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Are All Electric Car Chargers The Same?

Published on
November 29, 2022

Key Points 

  • There are different types of charge connectors depending on which region you’re in, the model of the car and whether the connector is AC or DC.
  • AC connectors charge at slow and fast speeds (3 kW - 22kW) and are often used at home.
  • DC fast chargers charge at rapid and ultra-rapid speeds (50 kW - 350 kW) and are usually found at en-route destinations.
  • If your car doesn’t have suitable connectors, you can always get an adapter for your EV to ensure you can still charge your car at public charging points.

There are four main types of plugs that electric vehicles use to charge. Two are for alternative current (AC), and two are for direct current (DC.) Knowing which connector your car uses is essential as most UK charging points only cater for Type 2 and CCS connectors.

This article covers everything you need to know about the types of charging ports for EVs.

Why Do Cars Use Different Types Of Chargers?

There are three reasons why different cars use different chargers. The first is that the car’s connector type depends on which region the car is manufactured in. Different nations have different regulations, and each region has a different EV infrastructure.

The second reason is that a lot of progress has been made since EVs were introduced. This has made EVs more secure and charge faster but also means that some older generations of EVs now have outdated charge plugs.

The third reason is that the AC and DC connectors charge at different speeds. AC is for slow and fast charging up to 43 kW. DC is for rapid and ultra-rapid charging up to 350 kW. Except for Teslas outside of Europe, every car will have an AC and DC connector.

AC Connectors

AC connectors can be found at home, at destination locations, and at charging stations. They are usually used to charge for an extended period as they charge at lower speeds. AC connectors are Level 2 chargers and are the most used charging ports for electric cars.

Type 1

The Type 1 connector, also known as a J plug or SAE J1772, is a connector with five pins. It was first produced in 2009. 

Where Are They Found?

Nowadays, you’ll find Type 1 connectors in North America and Japan but not so much in the UK and Europe as they’ve been supplanted by Type 2. However, you can still find Type 1 connectors on older EVs. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

Type 1 connectors charge up to 7 kW. They are slow chargers.

What Makes Them Special?

Type 1 connectors don’t have a locking mechanism, making them easier to charge and casual to use but less secure. If you have a car in the UK that has a Type 1 connector, you’re unlikely to find a charging point for it in the country. You can still charge it by getting an adapter and using it at an untethered charging point.

Type 2

Type 2 connectors, often called Mennekes after the German manufacturer that designed them, are the standard connector used in the EU. They have seven pins and have been in production since 2013. 

Where Are They Found?

Type 2 connectors can be found in the UK, Europe and most markets, except China, Japan and North America.

How Fast Do They Charge?

They can charge up to 22 kW, although some of the latest models can handle 43 kW. This makes them fast chargers.

What Makes Them Special?

Type 2 connectors are the most common electric car connector in the world, so you’ll rarely struggle to find a charging point for them. They have an inbuilt locking mechanism which means no one can disconnect your car while it’s charging and you’re away from it.

Other AC Connector Options

UK Plug Socket

You can always charge your car with your standard plug if you can't find a charging spot. Most EVs are provided with a cable for this when you buy them. 

Where Are They Found?

Anywhere in the country! You can plug your car into a charging spot at your home, a friend’s house, or work. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

They’re not very fast and only charge at 3 kW. 

What Makes Them Special?

While charging with a standard BS 1363 plug can be useful, it’s not recommended that you make a habit of it. Prolonged use can damage your home’s wiring. You must never charge using an extension lead. 

CEE plug

The ‘Commando’ CEE plug is best known as the camping connector as it is the plug often used to hook up caravans to mains electricity when camping. It can also be used for charging your electric car.

Where Are They Found?

They’re often found at campsites, but you can also get them installed at your home for convenience. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

CEE plugs charge up to 22 kW.

DC Connectors

DC chargers are typically found en route at charging stations. They can reach up to 350 kW. 

