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The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to EV Charging Cables

Electric cars are great and, with ever-increasing technological advances, are beginning more and more to provide for our motoring solutions. The days of limited use are long gone. Yet it is still a big step to take the plunge from the fossil-fuelled world we know into the brave new world of clean energy. Because various standards can make buying the right ev charging cable a tad confusing. The experts at EV King have created a comprehensive guide, explaining which is the most suitable cable for you:

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What is the max charge speed of your car?

To make sure we find your perfect cable, we need to know what is the maxium capcity your car is capable of charging at:

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What do you want to plug your ev charging cable into?

There are two types of charging cables, they either fit into a charging station or wall socket. If you dont have access to charging station we would recommend a 3 pin charger. If you have access to a charging station this is a much faster way to charge your electric car.

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How long to the cable need to be?

How long does the cable need to be to reach both the UK wall socket and the car?

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Do you have a type 1 or type 2 car?

So we know one side goes into a wall socket, but there are two types of car connectors. Type 1 and Type 2. Choose the connector thats on your car below:

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Different Types of EV Charging Cables

There are 3 categories of charging speeds. These are slow, fast, and rapid. Slow charging can on average take 6-12 hours on power output of about 3kW. Fast charging can take up to 4 hours to fully charge on 7kW-22kW. Rapid charging can take up to an hour for a full charge from a power output of 50kW-120kW. You can also have alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) charging. DC units are predominantly tethered so you do not have to worry about the charge point socket.

Connectors will depend on the type of charger in use and the vehicle inlet port. Here we will look at the different connectors used in charging and speeds you can expect. We will discuss from the slowest to fastest charging cables.

1. 3-Pin

3 Pin Charging Cable
3 Pin Charging Cable

Also known as Mode 1 or portable ev charging cables, these cables are similar to what you see with large appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. The 3-pin connector plug can be inserted into a domestic plug while the other end is the vehicle plug. As shown on the EV Power website these cables have connectors that often comes standard from the car manufacturer. You can purchase this charging cable in two different types:

It will typically have a control box somewhere along its length that facilitates communication between the car and the charging point. This cable provides slow charging with a power output of 3kW AC with an approximate range of 8 miles per hour of charging. Because of this poor charging rate, EV owners are advised to invest in dedicated EV charging points capable of delivering fast charging at home.

2. Type 1

Type 1 US and Japan - J1772
Type 1 US and Japan – J1772

Type 1 plugs are single-phase and allow for fast charging at a power output level of 3.7kW-7.4kW AC and a range per hour of approximately 12.5-25 miles. The design features 5-pins. This plug is mostly used with car models found in parts of Asia, and less so in Europe. It may be difficult to find Type 1 chargers and charging stations in the UK.

 

 

 

3. Type 2

Type 2 (Mennekes)
Type 2 (Mennekes)

This is a 7-pin plug design that is the standard for the European market. It offers fast charging capability with a power output level of 3.7kW-7kW AC. This provides an approximate range per hour of charging of 12.5-25 miles. One exception to this standard is Tesla Superchargers. They provide DC on Type 2 connectors. The output level is 130kW with a range per hour of 180 miles.

These connectors have an inbuilt locking mechanism that ensures you can safely and reliably use them at charging stations without worry. The strong output is facilitated by three-phase power, making it possible to have such chargers professionally installed at home. Most charging stations support Type 2 sockets.

 

4. Industrial Commando (IEC 60309)

These are AC connectors often used with MK commando sockets in Europe. The plugs are popular in high power charging of industrial vehicles thanks to their capacity to channel high voltage and amperage. They are also great for outdoor use as they withstand exposure to water, dirt and dust well.

5. CCS (Combined Charging System or ‘Combo’)

CCS Type 2
CCS Type 2

This is a modified and enhanced version of the Type 2 plug. It adds two extra power contact points that facilitate rapid charging. These chargers support both AC and DC charging with a power output level ranging from 50kW-350kW. The standard is 50kW, with higher output levels still being tested.

 

 

 

6. CHAdeMO

CHAdeMO - Charging Connector
CHAdeMO – Charging Connector

These cables and plugs offer quick charging with a capacity of up to 50kW DC with an approximate range per 30 minutes of charging of 75 miles. They are typically available at public charging stations. It is compatible with a variety of vehicle brands including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. Tesla Superchargers can also use this charging system but will require a modified Type 2 Mennekes plug.  Though developed in Japan, this connector type is very common across the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type 1 and Type 2 EV Charging Cables: What’s the difference?

