Connector types for EV charging around the world. Type 2 charging point

Connector types for EV charging around the world

As it usually happens with every new technology, the beginnings are tough and full of competing standards. Each manufacturer uses and develops his own standards and processes. Only time can determine which one will win. It was so with the charging connectors for mobile phones, today it is so with the connectors on charging cables for electric cars. So let’s have a look at all the charging connectors that we have in the world now.

General overview of the different types of connectors

The charging speed depends on three components. the charging station, which is the source of power, the charging cable and the on-board charger. In this article, we will look at an important part of every charging cable. its connector.

For simplicity, the different types of connectors can be roughly divided according to the region where they are most used. Although this is a simplified statement. AC charging stations usually do not have an integrated charging cable, so the driver carries the cable that fits his car and the problem with the types of connectors is basically eliminated. DC fast charging stations always have a cable attached because of security reasons, the amount of current, cable’s price and weight. so it is necessary to select a station that has the appropriate connector.

In the following section, we offer a quick overview of the development and a description of the individual connectors.

AC connectors

The first electric cars, such as the General motors EV1, used an inductive connection for their charging where the current was transmitted by electromagnetic induction. However, this method of charging did not prevail because it was not efficient enough in that time. (Today, we can hear suggestions for returning back to inductive charging and Norway is by far the most progressive country in this regard.) The inefficiency created a demand for the design of a conductive connection with the elegant name of SAE J1772-2001. One of the requirements for the connector was establishing a connection with the deck and the infotainment system.

J1772. Type 1

In California, a square plug named J1772 was introduced in 2001, but it was only capable of 6.6 kW, and so in 2008 Yazaki designed a new plug with a power of 19.2 kW, which since 2010 has become the standard for all American vehicles. Yazaki’s design today is the new J1772, which is often called J-plug or Type 1.

Original Avcon connector compliant with specification J1772. Source:

Originally, electric cars in Europe also had this type of connector so many older or hybrid cars are still equipped with Type 1, but since it is common for al drivers of electric vehicles to carry around their own cable, there is no problem with charging at any AC station. However, now Type 1 is used mainly in America and Asia. The main disadvantage of this plug is that it allows the use of only one phase and it doesn’t support a built-in automatic locking system.

Mennekes. Type 2

European cars used the Type 1 connector until major European automakers began looking for a new solution that could take advantage of all three phases. In 2003 new specifications IEC 62196 were established based on which the Type 2 mennekes plug was produced and it quickly became the new European standard. Thanks to the fact that both types of plugs (type 1 and 2) use the same J1772 signaling protocol for communication, car manufacturers can make vehicles in the same way and only at the very end they install the type of plug that corresponds to the market where the car will be sold. Passive adapters also exist among these types. Another important advantage of the Type 2 plug is that it supports a built-in automatic locking system.

(The Type 2 plug is called Mennekes, because it was a German company of the same name that developed a design for this plug. The term Mennekes design was often mentioned in the texts, and it started to be used among the general public.)

The Tesla Model S and Model X sold in Europe also have the Type 2 plug (only in a slightly modified version) which they can use for charging at any AC charging station and they also use this connector for the Tesla Supercharger network where they charge using DC.

GB / T standard

In China, under the supervision of the Guobiao Standardization Commission, a GB / T plug was developed, and currently it is the only one that is used. The fact that there are no other types of connectors in the whole country that would compete facilitates the development of the charging infrastructure. It should be noted that China is the country with the densest network of charging stations and has the largest share of electric cars in the world.

At first glance, the connector seems to be the same as Type 2, but the cables inside are arranged in reverse order so they are not compatible.

DC connectors

DC charging allows the car to be charged significantly faster than AC charging. Currently, the most common charging stations are 50 kWh, but 150 kWh stations already appear, and 270 kWh and 350 kWh chargers are emerging, which is reflected in the constant need to develop more efficient connectors.

CCS. Type 1 and Type 2 (Combined Charging System)

CCS, or combined charging system, is a beautifully elegant solution for fast DC charging. These are the original plugs, either Type 1 or Type 2, to which two more pins are added at the bottom. In the case of DC charging, these two lower pins participate in the charging itself and from the upper part only the communication pin and the earth conductor, which provides the reference point for the protection systems, are used. These connectors can withstand power of up to 350 kW.

