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Every EV Charging Standard and Connector Type Explained

Like smartphones, electric vehicles use different charging systems and different connectors.

In an ideal world, all electric vehicles are plugged into the same type of outlet. EV drivers don’t have to think twice before charging. Incompatibility is a thing of the past.

Of course, the world is a very different place, and doing the basic act of towing an EV for a fee is a potentially complex process. While these standards will inevitably change (after all, modern EVs are still evolving), the various charging standards available and guides to making life on EVs as smooth as possible. Is shown below.

Electric vehicle charge level at a glance

Electric vehicle charging outlets are available in a variety of formats, just as VHS and Betamax formats compete for dominance in the home videotape market. It’s still relatively early for electric cars, so today’s heat could exceed tomorrow. However, the easiest way to understand current charging standards is to separate them at speed.

Level 1

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The most basic (and often very slow) chargers are Level 1 or standard 110/120 volt outlets found in North American homes. Slow and regular plugs are everywhere and can be used for trickle charging with a pinch, but you can only add a range of 3-5 miles per hour. It usually comes with the EV at the time of purchase.

Charging an electric car at home: everything you need to know

Level 2

Lefanev 240 portable charger.

Lefanev 240 portable charger.

Refanev

The Level 2 charger operates at 240 volts and is relatively easy for an electrician to install on an existing appliance, like an electric clothes dryer. Expect Level 2 chargers to add a range of 25 mph.

How long does it take to charge the EV?

Level 3

Tesla's charging stations are continuous.

Defody / Getty

Tier 3 is where charging speed is important. This standard, also known as a DC quick charger (including the Tesla Super Charger), requires robust DC (non-AC) currents in excess of 480 volts and 100 amps.

With this enormous amount of energy, Level 3 units can fully charge the battery in just 20-30 minutes. DC chargers are basically unprecedented at home, but because the driver can charge the battery quickly, they are ideal for commercial and retail stores that can continue to travel long distances without long wait times.

Is it better to charge the electric car at home or with a public charger?

Where does the connector come from?

Electric vehicle plug type

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If an electric vehicle is not equipped with the proper connectors, all the electronics in the world will have no effect on the electric vehicle. This is a list of the main charging connectors found in almost all modern electric vehicles.

J1772 This is the standard Level 2 charging connector found on most vehicles. The J1772 charger can be charged at level 1 speeds, but typically works at level 2 in most residential, commercial and retail environments.

CHAdeMO This is an early DC fast charging founded by a consortium of Japanese car makers. The CHAdeMO connector, which stands for CHArge de MOve or “Move Using Motion,” appears next to the J1772 connector to maximize charging options. However, these chargers are losing popularity and are unlikely to hold a large market share in the future.

CCS type 1 / CCS type 2 The connector, which stands for Combined Charging System, uses the same port to provide both AC and DC charging and includes a J1772 output, thus providing Level 2 or Level 3 charging through the same connector. .. European and American carmakers use the CCS format.

Tesla uses a unique connector that connects Tesla’s vehicles to level 3 charging. With over 23,000 Tesla superchargers around the world, those who choose to join Elon have access to a very strong infrastructure. ((((Ed. Be careful: Tesla will provide access to superchargers for all electric vehicles in late 2021. )

How does the adapter fit the image?

If the conversation about charging an electric car gets uncomfortable and complicated, don’t worry. Establishing a baseline of how charging criteria work with each other makes it easier to navigate these areas.

Level 1-Level 2-Level 3 Price Description

Some car manufacturers have chosen to limit their charging standards, but adapters allow you to charge your vehicle with two incompatible connectors. However, many of these compatibility seems to occur for no rhyme or reason.

For example, most Tesla connectors are proprietary, but CHAdeMO, J1772, and / or CCS adapters can be attached to alternative charging sources.

However, currently, the Tesla supercharger does not work the other way around, so only Tesla is displayed. For example, instead of relying on an adapter between the CCS unit and the CHAdeMO unit, most charging points provide both connectors to optimize their use.

How long do you think the EV battery will last?


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Every EV Charging Standard and Connector Type Explained

Like smartphones, EVs use different charging systems and different connectors

In an ideal world, all electric vehicles would plug into the same kind of outlet. EV drivers wouldn’t have to think twice before charging up, and incompatibility would be a thing of the past.

