Electric vehicle connector types
"We get our electricity from the socket". This commonly used phrase applies to electric cars only with some reservations. It depends on the connector type. The type will determine the number of potential charging points for your electric vehicle. We will introduce you to the different electric vehicle connector types.
Why are there different connector types?
Let us clarify first why different types of connectors are used with electric vehicles. There is no mandatory international standard. Manufacturers are therefore free to decide which connector type they prefer and choose between the distribution in the country, charging speed and weight.
The connector types
Schuko (single-phase charging)
Everyone is familiar with this type of connector. The Schuko (type F) fits into the typical domestic sockets. But here is the catch: the sockets can only deliver low charging power ( a maximum of 3.7kW). Back in 1926, after all, they were not developed with electric vehicles in mind. Charging times from these sockets are comparatively long, and there is also the danger of overheating.
Type 2 connector (single-phase, two-phase and three-phase charging)
In recent years, the EN 62196 Type 2 connector (also called IEC Type 2) has become the de-facto standard in Europe and North America. More and more Japanese electric vehicle manufacturers have started to support Type 2 connectors. This connector type has the advantage of being versatile. You can use it together with an adapter and charge your electric vehicle from a domestic socket or use a Wallbox and most public charging stations in Europe and North America.
CCS connector (direct current)
The CCS (Combined Charging System) connector is an enhanced version of the Type 2 connector. The upper part has a Type 2 connection for charging with alternating or three-phase AC. Two pins have been added to the lower part for fast charging with direct current. It is suited for both charging at home and fast charging at electric filling stations. The typical charging power level is 50 kW, with plans to increase this level to up to 350 kW. Electric vehicles equipped with CCS connectors are, for example, BMW i3, Opel Ampera-e, VW eGolf, VW eUp or Hyundai ioniq.
Tesla Supercharger (alternating and direct current)
The American corporation Tesla is taking a special path. They have developed a modified version of the Type 2 connector that allows charging with direct and alternating current. The Tesla Supercharger provides very high charging powers, in Germany up to 120 kW.
CHAdeMO connector (direct current)
Japanese electric vehicles such as those from Nissan, Subaru and Mitsubishi usually use the CHAdeMO connector type for fast charging. CHAdeMO is a DC charging protocol enabling EV charging with power from 6kW to 400kW with an expansion to 900kW in the planning stages. It is the standard for public DC charging stations in Japan. Tesla vehicles can also be charged with a CHAdeMO connector with an appropriate adapter.
What does the future hold for electric vehicle charging?
Alternating current at home, direct current at rapid charging stations.
The Type 2 connector is the standard in Europe and America. It allows charging with alternating current and is therefore ideal for a private domestic setting. Most public charging points currently also still use alternating current.
In the future, many electric vehicles will be equipped with a CCS connection which will enable them to be charged both via a domestic Wallbox with a Type 2 connector and a public DC rapid charging station. Fast charging an electric vehicle should be the exception rather than regular practice as the battery life will suffer. Using a lower charging power with a private Wallbox, such as 11kW, will preserve the battery and prolong its useful life.