Types of Electric Car Chargers

Electric Vehicles (EVs) around the world use different types of electric car chargers and connectors during the EV charging process. It is important to be informed on this subject, especially if you are going to travel, acquire an imported EV, or simply want to know more about the EV charging types around the world.

Figure 1: Comparing EV connector to EV socket

In this article, we will detail everything you need to know about the different EV charger types and their connectors. Here we will also explain the different types of chargers for cars, the connectors you may find on the vehicle side as well as in the charger side, and more.

Types of Electric Car Chargers

Figure 2: AC/DC EV charging

There are several types of chargers for electric cars. These are usually set into categories that overlap themselves, these are the following:

  • Slow/fast charging and rapid charging.
  • AC charging and DC charging.
  • Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 EV charging.

Slow/fast charging is the same as AC charging and it is also categorized as Level 1 and Level 2 EV charging. Rapid charging is the same as DC charging, being categorized as Level 3 EV charging. In this section we explain each of these electric vehicle charging types:

Slow and Fast Charging

Slow charging or Level 1 EV charging is one of the main AC electric vehicle charger types, featuring a slow power rate of around 1 kW, which takes 40 to 50 hours to fully charge an EV battery. Fast charging or Level 2 EV charging is another of the AC electric car charging types, featuring a power rate of 7 kW up to 19 kW, taking only 4 to 10 hours to fully charge an EV battery.

During AC charging, the Chargerpoint or EV charger is powered with Alternating Current (AC). The power is converted from AC to DC directly at the on-board EV charger installed on the vehicle. This power is then delivered to the EV battery to recharge it.

AC chargers usually feature the Type 1 connector in America or the Type 2 connector in Europe, these are the most popular ones and are considered the standard in these two continents. There are other chargers used in China or for exclusive EVs like the Tesla ones around the world.

Rapid Charging

Rapid charging or DC charging is exclusively done over DC power, this charging type is also known as Level 3 EV charging or DC Fast Charging (DCFC). A rapid charger features a high power rate going from 50 kW up to 350 kW, easily charging the full battery of an electric vehicle in 20 minutes to 1 hour.

When an EV is being recharged over a rapid charger, the power is always converted from AC to DC externally. These electric car chargers types feature a high-capacity power transformer to convert and inject a high direct current (DC) directly to the EV battery. The maximum current is limited by the Battery Management System (BMS), a safety system placed in an EV to protect the Lithium-Ion battery.

DC chargers feature different electric car charger connector types. In Japan and for certain imported EVs, the standard is the CHAdeMO connector, but the Charging Combo System (CCS) is rapidly becoming the norm for DC charging. The CCS is a charging system that combines AC and DC connectors, featuring either a Type 1 (America) or a Type 2 (Europe) connector for AC with its respective DC pins.

Vehicle Side EV Connector Types

EV charging cables work as an extension cord, featuring a male connector on the vehicle side and a female charging socket on the charger point side. The different types of electric vehicle chargers used around the world use different electric car charger plug types as can be seen in the following figure.

Figure 3: EV charging connector types

For AC charging you will find Type 1 EV chargers in the U.S.A. and Japan, also known as SAE J1772 connectors or J-plugs, Type 2 EV connectors or Mennekes connectors in Europe, and GB/T connectors in China. For DC charging you will find the CCS1 connector for America, the CCS2 for Europe, the CHAdeMO for Japan, and the GB/T DC connector for China. Tesla vehicles worldwide (except in Europe) use an exclusive Tesla proprietary EV connector for AC and DC charging. 

Chargerpoint Side EV Connector Types

Level 1 EV chargers are usually portable. This means that the cable is embedded to the charging device while on the other side there is a typical 120V AC power outlet.

Figure 4: Chargerpoint side EV connector in untethered EV charger

Level 2 and Level 3 EV chargers can feature tethered or untethered designs. Tethered EV chargers have the wire pre-installed and you only have access to the vehicle side connector, while untethered EV chargers have a charger side (female) and a vehicle side (male). Both sides of an EV wire feature a male and a female side of the Type 1, Type 2, CCS1, CCS2, GB/T, or Tesla car charging connector.

Nick Zamanov
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Nick Zamanov is a head of sales and business development at Cyber Switching. He is an expert in EV infrastructure space and he is an EV enthusiast since 2012, Since then Nick strongly believed that electric vehicles would eventually replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars.

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