02 Feb, 23

Electric car charging connectors vary across regions and models, leading to differing plug standards. The Combined Charging System (CCS) is widely supported by global automakers in North America and Europe, while CHAdeMO is used in Japan, and GB/T is used in the world’s largest electric vehicle market, China. Each region’s plug type also provides different power levels. To learn more about the differences and important details regarding electric vehicle charging, keep reading.

“The pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending journey, for the more we learn, the more we realize how much there is still to discover.”

– Albert Einstein

It is crucial for electric vehicle (EV) owners to understand the difference between EV charger plugs because not all EVs and plugs are alike. The EV charging connector standard varies across regions and models, and there are different levels of power available depending on the plug type within each region. Knowing which plug type your EV uses and which charging stations are compatible with it is essential for ensuring that you can charge your car quickly and efficiently. Understanding the different EV charger plugs and their availability also helps you plan your trips, avoid range anxiety, and ensures that you can make the most of your EV ownership experience.

North American EV Plug Standards

In North America, every electric vehicle manufacturer, except Tesla, uses the SAE J1772 connector, also known as the J-plug, for Level 1 (120 volt) and Level 2 (240 volt) charging. This means that all non-Tesla electric vehicles sold in North America can use any charging station that comes with the standard J1772 connector. It’s crucial to note that every non-Tesla level 1 or level 2 charging station sold in North America also utilizes the J1772 connector.

Tesla provides a Tesla charger adapter cable with every car they sell, which allows their cars to use charging stations that have a J1772 connector. This means that Tesla vehicles can charge on any charging station that has the standard J1772 connector. However, Tesla also makes its own charging stations, which use a proprietary Tesla connector, and EVs from other brands cannot use them unless they purchase an adapter.

To simplify, any electric vehicle you buy today in North America can use a charging station that has a J1772 connector, except for Tesla charging stations, which use a proprietary connector. On the other hand, all level 1 or level 2 charging stations available today in North America use the J1772 connector, except those made by Tesla.

DC Fast Charge EV Plug Standards in North America

DC fast charging is a high-speed EV charging option that can be found in public areas, usually along major highways for long-distance travel. It’s not available for home charging as the required electricity is typically not available in residential buildings. DC fast chargers use 480 volts and can recharge an electric vehicle in as little as 20 minutes, making long-distance travel more convenient. However, excessive use of DC fast charging stations can negatively impact the battery’s lifespan and it is recommended to limit use to once or twice a week.

Unlike level 1 and level 2 charging (J1772 and Tesla), DC Fast Chargers use three different types of connectors. This adds an extra layer of complexity for EV owners, who need to consider the type of connector available when choosing a charging station. It is important to understand the differences between the connectors to ensure a seamless charging experience.

Combined Charging System plug

CCS (Combined Charging System): In North America, the CCS connector is widely accepted as the standard for electric vehicles. It is a combination of the J1772 connector and high-speed charging pins, which has earned it its name. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed and endorses the CCS standard, and it has been adopted by a large number of automakers including General Motors, Ford, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen, and more.

Cahdemo Charger Plug

CHAdeMo: The CHAdeMo connector was developed by Tepco, a Japanese utility company. It is widely used in Japan as the standard for DC fast charging, with virtually all fast charging stations in the country having a CHAdeMO connector. However, the scenario is different in North America, where only two automakers, Nissan and Mitsubishi, use the CHAdeMO connector. The Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are the only electric vehicles that can charge with the CHAdeMO connector. In 2018, Kia switched from CHAdeMO to CCS, as the latter is the accepted standard in North America. Unlike CCS, CHAdeMO connectors do not share any parts with the J1772 inlet and require an additional ChadeMO inlet on the vehicle. This results in a larger charging port area to accommodate two separate charging sockets.

Tesla charger plug

Tesla: Tesla has a unique approach to EV charging with its proprietary connector that can handle all levels of charging, including Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charge. This eliminates the need for different connectors for different charging speeds, as is the case with other standards. The Tesla connector can only be used by Tesla vehicles and is specifically designed for use with Tesla’s own DC fast charging stations, known as Superchargers. These charging stations are exclusively for Tesla vehicle owners and are maintained by Tesla. Non-Tesla EVs cannot charge at Tesla Superchargers, even with the use of an adapter cable, as the station includes an authentication process to ensure only Tesla vehicles are granted access to the charging power.

European EV Plug Standards

The European EV charging landscape differs from that of North America in a few ways. Firstly, the standard voltage for household electricity in Europe is 230V, which is almost double that of North America, making level 1 charging unavailable in Europe. Secondly, instead of the J1772 connector, the IEC 62196 Type 2 connector, commonly known as Mennekes, is the standard used by all EV manufacturers except Tesla in Europe.

Recently, the Tesla Model 3 has switched from the proprietary Tesla connector to the Type 2 connector. The Tesla Model S and Model X sold in Europe still use the Tesla connector, but it is speculated that they will also switch to the Type 2 connector in the future.

In Europe, the standard for DC fast charging is also CCS, as it is in North America, with the exception of Nissan and Mitsubishi. The European CCS system combines the Type 2 connector, commonly referred to as Mennekes, with two DC fast charge pins. This is similar to the CCS system in North America that uses the J1772 connector. The Tesla Model 3 now uses the European CCS charging system, and Tesla has also equipped their Supercharger stations with the CCS connector.

How do I know which connector my electric vehicle uses?

When it comes to electric vehicles, Level 1 and Level 2 charging typically use the connector that is the standard in the vehicle’s respective market, such as North America, Europe, China, and Japan. The only exception is Tesla, which provides an adapter cable for compatibility with the market standard. Non-Tesla electric vehicles can still charge at Tesla Level 1 or 2 charging stations, but an adapter is required and can be purchased from a third-party vendor.

DC fast charging for electric vehicles is a bit different, with Tesla having a proprietary network of Supercharger stations that are exclusive to Tesla vehicles. These stations use a proprietary Tesla connector with an authentication process, and no adapter will work. On the other hand, Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles use the Japanese standard CHAdeMO, while other electric vehicles use the CCS charging standard.

To help locate charging stations, there are smartphone apps like JuiceNet software that list all publicly available EV charging stations and specify the plug type or connector used.

For those interested in electric car charging at home, there is no need to worry about different EV charging connector types. Every charging unit in your respective market will come with the industry standard connector that your electric vehicle uses. In North America, the standard is the J1772, while in Europe it is the Type 2 connector. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the customer support team, who are always ready to help with any electric vehicle charging questions.

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