CHAdeMO 

CHAdeMO, an abbreviation of Charge de Move, was created in 2010 in Japan. It was one of the world’s first DC rapid charging systems and continues to be used in its home nation. 

Where Are They Found?

You’ll only see CHAdeMO connectors in Japan and Japanese cars. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

First-generation CHAdeMO connectors can charge up to 62.5 kW, and the second current generation can charge up to 400 kW. Chinese technology providers are developing a third-generation connector with an increased charge output of up to 900 kW. 

What Makes Them Special?

Japanese car makers favour CHAdeMO, and you can see CHAdeMO in many popular models by manufacturers like Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan.

Combined Charging System (CCS) 

CCS is the most popular DC charging connector currently available in the world. In 2011 German engineers started developing CCS. CCS plugs come attached to an AC charger for your car. Depending on your region, these can come attached to a Type 1 or Type 2 connector. 

Where Are They Found?

You can find CCS chargers in the USA, EU, and most other markets. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

CCS connectors can reach up to 350 kW. However, 350 kW chargers aren’t common yet, and you’re more likely to find 50 kW chargers across the UK. This is likely to change in the future as infrastructure is updated and demand increases. 

What Makes Them Special?

CCS connectors can be found in car manufacturers like Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar and Kia. They are the most widespread connector type in the world, and you can find a charging spot for them in most places.

Other Notable Charger Types

There are other notable chargers which you should know although none of these chargers is regularly found in the UK or Europe.

GB/T Charging Standard

GB/T is the Chinese standard for EV charging. The GB/T is the name for their AC and DC chargers, although they are not mutually compatible. The AC charger is smaller and physically similar to the Type 2 controller while the DC fast charger is larger.

Where Are They Found?

The GB/T can only be found in China.

How Fast Do They Charge?

Their AC connector can charge up to 27 kW while their DC connector can charge up to 250 kW.

What Makes Them Special?

They are the only charging type in China, except Tesla, and so have a monopoly on the market.

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla is a special case. Internationally they don’t use CCS or CHAdeMO connectors and instead use their own chargers. However, starting in 2018, they started using CCS Combo 2 charge ports in Europe for their Tesla Model 3.

Where Are They Found?

Older Teslas don’t have a CCS Combo 2 port, so you may have to look for an adapter if you own an old Tesla in the UK. They have recently announced that they will be adding the CCS Combo 1 ports to their North American cars.

How Fast Do They Charge?

Tesla chargers can charge up to 250 kW. This makes them one of the strongest DC connectors in the country. 

What Makes Them Special?

Only Teslas can use their chargers; no other car maker can use them. 

How To Find An Adapter?

If you’re in the UK and have a Type 1 charge point in your car, you won’t be able to find a public charger to charge your EV. If this is the case, you should get an adapter to enable you to charge your car from a more commonly found Type 2 charge point.

You can’t currently get an adapter for a CHAdeMO to CCS connector due to CHAdeMO having their car locking device in the cable rather than the car itself, as Tesla and CCS do. You can get an adapter from Tesla to CCS and Tesla also sells an upgrade to CCS on their website.

You can find adapters on most e-commerce sites like Amazon at reasonably affordable rates. However, you won’t be able to use the adapter at a tethered charge site as their cables are permanently connected to their charging unit.

Instead, you’ll want to find an untethered charging point where you can use your new adapter.

How To Find Your Nearest Untethered Charging Point?

It can be hard to find a good reliable untethered charging point. Some don’t list what their services are on their apps, and many don’t even have updated apps! You also never know if there are hidden fees involved.

If you’re trying to find the right charging station, you should get Bonnet! Bonnet is a stress-free way to locate the perfect charging point. You can use our interactive map to find the nearest EV which suits your needs. Bonnet secures your payments and ensures you don’t need different apps for each charging point.

FAQ

Which EVs use J1772?

J1772, also known as a Type 1 Connector, is used in all EVs in North America, excluding Teslas. It is not used in any other region.

