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Electric vehicles and charging

Connector types

As mentioned in the overview, there are three main types of EV charging – rapid, fast, and slow. These represent the power outputs, and therefore charging speeds, available to charge an EV. Note that power is measured in kilowatts (kW).

Each charger type has an associated set of connectors which are designed for low or high power use, and for either AC or DC charging. The following sections offer a detailed description of the three main charge point types and the different connectors available

Rapid chargers

  • 50kW - 350kW DC charging with CHAdeMO or CCS
  • All rapid units have tethered cables
Type Design
CHAdeMO 50 kW DC CHAdeMO 50 kW DC
CCS 50 kW DC CHAdeMO 50 kW DC

DC Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge an EV, and are often found in motorway services or as part of a public network. DC Rapid chargers currently range from 50kW up to 350kW, with the capability to deliver between 180 and 1,200 miles of charge each hour. Its important to remember that most vehicles will start charging at a lower rate when the battery reaches around 80%, to protect the battery and extend its life. All rapid devices have the charging cable tethered to the unit.

Rapid charging can only be used on vehicles with rapid-charging capability. To determine whether or not your EV is capable of rapid charging you can check the Charge Point Compatibility List provided by UKEVSE.

Currently available rapid DC chargers provide power at between 50kW and 150kW and use either the CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards. The next generation of rapid DC units will increase the power first to 150 kW and then to 350 kW which will significantly reduce overall charging time.

Fast chargers

  • 7kW fast charging on one of three connector types
  • 22kW fast charging on one of three connector types
  • Units are either untethered or have tethered cables
Type Design
Type 2 – 7-22 kW AC CHAdeMO 50 kW DC
Type 1 - 7 kW AC CHAdeMO 50 kW DC
Commando – 7-22 kW AC Type 2 43 kW AC

Fast chargers, all of which are AC, are typically rated at either 7 kW (32A, single-phase) or 22 kW (32A, three-phase). Charging times vary depending on the vehicle, but a 7 kW charger will recharge a compatible EV with a 30 kWh battery in 3-5 hours, and 1-2 hours for a 22 kW charger.

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

The majority of fast chargers are 7 kW and untethered, though some home and workplace based units have cables attached. The latter units mean only those vehicles that can use that connector will be able to charge on them; in contrast to the more common use of a driver’s own connector cable. Untethered units are therefore more flexible and can be used by any EV with their own cable.

Slow chargers

  • 3kW slow charging on one of four connector types
  • Charging units are either untethered or have tethered cables
  • Includes mains charging and from specialist chargers
  • Often covers home charging
Type Design
3-Pin - 3kW AC 3-Pin - 3kW AC
Type 1 - 3 kW AC Type 1 - 3 kW AC
Type 2 - 3 kW AC Type 2 - 3 kW AC
Commando – 3 kW AC Commando - 3 kW AC

Most slow charging units are rated up to 3kW with some lamp-post chargers being rated at 6kW. Charging times vary depending on the charging unit and EV being charged, but a full charge on a 3 kW unit will typically take 6-12 hours. Most slow charging units are usually untethered, meaning that a cable is required to connect the EV with the charge point.

Slow charging is a very common method of charging electric vehicles, used by many owners to charge at home overnight. Slow units can also be found at workplaces and on public networks where the available electrical supply is not sufficient to accommodate fast units.

While slow charging can be carried out using a domestic 3-pin socket, because of the higher current demands of EV’s and the duration spent charging, it is strongly recommended that those who need to charge regularly at home or the workplace get a dedicated EV charging unit installed by an accredited installer.

All plug-in EV’s can charge using at least one of the above slow connectors using the appropriate cable. Most home units have the same Type 2 cable as found on public chargers, however some may require a Type 1 connector.

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