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

However, to charge your electric vehicle, you’ll need the correct charging connector. To help, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know. 

What are charging connectors? 

Fully electric or plug-in hybrid 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. You’ll also need to make sure you have a compatible charging connector for your electric vehicle. 

Types of charging connectors

So, which charging connector do you need? Like charging any other device, a charging connector needs to fit the charging point at one end, and your electric vehicle’s charging inlet at the other.

Making things easier, most charging points either support a type 2 connector or have the connector built in (tethered).

Therefore, you need to concentrate on finding a connector that’s compatible with your car’s charging inlet. There are two types of vehicle-side connectors used: 

AC (alternating current) – Slow charging 

Some connectors use alternating current and support slow charging 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 AC connectors that support slow charging: 

AC connector type 

Charging speed 


Type 1

3.7kWh or 7kWh 

· Support slow charging of 3.7kWh or 7kWh and are usually used for charging at home 

· Commonly used by Asian manufacturers including Mitsubishi and Nissan 

· Single phase only 

· 5 pins 

· No locking mechanism 

Type 2

3.7kWh or 7kWh, although some charge at 22kWh (these require a three-phase power source which are uncommon in the UK) 

· Typically used by European EV manufacturers including Audi, BMW, VW, and Volvo 

· 7 pins 

· Have locking mechanism 

· Can support three-phase power (although these power sources are rare in the UK) 

DC (direct current) – Fast charging 

There are also connectors that use direct current. 

Typically found in public, especially at motorway service stations, these provide fast charging. Speeds can vary for these connectors, with 50kWh the most common. A handful of 350kWh chargers also exist, but these are rare.

There are three types of EV connectors that support fast charging:

DC connector type 

Charging speed 



Usually 50kWh 

· As the first fast charger created, these are the most common type of fast charger found in the UK 

· Commonly used by Asian manufacturers including Nissan and Mitsubishi 

Combined Charging System (CCS)

Varied typical power ratings of 50kWh, 150kWh or 350kWh, but the latter two are rare 

· Provide fast and rapid charging, although 50kWh is still the most common in the UK 

· Favoured by European manufacturers including Audi, BMW, VW and Volvo 

· In the future, will likely become the most common fast charging connector in the UK 

Tesla Type 2

130kWh or 350kWh 

· These are only compatible with Tesla superchargers 

· 7 pins 

Which inlet does your EV have? 

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(s) you have is easy, and your manufacturer should provide you with this information. 

Electric car charging at home 

Most EV owners will 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.

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

Find out more about EV home charging


Do EV charging points have cables? 

It depends on whether they’re universal (untethered) or tethered charging points.

Universal chargers can connect to all EVs but require you to provide your own compatible charging cable because they don’t come with one themselves.

Tethered chargers come with a charging cable attached, but you may need an adaptor in order to use them. 

How do I choose a charging cable? 

You need a charging cable with connectors that are compatible with both your car and the charging point you want to use. 

Most EVs will accept either a type 1 (older, mostly Asian cars) or type 2 (the new European standard) connector and your manufacturer should be able to advise if you’re not sure which one you have.

While your car may also have a CHAdeMO or CCS compatible inlet for fast charging, charging points with the corresponding connectors are usually only found at public fast charging stations. These connectors will usually be inbuilt, so it’s rare that you’d need to supply your own charging cable. 

Shop EV charging cables 

Can you charge an electric car from a three-pin plug? 

Yes, but we’d advise against it. Three-pin domestic plugs are slow to charge, aren’t designed to handle high charging loads and aren’t designed to be a long-term charging solution (it wouldn’t be safe to use them all the time). 

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

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