Rather like mobile phone technology, there are different types of charging plugs for different Electric Vehicles in the UK.  The landscape is constantly changing as this is an emerging technology so motorists have to contend with a spectrum of choice which can depend upon where the EV was manufactured and its age.

Type 1 Electric plug standard

charging The Type 1 five-pin connector has been largely overtaken in the UK and Europe by the Type 2 but can still be found on some older EVs like the first versions of the Nissan Leaf, the Kia Soul and the hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander. The Type 1 is designed for Alternating Current or AC, a mix of slow and fast charging and has a capacity of between three and seven kW.

Type 2 Electric plug standard

The Type 2 plug is a seven-pin plug and fitted by most car manufacturers to their EV models in line with EU legislation.  Most tethered – a tethered cable is a charging cable attached permanently to the charger – public charging points will have a Type 2 plug.  Like Type 1, this system is intended to work with slow and fast charging, but it can handle a much greater kW delivery.  The Type 2 connector can be locked to the vehicle which is a benefit that the Type 1 doesn’t offer – this means that no-one can disconnect the vehicle whilst it is charging and the driver is not present.

Combination Plugs for a Combined Charging System or CCS

Most new pure Electric Vehicles are fitted with the Combined Combination System or CCS which allows charging at a rapid public DC socket and a home AC unit.

CHAdeMO

Japan’s car manufacturers are working on an alternative to the CCS called CHAdeMO which is a Direct Charge rapid charging system with capacity of up to 400kW with developers looking to at least double this in the near future.  Unlike its main rival, CCS, CHAdeMO requires two separate plugs for rapid and AC charging but this system also has the added ability to convey electrical current in two directions which theoretically allows for Vehicle to Grid transfer.  Unused electricity from a fully charged EV could potentially be transferred to power a building or sold back to the National Grid.

Key Points to consider with Charging Plugs

  • How quickly do you need to charge the vehicle/s?
  • What rate of charge can the vehicle accept?
  • What is the current fitting on the EV?
  • Where is the vehicle going to be charged on a regular basis, will this be a domestic wall box, public charging facilities or an AC rapid charging point on business premises?

Reviewing the amount of charge and rate of charge are key factors when deciding on an EV purchase particularly for fleet vehicles, and requires a thorough understanding of frequency of usage, journey ranges and how quickly EVs need to be recharged and returned to the road to support the business.  Consider also the broader landscape of new developments in the EV sector which is very fast moving.  Green business fleet decisions should accommodate the continuous innovations which is a hallmark of this emerging technology.