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Are electric car chargers universal?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
electric car outline

Have you just bought a new EV and you’re wondering are EV chargers universal, or do you need to carry around different wires or adaptors in order to use any of the electric vehicle chargers you might experience .

Well the short answer is yes, electric car chargers are universal. In that they can charge different EVs using specific cables.

The EV charging cables types are:

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Type 2 CCS
  • CHAdeMO

Are EV chargers universal?

In this article, we will discuss are electric car chargers universal, or if they differ by make or plug type. We will cover whether these differing makes and plug types affect the charging times you experience with EV chargers.

Are EV chargers the same?

So in essence electric car chargers are universal and will charge most electric vehicles. However, electric car charging can be categorised into 3 different levels. Each of these levels represents different power outputs, which affect the charging speeds. Each level of charging has a designated charging connector, these are for low or high-power use and AC or DC charging.

So what are the different levels of EV charging?

Level 1 charging

These chargers use a 120 volt AC plug, this type of plug in the UK is called 3 pin. These are sometimes supplied when you purchase an EV. They consist of a 3 pin on one end and a type 2 connector on the other. This type of charger will give you roughly 4 miles of charge per hour, we do not recommend using this type of charging for long periods of time.

Level 2 charging

These chargers use 240 volt AC plugs also. These are generally referred to as fast chargers and can be found in public charging locations. These chargers are also found at home and are generally best used to keep your EV topped up. These chargers are capable of charging at a rate of 7kW to 22kW (22kW can only be achieved with three-phase electricity). This type of charger will give you roughly 16 miles per hour depending on your EV battery size.

Level 3 charging

Also known as DC fast charging, these are 480 volt. This is the fastest way to charge your EV, although these aren’t currently as popular as level 2 chargers, they are gaining popularity as more service stations and densely populated locations are having them installed. These charge at a rate of 43kW to 100+kW, and can charge your EV in around 20 minutes to an hour.

Types of EV charging cables

As there are different charger types, there are also different charging cable types. These different cables allow most EVs to be charged via 1 charger type (usually AC chargers). There are EV charging cables that specifically work with AC charging and others for DC charging. This is generally because DC chargers have tethered cables whereas AC chargers are generally untethered. This allows the switching of cables depending on the vehicle.

Type 1 (AC charging)

A Type 1 charging plug is a single phase standard plug for EVs, Type 1 is mainly used in cars from America and Asia. This uses 5 pins with a latch to keep the cable secure in the vehicle. An example of an EV that uses this type is the Nissan Leaf. This cable can charge a car at a power level of up to 7.4kW. This is generally enough power to charge your electric vehicle at home and powerful enough for a small workplace to offer electric vehicle charging.

Type 2 (AC charging)

A Type 2 charging plug is capable of single and three-phase charging, it is the standard model used for EV charging cables in Europe. A Type 2 charger has 7 pins but no latch, instead vehicles that use Type 2 have a locking pin to secure the plug in place. When used in domestic homes this type 2 charging cable can charge an EV with a power level of up to 22kW, while commercial or public charging can be up to 43kW.

Type 2 CCS (DC charging)

A Type 2 CCS (combined charging system) is an enhanced version of the Type 2 plug. Featuring 5 pins plus two additional power contacts which allow for fast charging of your EV. These additional contacts allow for DC charging of power levels up to 170kW, although most EV charging points are around 50kW. This is the most common EV charging type found at rapid charging stations such as those at service stations.

CHAdeMO (DC charging)

The CHAdeMO is a 10 pin plug. This plug is used for fast charging power levels up to 50kW. These plug types are only found on a few UK vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius. This charging type will soon be phased out in favour of CCS and Tesla Superchargers.

The EV chargers we sell at R-EV Power are compatible with the Type 2 plugs and CCS. Although we supply most of our EV chargers untethered, as most new EVs are supplied with EV charging cable, reducing any unnecessary costs you would incur when purchasing a new EV charger. If your looking for an EV charger get in touch for a quote, our team can generally install it within days.

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