EV charging connector types
Don’t know your CCS from your Type 2? Fear not. it’s all here.
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).
Each charger type has an associated set of connectors that are designed for low or high-power use, and for either AC or DC charging. The following sections offer a detailed description of the main charge point types and the different EV charging connector types that are available.
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’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 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.
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.
- UK 3-pin (BS 1363)
- Industrial Commando (IEC 60309)
- Type 1 (SAE J1772)
- Type 2 (Mennekes, IEC 62196)
- CHAdeMO (Japanese JEVS)
- CCS (Combined Charging System or ‘Combo’)
- Tesla’s proprietary supercharger connectors
EV charging explained: Here’s all the different charger types
Charging an electric vehicle sounds simple in theory, right? Park up, plug in and recharge your battery. Job done. The reality is a little bit different, as anyone who owns or has driven an EV will doubtless agree. It’s certainly not quite as straightforward as pulling into a gas station and filling up, which can all happen within the space of a few minutes.
This is because electric vehicle charging is still evolving. Our gas and diesel refuelling infrastructure has been around for years and much of the basic setup hasn’t changed all that much. Pumps are slightly more advanced than they used to be and paying for your gas is certainly more straightforward. Then again it’s possible to recharge an EV for free, despite some recent opposition to that concept.
But the basic principle remains unchanged. Charging an EV on the other hand can sometimes feel like a step backwards.
EV chargers are not all equal
Part of this is down to the different ways in which electric vehicles get charged. Depending on the model of car you’ve got, the port used to plug in and recharge varies. It’s a bit like the different plug sockets you get around the globe.
Thankfully, anyone heading off on vacation simply needs to pack a multi-headed travel plug, which allows them to plug in and charge their phone, shaver or hairdryer using a plug that suits the socket. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to do this with an electric vehicle.
Tesla has done a great job in developing its own proprietary system, which lets you quickly and easily access the arguably superior Supercharger network. These Superchargers can be found across the US, Europe and many other parts of the world, with over 30,000 individual chargers and counting.
The rapidly expanding network is also supplemented by Tesla’s Destination Chargers, found in hotel parking lots and other popular tourist locations. These are slow, but use the same plug and socket mechanism as the Rapid-power Superchargers.
You have to know when to level-up
Following behind is everyone else. EV ports and the chargers that connect to Non-Tesla vehicles come in several variants across the U.S. You also get different levels of charging: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The higher the number, the more powerful (and faster) the charging should be.
Which one you can use depends on the type of EV you want to charge and its ability to accept the power supply. The good news on that front is the car will be able to figure this out for you, so you won’t inadvertently fry your battery when you plug in.
Level 1, 120 Volt AC charging is the ‘entry-level’ option, and much slower as a result. The bonus is if you don’t mind adding a miserly 3 to 5 miles of range per hour is that it allows you to plug in and charge at home without having to install any specialist charging equipment. Overnight makes the most sense and lets you avoid the public charger scenario altogether.
Level 2, which is 208 Volts to 240 Volts AC, is speedier and your options are greater, although there are still limitations. You might get up to 80 miles from an hour’s charge, though this could drop down to just over 10 in other cases. EV chargers that offer Level 2 charging are becoming more commonplace, however, and can often be the ones to look for at locations like fast food outlets, shopping mall complexes and hotels.
Level 3 DC Rapid charging is the most appealing in terms of speed and efficiency. The 400 Volts to 900 Volts DC Rapid charge and Supercharging options can deliver up to 20 miles per minute thanks to that direct current supply and higher voltage rating. Tesla owners get to enjoy this via the Supercharger network, while other makes and models don’t always get that luxury.
If you don’t have a Tesla but want to be up there with the big boys, then Level 3 charging is the one to head for — provided it’s available where you are, or where you’re headed.
Different chargers have different plugs
In terms of the plugging-in part of the charging process, in North America the connectors are standardized for both Level 1 and Level 2 charging using a so-called ‘J-Plug’. This plug is also known as Type 1, with the alternate Type 2 charger being used in Europe and other parts of the world.
Level 3 comes with a trio of standardized connection options. While Tesla has its own proprietary thing going on, the majority of other auto manufacturers currently use the Combined Charging System, or CCS, which is a combination style plug. The CCS charging standard shares the same J Plug as Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, but also includes two additional DC pins at the base to support higher electrical current.
