EV Charging Basics

EV charging points are primarily defined by the power (in kW) they can produce and therefore what speed they are capable of charging an EV. While connector types are also a key issue, most EVs are equipped with two or more cables to allow the use of chargers with different connector outlets.

Charge point types

Slow charging (up to 3kW) uses a standard single-phase 13 Amp three-pin plug (BS 1363) and draws 3 kW of power – with a full charge typically taking 6 to 8 hours. Although a standard 13A domestic socket can be used, our advice is that a qualified electrician conducts a house survey to ensure that the wiring will safely support the long periods of charging.

Nearly all electric models can be slow charged with each vehicle being supplied with a charging cable with the appropriate connectors – in most cases a standard three-pin plug at the charging point end, and either a gun shaped Type 1 (J1772) or 7-pin Type 2 (Mennekes) connector for connection to the vehicle.

Fast charging (7-22kW) reduces charge times to around half that of a slow charge by at least doubling the current to around 32 amps (7 kW) – so that the time for a full charge is typically 3 to 4 hours. Most commercial and many public on-street chargers use this technology.

While not all electric vehicles are able to accept a fast charge at 32 amps, most can be connected to them (with the right connector) and will draw either 13 or 32 amps depending on their capability. While Type 1 (J1772) connectors were the most common, these are steadily being replaced by the more versatile 7-pin Type 2 (Mennekes) socket.

Rapid chargers (43-50kW) supply an electric vehicle directly with either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) from a dedicated charging unit using a tethered cable equipped with a non-removable connector, usually a JEVS (CHAdeMO), 9-pin CCS (Combo) connector or a Type 2 (Mennekes). Often rated at around 50 kW, charging an electric vehicle to 80% typically takes less than half an hour.

As with fast charging, not all electric vehicles can use a rapid charger. While the short charge times make this option very convenient, regular use of rapid charging can reduce battery life. At least 300 rapid charge locations are installed in the UK with many more planned for installation later this year.

The majority of electric vehicle charging is conducted at home or at work. Public charging networks offer a mix of slow, fast and rapid charging points operated by either a national or regional network. Once a member of a network, EV users have access to all charge points in networks with which they are registered.

EV Connector Types

AC connector type Typical Power Ratings Approx range per hour charging** Features
Type 1
  • 3.7kW
  • 7kW
  • 12.5 miles
  • 25 miles
  • 5-pins
  • Standard US socket
  • No locking mechanism
  • Single phase only
Type 2
  • 3.7kW
  • 7kW
  • 22kW (three-phase)
  • 12.5 miles
  • 25 miles
  • 75 miles
  • 7-pins
  • Standard European socket
  • Inbuilt locking mechanism
  • Can carry three phase power

Rapid Charging

Direct Current (DC)

Typically used for en route/public rapid charging, there are three types of DC car-side connectors.

DC connector type Typical Power Ratings Approx range per 30 mins charging* Features
  • 50kW*
  • 75 miles
  • Original DC connector
  • Most common in the UK
Combined Charging System (CCS)
  • 50kW
  • 150kW**
  • 350kW***
  • 75 miles
  • 225 miles
  • 525 miles
  • High power
  • Neat arrangement with 2 x 'Type 2' pins
  • Likely to become most popular DC standard
Type 2
  • 130kW
  • 180 miles
  • Only Tesla Superchargers provide DC via a Type 2 connector
  • Charge rate “throttles” to protect battery
  • Does not charge consistently at 130kW as a result

* Assumes 60kWh full battery electric vehicle (BEV).