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The charging terms you need to know to be a professional electric car owner

Which charging standard does your car need? Type 1? Type 2? CHAdeMO or Combo/CCS? It’s easy to get confused. Here is an explanation of the most common standards and a couple of other terms from the electric car universe. When you have read it, you should have picked up just the right amount of knowledge – enough to come across as a professional electric car owner.

Standard plug and socket (Schuko) 

We must also mention the plug. Most electric cars come with a cable for charging from a normal socket as standard. This charging method is relatively slow, around 2.3 kW per hour. It is not designed to deliver a lot of power over a long period, and is not a recommended charging method for safety reasons. 

#Need to know: Charging cables with plugs are called emergency chargers, and there is a reason for that. They should only be used when safer charging options are not available. 

#Need to know: In order to charge a battery from AC, you must have a charger that converts the current to DC.

Charging standard Type 1

Many American and Asian cars use this standard, including the Kia Soul and older Nissan Leaf models. These charging cables often have a Type 1 plug at one end, and a standard domestic plug (Schuko) or Type 2 plug at the other. The charging effect with this standard is between 1.5 kW and 7.2 kW. 

Charging standard Type 2 

Type 2 is the new standard connector for charging electric cars. It has been developed for the European 400 V power grid, and is used by all European electric car manufacturers. 

The connector has a greater capacity for power transfer than Type 1. The Volkswagen eGolf, BMW i3 and Tesla are examples of cars with this type of connection. With this you can charge at a much higher rate than with Type 1 and Schuko. (From 1.5 kW up to 43 kW). 

#Nice to know: You can charge electric cars with a Type 1 connector at charging stations with Type 2 sockets. However, you then need a charging cable with Type 1 on the end that plugs into the car, and Type 2 on the end that you plug into the charging station. 

Charging standard CHAdeMO 

This was originally a Japanese standard, but it is now used by a number of makes such as Peugeot, Citroen, Kia, Nissan and Mitsubishi (for specific models, see here). 

Tesla can also use this standard with the aid of an adapter, but charging will be slower than with Tesla’s own Supercharger.

CHAdeMO

Charging standard Combo/CCS 

As the name suggests, Combo/CCS is a combination solution. The abbreviation CCS stands for Combined Charging System. This charging standard, which was developed by American and European car manufacturers, can be used for both AC charging and DC charging (fast charging.) 

For fast charging, the plug uses both ports. One part (with three pins) communicates with the car, while the other transports the electricity. 

BMW, Hyundai, Opel, Audi and VW are among the cars that use this standard, a standard that can in theory produce 270 kW per hour.

#Good to know: The CHAdeMO and Combo/CCS standards are used at fast charging stations (in addition to those designed for Tesla only). 

Combo/CCS

AC and DC 

You may know this, but we’ll cover it just in case: DC means direct current. Batteries always deliver direct current. If you are going to connect directly to a battery, it has to be direct current. 

AC means alternating current. This is the current you have in the sockets at home. 

What are Modes 1, 2, 3 and 4? 

  • We include these in the introduction, as they are also important terms when it comes to charging an electric car. In the charging standards, charging is divided into modes. In simple terms, this has a bearing on safety during charging. 

  • Mode 1: Charging with standard power cable 

  • Mode 2: Charging with a control box on the cable 

  • Mode 3: Charging from a charging station with a built-in control box 

  • Mode 4: Charging with direct current direct to the battery (fastest) 

DSB (the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection) recommends a wall charger (Mode 3) with a specially adapted Type 2 connector for charging electric cars. 

If you also want to know how you can charge smartly – and cheaply – we advise you to check out our Smart Charging package here too.