What does a Type 2 charger look like?

A Type 2 charger is circular with a flattened top. It has seven pins, unlike Type 1, which has five.

Are all EV chargers Type 2?

Type 2 connectors are used around the world. Almost all countries use Type 2 connectors, except for North America and Japan. All EV vehicles from the UK and Europe are Type 2.

November 17, 2022

There are four main types of plugs that electric vehicles use to charge. Two are for alternative current (AC), and two are for direct current (DC.) Knowing which connector your car uses is essential as most UK charging points only cater for Type 2 and CCS connectors.

This article covers everything you need to know about the types of charging ports for EVs.

Why Do Cars Use Different Types Of Chargers?

There are three reasons why different cars use different chargers. The first is that the car’s connector type depends on which region the car is manufactured in. Different nations have different regulations, and each region has a different EV infrastructure.

The second reason is that a lot of progress has been made since EVs were introduced. This has made EVs more secure and charge faster but also means that some older generations of EVs now have outdated charge plugs.

The third reason is that the AC and DC connectors charge at different speeds. AC is for slow and fast charging up to 43 kW. DC is for rapid and ultra-rapid charging up to 350 kW. Except for Teslas outside of Europe, every car will have an AC and DC connector.

AC Connectors

AC connectors can be found at home, at destination locations, and at charging stations. They are usually used to charge for an extended period as they charge at lower speeds. AC connectors are Level 2 chargers and are the most used charging ports for electric cars.

Type 1

The Type 1 connector, also known as a J plug or SAE J1772, is a connector with five pins. It was first produced in 2009. 

Where Are They Found?

Nowadays, you’ll find Type 1 connectors in North America and Japan but not so much in the UK and Europe as they’ve been supplanted by Type 2. However, you can still find Type 1 connectors on older EVs. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

Type 1 connectors charge up to 7 kW. They are slow chargers.

What Makes Them Special?

Type 1 connectors don’t have a locking mechanism, making them easier to charge and casual to use but less secure. If you have a car in the UK that has a Type 1 connector, you’re unlikely to find a charging point for it in the country. You can still charge it by getting an adapter and using it at an untethered charging point.

Type 2

Type 2 connectors, often called Mennekes after the German manufacturer that designed them, are the standard connector used in the EU. They have seven pins and have been in production since 2013. 

Where Are They Found?

Type 2 connectors can be found in the UK, Europe and most markets, except China, Japan and North America.

How Fast Do They Charge?

They can charge up to 22 kW, although some of the latest models can handle 43 kW. This makes them fast chargers.

What Makes Them Special?

Type 2 connectors are the most common electric car connector in the world, so you’ll rarely struggle to find a charging point for them. They have an inbuilt locking mechanism which means no one can disconnect your car while it’s charging and you’re away from it.

Other AC Connector Options

UK Plug Socket

You can always charge your car with your standard plug if you can't find a charging spot. Most EVs are provided with a cable for this when you buy them. 

Where Are They Found?

Anywhere in the country! You can plug your car into a charging spot at your home, a friend’s house, or work. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

They’re not very fast and only charge at 3 kW. 

What Makes Them Special?

While charging with a standard BS 1363 plug can be useful, it’s not recommended that you make a habit of it. Prolonged use can damage your home’s wiring. You must never charge using an extension lead. 

CEE plug

The ‘Commando’ CEE plug is best known as the camping connector as it is the plug often used to hook up caravans to mains electricity when camping. It can also be used for charging your electric car.

Where Are They Found?

They’re often found at campsites, but you can also get them installed at your home for convenience. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

CEE plugs charge up to 22 kW.

DC Connectors

DC chargers are typically found en route at charging stations. They can reach up to 350 kW. 

CHAdeMO 

CHAdeMO, an abbreviation of Charge de Move, was created in 2010 in Japan. It was one of the world’s first DC rapid charging systems and continues to be used in its home nation. 

Where Are They Found?

