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Electric car: the different types of plugs

When it comes to buying an electric car, the issue of charging quickly becomes a central concern. Can you charge your electric car with a household outlet? Do I have to be equipped with a special socket? To help you see more clearly, Automobile-Propre goes through the different types of sockets available.

A standardized framework

While there may have been a war of plugs in the early 2010s, the European Commission put an end to the debates for good by designating two standards dedicated to the charging of electric and plug-in hybrid cars:

  • the Type 2 for recharging in alternating current (AC) on slow and accelerated stations
  • the CCS Combo for fast direct current (DC) charging at fast and ultra-fast charging stations

These two standards complete the classic domestic socket and make it possible to cover higher load levels. They are now present on almost all electric cars launched on the European market.

The domestic socket

While it is still strongly recommended to have your installation checked by an electrician, the household outlet can now be used to charge all electric cars on the market.

For the user, this is the easiest solution to use, but arguably not the most practical. Restricted to 10A (2.3 kW) to avoid the risk of overheating, recharging on domestic outlets is very long and proves impractical on the new generation of electric cars equipped with batteries with a much larger capacity. Example: on a Renault ZOE with a 52 kWh battery, it will take more than 20 hours for a full charge.

The Green’Up plug

Improved version of the domestic socket, the Green’Up socket is an intermediate solution for those who do not wish to invest in a wall-box with Type 2 socket. Inexpensive, the Green’Up socket can be easily installed by a technician and allows the load to rise to 14A, or 3 kW. However, it is necessary to have a Green’Up cable for this to work.

The type 1 socket

If it remains a standard in some countries such as Japan or the United States, the Type 1 socket has almost disappeared in Europe where it has been replaced by the standard Type 2. It is still found on the first generation of Nissan Leaf but also on the Peugeot iOn – Citroën C-Zero – Mitsubishi iMiev triplet, three models developed on a Mitsubishi platform.

The type 2 socket

Defined as the European standard for alternating current (AC) charging, the type 2 plug has now become widely used in Europe. It is found on most public terminals but also on wall-boxes, the famous charging stations to be installed at home.

Type 2 socket

Compared to the domestic socket, the main advantage of the type 2 socket is the charging power it tolerates. If this can theoretically climb to 43 kW, or even 120 kW at Tesla, it is in reality “constrained” by two physical limits:

  • That of the vehicle and in particular of the on-board charger. Today, most models incorporate 7 kW chargers. Others, such as the Renault ZOE, incorporate a 22 kW system as standard.
  • That of the charging station. In France, public charging stations equipped with Type 2 sockets mainly offer 7 and 22 kW.

Type 3 socket

Considered as a “vestige” of the first generation of electric cars, the Type 3 socket still exists in some public terminals. A time in the running to become the European standard, it is now a thing of the past.

The CHAdeMO socket

An initiative of Asian manufacturers, the CHAdeMO plug was the first international standard dedicated to fast direct current (DC) charging. Widely present on the first generation of electric vehicles marketed in the early 2010s (Nissan Leaf, Peugeot iOn, Citroën C-Zero, etc.), the CHAdeMO plug has seen its heyday. It now leans against the Combo CCS, designated as standard on the European continent.

Fast charging: CHAdeMO announces 150 kW for 2017

The CCS Combo socket

Carried by German industry, the Combo CCS socket (Combined Charging System) was launched in 2016 with the aim of competing with the CHAdeMO standard. Operating in direct current and dedicated to high power charging, the Combo CCS has been designated as the European standard for direct current charging.

The CCS Combo connector.

The Combo CCS connector now equips almost all electric vehicles launched on the market. Even Nissan, yet a staunch supporter of CHAdeMO, will switch to the Combo on European versions of its Ariya electric SUV.

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