It is currently the most popular type of DC connector. Type 1 is common in the United States, while Type 2 CCS is used in Europe. The European Parliament’s efforts to allow only CCS 2 and other plugs to be phased out of Europe have not been successful, but this standard is still winning, mainly because the car has only one socket. When using the CHAdeMO connector, the car must always have two sockets.

CCS are not compatible with CHAdeMO and GB / T charging stations because they use different communication protocols, so special adapters are needed and they are not easy to obtain.


CHAdeMO is the original DC plug developed by five Japanese automakers that have been trying to promote this plug as a global standard since 2010. It didn’t work out, but even so, the number of chargers with CHAdeMO connectors was rising. From 10,000 in 2015 to 25,600 in 2019 (of which 9,200 are in Europe and 7,600 in Japan).

The European Parliament tried to enforce a directive to make this connector gradually disappear from Europe in favor of CCS. The current wording of this directive states that each fast charging station must have at least a CCS connector. Charging stations can easily have more connectors. However, electric car manufacturers themselves are abandoning CHAdeMO connectors. Currently, only two electric cars with this connector are produced, and one of them, Nissan, is moving to CCS connectors, so it seems that this standard will be common only in Japan and China.

In 2018, the CHAdeMO Association introduced the second version of its connector, which allows you to charge up to 400kW. And it is currently working with China to develop an ultra-fast connector capable of charging up to 900 kW.

GB / T

As with AC charging, China has its own standards for DC charging. GB / T is currently working with CHAdeMO to develop a third generation of connectors that should be capable of transmitting 900 kW.


Tesla is, of course, a topic in itself and has different connectors than any other brand, which allows Tesla customers to charge on their own charging stations that cannot be used by any other vehicle.

At the same time, however, Tesla also offers adapters for other types of plugs, so for their vehicles it is not a problem to use the charging stations with a Type 1 or CHAdeMO plug.

In the war for the winning DC plug in Europe, Tesla leaned towards the CCS Type 2 plug in its Model 3.

If you enjoyed this article about connectors and would like to learn more about AC / DC charging or what are the advantages of your own AC charging station, or many other topics, we have prepared a series of articles in the Knowledge Center section.

Curbside Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging

Example of Level 2 EV charger installed on a utility pole

Project Description

Seattle City Light is installing and operating public Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers at curbside locations throughout the city of Seattle. City Light is offering this service to provide near-home EV charging for residents who cannot access off-street parking to charge their vehicles.

What will this service provide?

This service will provide public Level 2 EV charging next to the curb in residential neighborhoods in Seattle. Seattle City Light will install, own, operate, and maintain the EV chargers. Because these chargers are public, anyone who drives an EV will be able to park on the street next to the charger and charge their vehicle. The chargers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved.

The Level 2 EV chargers installed under this program will provide up to 9.6 kilowatts (kW). The infrastructure can provide a typical EV with over 30 miles of range per hour of charge time. Level 2 EV chargers are frequently used for multiple hours at a time, such as when a car is parked overnight at home or while the driver is at work.

How much will this service cost?

Drivers will need to pay a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) fee to use the chargers. The current cost to charge at a City Light Level 2 charger is 0.21 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). One kWh provides a typical EV with enough energy to travel over three miles. The fees are designed to pay for the electricity, operations, maintenance and repair costs while offsetting the initial purchase and installation costs.

Why is this service being offered?

Many Seattle residents must use street parking near their homes. Older single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, and houseboats frequently do not have off-street parking like a driveway, garage, or parking lot. It is usually very difficult or not possible for residents to provide their own EV charging when parking on the street.

connector, types, charging, world

This project will directly support the Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan by helping to expand at-home and near-home charging for multifamily residents. Currently, there is a lack of access to EV charging for multifamily units. Expanding at-home and near-home charging solutions for multifamily residents in environmental justice communities will increase equitable access to transportation electrification as 52 percent of City Light’s customers are renters and a majority live in multifamily properties.