Electric Vehicles and Plugin Hybrid (PHEV) cars are equipped with an inbuilt charger through which they can easily charge the vehicles from the normal main supply. Some vehicles however will require an additional charging cable that will allow the owners to charge their cars away from home.

All charging cables are not the same, they’ll either have a Type 1 or Type 2 plug on one end that largely depends upon the charging standards of the electric vehicle and the hybrid car.

Difference between Type 1 & Type 2 Charging Cables:

Differences between the two variants of EV charging cables are as follows:

  • Type 1 inlet is the Asian, Japanese, and American standard of charging cables whereas, in Europe, the Type 2 inlet is the standard.
  • To keep the plugin in place and to prevent it from falling out of the socket, the Type 1 plug comes with a latch, whereas Type 2 plugs don’t have a latch.
  • Vehicles that support the Type 2 plug have a locking pin that locates and secures the plug in place and prevents it from falling out. This way only car owners will be able to unplug the charging cable from the car end. Whereas vehicles that support Type 1 plug don’t come with a lock pin and therefore anyone will be able to unplug the charging cable from the car.
  • Both Type 1 and Type 2 plugs contain pins that carry power and safe ground.
  • Type 2 cables have resistors that communicate with the car and tell it that the cable is plugged in and to keep charging whilst other resistor functions are maintaining the uniform supply of power as it detects the strength of the cable and derives power accordingly. Whereas the resistors in the Type 1 cable detect whether the cable is plugged in the car or not and decide to turn off the charger in case the lever is pressed to unlatch the plug.
  • Type 1 is a single-phase charging cable whereas Type 2 charging cable allows both single-phase and 3-phase main power to be connected to the vehicle.

Which car manufacturers use which type?

Electric vehicles that are currently available in the market are fitted with two different types of sockets for the charging cables, and before purchasing the charging cable, the biggest thing to consider is the make and model of the vehicle:

Type 1 EV charging connector:

Type 2 EV Charging CableThe following vehicles use Type 1 as standard:

Citroen C-Zero, Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Kia Soul EV, Nissan Leaf 2012 – 2017, Peugeot, Renault Zoe, Toyota Prius, Vauxhall.

For home and public charging, you will only need either a 16amp or 32amp cable, as a type 1 charging cable does not come with the 3 phase options. Similar to the Type 2, a 16amp charging cable will charge your electric car at 3.6kw and a 32amp cable will charge your car at 7.2kw. So it’s well worth double-checking the maximum output speed of your wall box and the maximum speed your car can charge. If you need any help feel free to reach out to the experts at EV King.

 

Type 2 EV charging connector:

Type 2 EV Charging Cable
Audi Etron, BMW i3, Hyundai, Jaguar, KIA, Ranger Rover, Renault, Mercedes Benz EQC, Mini Countryman, Nissan Leaf 2018, Porsche, Smart, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo XC T8.Type 2 charging cables are suitable for the following cars:

We would recommend double-checking with your current charging connector and see if it matches the description and imagery. Other factors to consider while purchasing the EV cable include the charging capacity and length of the cable.

Car owners who have high-capacity plug-in electric vehicles should pick a 3×32 amp cable that will not limit the charging capacity of their vehicle. Type 2 charging cables are ideal for high-capacity plug-in vehicles. Similarly, a longer charging cable should be picked for cars that have charging ports located on one side of their body so that they’ll easily reach the charging socket.

 

Single Phase or Three Phase EV Charging Cable – What’s the Difference?

Electric vehicles do not need their owners to be professional electricians; yet a basic understanding of the features, how automotive electricity works, for example, the plugs, sockets, cables and chargers are pretty much essential in the same way that the diligent owner reads up on basic mechanics for fossil-fuel cars. In short, an owner needs to know the key details about the charging speed and how the charging device, charging cable, size, and model of the EV will affect the speed.

Difference between Single-phase and Three-Phase Electric Power:

Standard home power sockets in residential buildings, provide single-phase power whereas normal charging devices (which are also referred as slow charging devices) and commercial buildings supply three-phase alternating current to the electric vehicle.

The three-phase circuit differs from the standard single phase with the help of two additional wires, L2 & L3. It supplies power to the electric vehicle and thus the car will charge three times faster than the normal single-phase charging speed.

Charging cables are also optimized to facilitate single-phase and three-phase charging. Fully auto-switching charging cables are widely available in the market place. These premium cables allow the owner to use 3-phase cables on single-phase charging points or single-phase cars, conversely single-phase cables are perfectly safe to be used on 2-phase commercial charge points.