Meanwhile certain automakers, particularly Japanese automakers like Nissan and Mitsubishi, have been using the CHAdeMO charging system. This utilizes a totally separate plug and socket combination than the slower AC charging, and has slowly been supplanted by CCS in North America and Europe.
The only recent car you’re likely to come across with a CHAdeMO charging is the Nissan Leaf. However since the Nissan Ariya is set to launch with a CCS charger, it looks like CHAdeMO’s days are numbered.
Finding a charger is a cinch
The easiest part of the EV charging procedure is locating a compatible unit that can replenish your battery. Like everything else, there’s an app for that.
In fact, there are numerous apps that can help you find a suitable charger, check its compatibility with your vehicle, tell you the availability and detail plus any costs involved. Each charging network has its own app that can guide you, while there are plenty of other options, like PlugShare or EVGo, that offer better support for multiple networks.
Alternatively, Google Maps has tools to help you search for nearby chargers, while your EV should have built-in features — often as part of the infotainment system — that can point your vehicle in the right direction. In some cases, if you use the built-in navigation system, the EV will automatically route you to a charging station if you’re likely to run out of power mid-trip.
Of course, what you find when you arrive at the location of the charger doesn’t always match that of the description you’ve been getting during the journey. When it works, using tech to find a suitable charger is one of the easiest ways to charge an EV. When it doesn’t, well, you could find you’re greeted by an incompatible charger though more likely it won’t work as expected. It might be in use or, annoyingly, blocked by another non-electric vehicle.
Worst of all though, it might not be working at all. That’s why EV ownership, or rental for that matter, involves a little more thought and, ideally, a plan of action. Short hops around town are no biggie as you should be able to find at least one location where you can top up as needed.
Longer journeys, or beefy road trips, require careful planning using an app and any available in-car tech so you do at least have a fallback charging option if the location of choice is out of commission.
Which chargers are best?
It’s not so much which charger is best, as much as what will be compatible with your EV. The best thing about charging connectors and their respective ports is that they only fit if they’re compatible with each other.
If you’re new to charging, or just in a state of minor panic due to a battery that’s nearly empty, it can be easy to overlook this point. However, a deep breath and quick examination of the connector head and port is all that’s needed to check one will mate happily with the other.
Assuming you’ve got that figured out, the next thing is the speed factor. Chargers are, generally speaking, getting faster and more efficient. However, there are factors that can slow things down, such as the electricity infrastructure where you’re charging along, the number of other vehicles being charged in close proximity, your current battery level and the car itself.
In fact, all sorts of dull, contributory factors can slow a charge. And, as if that isn’t bad enough, cold conditions will help to slow down any charge being added to your battery. Tedious, huh?
EV charging has an exciting future
If you’re already a fan of wireless charging your smartphone you’ll be glad to hear that you might be able to rejuice your EV in the not-too-distant future using the same technology.
This inductive charging process is still in its infancy though, with the likes of BMW and Genesis working on how best to make it a practical solution for EV owners. Not having any cables to plug in or charging ports to fathom sounds like a brilliant idea to us.
In the meantime, however, you’ll just need to familiarize yourself with your EV’s port and charging compatibility, plug in and put up with the time you’ll need to pass while the thing recharges.
In many cases, electric vehicle chargers are getting higher powered and faster as a result, although this depends on many factors such as the location, the infrastructure of the area you’re in and, of course, the vehicle’s ability to accept the right amount of charge.
Things are getting better and EV chargers are becoming more commonplace, but we’re a long way off gas station convenience levels yet. At least some of the better EV charging locations are situated in places you want to be, such as the parking lot of your local shopping mall, so you can go and enjoy some retail therapy or grab a bite to eat while you wait for the battery to be rejuvenated.
Alternatively, investigate the home charging options available where you live. There are plenty of domestic EV charging solutions, but these are only as good as the power source you have available in your locality. You may well be able to install a Level 2 home charger without too much hassle, but you’ll want to consult an electrical expert to ensure that’s going to be possible.
Unlike filling up with good old gasoline, the situation is not quite as black and white as it could be. But charging at home does mean you won’t spend a small fortune over time on needless tat, unwanted purchases and fast food while you wait for a public charger to get the job done.
Then there’s the whole issue of how much charging will cost you, which is another thing altogether. Most likely your home energy plan will charge you less on a kWh by kWh basis than a charging station, but it pays to double check.
The quick and easy route to take on this front brings us back to the humble app. Pick the right one and should be updated dynamically. That should allow you a quick reference check on how your next charge is gonna look when it comes time to pay the bills.
