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.

Summary

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
3-pin plug
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.
Blue commando
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.
Type 2
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:

  1. Pick the right connector for your car - Check whether your car is Type 1 or Type 2 using our car guides.
  2. 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).
  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.
Network Image London
Charging on the go

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
- 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
2018 Hyundai KONA Electric Type 2
Normal

32A

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


* 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

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