The City of Seattle set a goal to reduce transportation emissions 83% from 2008 levels by 2030. Residents can accomplish much of this with low-emission travel by public transit, biking, walking, and other options; however, many will still rely on personal vehicles for some of their trips. Seattle City Light is installing these chargers as part of a more extensive portfolio of transportation electrification investments and services to help the utility’s service area transition to zero-emission electric transportation options.

connector, types, charging, world

How did City Light select the charger locations?

City Light selected the charger locations through an opt-in process. than 1,800 requests were received in Summer 2022. A panel of subject matter experts from City Light and Seattle Department of Transportation reviewed each request based on a number of criteria such as location, number of requests in a given area, availability of infrastructure, and property type.

In Q4 2022, City Light mailed project information fliers to the property owners or homeowner associations for each property adjacent to and across the street from each proposed EV charging station location. Recipients were encouraged to respond to an online survey to voice support or opposition to the charger and were able to ask questions or provide feedback. City Light staff responded to all questions and feedback for those who provided email addresses for responses.

How soon will the charging locations be available for use?

Construction is slated to begin as early as April 2023. City Light anticipates 50% completion of the charging sites by the end of May, with the remaining sites completed by the end of summer. Each charging site was designed based on its own individual location with 12 planned to be installed on wood poles, 6 on new steel poles, and 13 sites installed on stand-alone pedestals. The plan is for each site to be made available as construction is completed.

Locations are noted by blue icons.

Complete list of locations – all addresses listed are within the City of Seattle.

  • 300 block W Mercer St
  • 4000 block E McGilvra St
  • 1700 block N 46th St
  • 1600 block NE 143rd St
  • 300 block N 45th St
  • 400 block NE Maple Leaf Pl
  • 1700 block NW 57TH St
  • 3900 block Whitman Ave N
  • 500 block 20th Ave E
  • 4200 block Stone Way N
  • 300 block Pontius Ave N
  • 1100 block 13th Ave
  • 7000 block 17th Ave SW
  • 1300 block 12th Ave S
  • 6000 block 16th Ave SW
  • 4700 block 35th Ave S
  • 1700 block 15th Ave
  • 600 block 7th Ave S
  • 4800 block Fauntleroy Way SW
  • 1900 block Fairview Ave E
  • 1400 block S Hill St
  • 1700 block S Forest St
  • 4800 block California Ave SW
  • 2100 block California Ave SW
  • 700 block 143rd St
  • 100 block Bellevue Ave E
  • 3600 block Dayton Ave N
  • 200 block MLK Jr Way S
  • 2900 block Fuhrman Ave E
  • 500 block Valley St
  • 500 block W Olympic Pl

EV charging connector types

Don’t know your CCS from your Type 2? Fear not. it’s all here.

Updated: 18/04/23

How long does it take to charge an electric car? Well, there are four main charging speeds for electric cars – slow, fast, Rapid and ultra-Rapid. These represent the power outputs, and therefore EV charging speeds, available to charge an electric car. Note that power is measured in kilowatts (kW).

Rapid and ultra-Rapid chargers

Ultra-Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge an EV, often found at motorway services or locations close to main routes. Rapid devices supply high power direct or alternating current – DC or AC – to charge an electric car as fast as possible.

Depending on the model, you can charge an electric car to 80% in as little as 10-15 minutes, though an average new EV would take around an hour on a standard 50 kW Rapid charge point.

Power from a unit represents the maximum charging speed available, though the car will reduce charging speed as the battery gets closer to full charge. As such, times are quoted for a charge to 80%, after which EV charging speeds tail off significantly. This maximises charging efficiency and helps protect the battery.

All Rapid devices have charging cables tethered to the unit, and Rapid charging can only be used on vehicles with Rapid-charging capability. Given the easily recognisable connector profiles – see images below – the specification for your model is easy to check from the vehicle manual or inspecting the on-board inlet.

How long does it take to charge an electric car on a Rapid DC charger?

Rapid DC chargers provide power at 50 kW (125A), use either the CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards, and are indicated by purple icons on our live desktop map. These are the most common type of Rapid EV charge points currently, having been the standard for the best part of a decade.

Both connectors typically charge an EV to 80% in 20 minutes to an hour depending on battery capacity and starting state of charge.

