Electric vehicle connectors and speeds

A complete guide covering the different types of charging speeds and connectors

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Slow Chargers
Fast Chargers
Rapid Chargers

As an electric vehicle driver one of the most important things you need to know is the different charging speeds and connectors available and which ones are compatible with your vehicle.

Chargepoints are primarily defined by the power (in kW) they can produce and therefore at what speed they are capable of charging an EV.

There are three main EV charging speeds:
Type Speed Time
Slow Charging Up to 3.6kW Approx. 6 -12 hours
Fast Charging 7 - 22kW Approx. 3-4 hours
Rapid Charging 43 - 50kW Approx. 30min

Slow Chargers:

  • Popular choice for home charging
  • 3.6kW slow charging
  • Chargepoints are universal or have tethered cables options
  • Charging times depend on the EV, but a full charge for an EV will take anything between 6-12 hours

Don’t let the term ‘slow charging’ fool you, these chargepoints charge at up to 3.6kW, due to the fact that they can be rated for 16A, rather than the 13A typically found on a standard 3-pin plug.

Slow charging points is the popular method of charging electric vehicles, at home overnight. Slow chargepoints aren’t limited to home use, although less common due to charging time they can also be found in the workplace and public.

Slow chargepoints can be either tethered or universal cable options. Universal is the popular choice among homeowners interested in future-proofing their homes.

The charging times vary on unit speed and vehicle, but a full charge for an EV will typically take 6-12 hours.

Slow charging can be done using a standard 3-pin plug but it is strongly recommended to install a home chargepoint for safety and to spend less time charging. With the OLEV grant also known as the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (E.V.H.S.) offering electric car buyers a discount on their 3kW home chargepoints (if they meet the eligibility criteria).

Slow charging connectors:

3-pin

How Long Does it Take To Charge An Electric Car - 3 pin

The same plug as a standard UK electrical outlet. This connector lacks the safety, speed and security features of dedicated systems.

Type 1 - 3kW

Nissan Leaf Charging Type 1 Connector

A five pin plug with a clip. This connector is typically found on EVs manufactured by Asian brands with the exception of Nissan.

Type 2 - 3kW

Tesla Charging - Type 2 Connector

A seven pin plug with one flat edge, this connector is typically found on EVs manufactured by European brands e.g. BMW.

Fast Chargers:

  • Generally found in public destinations
  • 7kW and 22kW fast charging (single or three-phase)
  • Chargepoints are universal or have tethered cables options
  • Charging times depend on the EV, but a 7kW charger will charge a compatible EV in 3-5 hours, and a 22kW charger in 1-2 hours

Fast charging stations are usually found in public destinations, such as car parks and supermarkets. These charging stations are rated at either 7kW or 22 kW (single- or three-phase 32A).

The majority of fast charging stations are untethered, though some home and workplace based units have cables attached. Untethered units are therefore more flexible and can be used by any driver that has the correct cable.

Charging speeds from fast chargers will depend on the car’s on-board charger, with not all models able to accept 7kW or more. These models can still be plugged into the charge point, but will only draw the maximum power accepted by the on-board charger. For example, a Nissan Leaf with standard 3.3kW on-board charger will only draw a maximum of 3.3kW, even if the fast charger is 7kW or 22kW.

Charging times vary on unit speed and the vehicle, but a 7kW charger will recharge a compatible EV in 3-5 hours, and a 22kW charger in 1-2 hours.

The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) companies can receive up to £300 off the cost of purchasing and installing of a charging station (single socket).

Fast charging connectors

Type 1 - 7-22kW

Nissan Leaf Charging Type 1 Connector

A five pin plug with a clip. This connector is typically found on EVs manufactured by Asian brands with the exception of Nissan.

Type 2 - 7- 22kW

Tesla Charging - Type 2 Connector

A seven pin plug with one flat edge, this connector is typically found on EVs manufactured by European brands e.g. BMW.

Rapid Chargers

Often found on motorways and some supermarket stores e.g Lidl 50kW DC , 43kW DC, 120kW DC charging Rapid chargers have tethered cables Chargers supply high power direct (DC) or alternating current (AC) – to charge a car in 20-40 minutes(80%).

Rapid charging stations are usually found in motorway services or supermarkets such as Lidl. Rapid charging is the fastest way to charge electric vehicles as they supply high power direct or alternating current – AC or DC.

Rapid AC - DC chargers

AC - Alternating Current option is a relatively new development and only available on one or two EV models in the UK – more common is the Rapid DC option described below. Due to their high power, Rapid AC units are equipped with a non-removable tethered cable Rapid AC chargers provide power at up to 43kW (three-phase, 63A) and use the Type 2 charging standard.

Rapid AC units are typically able to charge an EV to 80% in 30 minutes depending on the model’s battery capacity and starting state of charge. Once charging reaches 80%, the unit’s power output will drop to a slower rate to preserve battery life and maximise charging levels.

Users of rapid AC units select the Type 2 connector for their vehicle and use the tethered cable to plug the car in, rather than their own cable.

DC – charging is the fastest and most powerful. It uses direct current instead of AC. Rapid DC chargers provide power at up to 50kW (125A), use either the CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards.

The DC connector charges at the same time as the AC connector and also drops to a slower rate once charging reaches 80%.

Users of rapid DC units select the appropriate connector for their vehicle and use the tethered cable to plug the car in, rather than their own cable.

Rapid charging connectors:

Type 2 - 43kW AC

Tesla Charging - Type 2 Connector

A seven pin plug with one flat edge, this connector is typically found on EVs manufactured by European brands e.g. BMW.

CHAdemo - 50kW DC

Mitsubishi Outlander Charging - Chademo

A round four pin plug, this connector is only used for rapid charging points and is typically compatible with EVs manufactured by Asian brands e.g. Mitsubishi.

Combined Charging System (CCS) - 50kW DC

Ccs

Standardised by the EU, this connector is only used for rapid charging points and is typically compatible with EVs manufactured by European brands e.g. Volkswagen.