Sponsored by GET Electric, this is a guide to charging your electric vehicle at home or on the road – including an explainer on plug types and charging levels
One of the challenges for buyers considering an electric car is the breaking of old habits.
For most people, adding driving range to your vehicle has been as simple as visiting a fuel station for a quick refill and getting back on the road within minutes.
If you’re transitioning to an electric vehicle, it’s going to take time to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of topping up your car. Charging is still slower than pouring liquid fuel into the tank, but it’s improving over time.
While charging an electric vehicle is simple, there are several ways to do it that involve different charging times and costs.
One of the first things you’ll hear about when it comes to plugging in an EV is the different levels of charging. This can be broken down into three categories – Levels 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1: AC trickle charging
This is the most basic home or destination charging option, where you plug the car into a standard 240V AC (alternating current) socket.
While convenient, this is the slowest method, offering only about 2.0kW of power through a normal 10A socket. This means it can take from four to 50 hours to charge your car, depending on the battery size.
How to work out Level 1 charging time for battery capacity
Calculating this is quite simple – just divide the battery capacity (kWh) by the charging rate to gain an approximate time. For a Level 1 charger, this rate is typically 2.0kW. For example:
- The new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a 20kWh battery. divide that by two and you get about ten hours.
- The Tesla Model 3’s 57.5kWh usable battery takes about 29 hours.
- The Mercedes EQC 400’s 80kWh usable battery will take about 40 hours.
There’s also a more accurate formula: divide the battery capacity (kWh) by the charging power speed (kW).
Of course, these times will be less if the battery is already partially charged – a 50 per cent charge will require half the time, which is why it’s a good idea to top up whenever possible.
How to work out EV charging times for distance
If you want to know how long you’ll need to charge your car to travel a certain distance, the charging power in kW is the same value as the kilometres you’ll get from 10 minutes of charging.
For example, if you are using a 2.0kW Level 1 charger you will get around two kilometres for every 10 minutes of charging.
Level 2. AC fast charging
While Level 1 charging will usually be convenient for plug-in-hybrids that can be fully topped up overnight, you might need something faster for a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) with a much bigger battery – if you need to utilise the full driving range capabilities every day (200 to 700km depending on model).
The good news
- There’s a quicker home option by installing a Level 2 (wall-box) charger, which increases the single-phase charging power to 7.2kW.
A Level 2 unit brings charging times down considerably, with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gaining a full charge from empty in 6.5 hours, and the Tesla Model 3 and Mercedes-Benz EQC at around 8 and 11 hours respectively.
And you’ll get a 7.2km travel range for every 10 minutes, meaning about 43km after an hour’s charging – which is enough for the average Aussie commute.
A 7.2kW Level 2 charging unit works off standard 240V single-phase wiring with the wall-box costing around 1000 to 1500 dollars plus installation, which is pretty good value considering what you pay for a full set of tyres or new car options such as a sunroof.
Level 2 charging can also increase to 11kW or up to 22kW capacity if you have 415V three-phase power available.
Since most EVs are limited to charging a maximum of 11kW AC only (via the ‘onboard charger’ inverter), you can get 11km for every 10 minutes of charging, so an hour on the plug will yield about 66km of range. A limited number of models are capable of 22kW, such as the BMW iX1 as standard, and available on the Mercedes-Benz EQE and Porsche Taycan.
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You’ll also find many public charging points are Level 2 (7.2kW, 11kW or 22kW), so be sure you know what capacity they are before you drive to them if time is important.
They may also require your own Type 2 to Type 2 (Mode 3) portable charging cable, which is usually a separate accessory purchase for around 200 to 500.
It’s worth noting that most PHEV models, because of their smaller battery capacity and battery management systems, will only charge at a maximum rate of 3.6kW or 7.6kW even when using a 22kW AC charger.
GET Electric has also opened its own hub of 22kW chargers in Port Melbourne, giving nearby EV owners an option for a top-up – particularly those living in the area’s high-density apartment towers.
Level 3. DC Rapid charging
Charging capacity ranges from 50kW on a Rapid charger up to 350kW on an ultra-Rapid unit.
These are the public DC chargers (480V/direct current), including Tesla Superchargers, that are crucial in making EVs viable for driving long distances with little downtime for charging.
It’s worth noting that lower-capacity EVs, such as plug-in hybrids and the Nissan Leaf, MG ZS EV and Lexus UX300e can use 350kW chargers, but will still only charge at a rate of about 50kW. Similarly, the BYD Atto 3, MG ZS EV, and GWM Ora are limited to between 60 to 90kW DC.
