Electrical car charging cables

There is a growing interest and investment in electric vehicles infrastructure. To change those electric vehicles here are many different options how this can be done – with different benefits and disadvantages. The charging time depends on the battery capacity and the charging power. The charging power depends on the power available from the power source, the capabilities of your car and how your car is connected to the power source. There are also many different connectors in use (in both power outlets and in the car end). One of the disadvantages are that there are many options that can confuse users.

How does an Electric Car work ? | Tesla Model S

The simplest options that many people choose is to charge their electric vehicles from a domestic socket typically plug your car in overnight. Some electric vehicles have converters on board that can plug directly into a standard electrical outlet or they can be plugged to standard outlet with a special cable that has some active electronics in it (setting allowed load current and provide protection functions). Charging an electric vehicle is pretty easy if your car supports that option – just plug it in and wait.

Many people choose to charge their electric vehicles from a domestic socket typically plug your car in overnight (it can take all night to charge your car battery from empty to full). As a short-term or occasional solution, charging from the mains is fine. In longer term use, the problems are that that charging is slow that in some cases the old domestic outlets might not be able to properly handle the long term high current load the electrical car charging causes.

Another option is that you can charge your car at a public charging station or at home via a domestic socket or a specially installed charging point. You can charge your car much faster if you install a specially-designed charging point. Home chargers (typically 16-amps or 32-amps) can charge an electric vehicle from flat to full in 3.5 hours. Some are even quicker. The price of chargers depends on their power and efficiency. Typically you will use a charging station that provides electrical conversion, monitoring, or safety functionality.

Electric Car Charging, How long does it REALLY take?

Charging Your EV at Home

There is also a wide variety of electrical vehicle charging stations. An electric vehicle charging station is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles—including electric cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Charging station is usually accessible to multiple electric vehicles and has additional current or connection sensing mechanisms to disconnect the power when the EV is not charging.

Charging stations fall into four basic categories:
1. Residential charging stations: An EV owner plugs into a standard receptacle when he or she returns home, and the car recharges overnight.
2. Charging while parked (including public charging stations) – a private or commercial venture for a fee or free, sometimes offered in partnership with the owners of the parking lot. This charging may be slow or high speed.
3. Fast charging at public charging stations >40 kW, capable of delivering over 60-mile (97 km) of range in 10–30 minutes.
4. Battery swaps or charges in under 15 minutes.

The charging time depends on the battery capacity and the charging power. The charging power depends on the voltage handling of the batteries and charger electronics in the car. The U.S.-based SAE International defines Level 1 (household 120V AC) as the slowest, Level 2 (upgraded household 240 VAC) in the middle and Level 3 (super charging, 480V DC or higher) as the fastest.

In Europe where 230V AC is used, the Level 2 type of charging is most commonly used. For normal charging (up to 7.4 kW), car manufacturers have typically built a battery charger into the car. A charging cable is used to connect it to the electrical network to supply 230 volt AC current. The charging cable can have active electronics in it to provide car the information how much current it can draw from outlet and some protective electronics (ground fault protector, over current protector, connector over-heating protection etc.). The Type 2 connector is suitable for slow, fast and rapid charging.

For quicker charging (22 kW, even 43 kW and more), manufacturers have chosen two solutions:
1. Use the vehicle’s built-in charger, designed to charge from 3 to 43 kW at 230 V single-phase or 400 V three-phase.
2. Use an external charger, which converts AC current into DC current and charges the vehicle at 50 kW (e.g. Nissan Leaf) or more (e.g. 120-135 kW Tesla Model S).

Different charging modes:

Mode 1: Domestic socket and extension cord. The vehicle is connected to the power grid through standard socket-outlets present in residences, which depending on the country are usually rated at around 10 A. You are merely connecting a car to the mains using a wire, with no method of controlling current/voltage drawn or utilizing any extra safety features. The the electrical installation must comply with the safety regulations and must have an earthing system, a circuit breaker to protect against overload and an earth leakage protection. This is nowadays very rarely used option.

Mode 2: Domestic socket and cable with a protection device. Mode 2 cables build upon Mode 1 to provide more safety and control. The vehicle is typically still connected to the main power grid via normal household socket-outlets. Charging can be done via a single-phase or three-phase network. A protection device is built into the cable. They feature some inline circuitry to help communicate with the car and dictate how much current is being pumped into the battery pack – they try to set charging current to match the capabilities of the car and the electrical outlet type used for charging. Typical protective functionality provided are ground fault protection, current sensors which monitor the power consumed (maintain the connection only if the demand is within a predetermined range) and additional physical “sensor wires” which provide a feedback signal (SAE J1772 and IEC 62196 schemes).

Mode 3: Specific socket on a dedicated circuit. The vehicle is connected directly to the electrical network via specific socket and plug and a dedicated circuit. A control and protection function is also installed permanently in the installation. Mode 3 is when things start to get clever, allowing the car and charging point to talk to one another. What this means is that electric cars can instruct the charging point to turn off the power when the battery is fully charged and also allow the car to evaluate a charging point’s capacity – changing the speed with which the car will be charged. Typically, these are wall-box type units.