Ultra-Rapid DC chargers

Ultra-Rapid DC chargers provide power at 100 kW or more. These are typically either 100 kW, 150 kW, or 350 kW – though other maximum EV charging speeds between these figures are possible. These are the next-generation of Rapid charge point, able to keep recharging times down despite battery capacities increasing in newer EVs.

For those EVs capable of accepting 100 kW or more, charging times are kept down to 20-30 minutes for a typical charge, even for models with a large battery capacity. Even if an EV is only able to accept a maximum of 50 kW DC, they can still use ultra-Rapid charge points, as the power will be restricted to whatever the vehicle can deal with. As with 50 kW Rapid devices, cables are tethered to the unit, and provide charging via either CCS or CHAdeMO connectors.

Tesla Superchargers

Tesla’s Supercharger network also provides Rapid DC charging to drivers of its cars, but use either a Tesla Type 2 connector or a Tesla CCS connector – depending on model. These can charge at up to 150 kW.

While all Tesla models are designed for use with Supercharger units, many Tesla owners use adaptors which enable them to use general public Rapid points, with CCS and CHAdeMO adaptors available. The roll-out of CCS charging on the Model 3 and subsequent upgrading of older models allows drivers to access a greater proportion of the UK’s Rapid charging infrastructure.

Model S and Model X drivers are able to use the Tesla Type 2 connector fitted to all Supercharger units. Tesla Model 3 drivers must use the Tesla CCS connector, which is being phased in across all Supercharger units.

Rapid AC chargers

Rapid AC chargers provide power at 43 kW (three-phase, 63A) and use the Type 2 charging standard. Rapid AC units are typically able to charge an EV to 80% in 20-40 minutes depending the model’s battery capacity and starting state of charge.

EV models that use CHAdeMO Rapid charging include the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. CCS compatible models include the BMW i3, Kia e-Niro, and Jaguar I-Pace.

Tesla’s Model 3, Model S, and Model X are exclusively able to use the Supercharger network, while the only model able to make maximum use of Rapid AC charging is the Renault Zoe.

Fast chargers

Fast chargers are typically rated at either 7 kW or 22 kW (single- or three-phase 32A). The vast majority of fast chargers provide AC charging, though some networks are installing 25 kW DC chargers with CCS or CHAdeMO connectors.

How long does it take to charge an electric car on a 7kW fast charger?

Charging times vary on unit speed and the vehicle, but a 7 kW charger will recharge a compatible EV with a 40 kWh battery in 4-6 hours, and a 22 kW charger in 1-2 hours. Fast chargers tend to be found at destinations such as car parks, supermarkets, or leisure centres, where you are likely be parked at for an hour or more.

The majority of fast chargers are 7 kW and untethered, though some home and workplace based units have cables attached.

Should a cable be tethered to the device, only models compatible with that connector type will be able to use it; e.g. a Type 1 tethered cable could be used by a first-generation Nissan Leaf, but not a second-generation Leaf, which has a Type 2 inlet. Untethered units are therefore more flexible and can be used by any EV with the correct cable.

Charging rates when using a fast charger will depend on the car’s on-board charger, with not all models able to accept 7 kW or more.

These models can still be plugged in to the charge point, but will only draw the maximum power accepted by the on-board charger. For example, a Nissan Leaf with a 3.3 kW on-board charger will only draw a maximum of 3.3 kW, even if the fast charge point is 7 kW or 22 kW.

Tesla’s ‘destination’ chargers provide 11 kW or 22 kW of power but, like the Supercharger network, are intended only or use by Tesla models. Tesla does provide some standard Type 2 chargers at many of its destination locations, and these are compatible with any plug-in model using the compatible connector.

Almost all EVs and PHEVs are able to charge on a Type 2 units, with the correct cable at least. It is by far the most common public charge point standard around, and most plug-in car owners will have a cable with a Type 2 connector charger-side.

Slow chargers

Most slow charging units are rated at up to 3 kW, a rounded figure that captures most slow-charging devices. In reality, slow charging is carried out between 2.3 kW and 6 kW, though the most common slow chargers are rated at 3.6 kW (16A). Charging on a three-pin plug will typically see the car draw 2.3 kW (10A), while the majority of lamp-post chargers are rated at 5.5 kW because of existing infrastructure – some are 3 kW however.

