Choosing the Best EV Charging Cable for Your Car

A guide offering advice on which cable you need and things to consider when buying a charging cable for your electric car.

Last updated: Sept 06, 2023 6 min read

Summary

You’ll need a charging cable to plug into most public chargepoints, and at home if you choose a charger without a tethered cable. This guide is to help you pick which charging cable you need.

  • Your plug-in vehicle will have either a type 1 or type 2 AC socket, so you'll need to make sure your charging cable has the equivalent connector.
  • Your charging cable will enable you to charge from untethered home chargers, workplace chargers and public charging points, the majority of which require you to bring your own cable*.
  • Rapid chargers (and a few public AC chargers) have “tethered” cables meaning you do not need to use an additional cable.
  • EV cables vary in length, current rating (usually 16A or 32A) and can carry single or three-phase electricity.

* Please be aware that smart charging cables and adapters aren't permitted on the Pod Point Network.

When will you need a separate charging cable?

You'll need to use a charging cable if you want to charge from a chargepoint (or socket) that doesn't have a cable attached. Typically, this will be the case when using AC chargepoints on public networks or home chargers that have universal sockets.

While you will generally get a lot of use out of a charging cable, in some situations it won’t be required because the chargepoint will already have a cable attached.

For example, you can choose to get a tethered chargepoint installed at home while rapid chargers, and a handful of public AC chargers, also have tethered cables attached.

Socket type Where to find When to use
3-pin plug
3-pin
Traditional domestic socket. Can do the job in an emergency - albeit slowly. But not best practice to use long term as they are not designed to handle charging loads for extended periods.
Type 2
Type 2 socket
Standard AC charging socket, found in public charging points and non-tethered home chargers. These sockets are perfect for the job of charging cars, use them as often as you can.

Find out more about the different socket and EV connector types.

Tip: Your car will almost certainly come with a charging cable. However, some only offer cables that work with domestic 3-pin plugs. We recommend you check with whoever you are buying/leasing your electric car from that a Type 2 charging cable will be provided.

If you don’t have one or want a spare, you can order one from Pod Point when purchasing a home charger.

How do I choose a charging cable?

EV charging cables connect to the chargepoint socket on one side and to the vehicle socket on the other side.

Ev Connector Type

If you need a charging cable, then you will want one with a Type 2 connector. The process for selecting a public cable goes as follows:

  1. Pick the right connector for your carCheck whether your car is Type 1 or Type 2 using our car guides. You will always want a universal Type 2 charger plug connector.
  2. Choose an appropriate length cable - We recommend 7.5m as a good compromise between ease of use and ease of storage, but you can get shorter cables (easier to store), or longer cables (offer more reach).
  3. Pick a suitable current rating for your car - You at least want one that matches your max AC charge rate (16A = ~3.6kW, 32A = ~7kW for single phase), but getting a higher rated cable means you would be able to charge another car at the higher rate, so may be more future proofed.

Tip: For public chargers to remain safe and in service, it's important to only use approved charging equipment. Adapters and "smart cables" currently on the market shouldn't be used for public charging as they pose a safety hazard and could damage the chargepoints.

A white EV plugged in to a Pod Point twin charger at a Tesco Extra car park
Charging on the go

Choosing a charging cable examples

Car Car-side connector Cable length requirement Max car current rating Single/three-phase? Cable choice
2018 Jaguar I-PACE
Type 2 Long 32A Three-phase - Type2-Type2
- 7.5m
- 32A
- 22kW*
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Type 1 Normal 16A Single-phase - Type1-Type2
- 5m
- 16A*
- 3.6kW*
2015 Nissan LEAF Type 1
Very long

32A

Single-phase - Type1-Type2
- 10m
- 32A
- 7kW
2019 MG ZS EV Type 2
Normal

32A

Single-phase - Type2-Type2
- 5m
- 32A
- 7kW

* Though the Mitsubishi Outlander can only draw 16A, getting a 32A, 7kW cable would be recommended should you be likely to use this cable for any other electric car in future

Tip: Check our vehicle guides to see your car’s max charging rate.

If your car can draw three-phase electricity, we recommend spending a little extra and getting a three-phase cable. While you are unlikely to have three-phase power at home, you never know when you might find a three-phase charging point and the additional charge rate is always a bonus.

What is the best length EV charging cable?

This will depend on your typical use as an EV driver. If you’ll need a cable to reach your chargepoint from a wider distance, a longer cable will be best for you. But if you don’t want your cable to take up too much space and are usually able to park next to your charger, a short cable will work fine.

For a compact solution that maximises usability, we like to recommend a cable length of 7.5m.

Which cable is best for fast charging?

A cable with a current rating of 32A is best for fast charging. This type of cable will charge your electric car faster than a 16A cable, but it’s thicker and heavier to facilitate the higher current.

If you’re looking to use a rapid charger, you won’t need a separate cable as this type of chargepoint is fitted with a tethered cable.

Are all EV charging cables the same?

EV charging cables are not all the same and come in different variations. With a connector on each end, the side inserted into the chargepoint socket should always be a Type 2 connector. On the other end, going into the vehicle socket is either a Type 1 or Type 2 connector.

Electric car charging cables can also have different current ratings. Your cable should match the car’s maximum AC charge rate or be higher. Plus, cables can vary in length, with longer cables offering more reach and shorter cables being easier to store.

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