Wouldn’t it be great if all EVs used only one type of charging connector to charge their batteries?
That sounds like a fun future event, but for now, chargers and connectors are different and varied for different types of currents (AC or DC) and geographical locations. Heck, some manufacturers even have advanced proprietary charging stations and chargers that only work with their brands of EV. So, where does this leave you as an EV owner? Exactly! You need to know the EV connection types, including how and where they are used. This knowledge will come in handy whenever you try to add juice to your EV battery, especially if you suddenly find yourself on another continent. This article will give you all the essentials about the different types of EV charging connectors.
1. What are North American EV Plug Standards
For most industrial standards, the categories have always been between European and North American standards. EVs, as well as their accessories, are no different. However, since the voltage supplied to North American residences is quite different from what is obtainable in Europe, your EV plug will have to conform to the North American charging conventions for it to work in North America. A level 1 home charger in North America often consists of a simple 3-pin plug connected to a 120V AC power socket and a J-plug, the standard SAE J1772 connector.
For a level 2 home charger, the plug is the same as in level 1 but connected to a 240V AC power socket. Though Tesla provides a proprietary charging station with a cable and connector for all its EVs they can still charge on any other charging station with a J-plug (SAE J1772 connector) within North America. However, other EVs cannot utilize a Tesla charging station for charging their battery though this is changing gradually with the introduction of an adapter by Tesla. Nevertheless, it gives every driver peace of mind knowing that a standard SAE J1772 connector is universal for charging stations in North America.
2. What are DC Fast Charge EV Plug Standards in North America?
DC fast charging is slightly different in North America seeing that it requires a faster charging source often located along highways for long-distance EV drivers to quickly add more juice to their EV batteries. Also, you cannot find a DC charging station in residential dwellings as the power rating is higher than is typically provided publicly by distribution companies for residential areas in North America.
Still, the DC fast charger provides 480V and is recommended twice a week to charge your EV as constant use can lead to quick deterioration of your EV battery. However, the standard for connecting to a DC charging station in North America is of 3 types.
The first is called a Combined Charging System (CCS), which is a basic SAE J1772 with an additional two pins for more connection and charging efficiency. The second DC connector is the CHAdeMO type presently used by 2 EV brands (Nissan and Mitsubishi). This connector has no similarity with the SAE J1772 and requires its port on any EV that requires a CHAdeMO for charging.
The 3rd DC fast charge connector in North America is Tesla’s proprietary DC fast charging connector which is the same across its three levels of a proprietary charging station.
3. What are European EV Plug Standards?
There are many differences between the European EV plug charging standards. Starting with the main difference, level 1 charging does not exist in Europe as the power distribution to residential areas is almost twice the American power distribution with 230V. Also, the level 2 charging connector uses an IEC 62196 connector also known as the Mennekes.
On the other hand, Tesla EVs still use their proprietary connector sold to all its customers in North America except for its Model 3 which recently adopted the IEC 62196 for its European customers. Nevertheless, Tesla is said to be considering switching its other models to the IEC 62196 connector for its European customers. Still, Europe follows the North American standards when it comes to DC fast charging connectors. It combines the type 2 IEC 62196 connector with an additional two pins to increase the charging of the EV battery and it is also called the Combined Charging System (CCS) in Europe. For charging the Tesla with DC fast charging in Europe, you can also utilize the CCS connector, as Tesla has started including a CCS charging connection to its proprietary Supercharger.
Ultimately, the connector standards for charging EVs in Europe, though different in many ways, still share certain similarities with North America’s charging conventions and standards.
4. What are the different types of connectors?
The different types of connectors are often designed for the input power generally available for charging EVs. For instance, the Alternating Current (AC) available in a geographical location for charging EVs determines the type of connector available for EVs in that location. Also, the DC connectors are dependent on the input power available for charging the EVs. Also, these connectors often rely on cables for optimum power output to reduce the charging duration. Plus, the onboard charger of the intended EV should be adequate to withstand the charging power.
4.1. What are the types of AC connectors
Generally, there are three types of AC connectors, and each has different locations where they’ve been adopted as an EV charging standard.
The first is the SAE J-1772 connector, which was first designed as a 6.6kW capacity connector in 2001. However, a redesign in 2008 gave birth to a 19.8kW capacity connector that has stood the test of time since then. This is the charging connector found in Northern America and Japan. However, it is not without its downside, which includes only single-phase charging and the inability to lock automatically.
The second type of AC connector is an IEC 62196 connector known as Mennekes or a type 2 connector. This AC connector is used in Europe as it solves the single-phase charging experience with the type 1 single-phase charger. Type 2 charger is a 3-phase charging connector helping to optimize the power output for faster EV charging.
The third AC charging connector is primarily found in China, and it is known as GB or T standard connector. This connector has been adopted as the EV charging connector standard in China since there are no competitors to hinder its unanimous acceptability.
4.2. What are the types of DC connectors?
There are four types of DC connectors with different local adoption.
The first is the Combined Charging System or CCS connector. This DC connector is the level 1 connector for North America and Europe, with two additional pins to transmit as much as 350 kW of DC power to charge EV batteries. The American type is called the CCS type 1, while the European version is called the CCS type 2.
The second DC connector is the CHAdeMO found in Japan for DC charging for EVs. The other EVs that use this connector are Mitsubishi and Nissan. However, Nissan is said to switch to a CCS connector in no distant time, making CCS the most adopted DC connector.
The third is the GB/T, which is only found in China for DC charging, with a later version said to be capable of transmitting a DC power of up to 900kW to charge EV batteries.
The fourth is the Tesla DC connector which is a proprietary connection meant for only Tesla’s brand of EVs, and it is not restricted to one location, but to everywhere Tesla has a network of charging stations.
Ultimately, the best connector for your EV will depend on your locality and your driving pattern, including your battery size and onboard charging capacity. However, a better indicator of a charger and connector’s suitability is the commitment of its manufacturer to quality. Partnering with an industry-leading brand like EV-Top is a sure winner. With close to two decades in the industry and being an innovative-driven EV solution provider, EV-Top meets clients’ requirements with bespoke designs while meeting the highest industry standards of quality and safety with internationally accepted certifications. They’ve also got a sea of clients who have become ambassadors to testify. More importantly, they provide one of the most competitive prices in the industry today.