How long does it take to charge an electric car on a slow charger?

Charging times vary depending on the charging unit and EV being charged, but a full charge on a 3 kW unit will typically take 6-12 hours. Most slow charging units are untethered, meaning that a cable is required to connect the EV with the charge point.

Slow charging is a very common method of charging electric vehicles, used by many owners to charge at home overnight. However, slow units aren’t necessarily restricted to home use, with workplace chargers and public points also able to be found. Because of the longer charging times over fast units, slow public charge points are less common and tend to be older devices.

While slow charging can be carried out via a three-pin socket using a standard 3-pin socket, because of the higher current demands of EVs and the longer amount of time spent charging, it is strongly recommended that those who need to charge regularly at home or the workplace get a dedicated EV charging unit installed by an accredited installer.

All plug-in EVs can charge using at least one of the above slow connectors using the appropriate cable. Most home units have the same Type 2 inlet as found on public chargers, or tethered with a Type 1 connector where this is suitable for a particular EV.

EV charging connector types and cables

The choice of connectors depends on the charger type (socket) and the vehicle’s inlet port. On the charger-side, Rapid chargers use CHAdeMO, CCS (Combined Charging Standard) or Type 2 connectors. Fast and slow units usually use Type 2, Type 1, Commando, or 3-pin plug outlets.

On the vehicle-side, European EV models (Audi, BMW, Renault, Mercedes, VW and Volvo) tend to have Type 2 inlets and the corresponding CCS Rapid standard, while Asian manufacturers (Nissan and Mitsubishi) prefer a Type 1 and CHAdeMO inlet combination.

This doesn’t always apply however, with increasing numbers of Asian manufacturers switching to European standards for cars sold in the region. For example, Hyundai and Kia plug-in models all feature Type 2 inlets, and the pure-electric models use Type 2 CCS. The Nissan Leaf has switched to Type 2 AC charging for its second-generation model, but unusually has retained CHAdeMO for DC charging.

Most EVs are supplied with two cables for slow and fast AC charging; one with a three-pin plug and the other with a Type 2 connector charger-side, and both fitted with a compatible connector for the car’s inlet port. These cables enable an EV to connect to most untethered charge points, while use of tethered units require using the cable with the correct connector type for the vehicle.

Examples include the Nissan Leaf MkI which is typically supplied with a 3-pin-to-Type 1 cable and a Type 2-to-Type 1 cable. The Renault Zoe has a different charging set up and comes with a 3-pin-to-Type 2 and/or Type 2-to-Type 2 cable. For Rapid charging, both models use the tethered connectors which are attached to the charging units.

AC Connectors

  • UK 3-pin (BS 1363)
  • Industrial Commando (IEC 60309)
  • Type 1 (SAE J1772)
  • Type 2 (Mennekes, IEC 62196)

DC Connectors

  • CHAdeMO (Japanese JEVS)
  • CCS (Combined Charging System or ‘Combo’)
  • Tesla’s proprietary supercharger connectors

Your Guide to Charging an Electric Car

Driving an electric vehicle is relatively simple; however, charging an EV can get complicated.

So, you’re considering making the leap to an electric car. Unlike purchasing a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, buying an EV involves some forethought and planning. Particularly when it comes to keeping it running. Whereas gas stations are a dime-a-dozen, the infrastructure for electric chargers is still a bit shaky. Don’t let this scare you, though, as there are a lot of different options available to ensure you’re easily able to charge your electric car.

Related Stories

One of the best decisions you can make before purchasing an EV is to have a charger installed where you live. That’s certainly easier if you own your home, but there are plenty of hoops to jump through to make it happen (permits, contractors, fees). To simplify the process, some automakers incentivize this process, as do a number of state and local governments. If you happen to rent the place you call home, then it never hurts to ask your landlord about the possibility of installing an electric car charger.