You’ll only see CHAdeMO connectors in Japan and Japanese cars. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

First-generation CHAdeMO connectors can charge up to 62.5 kW, and the second current generation can charge up to 400 kW. Chinese technology providers are developing a third-generation connector with an increased charge output of up to 900 kW. 

What Makes Them Special?

Japanese car makers favour CHAdeMO, and you can see CHAdeMO in many popular models by manufacturers like Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan.

Combined Charging System (CCS) 

CCS is the most popular DC charging connector currently available in the world. In 2011 German engineers started developing CCS. CCS plugs come attached to an AC charger for your car. Depending on your region, these can come attached to a Type 1 or Type 2 connector. 

Where Are They Found?

You can find CCS chargers in the USA, EU, and most other markets. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

CCS connectors can reach up to 350 kW. However, 350 kW chargers aren’t common yet, and you’re more likely to find 50 kW chargers across the UK. This is likely to change in the future as infrastructure is updated and demand increases. 

What Makes Them Special?

CCS connectors can be found in car manufacturers like Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar and Kia. They are the most widespread connector type in the world, and you can find a charging spot for them in most places.

Other Notable Charger Types

There are other notable chargers which you should know although none of these chargers is regularly found in the UK or Europe.

GB/T Charging Standard

GB/T is the Chinese standard for EV charging. The GB/T is the name for their AC and DC chargers, although they are not mutually compatible. The AC charger is smaller and physically similar to the Type 2 controller while the DC fast charger is larger.

Where Are They Found?

The GB/T can only be found in China.

How Fast Do They Charge?

Their AC connector can charge up to 27 kW while their DC connector can charge up to 250 kW.

What Makes Them Special?

They are the only charging type in China, except Tesla, and so have a monopoly on the market.

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla is a special case. Internationally they don’t use CCS or CHAdeMO connectors and instead use their own chargers. However, starting in 2018, they started using CCS Combo 2 charge ports in Europe for their Tesla Model 3.

Where Are They Found?

Older Teslas don’t have a CCS Combo 2 port, so you may have to look for an adapter if you own an old Tesla in the UK. They have recently announced that they will be adding the CCS Combo 1 ports to their North American cars.

How Fast Do They Charge?

Tesla chargers can charge up to 250 kW. This makes them one of the strongest DC connectors in the country. 

What Makes Them Special?

Only Teslas can use their chargers; no other car maker can use them. 

How To Find An Adapter?

If you’re in the UK and have a Type 1 charge point in your car, you won’t be able to find a public charger to charge your EV. If this is the case, you should get an adapter to enable you to charge your car from a more commonly found Type 2 charge point.

You can’t currently get an adapter for a CHAdeMO to CCS connector due to CHAdeMO having their car locking device in the cable rather than the car itself, as Tesla and CCS do. You can get an adapter from Tesla to CCS and Tesla also sells an upgrade to CCS on their website.

You can find adapters on most e-commerce sites like Amazon at reasonably affordable rates. However, you won’t be able to use the adapter at a tethered charge site as their cables are permanently connected to their charging unit.

Instead, you’ll want to find an untethered charging point where you can use your new adapter.

How To Find Your Nearest Untethered Charging Point?

It can be hard to find a good reliable untethered charging point. Some don’t list what their services are on their apps, and many don’t even have updated apps! You also never know if there are hidden fees involved.

If you’re trying to find the right charging station, you should get Bonnet! Bonnet is a stress-free way to locate the perfect charging point. You can use our interactive map to find the nearest EV which suits your needs. Bonnet secures your payments and ensures you don’t need different apps for each charging point.

Key Points 

  • There are different types of charge connectors depending on which region you’re in, the model of the car and whether the connector is AC or DC.
  • AC connectors charge at slow and fast speeds (3 kW - 22kW) and are often used at home.
  • DC fast chargers charge at rapid and ultra-rapid speeds (50 kW - 350 kW) and are usually found at en-route destinations.
  • If your car doesn’t have suitable connectors, you can always get an adapter for your EV to ensure you can still charge your car at public charging points.

