The CCS Plug | Master The Art Of EV Charging
CCS stands for Combined Charging System, and this plug is the same as the J1772. But, with two added DC charging ports, CCS is one of the standards for DCFC or Direct Current Fast Charging across the USA and Europe.
With CCS, you get the following:
1️⃣ Fast boost charging for your EV battery
2️⃣ AC and DC fast charging from the same port
3️⃣ Common 150kW chargers deliver 22 miles in just 30 minutes
4️⃣ Can charge up to 350kW or 525 miles in 30 minutes where available
Let’s look at the CCS plug in greater detail, how it compares with other charging plugs like CHAdeMO and J1772, and whether there is any risk to your electric vehicle using a CCS charger.
Understanding The CCS Plug
The CCS is split into two combinations. Combo 1 and Combo 2. In North America, the CCS1 is used. While in Europe, the CCS2 is the standard.
Mastering the art of electric vehicle charging means you need to have some technical knowledge of the CCS charging connector, so let’s look at how this plug is designed to deliver fast charging.
A CCS1 is basically an SAE J1772 plug with two additional DC charging inputs below. So a vehicle fitted with a CCS1 receptacle can still charge with a J1772.
The CCS2 plug is essentially a Type 2 connection with two extra holes for the DC charging inputs. Where you only use a Type-2 charger, it won’t have two extra charging points on the bottom of the plug.
The CCS connector will have two additional holes, and the DC converter will convert incoming AC to DC and feed directly to the car’s battery.
An easy way to think about the CCS plug is that it can take Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging inputs in one pin, and this is why it is fast becoming the preferred standard as all current EVs except Tesla’s Cybertruck are equipped with a CCS charging port.
Not only that, but the infrastructure bill requires all charging stations created under this funding bill to have CCS chargers.
CCS Vs. CHAdeMO
The CHAdeMO plug is the standard charging for EVs in Japan, but as the CCS plug is more efficient, the CHAdeMO plug is being phased out.
Initially, cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi’s I-MiEV used the CHAdeMO; as early as 2020, Nissan confirmed that future models would be CCS equipped.
Both plugs have the converter included to provide DC to the battery. Still, the CHAdeMO requires an adapter to allow AC charging functionality; without it, the CHAdeMO cannot offer Type 1 or Type 2 charging.
Essentially, the CCS is optimum for electric vehicle charging, and it’s no surprise that electric car manufacturers are offering their vehicles with the CCS plug.
CCS Vs. J1772
The basic difference between these two is that the J1772 is only for Type 1 and Type 2 charging on AC, while the CCS plug has additional direct DC charging pins that far exceed the kW charging capacity of the J1772.
The J1772 is very popular in the US, and it’s estimated that around 70% of plugs at public charging stations are J1772.
Still, with the expansion of CCS into the market and the fact that CCS can charge an electric car from 10% to 80% in just 30 minutes, CCS is fast becoming the preferred option.
For a deeper look into the discussion on these plug types side-by-side, check the article below:
📖 Related article: The differences between CCS and J1772
What Communication System Does CCS Use?
This is where the grid and EV charging have something in common. When initiating and controlling charging, the CCS plug utilizes a communication system called PLC or Power Line Communication, the same system that smart appliances use to communicate with the power grid.
An adapter would be required for vehicles that use the CHAdeMO or GB/T DC charging systems; by all accounts, these are not easy to come by.
How To Use A CCS Charger
One of the benefits of this system is its simplicity. Connecting to a CCS charger is as simple as pulling up to the charging station, connecting the CCS plug to your electric vehicle, and letting it charge up.
The CCS plug will lock in place when charging and release once charging is completed.
While this can deliver up to 350kW, you need to be careful and consider the charging capacity of your EV, and the CCS will only charge at the available power.
Still, the PLC system will regulate that for you – another reason why CCS is becoming so popular.
Is There Any Risk To My EV When Using The CCS Plug?
EV batteries are designed to be charged, but you should not always use a fast-charging system to recharge your electric car.
📖 Related article: Does supercharging damage a Tesla’s battery?
This is because too much rapid charging can damage the battery’s health over time, so it would be prudent to utilize rapid charging when needed and revert to the slower level 2 charging at home or where you have time to charge your electric vehicle overnight.
It is, of course, entirely conceivable that EV manufacturers may look at optimizing battery life on rapid-charge systems as CCS grows and expands.
But, since these are not domestically available and are not likely to become so, CCS will remain a public charging system only.
Does Tesla Offer CCS Chargers?
Tesla has only recently offered the CCS Combo 1 adapter for charging networks in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
Before September 2022, Tesla did not offer their clients the CCS option and worked with the CHAdeMO plug, but since this is well on its way out, Tesla had to adapt to the new standard in fast charging.
The Tesla adapter offers to charge up to 250kW on public charging networks, and while the current models can take the adapter, some of the older models may require a charging port retrofit to allow for CCS charging.
Can You Use CCS On A J1772?
The J1772 has the same configuration as the CCS, except for the DC charging pins, so you can use J1772 on CCS and vice versa. Of course, you won’t get the same charging speeds as you would on CCS, but there is no risk involved.
CCS is leading the way in hyper-efficient and super-rapid charging. Here are the key takeaways:
1️⃣ A charging capacity of up to 350kW.
2️⃣ The CCS combos have both Type 1 and Type 2 charging capabilities.
3️⃣ The infrastructure bill mandates CCS in all public charging stations.
All this evidence points to the CCS as the superior choice of charging plug and thankfully, a standardization agreement within the industry.
Learn more about the technical elements of CCS and the connector types, if you are partial to a scientific deep dive.