Higher-capacity models such as the standard range Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y RWD and Mercedes-Benz EQA, have a maximum charging capacity of around 100 to 150kW – which brings more than 100km every 10 minutes.
New-generation 800V architectures allow even faster charging, with models like the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-Tron GT, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 capable – in the right circumstances – of charging from 10 to 80 per cent in under 30 minutes.
Most PHEV models can only connect to AC chargers, but the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV, Outlander PHEV, Mercedes-Benz A-Class PHEV (optionally), and Range Rover PHEV line-up can charge via either AC and DC power.
⏱️ 0-80 per cent charge time
You may have noticed carmakers often provide a DC charging time based on a battery being charged up to 80 per cent instead of 100 per cent.
This is because the internal resistance of a battery rises as the state of charge increases. In other words, the more the battery is charged the slower and less efficient it is to keep charging it. Charging past 80 per cent also isn’t healthy for typical lithium-ion batteries.
As a result, charging is quickest when the battery is flat. After an initial burst, the charger settles into a constant rate until the battery reaches about 80 per cent full.
After that, the charging slows again – partly due to the decreased efficiency and to prevent the battery from being damaged by overheating or overcharging.
The time it takes to charge between 80 and 100 per cent can vary based on a number of factors, such as battery heat. This is why carmakers can calculate how quickly the battery will reach 80 per cent, but can’t provide a definitive time for a full charge.
EV charging plugs and sockets
As we’ve seen with mobile phones, there are different kinds of EV plugs and sockets, which threatened to make the rolling out of charging networks quite complicated.
The good news for Australian drivers is there is now a standard for AC charging; but it’s a different matter when it comes to DC Rapid charging.
1️⃣ Type 1 AC
Also referred to as J1772 or SAE J1772, this is the standard AC-plug in North America and Japan, and is found in Australia on pre-2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs, first-generation Nissan Leafs, and older BMW i3s.
It has a five-pin design. The two small pins connect data between the car and charger to determine the maximum current available to the vehicle – which prevents the car from moving while still connected.
The three larger pins are for the 110/240V AC power connection, including the earth. Because there are few public chargers with Type 1 plugs, a Type 2 adapter accessory is available to purchase.
2️⃣ Type 2 AC
Also referred to as the IEC 62196 or Mennekes plug, this is the standard port in Australia and Europe for AC charging and is used by all car manufacturers selling a new EV here today.
The Type 2 plug has a seven-pin design, with five power pins to support three-phase charging.
While older Tesla Model S and Model X EVs sold here use a Type 2 plug, it has modified the connector with a notch at the top to ensure only they can access the Tesla Supercharging network (although trials are underway to open it up to all EV models).
All plug-in hybrid models in Australia are equipped with Type 2 charging ports. EVs with CCS2 sockets (see below) can accept Type 2 plugs.
AUSTRALIAN STANDARD: CCS2
Short for Combined Charging System, CCS can be used for AC and DC chargers.
This is the most common charging port type in Australia, as nearly all models sold here adopt this standard and all DC fast chargers have a CCS2 connector.
CCS2 extends the bottom of Type 2 with two pins in order to DC fast-charge.
This is an abbreviation for Charge de Move, which is French for ‘move using charge’. It is a rare DC port standard found in most Japanese-built EVs and PHEVs, such as the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV and Lexus UX300e. However, the latest Nissan Ariya EV has shifted to CCS2 and older Tesla models can use a CHAdeMO via an adapter.
Public charging stations in Australia still mostly offer a CHAdeMO cable since any that are co-founded by the Federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) need to follow guidelines set by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) back in 2017. But, some other fast charging providers have emerged only offering CCS2 plugs.
Most vehicles with CHAdeMO sockets also come equipped with the standard Type 2 socket for AC charging.
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Your guide to EV charging
A standard home charging station, whether it is a Level 1 (120 V) station or a Level 2 (240 V) station, will provide pass through AC power to the vehicle for charging. The vehicle will convert this AC power to DC power and utilize the DC power to recharge its batteries. The actual battery charger is on-board the vehicle. EV charging stations essentially act as electrical safety equipment that, first and foremost, ensure safety for the user, then the vehicle, and then the power grid. A charging station implements several layers of redundant safety features to protect the user from potential electrical hazards while connecting and disconnecting the station to the vehicle for charging. Once connected to the vehicle the EV charging station will inform the vehicle that power is available and at what level. From that point the vehicle takes over to initiate and take full control of the power transfer, unless an electrical fault occurs, in which case the station will stop the power transfer immediately.
