2 August, 2017   By: Courtney Pearson

Levels, types, amps, phases and adapters - what does this language mean?

Electric vehicles are well and truly here, and we’re welcoming them with open arms. They’re quiet, have zero emissions and with new models on the way, are getting ever more affordable.

However, at the moment, when it comes to charging up your car, there are a number of different types of EV chargers to suit different types of electric cars and electric car sockets.

Why? Because to date, different car makers had simply included what worked for them, or the region – for example, the US and Europe chose different standard charge types, a bit like they have different power socket types.

In Australia, we’ve ended up with a little bit of everyone’s theory on what the charge sockets should look like. The Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) is working with Standards Australia to develop an Australian standard for all electric vehicle charging points, but it will take time.

So in the meantime, here’s the list of the different types of EV chargers you may find on your EV journey.

Plug Types

AC Charging 

These chargers are slower to charge and are often Level 2, which means as a charger, you could do it at home.

 

An icon of the Type 1 EV charger plug     

Type 1 
Alternative names: J1772, SAE J1772

Looks like: The Type 1 is a round connector with 5 prongs.

Suits vehicles: BMW, Nissan, Porsche, Mercedes, Volvo and Mitsubishi.

About: Type 1 is considered the standard plug for Japanese and North American cars.

Charge rate: Slow

RAC Map description: Likely to be marked as BYO cable, with a sub tag of Type 1.

 

An icon of the Type 2 EV charger plug     

Type 2 

Alternative names: IEC 62196, Mennekes

Looks like: The Type 2 is a round connector with 7 prongs.

Suits vehicles: Tesla and Renault electric vehicles. Tesla vehicles can plug into any Type 2 charging point unless it states “Tesla Only”.

About: The Type 2 is the plug standard for Europe. It is a single and 3-phase connector, capable of 3-phase charging if available. In Australia, it can present as just a socket on the wall where you have to bring your own cable.

Charge rate: Slow

RAC Map description: Likely to be marked as BYO cable, with a sub-tag of Type 2. All RAC fast charger stations also have a Type 2 cable connector available. 

Type 2 EV charger  

 

Tesla charger

Looks like: The Tesla charger is a plug with five prongs. It uses the Type 2 connector.

Suits vehicles: The Destination Chargers were designed for exclusive use with Tesla vehicles.

About: The Tesla charger use two of the pins on the standard Type 2 plug for DC current. The Supercharger gives a faster charge-up than the Destination charger.

Charge rate: Slow 

RAC Map description: Marked as Tesla charger.

 

Rapid DC Charging

Rapid chargers are, as the name suggests, faster. They are Level 3, which means they are industrial strength and can't be used at home.

 

An icon of the CHAdeMO EV charger plug     

CHAdeMO 

Looks like: The CHAdeMO is a round plug with two prongs. 

Suits vehicles: Mitsubishi I-Miev, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Nissan Leaf.

About: The CHAdeMO, an abbreviation for “CHArge de Move”, uses a lot of power, giving the ‘fast charge’. Not found in homes.

Charge rate: Fast (up to 62.5kW of power)

RAC Map description: Marked as RAC fast charger. All RAC charging stations have CHAdeMo plugs. 

Icons of the CCS 1 and 2 EV charger plugs
CCS 1 (top) and CCS 2 (bottom)

 

CCS Combo

Looks like: A plug with two connectors. It has Type 1 or Type 2 male/female prongs at the top and two male/female prongs at the bottom.  

Suits vehicles: CCS Type 1 for Japanese and North American vehicles and CCS Type 2 for European vehicles.

About: The CCS plug is a combination socket and comes in Type 1 and Type 2. In Australia there is both single and three phase power, which is supported by the Type 2 plug. The DC connector in the plug allows for fast charging while the AC connector is used for conventional at-home charging.

Charge rate: Fast

RAC Map description: Marked as RAC or open fast charger. All RAC charging stations have CCS Type 1 plugs.