Alternating Current and Direct Current:

The batteries of electric vehicles require Direct Current (DC) to charge, but a standard charging device or regular power socket supply delivers Alternating Current (AC) to the EV, therefore the built-in charger of the vehicle converts that AC to DC. To simplify the explanation, note that the electricity flows from the power socket to the in-built EV charger and there the Alternating Current is converted into Direct Current (which suits the battery) and the battery charges safely.

Fast charging devices work by supplying Direct Current straight to the battery, and therefore this conversion will not have to occur and will as a consequence charge up swiftly.

Features of Single-Phase and Three-Phase Charging Cables.

With standard charging, whereby the EV will be plugged into a single-phase AC socket, the charging cable will have a three-pin BS1363 plug as commonly used in households. This results in the charging cable only providing a power output of around 3kW. A standard 24kW EV battery will thus require approximately 8 – 12 hours to get from fully-depleted status to fully-charged level.

Single Phase or Three Phase EV Charging CablePower output from the tethered plug or charge point socket is typically 22kW or 7kW at 32 amps single-phase AC. At home, a fast charger might conveniently be mounted on the garage wall with a plug that’s compatible with the EV, such as tethered J1772 plug, Type 2 plug or Type 2 socket. With the power output of 3.6kW or 7kW, they’ll fully charge a depleted battery within 4 – 6 hours.

In a commercial setting, like a workplace or in street locations, the charging units typically possess Type 2 seven-pin sockets and the power outputs they provide are 3.6kW, 7kW, 11kW, or 22kW at 16 or 32 Amp single or three-phase radial AC circuit. The EV charging cable that will be appropriate to use with the fast charging unit will have a Type 2 plug or J1772 plug on the vehicle end. The average charging time with the workplace fast charging units will be 1 – 4 hours depending upon the efficiency of the AC to DC converter.

Electricity Costs for Charging:

Electricity consumption and costs of charging depend upon the driving habits of the EV car owner and the amount of ancillary equipment used; air-conditioning for example. On average people drive 47 kilometers in a day and with a standard driving routine, it will cost around £35 per month to the driver. The more you charge, the more you’ll have to pay, regardless of the fact as to whether you charged from a domestic single-phase socket or the workplace’s three-phase fast-charging unit.

16 Amp or 32 Amp Charging Cable: What’s the difference?

As there are different chargers for different smartphones so similarly there are different charging cables and plug types for different electric vehicles. There are specific factors that matter when picking the right EV charging cable such as power and amps. The amperage rating is crucial for determining the charging time of the EV; the higher the Amps, the shorter will be the charging time.

Difference between 16 amp and 32 amp charging cables:

Standard power output levels of regular public charging stations are 3.6kW and 7.2kW which will correspond to the 16 Amp or 32 Amp supply. A 32 amp charging cable will be thicker and heavier than a 16 amp charging cable. It is important though the charging cable should be picked according to the type of the car because apart from the power supply and amperage other factors will include the charging time of the EV are; make and model of the car, size of the charger, battery’s capacity and size of the EV charging cable.

For instance, an electric vehicle whose onboard charger has the capacity of 3.6kW, will only accept current up to 16 Amp and even if a 32 Amp charging cable is used and plugged into a 7.2kW charging point, the charging rate won’t be increased; neither it will reduce the charging time. A 3.6kW charger will take almost 7 hours to get fully charged with a 16 Amp charging cable.

As mentioned above, regular household plugs in the UK provide up to 13 Amp and it will take more than 8 hours to completely charge an electric vehicle through them. Whereas most commercial and workplace charging units provide fast 7kW-22kW chargers with 32 amp current.

Vehicles that have a large battery pack, such as either a 40kw and 6.6kW onboard charger, a 32 amp EV charging cable should be used for charging them and they’ll be charged within four hours if plugged in a 7.2kW charge point.

The cost difference in 16 Amp and 32 Amp EV charging cables:

32 Amp charging cables will cost you more than double the price of 16 Amp EV charging cables, but then the advantages of 32 Amp cables will overshadow the price that you will have to pay one time on the charging cable.

The time these high amperage cables will save is worth a thousand dollars. On the other hand, some people prefer 16 Amp EV charging cables because they are lightweight and easy to handle as compared to thick 32 Amp Charging cables.

Which Charging cable suits your car?

