Guide to electric vehicle charging connectors

There are plenty of ways to charge an electric vehicle, with home, public and workplace charging points available.

However, your electric vehicle won’t be compatible with all charging points, and it’s important to know which charging connectors you need.

Below is an introduction to the range of charging connectors available and which charging points your car is compatible with.

What are charging connectors?

All electric cars need to be charged. Most people have a home car charging point installed for this, but there are also lots of public charging points now available too.

However, not all charging points use the same connectors, and which charging points you can use will depend on which charging connector your car is compatible with. 

Types of charging connectors

Like a smartphone, a charging connector needs to fit the charging point at one end, and the car at the other. This is done via charging connectors, and there are various different types.

Charge plug types

There are four types of connectors that plug into the power source.

Type 2 connectors are by far the most common. SAE J1772, SAE Combo and CHAdeMO connectors are used at fast charging points. However, most of these charging points have inbuilt connectors that connect to your car, so it’s rare you would need to carry one of these connector types.

Car inlet connectors

At the other end of the charging cable is a connector that connects to your car’s charging inlet. There are four possible types:

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • CHAdeMO
  • CCS

We will explain what each of these can be used for below. However, most cars will have a combination of a type 1 or type 2 and CHAdeMO or CCS compatible inlet to support multiple types of charging.

Finding out which inlet you have is easy, and your manufacturer should provide you with this information. You can then use the following guide to discover which charging points your car is compatible with.

Slow charging

Charge using AC (alternating current)

Slow chargers usually charge at speeds of 3.7kWh or 7kWh, with some going up to 22kWh, although these are rare in the UK. They are typically used for charging at home, work and at some public charge points.

There are two types of vehicle-side connectors that support slow charging:

Type 1 – Typically have power ratings of 3.7kW or 7kW.

Type 2 Typically have power ratings of 3.7kW or 7kW. Some also charge at 22kWh, but this is only possible at three-phase power sources. These are uncommon in the UK and most public chargers will be 7kW single phase chargers.

Fast charging

Charge using DC (direct current)

Typically found in public, especially at motorway service stations. The range of charging speeds can vary, with 50kWh the most common. A handful of 350kWh chargers also exist, but these are rare.

There are three types of vehicle-side connectors that support fast charging:

CHAdeMO – Typically have a power rating of 50kW. They are the most common type of fast charger found in the UK.

Combined Charging System (CCS) – Have more varied typical power ratings of 50kW, 150kW or 350kW, but the latter two are rare.

Type 2 – Have power ratings of 130kW and 250kW but are only compatible with Tesla superchargers. 

Electric car charging at home

Most EV owners rely on home charging points to do the bulk of their charging.

These are installed in a convenient place where the car is regularly parked so that they can charge the car whenever it’s idle. Electric car charger home installation costs are made easier thanks to the government OLEV Grant which contributes up to £350 towards the cost of installation. With the help of this grant, you can commonly expect to pay around £750 for the installation.

When picking your charge point, make sure your car is compatible and that you have the correct charging connector.

That concludes our introduction to EV charging connectors. To discover more about electric vehicles and EV charging, head over to our Electrification Hub.

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