Understanding the different types of EV charging connectors can be overwhelming, especially for those new to the world of EVs.
So for the sake of simplicity, try to think of connectors in terms of AC and DC electric vehicle charging. And under each, there are different connector types depending on where in the world you are.
A single connector standardization would be nirvana, but it’s pretty straightforward nonetheless. Below is a snapshot of which connectors to be aware of.
1️⃣ AC charging connectors are different depending on where in the world you are. In America, we use the SAE J1772 standard. In Europe, type 2 is the standard.
2️⃣ DC fast chargers are connected via the CCS1 in America, CHAdeMO in Japan, and CCS2 in Europe.
3️⃣ Tesla uses a proprietary connector for both AC and DC across all markets except the EU.
Whether you’re a new EV owner or just looking to learn more about EV charging connectors, this guide will arm you with what you need to know when it comes to charging your vehicle.
AC Charging Connectors
The vast majority of EV charging is done via AC connections. It’s cheaper than DC and with the market for home chargers growing, a great way of growing the national infrastructure to support adoption.
J1772 (Type 1) Connectors
The J1772 plug, also known as the SAE J1772 connector, Type 1 connector, or the J Plug, is a standard for electrical connectors used in electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
It is primarily used in North America and some Asian countries. The J1772 plug was developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to provide a uniform charging infrastructure for these vehicles.
The J1772 plug is designed for both AC Level 1 (120 volts) and AC Level 2 (240 volts) charging, which are the most common charging levels for home and public charging stations.
The connector allows for the transfer of power, as well as communication between the vehicle and the charging equipment, to ensure safe and efficient charging.
When using a J Plug, it’s important to note that it can only provide a maximum charging rate of 7.4 kW, which means it can take several hours to fully charge an electric vehicle. This connector is commonly used for charging smaller EVs with lower battery capacities, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
The Type 1 connector is not compatible with fast DC charging, which means it cannot be used for Level 3 charging. However, some charging stations may offer a Type 1 connector with a CHAdeMO adapter, which allows for Level 3 charging. It is important to check the charging station
Type 2 Connectors
The Type 2 connector, also known as the Mennekes connector, is the charging standard used in Europe.
This connector comes with seven pins and accommodates up to 32 amps at 400 volts input, delivering a maximum power of 22 kW. It supports both single-phase and three-phase AC charging for Level 2 chargers.
|Current||Up to 32 amps|
|Voltage||400 volts input|
|Max Power||22 kW|
|Charging Type||Single-phase and three-phase AC|
|Charger Level||Level 2|
|Compatibility||Most electric vehicles|
|Safety||Shutter mechanism, water, and dust protection|
|Lifespan||High number of mating cycles|
One of its advantages is its wide compatibility with EVs which is supported by the majority of European car manufacturers. Additionally, the Type 2 connector is compatible with CCS (Combined Charging System) connectors, allowing for both AC and DC charging via the same port.
Designed with safety in mind, the Type 2 connector features a shutter mechanism that prevents accidental contact with live components and safeguards against water and dust ingress. Its high number of mating cycles ensures durability and longevity.
DC Charging Connections
The fastest way to charge an electric car is with DC. However, the application is restricted to public charging until (and if) residential circuits can handle the load.
If you own a Nissan LEAF or a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, then you are familiar with the CHAdeMO connector type. This quick charging system was developed in Japan and is still used in some parts of the world.
However, electric car manufacturers themselves are abandoning CHAdeMO connectors, and currently, only a few car models use this connector type.
One of the main advantages of CHAdeMO connectors is their ability to charge an electric vehicle rapidly (up to 80% in less than 30 minutes), making them ideal for long-distance travel.
But, they are not as widely available as other connector types, and you may need to plan your route carefully to find a charging station that supports CHAdeMO.
If you are planning a road trip and your vehicle uses CHAdeMO connectors, it’s important to check the availability of charging stations along your route.
You can use online resources like PlugShare or ChargeHub to find charging stations that support CHAdeMO connectors. These websites also provide information on the number of charging stations available, their location, and the charging speed.
There are numerous other EV mobile apps worth considering as part of your ‘stack’.
CCS, or Combined Charging System, is a popular and elegant solution for fast DC charging. It is the result of the collaboration between major automakers in Europe and the United States.
The CCS connector uses the J1772 charging inlet, which is the standard for Level 2 charging in North America, and adds two more pins below. The additional pins enable faster charging speeds and make the CCS connector compatible with DC fast charging stations.
This article covers the differences between CCS and J1772 in more detail if you want to dig deeper.
The CCS connector is available in two versions: Type 1 CCS and Type 2 CCS. Type 1 CCS is used in North America and Japan, while Type 2 CCS is used in Europe and other parts of the world. Both versions of the CCS connector support charging up to 350 kW, which is currently the fastest charging speed available.
The primary benefit of CCS connectors is they are compatible with both AC and DC charging. This means that EV owners can use the same connector for both Level 2 charging at home or work and fast charging on the road.
The CCS connector also supports bidirectional charging, which means that it can be used to discharge energy from the EV back to the grid or to power other devices.
Tesla’s come standard with a proprietary charging connector and port, which is not compatible with other EVs or charging stations. This connector is used across both AC and DC charging, so there is just an elegant single port to charge a Tesla!
The company has recently announced that it will be opening up its North American charging standard to other manufacturers and charging network operators.
This means that in the future, Tesla charging connectors and ports may become more widely adopted, making it easier for Tesla owners to find charging stations and for other EV owners to use Tesla charging stations.
In addition, the extensive charging infrastructure that Mr. Musk invested so heavily is also now open to non-Tesla vehicles. Each supercharger has been retrofitted with an adapter to CCS 1 in North America.
Charging connectors for EVs often get mistaken for the levels of EV charging. But they are two entirely different things.
The easy way to remember connector types is by thinking in terms of home (AC) or public (DC) charging. And if you’re in North America, all you need to do is know the J1772/Type 1 (which is AC) and CCS1 for your DC fast charging.
On the other hand, if you own a Tesla, you don’t have an issue, but to highlight in any case:
This video from MKBHD on the YouTube channel Auto Focus highlights the need for public education when it comes to connectors and receptacles.