The cable that is appropriate for the individual needs of an EV depends obviously on the model of the car and the strength of its inbuilt charger. Electric Vehicles like Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Chevrolet Spark EV have lower capacity in-built chargers and therefore they’ll only process 3.6kW/h regardless of the charging point’s power supply and it’s advised to purchase charging cable with 1×20 amp capacity for them. Whereas for high-capacity plug-in vehicles like Honda Fit EV, 32 amp charging cables are recommended because of their powerful battery charger.

With fossil-fuelled cars, we learn over time what is needed and what is not. It is the same with electric cars even if it takes time to get to grips with all the information. If in doubt, source the cable from a professional supplier.

 

AC Or DC: EV Charging Cables Explained

These days the world pretty much runs on electricity. For most people, it is a paid-for utility that comes out of the wall and runs our homes. You can’t see it and you must not touch it. That is pretty much the sum total of the modern understanding of electricity unless there are still people out there who can change a domestic three-pin wall plug on an appliance.

With the introduction of electric motive power, however, our cars today require greater knowledge from the owner as EV’s and hybrids motors begin to take hold in the car market. Knowledge about how an electric car charger is important especially when it comes to buying ancillary items like EV charging cables.

Most people understand that it pays to charge an electric vehicle at home, only using public charging stations when out and about or on longer journeys. When an electric car is charged, this basically is what happens:

So, should I buy a DC or AC charging cable?

In the UK our domestic supply is delivered to the wall as an alternating current (AC). Modern electronics we use routinely, like a laptop, require for their operation direct current (DC), so what’s needed is something that transforms the AC from a house socket into DC and it’s converted during the process of charging. DC is also used by the batteries in an electric car.

Therefore there’s a charger integrated into the vehicle, taking the AC and transforming it into DC, and then into the battery pack. (Tip: When selecting an EV, enquire about the power of the integrated charger because that governs charging speed). For most home charging time isn’t the greatest factor but a vehicle with a less powerful on-board charger won’t charge any quicker by using smart chargers and the like.

Direct DC charging is far less common but is available at DC charging stations. AC is converted to DC at the point of supply sending the current directly to the battery. As it bypasses the onboard equipment it makes charging that much faster, but it is more costly to install. These are rapid chargers.

Choosing the right EV Charging Cable:

Those vehicles with the capacity for regular fast charging need a cable that provides power from 7 kW to 22 kW, charging, on average, an EV in just a few hours. Fast EV charging cables will have either a tethered Type 1 or a Type 2 socket. Slower units up to 3 kW would be used essentially overnight taking six to twelve hours for a fully electric car, or perhaps two to four hours for a hybrid vehicle. This will utilize a cable that connects the vehicle to a 3-pin (usually the one that comes with the car) or, for preference, a Type 2 cable purchased as an after-market item, which is safer long-term than the standard plug.

Charging can be even faster via the use of rapid chargers. AC chargers will be rated around 43 kW but better still most rapid DC stations will go to 50 kW. Either way, depending upon battery capacity, both will provide an 80% charge in about an hour. Tesla cars, for example, charging at the brand’s own charging stations, are rapid DC units that can charge at a very fast 120 kW. For these the vehicle needs a CCS (combined charging system; one that supports both power supplies), CHAdeMO, or Tesla Type 2 cable. EV models that use CHAdeMO rapid charging (this is simply an abbreviation of “CHArge de Move”. Our equivalent would be “charge ‘n’ go”, a reference that it’s a fast charger.) include the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, for example, and the BMW i3 uses CCS.

This is why, to the layman, or the driver used to the old ways of fossil-fuel cars, need to broaden their knowledge of EV charging requirements. The brand dealer or the vehicle’s handbook should provide all the information needed but for absolute peace of mind and to ensure the car has the absolutely correct cable for the job, then consult the experts in electric car charging cable supply.

 

Tethered or Untethered: Which is right for me?

Tethered or Untethered: Which is right for me?
Tethered or Untethered: Which is right for me?

In simple terms, you are advised to buy a tethered ev cable if you are looking to permanently connect your cable to a charging station. This brings a couple of disadvantages, imagine in 5 years’ time when the vast majority of households will have a charging station, you will not be able to carry your cable round to your friend’s house to charge your vehicle nor will you be able to connect your vehicle to a public charging station as it requires an OLEV Approved Installers to connect the cable to a charging station.

Another disadvantage to this cable is, if your partner or someone you live with also has an electric vehicle, they will not be able to charge their car at the optimum rate unless their vehicle has the same charging connection and amps. Here at EV King, we would advise if you are looking to buy a tethered ev cable buy one that can carry the maximum charge (32amp). This means that if you upgrade your vehicle or your partner has an electric car, they can always charge their vehicle at the maximum rate.

