When you own a non-electric vehicle, there’s not much confusion, as, your car will either need petrol, diesel, or gas for functioning. However, the matters with EV car chargers and EVs need some ground understanding. In the basic classification, there are two forms of charging for your electric vehicle- AC or DC. Going further, AC charging has two options devised for re-charging your electric vehicle- it’s either slow charging or fast charging, whereas, DC provides rapid charging
For EVs, the charging times vary depending on the types of EV chargers. To highlight, a hybrid vehicle may or may not require external charging depending on whether it is a plug-in hybrid or a traditional regenerative hybrid vehicle. Let us look at the different charging types available for electric vehicles.
Different Types of EV Chargers
On a general classification, there are three types of EV charging, which are:
- Level 1 (Slow Charging)
- Level 2 (Fast Charging)
- Level 3 (Rapid Charging)
Level 1 and Level 2 are both AC type chargers, whereas Level 3 is DC charger. As the level of charging raises, the charging speed reduces. The more the power of EV charging, lesser-time it takes to get charged.
A typical EV charging cable has two ports- one for the vehicle and one for the charge point. You will need a cable depending on the type of EV or the type of power speed charging station.
AC Chargers for Electric Vehicles
Typically used for top-up charging at home, work and destinations, there are two types of AC vehicle-side connectors.
- Slow Charger (Level 1 EV Chargers)
There are in general, the most commonly found EV chargers in households where the EV-owner can recharge their vehicle in the comfort and convenience of their home and routine. This EV charger for home takes a comparatively longer time to completely charge the electric vehicle.
- Fast Charger (Level 2 EV Chargers)
The fast charger is mostly found in public places such as supermarkets, public parks, shops, leisure centers, and else. Almost every EV and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) can be charged using a type-2 charger.
|AC connector type
|Typical Power Ratings
|Approx range per hour charging**
l Standard US connector
l No locking mechanism
l Single phase only
l Standard EU connector
l Inbuilt locking mechanism
l Can carry three phase power
DC Charger for Electric Vehicles
One of the fastest ways to charge an electric car, direct current (DC) rapid chargers are rated at 50kW. They will typically refill an EV battery to 80% in around 40 minutes and are found most commonly at roadside and motorway service stations.
- Rapid Charger (Level 3 EV Chargers)
The DC charger for electric vehicles charges the vehicle super-fast and the reason is that it is supported by direct current. The DC charger converts the AC current incoming into direct current at the charging station. It generally charges an electric car up to 80% within 20 minutes, and can fully charge the vehicle in an hour’s time.
Tesla has its own network of rapid chargers called Superchargers. The Supercharger network has 2,500 stations worldwide, hosting more than 25,000 charge points. In the UK, these are mostly found at motorway service areas, but ‘Destination’ chargers can be found at places such as hotels.
Rated at up to 150kW, and – at the moment – exclusively for Tesla drivers, a Supercharger can refill a Tesla’s battery to 80% capacity in around 30 minutes. Superchargers use the following connectors:
Up to 150kW DC. This connection is for the Model 3.
Tesla Type 2
Up to 150kW DC. The Tesla Model S and Model X use this connector, which is the same style as the Type 2 AC plug.
Some Tesla Model S and Model X owners use socket adaptors that allow them to use any public CCS and CHAdeMO connections.
Similar to phone charging cables, car charging cables tend to have two connectors, one that plugs into the vehicle socket and the other into the ChargePoint itself.
The type of connector you need varies by vehicle and the power rating (“speed”) of the ChargePoint.
Electric vehicles either have a Type 1 or Type 2 socket for slow/fast charging and CHAdeMO or CCS for DC rapid charging.
Most slow/fast charge points have a Type 2 socket. Occasionally they will have a cable attached instead. Al DC rapid charging stations have a cable attached with mostly a CHAdeMO and a CCS connector.
Most EV drivers purchase a portable charging cable that matches their vehicle’s Type 1or Type 2 socket so that they can charge on public networks.