EV Charging Levels and Charging at Home

There are three main classifications of EV charging, and the one you’ll want to use depends on how far you’re going and how much time you have. It’s also important to remember charging an EV is unlike refueling a gasoline-powered car, in that you’ll almost never wait until the battery approaches empty before you plug in. If you charge at home, it’s easy to plug in at the end of each day and recharge overnight. The same is largely true during the day if you’re able to charge at work. Longer road trips require a different approach because you have less time to work with.

Level 1 charge equipment is typically provided with all new EVs. This type plugs into an ordinary 120V household outlet, making this the most convenient but also the slowest way to charge an electric car. Level 1 chargers add roughly two to four miles of range per hour, with the lower end of that range corresponding to larger, less efficient EVs. This means Level 1 charging can take days, not hours, to fully replenish a depleted battery pack. But charging from empty is far from the norm, so Level 1 can work out just fine if you drive no more than 20 miles or so per day and can plug in every night.

You do need to consider a couple of points. First, you should consult an electrician to see if the socket you plan to use is up to it, especially if your home isn’t relatively new. Also, you should never plug your car’s Level 1 charge cord in via an extension cord, because the extra wire length adds resistance that can overheat your home wiring. Also, if you’re unable to plug in regularly, or want to be able to add spontaneous side trips during the day or on weekends, you may find that this setup charges at a rate that’s too slow for your liking.

To satiate your need for charging speed, you’re going to want to look into stepping up to Level 2 home charging, which can support up to 240 volts at triple (and in some cases quadruple) the amperage of Level 1. That makes most Level 2 setups six to eight times faster than Level 1, which equates to between 12 and 32 miles of range added per hour of charging, with the more efficient EVs toward the higher end of that range. With Level 2, you can add a significant amount of range to most EVs in a couple of hours, and it makes full overnight top-ups a breeze even if you happened to drive more miles than usual, skipped charging for a couple of days, or programmed your car to delay charging until the wee hours when electricity rates can plummet.

Level 2 is fairly attainable, especially if you are a homeowner. Some of the supplied cords that come with EVs have swappable ends that feature 240V plugs, but if the cord that comes with the EV you’re considering doesn’t have such a feature, you can purchase standalone Level 2 home charge equipment. Either way, you’ll need a 220–240V outlet that’s connected to a dedicated circuit breaker. A consultation with an electrician is necessary to add such a circuit and make sure your panel is up to it. There are a few notable plug options, but the best and most common is called a NEMA 14-50. This is the same outlet RV parks provide for Class A motorhomes, so you might be in a plug-and-play situation if you’ve already had your garage wired up to support such an RV.

But Level 2 isn’t just found at home. It’s the predominant type found in public spaces, workplaces, and certain shopping malls. Also, the cord-end that you plug into the car looks the same as home Level 1 and Level 2 equipment. You can add a significant chunk of range if you plug in while you’re having dinner-and-a-movie with a friend or significant other, but they are not intended for a full fill from near-empty, mainly because they’re generally not located where people spend many hours in one place.


Level 3 chargers are also known as DC fast chargers, and as the name suggests, this equipment can much more rapidly charge your electric car’s battery. Fast charging is particularly helpful on long trips that require intermediate charges to reach a destination because most compatible EVs can take on 100–250 miles or more of range in significantly less than an hour. Level 3 chargers differ from Level 2 charge equipment in that they utilize a different socket on the vehicle side, with extra pins intended to handle additional higher voltage.

There are three types. Tesla Superchargers utilize their own proprietary socket that other cars are—as yet—unable to use here in North America. SAE Combo (also known as CCS or simply Combo) chargers are based on the same socket used by the Level 2 plug, but with an extra pair of large pins grafted on below. CCS-enabled cars typically have a secondary flap the user folds down to expose the socket for these extra pins. Finally, there’s CHAdeMO, the BetaMax of the trio. This socket is mainly found on a few Mitsubishis and the Nissan Leaf, though Nissan’s future products will use the CCS interface going forward.

The rate of charge is measured in kilowatts (kW), which currently range from a low of 50 kW to a high of 350 kW depending on the specific charger. The fast-charge capability of the car itself matters, too. A car that has a maximum DC Fast charge rate of 50 kW will gain nothing by plugging into a 350 kW station, and will instead take up a spot that a car with faster-charging capability could use.