Although they do have a couple of downsides, they also have some advantages! As you might be aware ev charging cables are often stolen, a tethered ev cable has a permanent connection which makes it much more difficult. There is also no risk of misplacing your charging cable as it is fixed to your charging station but in the same breath, there is often another reason why people need a new charging cable. As people are so used to diesel and petrol cars, electric car owners often forget that car is connected to the charge point and drives off, using a tethered solution means that this will cause more damage as both the cable and the charging station will both of been damaged.

The bottom line is, it’s totally dependant on the ev charging station you have. If your charging station requires a tethered cable then it is the correct decision to get one but our opinion is that we would always advise people to purchase a charging station that has a connection point. This will give you a lot more flexibility moving forward.

 

What size EV charging cable should I buy?

Choosing the size of your EV charging cable purely comes down to your situation. If you need a cable to stretch around your house to reach your drive, you might require a longer cable (I.e 15m or 20m charging cable). If there is only a short distance between your ev charging station and your car, you might only require a short charging cable (3m or 5m charging cable). If you are using the charging cable in public it might be wise to choose a longer cable, this way you won’t get stuck in a situation where your ev charging cable won’t reach the car you are trying to charge. The more popular electric cars become, you might need to stretch your cable across 3/4 parking spaces, so this might be worth considering before you purchase an ev charging cable. 

Here at EV King, delivery is free for all items so this shouldn’t affect your decision. One consideration is that a longer charging cable is more expensive, but that is purely down to the additional materials that are in the cabling, more expenditure on materials and manufacturing the higher the cost. 

One thing that is often overseen is that a 20m ev charging cable is quite heavy. They weigh around 12kg, and it can be awkward to carry or move. So, our recommendation is, if you don’t need the additional length there is no point in paying for it. If you purchase an ev cable from EV King, and it is not suitable we offer a full refund on all orders, so you can simply send it back. 

Using an extension cable for EV Charging

Buying an electric car can be one of the best automotive decisions a person can make. They are cheap to run, good to drive and mean no more standing in the rain at distant petrol stations filling up with fuel.

Things To Think About

All-electric cars come with a charging cable that plugs into a standard 13A socket. It’s fine to charge an EV this way but it is slow and less efficient. That’s why it is always recommended that a replacement charging cable is purchased; one that will do the job in a shorter time.

Additionally, and yes it is more expensive but is a solution that only has to be bought once, the fitment of a professionally installed home charging station in the garage or on the drive simply makes things easier. This also ensures the safety and faster charging times. Away from home, it is usual to top-up at a public charging point.

Extending The Cable

One aspect that has to be considered is that of proximity. With a public charging point, the car is parked adjacent; that’s straightforward. At home, the vehicle can be plugged in at the purpose fitted station. The problem is, not everyone has the luxury of a garage or a driveway. This presents a major hurdle because although charging cables are a useful length, they are not that long.

For some owners, the only solution is to use an extension cable to reach the nearest 13A socket. Now, an EV is not like a hand power-tool or an electric mower; it draws a lot of power and many domestic cable extensions are simply not up to the job to the point of being dangerous. Some manufacturers recommend that extension leads are not used to charge electric vehicles because most are not sufficiently large in core diameter to handle the relatively high-sustained 10-13A current required.

Safety First

If an extension cable is used it must be rated, at a bare minimum, for 13A continuous; this might be described as being heavy duty. The core of the cable must be at least 1.5mm in diameter. A normal domestic extension will be not up to scratch and will result in overheating, perhaps with catastrophic results. The cable should be unrolled fully, not left tight on the reel which leads to the issue that the longer the cable, the larger the diameter required to maintain the flow of electricity. In short, careful consideration must be given and professional support requested before giving any thought to the idea of using an extension cable at all.

Any cable used must be truly ‘heavy-duty’ in that the core must be able to sustain high loads and the whole thing should be properly tested, weather-proof and flexible. Owning an electric vehicle is great and electricity is available pretty much everywhere but not at any price and manufacturers’ guidelines should always be adhered to.

The solution of course is to purchase an extension cable made for the specific purpose of extending an EV charging cable and for no other reason. With appropriate adapters and extension cords it is possible to recharge an electric car at places that do not have electric car charging stations. It is essential though to fully understand the simple rules for safely using extension cords and adapter cables. Charge safely.

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EV Cable Shop Ltd trading as EV King Company Number: 11526951