How does an EV charger work?
Charging an EV is a straightforward action – using an EV connector, you plug your vehicle into a charge point, and power-up. The efficiency of the charge and amount of power you can obtain, will depend on the ability of your vehicle to accept high-powered charging, and the charge speed of the charge point you use.
So, what’s an EV connector? In order to charge, EVs have to be connected to a charge point via a cable. This cable has a ‘connector’ at either end – one to plug into the car inlet, and one to plug into the charger unit outlet. It’s worth noting at this point, that many public charging units do already have the connector tethered to the unit.
EV connectors are perhaps the most confusing part of electric charging – because there is no universal connector type…
The most common EV connector types are:
- UK 3-pin – AC – S13A / 2.3-3kW (Granny chargers)
- Type 1 – AC – 3-7kW
- Type 2 – AC – 3-43kW
- Commando – AC – 3-22kW
- European Combined Charging System (CCS) – DC – 50kW
- Japanese JEVS (CHAdeMO) – DC – 50kW
- Tesla Supercharger (Type 2) – DC – 50-120kW
The connector type accepted by the vehicle inlet varies from model to model, and when it comes to the charging unit outlet, it varies depending on the power rating.
When you’re deciding which electric vehicle to buy – to ensure you get the most efficient charge – you ideally want to pair your car’s connector type, with the type of charging station you will be using most regularly. We will come onto the types of charging stations available later on.
In the majority of cases though, you should always be able to charge your car while out and about, as most EVs come with 2 extra cables that enable you to charge via different charge point connectors – the charge may just be less efficient. But be aware of your model’s limitations!
The connectors required on some of the most popular EVs:
Vauxhall Corsa-e: these vehicles use the CCS charging standard, which consists of a combined AC and DC inlet port. For public slow and fast AC points, it can be charged with a Type 2 connector, and for rapid DC charging, a CCS connector.
Nissan LEAF: It accepts two connector types – Type 2 for slow and fast AC charging and CHAdeMO for rapid DC charging.
BMW i3: this model also has a combined AC and DC inlet port. Part of the inlet is for a Type 2 connector for slow and fast charging and the other is for a CSS connector, for rapid charging.