Of course the world is a very different place, making the basic act of pulling up your EV for a charge is a potentially complicated process. While those standards will inevitably shift— after all, modern EVs are still rapidly evolving— here’s a guide to current different charging standards and how to make life with your electric vehicle as streamlined as possible.

EV Charging Levels at a Glance

Electric vehicle charging receptacles come in several forms, just as the home videocassette market saw warring VHS and Betamax formats vying for supremacy. These are still relatively early days for EVs, so what’s hot today may be passé tomorrow. That said, the easiest way to understand current charging standards is to break them down by speed.

Level 1 
EHStock/Getty Images Plus

The most basic (and often excruciatingly slow) charger is a Level 1, or the standard 110/120 volt plug you’ll find in any North American home. While slow, regular outlets are everywhere and available for a slow trickle charge in a pinch— though you’ll only add 3 to 5 miles of range per hour. This typically comes with an EV during purchase.

Charging Your EV at Home: Everything You Need to Know
Level 2 
A Lefanev 240 portable charger.
Lefanev

Level 2 chargers run at 240 volts, and can be installed by an electrician with relative ease to existing setups, just like a clothes dryer that runs on electricity. Expect a Level 2 charger to add approximately 25 miles of range per hour. 

How Long Does it Take to Charge an EV?
Level 3 
DeFodi/Getty

Level 3 is where charging speed gets serious. Also known as DC Fast Chargers, this standard (which encompasses Tesla Superchargers as well) requires a robust, DC (not AC) stream of electricity running in excess of 480 volts and 100 amps.

Because of these massive amounts of oomph, Level 3 units can fully charge a battery in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. Though they’re essentially unheard of in homes, DC chargers are ideal for commercial or retail setups where drivers can gain rapid battery replenishment so they continue driving lengthy distances without a long wait time. 

Is It Better to Charge My EV at Home or at a Public Charger?
Where Connectors Come In
svetolk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

All the electrons in the world can’t do a thing for your electric vehicle if it’s not equipped with a matching connector. Here’s a rundown of the major charging connectors you’ll find on virtually every modern electric vehicle.

J1772 is the standard Level 2 charging connector you’ll find on most vehicles. While capable of charging at Level 1 speeds, J1772 chargers are typically running at Level 2 in most residential, commercial, and retail settings.

CHAdeMO is an early form of DC quick charging that was established by a consortium of Japanese carmakers. Short for CHArge de MOve, or “move using charge,” CHAdeMO connectors appear alongside J1772 connectors in order to maximize charging options. However, these chargers have been waning in popularity and are unlikely to hold significant market share in the future.

CCS Type 1 / CCS Type 2 connectors, short for Combined Charging System, enable both AC and DC charging using the same port, offering Level 2 or Level 3 charging via the same connector because it incorporates a J1772 outlet. European and American carmakers have embraced the CCS format.

Tesla uses proprietary connectors that link any Tesla vehicle to Level 3 charging. With over 23,000 Tesla Superchargers in the world, there’s a remarkably robust infrastructure open to those who choose to join Elon’s side. (Ed. note: Tesla is opening up access to its Superchargers for all EVs in late 2021.)

How Adapters Fit Into the Picture

If the conversation about EV charging has gotten uncomfortably complicated, don’t worry: It gets easier to navigate these waters once you’ve established a groundwork for how charging standards work with each other. 

Level 1 vs. Level 2 vs. Level 3 Charging Explained

While some carmakers have chosen to wall themselves in by their charging standards, adapters can enable two otherwise incompatible connectors to charge a vehicle. However, many of these compatibilities seem to occur without rhyme or reason. 

For instance, Tesla’s connectors are primarily proprietary, though CHAdeMO, J1772, and/or CCS adapters can be fitted for alternative charging sources.

However, it doesn’t currently work the other way around at a Tesla Supercharger, which is why you’ll only see Teslas there. Rather than relying on an adapter between, say, CCS and CHAdeMO units, most charging venues instead offer both connectors in order to optimize their use. 

How Long to Expect Your EV Battery to Last

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