How do I choose the right EV charger for my EV?
Enphase has created an EV charger selector tool to make it easy for you to find the right EV charger for your EV. The tool will recommend a charger based on your EV make and model. Additionally, you can learn about calculating battery charging times and power acceptance rates.
What’s the difference between a Level 1 and Level 2 EV charger?
There are two “levels” of chargers (Level 1 and Level 2) used for home EV charging. They deliver different charging speeds for charging your EV at home. Level 1 chargers are very slow, while Level 2 chargers offer faster charging.
Typically, EVs come with a Level 1 or “trickle” charging station in the trunk of the car for portability. The Level 1 charging station plugs into any standard 120 V household outlet to charge your EV. This delivers a very slow charge and typically provides about 4-5 miles of range per hour of charge. For some drivers this is enough.
Many EV drivers want the option to charge their EV at a faster rate. Level 2, or 240 V, charging stations offer higher speed charging. Level 2 chargers require a dedicated 240 V line to the charging station, and there are various power levels (and, hence, charging speeds) available from Level 2 charging stations. A Level 2 charging station can provide between 16 to 60 miles of range per hour of charge, depending on the vehicle that is being charged and the charging station being used.
To learn more about calculating charging times and EV charge acceptance rates, read our EV charging time article.
What’s the difference between a hardwired EV charger and a plug-in version?
Some Enphase EV Chargers are designed for hardwired installation and others for plug-in installation. The hardwired EV chargers include service wires which are routed through a three-foot flexible conduit with an additional six inches of wire extensions for easy installation into a junction box. With a hardwired EV charger the installation is more permanent, the EV charger can still be moved, but you would need an electrician to uninstall the EV charger and then reinstall it at your new location. Hardwire Enphase EV Chargers are rated for indoor or outdoor installation.
With a plug-in EV charger, it will come with a high-quality, over-molded 240 V plug attached instead of the flexible conduit included with a hardwired charger. The plug length is 12 inches, the longest length allowed per National Electric Code, and this includes the plug itself in the measurement.
Additionally, we offer two different types of 240 V plugs—NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 6-50—with our charging stations. For a plug-in installation, the electrician should verify the wiring and upstream circuit breaker are adequate to deliver the EV charger power rating. The electrician should also ensure the receptacle supplied with the product is installed with the EV charger. This delivers the safest installation for a plug-in charger.
Always use a qualified electrician when installing EV chargers and supporting equipment. To find a local qualified installer, visit our EV charger installer locator.
How do I determine which EV charger will charge my car the fastest?
Three key elements determine how fast an EV battery will charge:
- Battery size and storage, which differs by EV
- Power acceptance rate, which differs by EV
- EV charging station maximum power delivery rating, which varies by EV Charger
To determine how fast an EV charger will charge a given EV, here are the basic rules to consider:
- If the charging station offers less power than the vehicle’s maximum acceptance rate, the charging station would be the limiting factor in determining the charge time.
- If the vehicle’s acceptance rate is lower than the charging station’s maximum output rate, then the vehicle will be the limiting factor.
- To determine your estimated total charge time, you would take your vehicle battery pack rating and divide it by whichever number is lower, the vehicle’s acceptance rate, or the station’s output rate.
Most vehicles will provide this information through the dashboard interface once you plug into a charging station. You can also get more details about calculating battery charging times and power acceptance rates in our EV charging time article.
Our EV charger selector tool makes it easy to find the right EV charger for your EV make and model.
Are there any rebates or incentives for buying an EV charger?
There are many programs around the country that provide incentives for installing a Level 2 EV charger. Here are the federal, state, utility, and private incentives that we know about: EV charger rebates and incentives by state.
We recommend you contact your local utility or check the US Department of Energy Laws and Incentives website for any other incentives that may be available for installing a Level 2 EV charger.
Do I need an electrician to install an EV charger?
We recommended that you have a qualified electrician install your EV charger because there are certain electrical requirements for the product itself, wiring size requirements, and local electrical codes that an electrician will have knowledge of, which ensures that the charging station will be installed properly and safely.
A qualified electrician can also assess the home’s current electrical infrastructure and advise you if there’s any additional work necessary (for example, an electrical panel upgrade in an older home). Most homes will have capacity available, and the work will merely be wiring the station to a dedicated circuit in the case of a hardwired charger or installing an appropriate and safe receptacle/outlet in the case of a plug-in charger. To find a local qualified installer, visit our EV charger installer locator.
