Andy Wahrol style illustration of the different types of plugs and sockets for electric cars
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Charging your EV: everything you need to know about connectors

You have just purchased an electric car and feel a bit lost about charging and the types of connectors available. Don’t panic! Chargemap offers you a quick guide on the basics so you won’t blow a fuse (😉).


Charging modes

Before discussing the various types of connectors, you need to get your head around the modes available for charging your EV. The following 4 charging modes define the way in which communication between the charging infrastructure and your car is managed:

Mode 1

This entails charging from a conventional, non-dedicated domestic socket, accessible via the power cord that is usually provided with the vehicle. Here, there is no communication between the infrastructure and your car. This means there is no real control over the charging process and so this solution is not recommended as a frequent means of charging vehicles. 

If you prefer charging at home, make sure you get your mains supply checked out by a professional electrician to avoid any overheating on the circuit.

Mode 2

This mode also entails charging from a conventional domestic socket, this time either dedicated or non-dedicated. The difference with Mode 1 is that charging is controlled directly via a device integrated in the charging cable

Mode 3

Mode 3 corresponds to charging via a charger directly integrated into a charging station or wallbox. This is recommended for daily charging. 

Charging stations can be located in public areas (streets, carparks etc.) or private areas (home, workplace etc.) and have a dedicated electric circuit making the mode safer than charging from a domestic socket. It generally offers a normal to fast charge (between 3.7 kW and 22 kW) with alternating current (AC).

Mode 4

This mode corresponds to charging on rapid charging infrastructures mainly found on motorways and in some carparks and public places. They deliver a power rating of at least 50 kW in direct current meaning considerable range can be gained rapidly (usually between 20 and 30 minutes). 

Charging time can vary depending on the technical characteristics of your car. 

The connector types you need to know

If only carmakers could agree on a standard universal connector, life would be a lot easier! However, we can observe a trend towards standardising connector types in Europe. Some connectors are becoming more widespread, whereas others are losing ground and are only used on a few EV models. 

To make things clearer, we are going to make a distinction between the types of connection found on charging infrastructures and those fitted on vehicles. 

Infrastructure connections 

Illustration of a domestic socket

Domestic socket
→ 3 kW AC single-phase

Domestic sockets (Modes 1 and 2) are the most common type of connection and are still broadly used, especially for home charging. They are very practical if you have a garage, but charging time is slow (3 kW AC single-phase) and can be insufficient if you have long distances to drive every day. 

Illustration of a type 2 connector (male)

Type 2 connector (male)
→ 3 to 43 kW AC three-phase

The T2 connector (Mode 3) is the European standard found at normal to rapid charging stations

To access charging on a Type 2 charging station, you need either a Type 2 / Type 1 cable or a Type 2 / Type 2 cable depending on the type of connector you have on board your vehicle.  

Illustration of a type 3 connector

Type 3 connector
→ 3 to 22 kW AC three-phase

T3 connectors (Mode 3) are on their way out in the wake of European standardisation regarding T2 connectors.

They can still be found on some charging networks and can be accessed via a Type 3c / Type 1 or Type 3c / Type 2 cable depending on the connector on board your vehicle. 

Connections on your car

Illustration of a type 1 connector

Type 1 connector
→ 3 to 7 kW AC single-phase

Mainly found on electric vehicles by Japanese carmakers, T1 connectors are gradually disappearing to make way for Type 2 connectors.

Illustration of type 2 connector (female)

Type 2 connector (female)
→ 3 to 43 kW AC three-phase

With the particular feature of being found both at charging stations and on vehicles, T2 connectors (female) are the European standard and as such are fitted on most electric vehicles currently being marketed. 

Illustration of a type 4 Chademo connector

Type 4 connector – Chademo
→ 50 kW DC

As with Type 1 connectors, Chademo connectors (Mode 4) are mainly fitted on Japanese cars. They connect your car up to rapid charging stations via a cable which is necessarily attached to the charging station.

Illustration of a type 4 Combo CCS connector

Type 4 connector – Combo CCS
→ over 50 kW DC

Validated as a European standard, Combo CSS connectors (Mode 4) are fitted on most vehicles that can access rapid charging. Like Chademo connectors, the charging cable is necessarily attached to the charging station. 

That’s all for the different charging modes and connectors available! We hope this article will enhance your EV charging experience. Do not hesitate to let us know what you would like Chargemap to cover in future articles!

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Les Hardy
Les Hardy
26 September 2020 9 h 02 min

“Type 2 connector (male)→ 3 to 43 kW AC three-phase”
should read Type 2 connector (male) → 3 to 43 kW AC single-phase or three-phase

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