EV owners will see a noticeable dip in the charge rate once their car’s battery reaches approximately 80 percent capacity. In practical terms, an 80 or 90 percent charge is more than enough to get you down the road to the next stop. But this is also done to prevent damaging the battery pack by way of overcharging or overheating it. Think of it like pouring water into a glass. You can dump in a lot at first, but you generally slow the flow as the glass approaches full and dribble it in near the end, otherwise, you run the risk the water may overflow.

Fast-Charging Networks

Tesla’s Supercharger network is made up of Level 3 chargers, which the company strategically places around the country. The sheer number of Supercharger locations is high because the network has been built out over some 10 years. This and the fact that its chargers are reliably in working order make Tesla’s electric car charging infrastructure one of the best currently available. For now, access to the Supercharger network in the United States is limited strictly to Tesla’s own vehicles, but it is possible that might change.

For everyone else (including Tesla drivers), there are several charge networks available to the public, such as ChargePoint, Electrify America, EVGo, and others. These networks are generally newer and less extensive, so we recommend joining as many as you can in order to increase your odds of finding an available and functioning station on your travels. It’s also a good idea to download each network’s app on your phone, have an active account, and keep a physical charge card with you.

Some automakers are also beginning to implement plug and charge, which is a way of accessing multiple networks for charging your electric car. The Mercedes EQS battery-electric sedan, for instance, can consolidate several networks under a single user account. It also includes a plug-and-charge function when using participating chargers. This allows you to simply plug your EQS in without having to interact with the charger’s app or physical charge card.

Charging on the go is further simplified by way of many electric cars’ in-dash navigation systems, which will typically suggest charging locations to stop at along your route should your EV need a charge in order to reach the final destination. That said, we recommend picking several alternate charging stations in case your range depletes quicker than expected or in the event a chosen charging station’s charger is already in use or out of order.

The Cost of Charging an Electric Car

Though the price of electricity varies by location, charging an electric car at home ought to cost notably less than filling your gas-powered car’s tank with an equivalent amount of gas. In some areas, your electricity provider may incentivize charging by lowering rates during off-peak hours. Generally, these lower rates take effect late in the evening and last through the early morning. Many electric cars allow you to schedule your daily at-home charging times, which ought to ensure your EV is charging during these off-peak hours. Prepare to spend a good deal more money on charging if you regularly rely on charging networks to recharge your electric car.

Those charging at home may want to invest in solar panels that feed a series of batteries called an energy storage system, an example of which is Tesla’s Powerwall. These systems collect energy from the sun during the day and store it for later uses, such as charging an electric car. In some areas, any excess power collected can be sold back to the local utility company. Be warned, energy storage systems can currently be prohibitively expensive.

EV Charging Etiquette

If you are a recent electric car convert, then you ought to be aware of a few of the simple etiquette guidelines that come with EV ownership. For instance, when using a charger in a public parking area, it’s best to keep tabs on your electric car’s state of charge. Once its battery is at full capacity, it’s common courtesy to move your car—even if that means hoofing it back to the charging station well before you’re ready to leave the area—so other drivers can charge their EVs. In fact, some charging networks will penalize you for keeping your car plugged into the charger after its battery reaches full capacity.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure your electric car is correctly plugged in and actively charging before walking away. Faults sometimes occur within a minute or two of plugging in.

Once your EV’s done charging, place the charger handle back on the receptacle and neatly coil the cable. These components take a beating in everyday use and keeping them in good working order will pay dividends for you and other EV drivers alike. These cables are also a tripping hazard, so keeping them off the ground is always a Smart idea. If you encounter a faulty charger, then your best bet is to notify the network of this issue so it can be fixed.

Charging an electric car may seem complex, but with the exception of the additional time it takes to get your car to its full energy capacity, it’s generally no harder than fueling up a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle. Even better, those with an at-home charger will find charging their electric car is just as easy as charging any mobile device. Just plug it in overnight, and wake up with it ready to go.

With a background in design and open-wheel racing, Mark Takahashi got his foot in the door as an art director on car and motorcycle magazines. He parlayed that into a career as an automotive journalist and has reviewed thousands of vehicles over the past few decades.

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