With electric vehicles on the rise, it’s important to find the right charging cables to make sure your EV is charged safely and quickly. Choosing the right cables for your EV can be a daunting task. With so many options for cables available in the market and the technicalities involved, electric vehicle owners must consider their needs and requirements.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of EV charging stations and cables available, the technicalities to keep in mind while purchasing EV charging cables, and the factors that affect the charging speed of your electric vehicle.
Type of EV Charging Cables:
When it comes to charging an electric vehicle, there are two types of commonly used cables: portable cables and tethered cables. A portable charging cable can be carried around and plugged into a power source, while a tethered cable is usually fixed to a wall-mounted charging point.
Many EV manufacturers offer both kinds of cables when you purchase a new vehicle. However, if your electric vehicle did not come with a cable, you can purchase one separately.
Charging an electric vehicle requires charging cables, which are available in four different forms or “modes”, each designed for a specific type of charging. It can be challenging to differentiate between the modes since they do not correspond to the charging level. This section aims to clarify the differences between the EV charging cable modes and their ideal usage.
Mode 1 EV Charging Cables
Charging an electric vehicle (EV) with a Mode 1 cable is a simple process. All you need to do is connect the EV to a public charging station with a standard AC socket outlet using an extension cord and plug. However, this type of charging does not involve any communication between the vehicle and the charging point, which means that there are no safety systems or shock protection in place.
This method of charging is suitable for light electric vehicles like e-bikes and scooters, but it’s not recommended for electric cars due to safety concerns for drivers and is prohibited in many countries.
Mode 2 EV Charging Cables
Mode 2 charging cables are typically included with an EV at the time of purchase. This type of cable plugs into the EV on one end and a standard household socket on the other, and comes with an In-Cable Control and Protection Device (IC-CPD) that is responsible for communication between them as well as protection.
While this method of charging is certainly convenient, it can take a long time because most domestic outlets only deliver up to 2.3 kW of power. Furthermore, it can be unsafe if not done correctly, so we suggest using this cable only in an emergency situation.
Mode 3 EV Charging Cables
Mode 3 charging cables are the most popular charging method around the world. This type of cable connects your EV to a dedicated charging station, such as those found in workplaces, homes, residential areas, and public parking lots.
The Mode 3 cable is responsible for controlling, communicating, and protecting the charging process and typically connects to Type 1 or Type 2 charging plugs – we’ll cover those later in this article.
Mode 4 EV Charging Cables
The first 3 modes utilize AC charging, while Mode 4 utilizes DC charging. DC charging is the fastest way to charge an electric car. Unlike AC chargers, DC chargers have a converter inside the charger itself, meaning it can feed power directly to the car’s battery without needing the onboard AC/DC converter.
This type of charging is often referred to as “fast charging” or “ultra-fast charging” and can reduce charging times significantly. The cables used for DC charging must be permanently connected to the charging station and are usually liquid-cooled in order to handle the extra heat generated by transferring more power directly from the mobile charger to the battery.
EV Charging Cables: Plug Types
Charging plugs are the connectors that you insert into the charging socket of an electric car in order to charge it. EV charging plugs and sockets come in various shapes, sizes, and vary depending on the brand and model of the vehicle.
There are two categories of plugs: AC and DC
Type 1 plugs—also referred to as SAE J1772—are most commonly used with vehicle models found in Japan and North America. They are single-phase and can deliver drivers a power output of up to 7.4 kW.
Type 2 plugs—also referred to as “Mennekes” in reference to the German company that originally designed them—are the official plug standard for the European Union. These three-phase plugs have a higher power transfer capacity than Type 1 plugs, capable of delivering up to 22 kW for private charging, and up to 43 kW for most public charging stations.
The Combined Charging System (CCS) is the fast charging plug standard in North America (CCS1) and Europe (CCS2). It’s called a combined charging system because it supports both the AC charging and DC charging.
The CCS1 plug is an enhanced version of the Type 1 AC plug with an additional two power contacts to enable DC fast charging. CCS1 is the most common fast-charging plug across North America.
The CCS2, on the other hand, is an enhanced version of the Type 2 AC plug with an additional two maximum power output contacts to enable DC fast charging. A CCS plug can deliver between 50 kW and 350 kW of power.
AC charging is also supported by plugging a standard Type 1 (for CCS1) or Type 2 (for CCS2) plug into the upper half of the plug while leaving the lower DC power contacts empty.
Developed in Japan, most CHAdeMO charging plug enables fast charging of up to 200 kW as well as bidirectional charging. At the moment, Asia is leading the way in manufacturing EVs compatible with CHAdeMO plugs and CHAdeMO announced that they’ve developed technology that can charge between 200kW – 400kW.
However, these speeds are not widely available across Europe and North America—where CHAdeMO usually only goes up to 63 kW—and will become more common in Asia as time goes on.
Tesla charging plug
With 30,000+ Superchargers, Tesla owns and operates the largest global, fast-charging network in the world. Until recently, this public charging network was exclusively for Tesla drivers, however, in 2021, Elon Musk announced that the Supercharger network would open up to other vehicles.
The Supercharger has its own proprietary plug, which looks like a regular AC Type 2 socket but does not allow other non-Teslas to charge. While Tesla’s Supercharger network dominates the North American charging market, they have, however, made concessions in Europe and begun building their vehicles with CCS2.
Choosing the right charging cable for your electric vehicle is essential for safe and convenient charging. Keep in mind the type of cable and plug type when purchasing a charging cable for your electric car. High-quality charging cables are an investment in the longevity of your own EV charging cables and give peace of mind that the charging process is done safely and correctly.
If you would like professional EV charging station installation, contact us today!