Mode 4: Direct current (DC) connection for fast recharging. The electric vehicle is connected to the main power grid through an external charger. Control and protection functions and the vehicle charging cable are installed permanently in the installation.

Electric Vehicle Charging – Part 1/2

Electric Vehicle Charging – Part 2/2

Cables and connectors for electronics vehicle charging can be confusing. There are many connector and cable types. Electric car charging cables aren’t as simple as you may expect. Not only are there multiple types of plugs and connectors but there are different modes of operation, too. Modes of operation are a little different to plug/connector design, as they affect what these are capable of. There is no set world-wide standard for all car makers to follow.

Charging cable and plug types article gives an overview of all relevant charging cable and plug types for electric mobility. Using the right combination of cables for your EV is needed to charge it properly and quickly.

Put simply, an electric car charging cable is made up of three parts: a connector which plugs into your car, a length of wire and another plug which connects into a power source. That’s applies to most of the charging cable except type 2. Those wire only cables do without any electronics or rely on larger electronics at both ends of the cable, such as a wall-box.

There are two types of charging cables for electric cars: The mode 2 charging cable and the mode 3 charging cable. The mode 2 charging cable that fits into any standard domestic socket. The mode 3 charging cable is the connection cable between the electric car and the charging station.

The mode 2 charging cable is on that is the one that usually delivered with the vehicle ex works and fits into any standard domestic socket.
Mode 2 charging uses a cable that has circuitry in between both ends of the cable. Communication between the charging connection and the electric car takes place via a box which, which acts as intermediary between the vehicle and the connection plug (ICCB, in-cable control box). In case of charging from normal mains plug, the box on the type 2 cable tells the car how much current it can take from the mains outlet and tries to disconnect mains power to car if something seems to be going wrong.

Having many types of different connectors in electrical vehicles can be a problem for users. The EU realiszed this and back in 2014 brought into effect legislation that stated all new plug-in vehicles and charging points must include a ‘Type 2′ charging connector. The IEC 62196 Type 2 connector (commonly referred to as mennekes) is used for charging electric cars within Europe. The connector is circular in shape, with a flattened top edge and originally specified for charging battery electric vehicles at 3–50 kilowatts. Electric power is provided as single-phase or three-phase alternating current (AC), or direct current (DC).

The connector contains seven contact places: two small and five larger. Two small contacts are used for communications. Communication takes place over the signalling pins between the charger, cable, and vehicle to ensure that the highest common denominator of voltage and current is selected. The large pins are used for power and ground connections somewhat differently depending on the charging mode.

Although an EU-wide agreement regarding a universal plug system exists, there are still some points to note if you are thinking of purchasing an electric car. For example, you will need the right charging cable if you want to charge your e-vehicle at home or at public charging points.

Types of Electric Car Charging Cables

Type 2 (Mode 3) cable explained

Charging Adapters

You might be interested to see what is inside those charging stations and charging cables. Here are videos to see what is inside different electrical car charging systems.

Inside an electric vehicle charger interface.

Delta Energy Systems 3.3kw Ev Charger teardown

eFIXX – Teardown – Whats inside a ROLEC Wallpod electric vehicle charger? (Rolec EV Charger)

Chinese Level 2 EV charger tear down

“Amazing-E EVSE” – Review and Look Inside

Aliexpress 32A (7kW) portable EV chargers ( EVSE ) Zencar, Khons

Ohme smart EV charging cable ( EVSE )


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Energy Storage Systems Boost EV Fast-Charger Infrastructure (Part 1)
    With the EV market expected to dramatically rise in the near future, questions arise regarding how the electric grid can handle the load. Part 1 of this two-part series looks at the keys to building an infrastructure using energy storage systems.

    Energy Storage Systems Boost EV Fast-Charger Infrastructure (Part 2)
    In Part 2 of this two-part series, we will analyze the critical components of the charging station and how to address the specific challenges that arise in design.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What many have called inevitable has finally happened.

    Nissan Transitions To CCS For US And Europe, Dealing CHAdeMO A Fatal Blow

    When the 2021 Nissan Ariya launches in the US and Europe next year, it will come equipped with a CCS (Combo) inlet, as the brand moves away from CHAdeMO in those markets. The Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi Outlander plug in hybrid are currently the only two EVs available in the US that use CHAdeMO, and the LEAF doesn’t appear in Nissan’s future plans.

    For a while, it appeared as EVs from the Asian auto manufacturers would use the CHAdeMO standard, US and European OEMs would use CCS and Tesla would use their own proprietary connector. However, even Tesla has modified its connector use recently and new Tesla Model 3s now use the Combo plug in Europe. 

    Also, over the past few years as Japanese and South Korean automakers introduced their new electric offerings, one by one they came equipped with CCS inlets. Kia’s first electric offering the Soul EV used the CHAdeMO standard. However, in 2019 when the 2nd generation Soul EV was introduced, it switched to CCS. Kia also uses CCS for the Niro EV. Honda’s only all-electric offering, the Clarity also uses CCS, as does the Hyundai Kona Electric.

