Types of Electric Vehicle Cables & Connectors: A Handy Guide

So you've made the eco-conscious choice to join the electric vehicle (EV) revolution – awesome! But now, you're faced with the daunting task of deciphering the differences between Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 connectors, not to mention portable charging cables. Fear not, fellow EV enthusiast! We've got your back. In this guide, we'll walk you through each type, highlighting their unique features and capabilities in a friendly and informative manner, to help you make the best decision for your charging needs.

First thing you need to know is what type of charging connector you need for your specific car. Most modern EVs sold in Europe are sold with the CCS Type 2 / Combo 2 Plug, this includes models from Tesla and Hyundai. However there are some manufacturers like Nissan who supply vehicles with a CCS Type 1 / Combo 1 Plug. It is always advised to check your vehicle's specification to ensure you are buying the correct EVSE and cable for your vehicle.

Type 1 EV Chargers: The Single-Phase Superstar

Type 1 chargers, known for their single-phase charging capabilities, are pretty popular in North America and Asia. Manufacturers such as Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Chevrolet often equip their EVs with Type 1 charging ports. These chargers use a single-phase alternating current (AC) and can provide charging speeds of up to 7.4kW – not too shabby!

Type 1 EV Cable

Type 1 EV Cable

Type 1 EV Connector Type 1 EV Plug

Sporting a five-pin design and a distinctive round shape, Type 1 connectors are easy to recognise. They may not be the top choice in Europe, but they still serve as a trusty charging option for many electric vehicle owners across the globe.

Type 2 EV Cables: Europe's Electrifying Favourite

Meet the Type 2 connector, also known as the Mennekes connector, the go-to choice for EV charging in Europe, including the UK. Compatible with most European EVs, from Tesla to BMW and Renault, Type 2 connectors have a lot to offer. Unlike Type 1 connectors, Type 2 chargers can handle both single-phase and three-phase AC charging, allowing for faster charging speeds of up to 22kW, or even 43kW in some instances.

Type 2 EV Cable

Type 2 EV Cable


Type 2 EV Connector

Type 2 EV Plug


Featuring a seven-pin design and a flat edge on one side, the Type 2 connector stands out from its rounded Type 1 counterpart. Knowing the differences between these two types is essential for ensuring you have the perfect charging buddy for your EV.

Type 3 EV Connectors: The Rare and Adaptable Gem

Type 3 connectors were introduced mainly in France and Italy due to specific safety requirements in those countries. However, new Type 3 charging stations are no longer being manufactured, and the focus has shifted toward Type 2 connectors for European markets. 

Got questions about Type 3 connectors or need a hand with compatibility? Feel free to reach out to our friendly team via live chat. We're always here to help!

Vehicle On-Board-Charger (OBC): The Limiting Factor

Once you know what type of plug you need, you will need to find out what your vehicle's On-board Charger (OBC) power rating is. You will need to look at the exact specification of your vehicle as some manufacturers offer OBC upgrades in the same model. Usually an OBC will be rated at either 3kW, 7kW, 11kW or 22kW, this is also sometimes called the maximum AC charge rate. We want to know what the maximum charge rate is as cables that are rated at higher charge rates generally cost more. So if your car has a maximum OBC charge rate of 7kW, you would be wasting money if you bought a 22kW cable which your car could never fully utilise.

Portable EV Charging Cables: The Road Trip Essential

Portable EV charging cables are the ultimate convenience for the modern EV driver. Designed for easy transportation, these chargers can be plugged into regular household outlets – perfect for on-the-go charging or as a backup solution. Higher power versions of portable chargers are available which can use industrial sockets common in most business parks, allowing charging up to 22kW without the need for a dedicated electric vehicle charging station.

Portable EV Charger Type 2

Available in Type 1 and Type 2 variants, portable chargers ensure compatibility with a wide range of electric vehicles. While they may not offer the lightning-fast charging speeds of dedicated charging stations, their versatility and ease of use make them a popular choice for many EV owners, especially those who love a good road trip where charging infrastructure is underdeveloped. 

Summary: Charging Made Easy

So there you have it! We've explored the ins and outs of Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 EV charging cables, as well as the ever-convenient portable charging options. By understanding the differences between these connectors, you'll be better equipped to find the ideal charging solution for your electric vehicle.

At EV Cables, we pride ourselves on our friendly, confident, and informative approach to all things EV. We're dedicated to providing high-quality, customisable, and eco-friendly charging solutions that suit your needs. By choosing us as your EV charging partner, you'll benefit from our expertise, exceptional customer support, and commitment to sustainability. So go ahead, give your EV the charging experience it deserves.

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Happy charging, and welcome to the EV family!

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