Electric Vehicle Charge Leads & Sockets... for Dummies.
By Stanley Grimes - Founder - ev-pow.com
There is a lot of confusion out there!
At EV-Pow we are receiving numerous enquiries from people who are ready to buy an electric vehicle, but who are confused or mislead by how they will be able to efficiently charge that vehicle. We have witnessed first hand with colleagues and friends who have discussed charging needs with the vehicle sales staff, and have been mislead. We are certainly not suggesting that these sales personnel are acting with malice. What we are suggesting is that even THEY do not know what is required.
So we thought we would try and explain what is actually quite a simple subject (once you understand it!) by detailing the only three charge leads that you really need to know about if you drive within Europe and the United Kingdom.
And maybe by doing so, we can help remove some of this fear associated with investing your transportation needs within this electric revolution that is unfolding.
First things first...
Know Your Connector.
All European electric vehicles, whether all-electric or hybrid, use the Type-2 connector. This has been decided upon as the standard that all manufacturers will use in Europe and the United Kingdom. Even Tesla now use a modified version (to enable faster charging with their SuperChargers), but it is essentially the same connector for use with general domestic and public EV charging.
The diagram below is the Type-2 Connector that will plug into your car. Which connector you have on the other end of the lead to connect to the power source is detailed below in the three most common variables.
You may hear of a 'Type-1' connector, but this is only really used in Asia as their standard socket. If you drive in Europe and the United Kingdom, you only need to be concerned with a Type-2 connector.
Okay, let's begin.
Choosing an EV Charge Lead... For Dummies.
Charge Lead No.1
Type-2 to Domestic Socket / Mode 2.
Charging Rate - 8-12km / Hour or 80-96km overnight with 8 hour charge time.
This is the charge lead that is generally supplied by the Dealer with your car. The Type-2 connector plugs into your car and the other end has a standard domestic appliance plug on it (3-pin in the U.K. or Schuko 2-pin for Europe).
In a lot of cases, EV car buyers are being told that they will be able to charge their new car with this Type-2 / Mode 2 lead, as supplied by the Dealer. Yes they will, but certainly not to the charging levels required to efficiently use the vehicle. And with the advancement of electric cars, this will only worsen. This is where the disgruntlement occurs; as when the new EV owner returns home they find that it takes an eternity to charge their car - despite having been told otherwise.
Whilst some people may be content with the mileage supplied by this lead, as it suits their particular travel needs; this charge lead is only really sufficient for emergency charging or when you are perhaps visiting other houses where there is not a dedicated EV charging provision. It can only realistically charge at a rate of up to 3.6kW - and this rate would only be achievable if the socket used was the only socket on that particular electrical supply line and an appropriate fuse has been installed to protect against surges. Both of these scenarios are not commonplace in domestic properties. As such, the realistic charging power would only be 2.3kW - which would achieve an un-impressive charging rate of 8-12km / Hour.
Charge Lead No.2
Type-2 to Type-2 / Mode 3.
Charging Rate - Various:
- 3.6kW EV Charge-Point - 25km / Hour (Single-Phase supply / standard domestic).
- 7.2kW EV Charge-Point - 50km / Hour (Single-Phase supply / standard domestic).
- 11.0kW EV Charge-Point - 70km / Hour (Three-Phase supply / commercial property).
- 22.0kW EV Charge-Point - 150km / Hour (Three-Phase supply / commercial property).
The Type-2 to Type-2 lead is literally as it sounds - it has a Type-2 connector at both ends. One to plug into your car and the other end to plug into the power source.
This is the charge lead that EVERY electric vehicle owner in Europe and the U.K really should be using and also carrying in their car. To buy now please visit ev-pow.com
This is the lead that will enable you to plug into public charging points, as they all use the Type-2 connector as standard. It is also the lead that connects to a dedicated EV charge unit installed at your home, office block or supermarket for example (see ev-pow.com/charging-units). These public units do not frequently have a lead attached, hence you will need to carry your own in the boot of your car.
This lead and the dedicated EV charging unit are often not supplied with the purchase of your car, but may be presented as an optional extra in future years.
The charging rate is detailed above as variable, as it will vary depend upon the EV charging power source used. A dedicated unit installed at your house will be capable of achieving at least 7.4kW for the majority of domestic properties - hence why this is a much more recommended way to efficiently charge your car in comparison to the Type-2 to Domestic Plug Lead supplied by most Dealers. The Type-2 to Type-2 lead will enable the provision of up to 400km of range during an 8-hour overnight charge (when charging with a 7.2kW charge unit).
A public or commercial charge point at a supermarket for example will be connected to the three-phase mains supply and will generally issue charge at the 22.0kW rate detailed above - the approximate equivalent to three-times faster than the 7.2kW. So you can gather quite a good amount of charge whilst doing the weekly shop.
To read more about these efficient EV charging solutions and even purchase an essential Type-2 to Type-2 lead or dedicated EV Charge Unit, please visit ev-pow.com
Tesla uses a modified version of the Type-2 connector for its SuperChargers. So whilst the Tesla supplied lead will look the same and can be used with Type-2 public charging infrastructure, currently only Tesla cars and leads can use a Tesla SuperCharger.
Charge Lead No.3
Also known as Combination Plugs, or Combined Charging System (CCS).
This is a lead that you need to know about, but actually do not need to consider too much. The CCS connector is an enhanced version of the Type-2 connector, designed to deliver fast charging at the ever-increasing number of charging points at motorway service stations for example. Again, it is the standard connector used for this service and is compatible with all European and U.K electric vehicles.
The layout is identical to the Type-2 connector, but with the addition of two additional power contacts to support both AC and DC currents (which is what delivers the fast charge). If you look at the Type-2 socket in your electric car, you will see that this connector will be able to easily slot in place.
We say that you do not really need to concern yourself too much with this connector or lead as it really is not something you have any control over. Take it as a given that your electric vehicle can accept this connector and that all the Fast Chargers at service stations will have the lead already connected to them - pretty much the same concept as a petrol station - the lead is supplied at the source.
There you have it. Charging and charging leads simplified (hopefully!). Conclusions - buy a Type-2 to Type-2 charge lead, if you would like to enable the efficient usage of your electric vehicle similar to how you use your current diesel or fossil fuelled car.
If you need any further advice or have any questions, then ev-pow are more than happy to help.