Can I install an EV charger outdoors?
Yes. For outdoor installations we recommend installing a hardwired 240 V EV charger. All Enphase EV Chargers have a fully sealed NEMA 4 enclosure that provides superior protection to the components inside the charger from outdoor elements.
We recommend a hardwired EV charger for an outdoor installation as it provides better weather protection for the connection to power. If you install a plug-in EV charger outdoors, we recommend installing a watertight cover over the plug and outlet combination.
We also recommend checking with a licensed electrician to ensure installing a 240 V plug-in EV charger outdoors meets your local codes. There was a change in the National Electric Code requirements at the beginning of 2017 that allowed plug-in 240 V EV chargers to be installed outdoors, however sometimes local codes can vary.
To find a local qualified installer, visit our EV charger installer locator.
Can I charge my EV when it’s raining or snowing outside?
Yes, the charging head on Enphase EV Chargers are designed to drain water and the inlet on your vehicle is designed to drain water as well. Once the charging head is connected into your vehicle’s inlet, a water-tight seal will be formed.
What is the difference between UL and ETL ratings and why is it important?
These two listings are predominantly about user safety and product quality. UL and ETL are both considered Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL). NRTLs provide independent safety and quality certifications for electrical appliances. UL develops the testing standards and tests to them, ETL tests to UL standards.
Products with UL or ETL listings are recognized as safer than units without these listings. Make sure the logos of one of these testing laboratories are shown directly on the product you purchase to ensure its safety.
An inspector sign-off on a permitted installation in line with the National Electric Code requires that the EV charger be NRTL listed (in the US that is either with ETL or UL). Enphase uses both laboratories.
Will using an EV charger with a higher output current rating than my EV can accept damage my vehicle?
No, using a higher amperage EV charger will pose no harm to the vehicle. EV chargers are a pass-through, electrical safety appliance. The EV is in complete control of the charge and will only take the power it can accept and no more. The actual charging takes place on the vehicle. Our units will supply AC power to the vehicle and the vehicles onboard charger will convert the AC power to DC power and charge the vehicle’s batteries.
For example, a Chevy Volt can take in 3.3 kW for charging and the HCS-40 EV charger can deliver up to 7.7 kW. When an HCS-40 EV charger is plugged into the Volt the station will “tell” the Volt how much power is available through the charger’s communication system. From that point the vehicle will take over, activate the charger and accept the power it wants, up to the limit established by the EV Charger.
Some of our customers purchase EV chargers that offer a higher power level than their current vehicle can accept, which allows them to future proof their installation in anticipation of purchasing a vehicle that could accept more power.
How much energy does an EV charger use when it’s not charging an EV?
Enphase products consume very minimal power when not in use. We call this “standby power,” and the draw on the HCS EV charger for standby power is approximately two watts. For comparison, leaving an HCS-40 EV charger powered up for about 50 days would use the same amount of power as leaving on a 100 watt light bulb for 24 hours (a very small amount).
Enphase EV Chargers do not come with a power switch because the standby power consumption is so low, and a switch could be forgotten, or accidentally not turned on, resulting in your EV not receiving its charge.
How do I know Enphase EV Chargers will work with my EV?
Enphase EV Chargers work with virtually every EV sold in North America. The industry standard connector in North America is SAE J1772. Commonly referred to as a “J-plug.” All Enphase EV Chargers come with this type of connector and can be used with any electric vehicle. While Tesla uses its own proprietary connection interface, they provide a connection adaptor which can also be used with Enphase EV Chargers.
Will an EV charger work with my EV’s onboard timer?
Yes, our EV chargers provide pass-through electricity and will not supply power to the EV unless the vehicle is requesting a charge. The vehicle is in complete control of the charge and if a timer is set within the vehicle the EV charger, even if plugged into the car, will not supply power to the vehicle until the vehicle requests a charge at the scheduled time.
Note: Our HCS products do not currently work with the charging timers of the Nissan Leaf 2023 and Mercedes-Benz EQS 2022-2023.
How do I find public EV charging stations?
You can visit websites such as PlugShare or Google Maps which allow you to search by address, city, or zip code to find stations in your area. Google Maps and PlugShare both show charging stations along with other helpful information from their respective community of users. The services are also available as apps that you can download to your smartphone for a convenient way to search for stations when you are on the go.