    Therefore, Nissan and Mitsubishi were basically alone on CHAdeMO island, and the writing was on the wall. 

    The Combined Charging System, (also called Combo and CCS) “combines” the AC and DC charging pins. There are actually two different CCS standards, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is used in the US and employs the J1772 connector for 120v and 240v AC charging. In Europe, the Type 2 connector is used for AC charging so the upper portion of the Combo plug is different. The illustration above demonstrates the differences in Type 1 and Type 2 Combo connectors. 

    It is worth noting that Nissan will continue to use CHAdeMO in Japan since the country is completely blanketed with CHAdeMO stations. In fact, all EVs use CHAdeMO in Japan, even Tesla vehicles, via a CHAdeMO adapter. Tesla also offers a Type 2 Combo adapter for Europe, but as of yet, there is no Tesla Type 1 Combo adapter for the US market. 

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Commentary: Nissan ends war over electric-car charging standards, as Tesla stands apart

    Nissan has been the biggest longtime booster of CHAdeMO—the Beta of the charging world—which originated in Japan and from the get-go was capable of more than CCS is to this day, such as with bi-directional charging. But with Nissan’s announced shift to CCS in the upcoming Ariya electric crossover for the U.S. and Europe, CCS wins, heading into the 2020s, as the single standard for EV fast charging outside of the Tesla ecosystem.

    Some might say the writing has been on the wall ever since U.S. and German automakers allied in the formation of CCS in 2011. But most will agree the victory happened back in 2017, when Hyundai moved to standardize around the CCS format with its current electric vehicles, and even Honda chose to introduce its Clarity Electric with CCS.

    That doesn’t spell the end for CHAdeMO.

    What it does signal is the likely end of the road for a decade-long expansion of U.S. CHAdeMO DC fast-charging infrastructure that cost Nissan tens of millions of dollars.

    Nissan last year said that it has installed more than 2,000 DC fast-charging connectors across the U.S. At that time it had spent more than $60 million on charging installations in the U.S., much of that DC fast charging.

    Last August, with EVgo, Nissan committed to 200 more 100-kw-capable CHAdeMO-format fast chargers across the U.S. In a quick scan of EVgo, PlugShare, and Chargeway apps, it appears that only a few of those are online 11 months later.

    All this continued effort into multiple standards isn’t going to be seen as value-added years from now.

    And if you look at the numbers today, CCS is still not the dominant standard by chargers or connectors.

    According to the U.S. DOE Alternative Fuels Data Center, as of July 15, 2020, CHAdeMO still holds the lead by 179 stations—meaning you likely have more locations to choose

    But in terms of connectors at those stations, CCS already has a strong lead—with 5,150 total charging connectors, more than 1,000 ahead of CHAdeMO.

    But don’t rush to call any vehicle that uses CCS the victor in this standards war.

    Tesla beats both of the standards in a tally of charging connectors. And while its number of charging-station locations is far less than that of the other standards, the ability of its vehicles to use one or both of the other standards, depending on the model and the adapter—and with Tesla connectors offered at some non-Tesla chargers—makes them above and beyond the most flexible when it comes to fast-charging.

    It’s a reminder the standards war isn’t actually over in the U.S. That leaves us with a new, more 21st-century comparison. Tesla Supercharging uses CCS2 in Europe, but in the U.S. it’s a closed ecosystem—the Apple iOS, perhaps, versus CCS as the Android.

    If Tesla could jump on CCS in the U.S., too, we’d all be winners.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Taloyhtiöt eivät innostu rakentamaan sähköautoille latauspisteitä – monille autoilijoille on yhä epäselvää, miksei tavallista sähkötolppaa voi käyttää

    – Monet tutkimukset osoittavat, että ihmiset haluavat mieluiten ladata autonsa kotona tai työpaikoilla, eli siellä missä auto seisoo pitempiä aikoja, sanoo Tapio Haltia.

    Yle Uutiset kertoi jo pari vuotta sitten, että taloyhtiöt ovat varautuneet huonosti sähkö- ja hybridiautojen tuloon.

    Monissa taloyhtiössä painavat peruskorjaukset päälle ja siksi rahaa ei haluta käyttää sähköjärjestelmien uusimiseen pysäköintipaikoilla. Monen mielestä latauspisteistä hyötyisi mahdollisesti vain muutama asukas.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Taloyhtiöt eivät innostu rakentamaan sähköautoille latauspisteitä – monille autoilijoille on yhä epäselvää, miksei tavallista sähkötolppaa voi käyttää
    Latausta ei suositella tavallisesta pysäköintipaikan sähkötolpasta.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Electric car chargers aren’t chargers at all – EVSE Explained

    Catchy title! But it’s mostly true!

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kysy TM-toimitukselta: Voiko sähköautoa tai lataushybridiä ladata jatkojohdolla, jopa jalkakäytävän yli?


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