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EV Charging Cables IP ratings explained!

Installing an EV charging station can cost up to £1,000, so you want to ensure it lasts long. However, if your cable isn’t waterproof and dust-proof, its lifespan can significantly reduce, and you’ll need to service it frequently, resulting in high servicing and maintenance costs. Buying an IP-rated EV charging cable can solve this hurdle.

This EV cable IP rating guide comprises everything you need to know about IP rating for EV cables.

Rating Relates to the first number – SOLIDS Relates to the second number – LIQUIDS
IP44 Protected against solid objects over 1mm, e.g. wires & nails. Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted.
IP54 Protected against dust limited ingress, no harmful deposits. Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted.
IP56 Protected against dust limited ingress, no harmful deposits. Protected against strong jets of water, e.g. on ships deck, limited ingress permitted.
IP65 Totally protected against dust. Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions, limited ingress permitted.
IP66 Totally protected against dust. Protected against strong jets of water, e.g. on ships deck, limited ingress permitted.
IP67 Totally protected against dust. Fully submersible in water

A Brief Overview of IP Rating and Its Importance

If you’re looking for a quick overview of how IP rating works, here’s what it is all about.

If an EV charger (or any product) has an IP rating, it means it’s water- and dust-resistant. The higher the rating, the better the cable will endure dust and water. For example, IP67 is better than IP54 in terms of weather resistance.

When shopping for an EV cable, check the IP rating of the cable. If you charge your EV indoors, you can buy a charger with a low or no IP rating (IP54 or lower). However, if you charge your EV outside, be sure to get an EV charging cable with at least an IP66 rating.

 

How Does the IP Rating Affect EV Charging Cables?

When choosing an EV charging cable, most EV owners prioritise charging speed, length, and type. While these factors are essential, it’s essential to consider the environmental factors as well. Many times, EV users have to charge their cars in wet or dusty weather. Also, the UK gets a lot of rain, especially in the North West.

If your charging equipment isn’t waterproof and dust-proof, particles can seep in through the charger and damage it from the inside. Hence, EV chargers need to resist both dust and moisture, making IP rating important.

 

Why Does IP Rating Matter?

The number of electric vehicles on UK roads is increasing. There are over 260,000 electric cars in the country, and they are growing at an annual growth rate of 66%. This rise in EVs has increased the need for robust charging infrastructure.

Unlike traditional car refuelling at a fuel station, electric vehicles can be charged anywhere by connecting a charging cable to an electric grid. This allows installing charging stations not only at fuel stations but at workplaces, markets, hotels, and even homes.

However, people may not essentially use these chargers in a dry and clean environment. The spots where most charging stations are located are dusty. The IP rating ensures that the cables can withstand dust, water, and other weather.

Charging cables come in various ratings, from IP54 and lower to IP67. Which one is ideal for you? Let’s find out.

Internal Cables Don’t Need to be Waterproof

Cables are of two types – internal and external. Internal cables run inside the frame, and thus, they’re protected by the frame. Such cables don’t need to be waterproof, as the frame protects against dust and water. If you’re buying an internal cable, you can overlook the IP rating aspect and focus on other factors like length, material quality, warranty, etc.

Every External Charging Cable Needs Protection from Moisture

External charging cables are portable and multi-purpose. You can use them at your home charging station or a public charge grid. However, they don’t come with a protective frame like internal cables. These chargers also have vented openings to draw outside air for cooling purposes.

The air can also bring along dust particles in the charger. While most chargers come with dust filters, they aren’t long-lasting. If you rely on dust filters, you’ll need to change them regularly, which will increase your service costs. Here’s where IP-rated chargers come into the picture.

The next important thing to consider is which IP rating to choose. Many EV chargers in the market come with an IP54 rating. These chargers can withstand a low water volume and a few splashes, but they’re not dust resistant. Dust particles can easily enter the charger and increase your service costs.

You can use IP54 chargers if you charge your EV at home. If you prefer charging at a charge point, having an IP66-rated charger is essential. It protects against powerful water jets and minute dust particles.

 

If you want to delve deeper into IP rating and how it’s determined, here’s an in-depth explanation.

 

What does IP Rating Mean?

The Ingress Protection rating, or IP rating, determines how well a product resists moisture and dirt. The IP rating on any product comprises three components: the IP mark, the first digit, and the second digit. For instance, in the IP68 rating, “IP” is the IP mark, 6 is the first digit, and 8 is the second digit. The first digit denotes dust protection (in solids), and the second digit denotes water protection (in liquids).

You must have come across IP ratings for mobile phones. For instance, the iPhone 12 series has a rating of IP68. The same principle applies to EV charging cables.

Most Level 2 electric car chargers come with IP ratings of IP44 and IP54, which means the item is suitable for indoor use. Chargers with IP65 and IP66 ratings are ideal for outdoor use. Tritium launched the first IP65 charger—RT50—in 2013. Since then, many EV cable providers have been offering IP65-rated chargers.

How Is it Tested?

Expert engineers conduct IP testing in laboratories with specialised IP testing equipment, immersion tanks, and nozzles. The purpose is to test a product’s susceptibility to solid particle ingress (dust or sand) and liquid ingress (water).

Several IP testing methods exist, including:

  • IEC 60529 IP testing
  • NEMAA 250 and UL 50E Electrical Enclosure Rating Testing
  • DIN 40050-9 High-Pressure Jet Cleaning
  • ASTM D951 Water Resistance of Shipping Containers by Spray Method

These methods vary in terms of the test duration and minute pressure. Let’s avoid going into the technical aspects of these testing methods. You can learn more by following this link.

 

Is the Rating Connected to Cable Length?

No. The IP rating has no connection with the cable length. The rating depends on the material used as a protective layer to protect the cable from dust and water. Waterproof cables are built using jacket material or water blocking tape or filters to prevent water from entering the interior. Similarly, dust-proof cables come with frames that are impervious to dust.

Summary

IP protection is essential to protect charging cables from the harmful effect of water and dust. If you charge your EV outside, the IP rating is one of the vital aspects to consider when buying an EV charger. A charger that isn’t water- and dust-resistant will require frequent servicing and increase your costs.

Are you looking for IP55 and IP66 rated EV cables? Check out our chargers by cable type or car and add to basket.

 

FAQ

Are EV cables waterproof?

Yes, EV chargers are weatherproof and come with built-in water-resistant properties. However, drivers must consider the IP rating when buying waterproof cables. An IP54 cable only protects against water splashes, whereas an IP66+ cable protects against high water pressures and dust.

What cable is used for electric cars?

EV charging cables are always either type 1 or type 2. Type 1 cables support single-phase charging and are prevalent worldwide. Type 2 cables support single-phase and 3-phase main power charging mainly in the UK and other European regions.

What are EV charging cables made of?

EV cables have an electrical cord attached to plugs at each end. The cord has two components: conductors and insulators. Conductors are usually copper, though some manufacturers use aluminium. Insulators are inert plastic fillers. Some cables also come with cooling fluids running inside the cable.

What is CP and PP in EV chargers?

Every type-2 charger has one CP pin, one PP pin, and one PE pin. PP stands for Proximity Pilot and helps with pre-insertion signalling. CP stands for Control Pilot and enables post-insertion signalling. PE stands for Protective Earth and provides a current-protective earthing system.

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