There are four main types of plugs that electric vehicles use to charge. Two are for alternative current (AC), and two are for direct current (DC.) Knowing which connector your car uses is essential as most UK charging points only cater for Type 2 and CCS connectors.

This article covers everything you need to know about the types of charging ports for EVs.

Why Do Cars Use Different Types Of Chargers?

There are three reasons why different cars use different chargers. The first is that the car’s connector type depends on which region the car is manufactured in. Different nations have different regulations, and each region has a different EV infrastructure.

The second reason is that a lot of progress has been made since EVs were introduced. This has made EVs more secure and charge faster but also means that some older generations of EVs now have outdated charge plugs.

The third reason is that the AC and DC connectors charge at different speeds. AC is for slow and fast charging up to 43 kW. DC is for rapid and ultra-rapid charging up to 350 kW. Except for Teslas outside of Europe, every car will have an AC and DC connector.

AC Connectors

AC connectors can be found at home, at destination locations, and at charging stations. They are usually used to charge for an extended period as they charge at lower speeds. AC connectors are Level 2 chargers and are the most used charging ports for electric cars.

Type 1

The Type 1 connector, also known as a J plug or SAE J1772, is a connector with five pins. It was first produced in 2009. 

Where Are They Found?

Nowadays, you’ll find Type 1 connectors in North America and Japan but not so much in the UK and Europe as they’ve been supplanted by Type 2. However, you can still find Type 1 connectors on older EVs. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

Type 1 connectors charge up to 7 kW. They are slow chargers.

What Makes Them Special?

Type 1 connectors don’t have a locking mechanism, making them easier to charge and casual to use but less secure. If you have a car in the UK that has a Type 1 connector, you’re unlikely to find a charging point for it in the country. You can still charge it by getting an adapter and using it at an untethered charging point.

Type 2

Type 2 connectors, often called Mennekes after the German manufacturer that designed them, are the standard connector used in the EU. They have seven pins and have been in production since 2013. 

Where Are They Found?

Type 2 connectors can be found in the UK, Europe and most markets, except China, Japan and North America.

How Fast Do They Charge?

They can charge up to 22 kW, although some of the latest models can handle 43 kW. This makes them fast chargers.

What Makes Them Special?

Type 2 connectors are the most common electric car connector in the world, so you’ll rarely struggle to find a charging point for them. They have an inbuilt locking mechanism which means no one can disconnect your car while it’s charging and you’re away from it.

Other AC Connector Options

UK Plug Socket

You can always charge your car with your standard plug if you can't find a charging spot. Most EVs are provided with a cable for this when you buy them. 

Where Are They Found?

Anywhere in the country! You can plug your car into a charging spot at your home, a friend’s house, or work. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

They’re not very fast and only charge at 3 kW. 

What Makes Them Special?

While charging with a standard BS 1363 plug can be useful, it’s not recommended that you make a habit of it. Prolonged use can damage your home’s wiring. You must never charge using an extension lead. 

CEE plug

The ‘Commando’ CEE plug is best known as the camping connector as it is the plug often used to hook up caravans to mains electricity when camping. It can also be used for charging your electric car.

Where Are They Found?

They’re often found at campsites, but you can also get them installed at your home for convenience. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

CEE plugs charge up to 22 kW.

DC Connectors

DC chargers are typically found en route at charging stations. They can reach up to 350 kW. 

CHAdeMO 

CHAdeMO, an abbreviation of Charge de Move, was created in 2010 in Japan. It was one of the world’s first DC rapid charging systems and continues to be used in its home nation. 

Where Are They Found?

You’ll only see CHAdeMO connectors in Japan and Japanese cars. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

First-generation CHAdeMO connectors can charge up to 62.5 kW, and the second current generation can charge up to 400 kW. Chinese technology providers are developing a third-generation connector with an increased charge output of up to 900 kW. 

