Choosing an EV Charging Cable
A guide offering advice on which cable you need and things to consider when buying a charging cable for your electric car.
You’ll need a charging cable to plug into most public chargepoints, and at home if you choose a point 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.
- Cables vary in length, current rating (usually 16A or 32A) and can carry single or three-phase electricity.
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 when using AC chargepoints on public networks or home chargers with 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 units, also have tethered cables attached.
|Socket type||Where to find||When to use|
||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.|
||Often found in commercial premises.||Tesla offer a connector that can charge from these higher powered outlets. However, they do not have the same safety features as dedicated chargepoints and can be less reliable.|
||Standard AC charging socket, found in public chargepoints and non-tethered home chargers.
||These sockets are perfect for the job of charging cars, use them as often as you can.|
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 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?
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:
- Pick the right connector for your car - Check whether your car is Type 1 or Type 2 using our car guides.
- Choose an appropriate length cable - We recommend 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).
- 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: 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.
Choosing a charging cable examples
Depending on your electricity deal at home and how efficient your electric car is, you can drive from 2-5p a mile. This equates on average to ~£1,000 a year in fuel savings by driving electric.
There are other great cost saving benefits as well; to learn more about the costs of driving an electric car please visit our dedicated guide here.
|Car||Car-side connector||Cable length requirement||Max car current rating||Single/three-phase?||Cable choice|
|2018 BMW i3
||Type 2||Long||32A||Three-phase||- Type2-Type2
|2018 Mitsubishi Outlander||Type 1||Normal||16A||Single-phase||- Type1-Type2
|2015 Nissan LEAF||Type 1
|2018 Hyundai KONA Electric||Type 2
* Though the i3 will only draw 11kW maximum, a 22kW cable will allow you to draw 7kW on single phase chargepoints.
** 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