comprehensive guide

The sale of new diesel and petrol cars is set to be phased out from 2035, meaning that every driver in the UK will have to switch to electric driving at some point in the not-too-distant future. 

Although an EV technically drives the same as a petrol or diesel vehicle, charging is different and something that will take motorists some time to get used to.

One of the biggest discussion topics amongst those considering buying an EV is charging; including how long it takes, how much it costs and how it works.

In this guide, we’ll help you to understand the different types of electric car chargers currently available, as well as the different types of connectors. 

What’s the difference between EV chargers and EV connectors?

Like there are different cables required to charge different mobile phones, there are various EV charging connector types. While it may be difficult to remember all six, the good news is that as the need for more public charging increases, the more standardised the connectors become. At the moment, there are six different types of EV charging connectors.

The 6 types of EV connectors 

1. UK 3-pin plug

UK 3 pin plug diagram

Every electric car comes with a cable designed for domestic plug sockets. However, the 3-pin plug should only be used occasionally or during emergencies as it’s much less efficient than using a wallbox or charge point.  

In fact, the 3-pin plug offers the slowest charge possible for an EV, with an average rate of just 8 miles of charge per hour.

If you're in a situation where your EV is running out of battery and can’t locate a suitable charging station, you could use a UK 3-pin plug point to top up. But, with only an average power rating of 2.3kW, it should not be used as your only connector or for overnight charging, especially when better options exist. 

2. Type 1

type 1 ev charger diagram

Type 1 chargers were one of the original electric car charger types and can still be found on some EV models, like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and older versions of the Kia Soul EV and Nissan Leaf. 

Featuring a 5-pin design, the type 1 charger runs on alternating current (AC) and can provide between 3-7kWk (12-25 miles of range per hour), so it can be used for fast and slow charging. 

3. Type 2

Type 2 ev charger diagram

Type 2 connectors are considered the universal EV connector type and are found on most electric cars. Sometimes referred to as Mennekes (the company that produces this connector type), type 2 connectors have 7 pins and can perform both fast and slow charging as they offer between 7 and 43kW. 

Type 2 became the standard EU connector type in 2017 when EU legislation was passed that meant all public electric car charging stations must provide a Type 2 connector. 

This change led many European car manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Renault, Mercedes, VW and Volvo to fit new models with Type 2 charging compatibility.

4. CHAdeMO

CHAdeMO ev charger

The CHAdeMO (Charge de Move) was one of the first DC charging types available for electric vehicles. It is the Japanese counterpart to the CCS and is often found on Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, and Mitsubishi EVs.

The CHAdeMO is less convenient than the CCS as it requires two separate plugs: one for rapid and one for regular. This means it requires a larger access flap. 
What is convenient, though, is that all charging stations that feature CCS compatibility also feature a CHAdeMO plug point.

CHAdeMO charging points can currently provide a rapid charging speed of up to 400kW and manufacturers are currently looking at ways to increase this to 900kW.

5. CCS combo type 1

CCS combo type 1 ev charger

Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors are the most prominent DC (Direct Current) charging type available on tethered rapid chargers. It is most commonly found on European EV models and can also be found on some Teslas.

The CCS connector type comes with nine pins spread across two sections. The upper section features seven pins and will either be a Type 1 fixing or a Type 2 CCS combo fixing, depending on the model of the car. This upper section is also compatible with an AC charger or a home wallbox. The lower section features a 2-pin DC socket.

The current top charging speed of the CCS charging type is 350kW and can charge an electric car with up to 525 miles in just an hour.

6. CCS combo type 2 

CCS combo type 2 ev charger

While the CCS combo type 1 is typically found on North American cars, the CCS combo type 2 is the European equivalent. 

The CCS combo type 2 supports both AC and DC charging and provides between 50 and 350kW of energy - making it perfect for rapid charging.  

The 4 types of electric car chargers

1. Slow chargers 

Slow chargers, including three-pin plugs, only offer up to 6kW of AC charging and are only recommended for use when no other chargers are available. This is because a slow charger can take up to 12 hours to charge an EV battery.

2. Fast chargers (level 2)

Charging at speeds of between 7-22kW an hour in AC, fast chargers are commonly fitted in UK homes and used as public chargers in car parks. 

Depending on the output, a fast-charging unit can take between 3 and 8 hours to fill an EV’s battery.  

3. Rapid/Ultra-rapid chargers (level 3)

One of the fastest ways to charge an electric car is with a rapid EV charger. As the name suggests, these charging systems are super-fast and can refill 80% of an EV battery in around 40 minutes. 

Ultra-rapid charge points are even quicker, with the potential to fill 80% of an EV battery in just 20 minutes.

4. Tesla supercharger

Unlike other EV car manufacturers, Tesla actually has its own network of over 25,000 charging points in the UK alone. 

The ultra-rapid chargers are made specifically for Tesla models and can refill 80% of battery capacity in around 30 minutes. 

Offering up to 150kW of power, Tesla’s superchargers are typically found at motorway service stations and hotels across the country. 

Types of charging cables

Tethered charging cable

This type of charging plug is permanently connected to the charging unit, so can’t be removed. Tethered cables are usually found on rapid and ultra-rapid charging units and resemble a petrol or diesel pump, with the lead attached to a dedicated EV charging unit.

Untethered charging cable

Unlike tethered cables, untethered charging cables can be taken anywhere (it’s a good idea to keep one in your EV, just in case). These cables must be plugged into your car and a charging point, i.e. at your home or a public charging point. 

One of the benefits of untethered charging cables is that it gives you more flexibility, compared to their tethered equivalent, because you can take the cable with you, wherever you’re travelling. 

Want to learn more?

Check out our tethered vs. untethered EV charger guide

Check out our tethered vs. untethered EV charger guide

We delve into the pros and cons of each charger type, while also assessing which is cheaper, and which is more secure.

Read more

What sort of EV charger do you need for your car?

If you’re looking for a new EV charger, then look no further than BOXT. If you’re struggling to work out which charger or connector is right for you, our Find an EV Charger service can help. We’ll ask a few questions about your car and where you park it, and then recommend chargers to you. It’s that easy. 

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More EV charging advice from BOXT

To help you find the best solution to your EV charging problems, check out our dedicated EV charging blogs. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about efficiently charging your car, from whether you can charge your EV in the rain, to how much it costs to charge an electric vehicle, and the type of road tax you’ll need.  

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