What Makes Them Special?

Japanese car makers favour CHAdeMO, and you can see CHAdeMO in many popular models by manufacturers like Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan.

Combined Charging System (CCS) 

CCS is the most popular DC charging connector currently available in the world. In 2011 German engineers started developing CCS. CCS plugs come attached to an AC charger for your car. Depending on your region, these can come attached to a Type 1 or Type 2 connector. 

Where Are They Found?

You can find CCS chargers in the USA, EU, and most other markets. 

How Fast Do They Charge?

CCS connectors can reach up to 350 kW. However, 350 kW chargers aren’t common yet, and you’re more likely to find 50 kW chargers across the UK. This is likely to change in the future as infrastructure is updated and demand increases. 

What Makes Them Special?

CCS connectors can be found in car manufacturers like Volkswagen, BMW, Jaguar and Kia. They are the most widespread connector type in the world, and you can find a charging spot for them in most places.

Other Notable Charger Types

There are other notable chargers which you should know although none of these chargers is regularly found in the UK or Europe.

GB/T Charging Standard

GB/T is the Chinese standard for EV charging. The GB/T is the name for their AC and DC chargers, although they are not mutually compatible. The AC charger is smaller and physically similar to the Type 2 controller while the DC fast charger is larger.

Where Are They Found?

The GB/T can only be found in China.

How Fast Do They Charge?

Their AC connector can charge up to 27 kW while their DC connector can charge up to 250 kW.

What Makes Them Special?

They are the only charging type in China, except Tesla, and so have a monopoly on the market.

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla is a special case. Internationally they don’t use CCS or CHAdeMO connectors and instead use their own chargers. However, starting in 2018, they started using CCS Combo 2 charge ports in Europe for their Tesla Model 3.

Where Are They Found?

Older Teslas don’t have a CCS Combo 2 port, so you may have to look for an adapter if you own an old Tesla in the UK. They have recently announced that they will be adding the CCS Combo 1 ports to their North American cars.

How Fast Do They Charge?

Tesla chargers can charge up to 250 kW. This makes them one of the strongest DC connectors in the country. 

What Makes Them Special?

Only Teslas can use their chargers; no other car maker can use them. 

How To Find An Adapter?

If you’re in the UK and have a Type 1 charge point in your car, you won’t be able to find a public charger to charge your EV. If this is the case, you should get an adapter to enable you to charge your car from a more commonly found Type 2 charge point.

You can’t currently get an adapter for a CHAdeMO to CCS connector due to CHAdeMO having their car locking device in the cable rather than the car itself, as Tesla and CCS do. You can get an adapter from Tesla to CCS and Tesla also sells an upgrade to CCS on their website.

You can find adapters on most e-commerce sites like Amazon at reasonably affordable rates. However, you won’t be able to use the adapter at a tethered charge site as their cables are permanently connected to their charging unit.

Instead, you’ll want to find an untethered charging point where you can use your new adapter.

How To Find Your Nearest Untethered Charging Point?

It can be hard to find a good reliable untethered charging point. Some don’t list what their services are on their apps, and many don’t even have updated apps! You also never know if there are hidden fees involved.

If you’re trying to find the right charging station, you should get Bonnet! Bonnet is a stress-free way to locate the perfect charging point. You can use our interactive map to find the nearest EV which suits your needs. Bonnet secures your payments and ensures you don’t need different apps for each charging point.

FAQ

Which EVs use J1772?

J1772, also known as a Type 1 Connector, is used in all EVs in North America, excluding Teslas. It is not used in any other region.

What does a Type 2 charger look like?

A Type 2 charger is circular with a flattened top. It has seven pins, unlike Type 1, which has five.

Are all EV chargers Type 2?

Type 2 connectors are used around the world. Almost all countries use Type 2 connectors, except for North America and Japan. All EV vehicles from the UK and Europe are Type 2.