The common query among the potential electric car buyers is what are the types of chargers and whether or not they are universal.
This article explains, in detail, the types of electric car chargers and a whether or not they are universal in their application. Electric cars are all the buzz at the moment. Every major traditional carmaker is amidst the transition from internal combustion engines to electric powertrains while there are a plethora of new players/startups emerging in the space that are born electric. Within this decade, we are likely to witness a historic and almost complete metamorphosis into environment-friendly mobility solutions.
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These electric cars will use various kinds of chargers depending on the kind of segment they lie in. Here are the types of chargers and their plugs that are found in major EVs.
Types of Electric Car Chargers
Level 1 (120V – AC Charging) – This is the basic charging infrastructure that everyone has in their homes. This simple AC charging method takes the longest time since the AC power gets converted into DC power first. The charging capacity for such kinds of chargers could be upto 3 kW. It will take the longest (upto 15 hours or even more) to charge your electric car. Typical applications include home charging overnight.
Level 2 (240V – AC Charging) – Most of the public charging stations have this setup where the charging capacity could be as high as around 7 kW. Many EVs above the entry-level segment come with onboard 7 kW charging equipment. Such setups could be found in parking lots of big companies, public charging stations, etc.
Level 3 (upto 480V – DC Fast/Rapid Charging) – Modern mid-to-high-end electric cars come with the option of DC fast charging that supports upto 350 kW capacity. Such kind of setup typically charges the batteries of vehicles in mere minutes. However, the hardware required for this must be bought separately. Many new car companies are working on an 800V charging infrastructure as well.
|Type of Charger||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Architecture||up to 120 V||up to 240 V||up to 800 V|
|Capacity||up to 3 kW||up to 7 kW||up to 350 kW|
|Most Common Location||Home||Parking Lots (Public)||Public Charging Stations|
Types of Plugs
Equally relevant to the charging equipment are the types of plugs used in electric cars. Here are the types of plugs compatible with various chargers.
Type 1 Plug – Most of the 3-pin sockets (single-phase) that are found in homes across various countries of the world refer to as Type 1 plugs. These support the Level 1 and Level 2 chargers with a capacity of upto 7 kW.
Type 2 Plug – The three-phase plugs are found in the charging equipment that has charging capacities of around 40 kW in public places. Domestic usage of around 22 kW charging capacity is also supported by these Type 2 plugs. Most of the EVs of the world used either Type 1 or Type 2 plugs only.
Type 3 Plug – Now, there are a couple of plugs that fall under this category and are used in DC fast charging scenarios. The most common and increasingly used Type 3 plug is the CCS (Combined Charging System) that has combines the 2-pin plug with the standard 3-pin plug. The 5-pin setup allows for the rapid charging of upto 170 kW.
The other not-so-common CHAdeMO type of plugs have a 10-pin setup but are only used by a handful of brands like Nissan and Mitsubishi.
While the chargers of electric cars are generally universal, the plugs used for DC fast charging could be manufacturer-specific.
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