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What types of electric car charging connectors are there?


Charging an electric car is as easy as connecting the charging cable to a mobile phone. Maybe even easier, because there are usually two charging options. One of them is faster and one slower. Let's take a closer look!

It doesn't matter if you want to charge at home, at work or at an Enefit Volt public charging station, one thing is for sure: the connector of the charger must be suitable for your car's socket. There are four main types of connectors, two for direct current (DC) and two for alternating current (AC).

DC allows fast and ultra-fast charging up to 350 kW. The maximum charging power of ultra-fast chargers in the Enefit Volt network is currently 150 kW, in AC semi-fast chargers 22 kW.

Let's start from the faster option: fast charging with direct current i.e. CHAdeMO and CCS

The CHAdeMO charging standard was developed in Japan and is mainly used by Japanese car manufacturers, although recent news says that the new generation 3.0 charger is being developed together with Chinese companies and the maximum power will be as high as 500 kW. This remains to be seen.

CHAdeMO enables both very fast charging (up to 62.5 kW in the Enefit Volt network) and bidirectional charging, i.e. returning power to the network. Bidirectional charging services are being developed by the Enefit Volt team and will be provided to customers in the coming years. By the way, CHAdeMO is short for ‘Charge de Move’, that is charge and drive.

According to CHAdeMO corporation, 15% of all electric cars had this connector in the spring of 2020. In addition, 19% or all Tesla electric cars (with their designed adapter) and 15% of all plug-in hybrids.

The CCS connector is an enhanced version of the Type 2 connector (see below) that has two additional power connections to provide fast charging. CCS supports both DC and AC charging and allows charging speeds of up to 350 kW.

The latter only if the charger is able to provide it and the car receive it. The CCS charging standard is used by European, US and South Korean car manufacturers.

Let's continue with the slower option: AC connectors Type 1 and Type 2

Type 1 (also known as J-plug, SAE J1772) is a single-phase connector which is standard on electric cars in the United States and cars of Asian origin sold there. Also on older Nissan Leaf range used in Estonia as well. The Type 1 allows charging at speeds of up to 7.4 kW depending on the capability of the car and network.

Type 2 (also known as Mennekes) connectors are three-phase, which means that the current passes through three cables. The Type 2 thus allows faster AC charging, up to 22 kW at home and the same up to 22 kW in Enefit Volt’s public charging stations. The Type2 chargers in the Enefit Volt network are up to 22 kW, but again, the charging speed depends on the car and the network.

Enefit Volt: Type 2, CHAdeMO and CCS

In the Enefit Volt fast charging network, the standard for AC or slower charging is Type 2, as in most European countries. All Enefit Volt network’s Type 2 chargers are without a cable, which means that you must have the required cable with you.

Newer chargers can be recognized on the app by two visible Type 2 nozzles when clicking on the charger (see photo), meaning that two vehicles can be charged at the same time. Older Type 2 chargers, which were previously part of the ELMO network, are located in the same body with the fast charger (CHAdeMO).

It is worth remembering that if you charge a car with a Type 2 socket at a 22 kW charging point and use a cable with a Type 2 connector at both ends, the maximum charging power will be 22 kW. However, if you drive an Asian car such as an older Nissan Leaf with an AC charging standard of Type 1, you will need a cable with a Type 2 connector that fits into the charger at one end and a Type 1 connector at the other. The maximum charging power in this case will not exceed 7.4 kW.

In conclusion

There are 4 common connector types: CHAdeMO and CCS for fast charging, and Type 1 and Type 2 for slower AC charging.

The Type 2 is a three-phase connector that has been the standard for European and Asian cars since 2018 and allows charging at up to 43 kW. Up to 22 kW in the Enefit Volt network. In a semi-fast charger, the actual charging power depends on the car's on-board charger which can be either single- or three-phase. In the case of a single-phase on-board charger, the maximum charging power in semi-fast chargers will be 7.4 kW.

The Type 1 is a single-phase connector that can charge at up to 7.4 kW and is used in vehicles originating in Japan and the USA.

The CCS is an advanced version of the Type 2 connector and has two additional connections. CCS allows very fast charging.

CHAdeMO is a Japanese charging standard and allows both fast and bidirectional charging.

Enefit Volt's fast charging network has CHAdeMO, CCS and Type 2 connectors.