The Beginner’s Guide to EV Chargers

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The Beginner’s Guide to EV Chargers

Are you considering making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV)? If so, understanding the ins and outs of EV chargers is crucial. As the world transitions towards sustainable transportation, EV chargers play a pivotal role in facilitating this shift. Whether you’re a novice EV owner or simply curious about the technology, this beginner’s guide to EV chargers will provide you with all the essential information you need.


What is an EV Charger?

An EV charger is a device used to supply electric energy to recharge plug-in electric vehicles, including battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Think of it as the equivalent of a fuel pump for traditional cars, but instead of pumping gas, it delivers electricity to your vehicle's battery.


Types of EV Chargers - The 4 Modes of EV Charging

Mode 1: AC Home Charging

Mode 1 charging is the most basic form of EV charging, typically utilized at home or in locations where a dedicated charging station is not available. It involves connecting the EV directly to a standard AC power outlet using a charging cable equipped with an appropriate plug. Mode 1 chargers are characterized by their slow charging speed (40 - 60 hours), making them suitable for overnight charging or when the vehicle is not needed for an extended period. It is also least recommended due to its lack of protective measures that can cause potential damage risk to your vehicle, or risk of fire hazards from overvoltage or overload. This mode is limited and even forbidden in some markets. 

Mode 2: AC Home Charging 

Mode 2 charging builds upon the simplicity of Mode 1 by incorporating additional safety features. In Mode 2 charging, the EV is still connected to a standard AC power outlet, but through a dedicated charging cable equipped with an in-line control and protection unit (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). This device ensures safer charging by monitoring parameters such as current, voltage, and temperature, reducing the risk of overloading the electrical system or damaging the vehicle.

Mode 3: AC Charging Mode 

Mode 3 charging refers to charging using a charging station with a built-in control system. This system communicates with the vehicle to ensure safe charging. Mode 3 charging typically involves the use of a Type 2 connector (in Europe) or a J1772 connector (in North America) for AC charging. The charging station manages the flow of electricity to the vehicle, providing safety features such as overcurrent protection and ground fault protection. Mode 3 charging is commonly found in public charging stations and is the standard for residential and commercial installations.

Mode 4: DC Fast-charging Mode 

Mode 4 charging, on the other hand, usually refers to DC fast charging (DCFC) or quick charging. In Mode 4 charging, electricity is delivered directly from the grid to the vehicle's battery, bypassing the vehicle's onboard charging system. This allows for much faster charging rates compared to AC charging. DC fast charging stations typically use specialized connectors such as CHAdeMO, CCS (Combined Charging System), or Tesla Superchargers. Mode 4 charging is often used for long-distance travel or when quick recharging is needed. It's commonly found along highways and in urban areas.


Understanding Charging Connectors Types

EV chargers utilize different types of connectors, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The most common types include:

Menneskes (Type 2 EU IEC 62196-2)

Type 2 connectors, conforming to the IEC 62196-2 standard, are prevalent in Europe and increasingly adopted worldwide. These connectors feature a flat, rectangular shape with multiple pins, facilitating both single-phase and three-phase AC charging. Type 2 connectors are widely used for charging at home, public charging stations, and workplace charging points. Their versatility and compatibility make them a popular choice among EV manufacturers and infrastructure providers.

CCS-2 (IEC 62196-3)

Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors, based on the IEC 62196-3 standard, are specifically designed for DC fast charging. CCS-2 connectors integrate both AC and DC charging capabilities into a single plug, making them suitable for a variety of charging scenarios. With CCS-2 connectors, EV owners can benefit from faster charging speeds, making long-distance travel more convenient. This connector type is increasingly becoming the standard for fast-charging infrastructure, particularly in Europe, South America, South Africa, Singapore, and most Asian countries.

CHAdeMO (Japan)

Originating in Japan, the CHAdeMO connector is specifically designed for DC fast charging. CHAdeMO connectors feature a unique, cylindrical design with a large plug and socket, allowing for high-power charging sessions. Developed by Japanese manufacturers, CHAdeMO connectors specialize in high-voltage DC fast charging. Widely adopted by Asian automakers, CHAdeMO connectors offer rapid charging capabilities, making them ideal for long-distance travel and commercial applications. While less common in Europe and North America, CHAdeMO remains a crucial player in the EV charging ecosystem.

GB/T (China)

GB/T connectors, developed in China, are tailored for DC charging applications. These connectors adhere to the GB/T 20234.3-2011 standard and are widely used in the Chinese market. GB/T connectors boast a compact design with robust locking mechanisms, ensuring safe and reliable charging experiences. As China accelerates its transition to electric mobility, GB/T connectors play a pivotal role in the country's charging infrastructure, catering to the needs of domestic and international EV manufacturers.

Other Connectors
Beyond the mainstream options, there are niche connectors such as Tesla’s connectors, which caters exclusively to only Tesla vehicles, the Tesla Type 2 connector for European Tesla vehicles, as well as Type 1 connectors (also known as SAE J1772), which are more commonly found in North America. 

While less prevalent globally, these connectors still do play a vital role in regional EV markets and contribute to the overall diversity of charging options.

Charging Time and Range

The time it takes to charge your EV depends on several factors, including the charger’s power output, the capacity of your vehicle’s battery, and the current state of charge. Generally, Mode 1 and 2 chargers are slower than Mode 3 chargers, while Mode 4 DC fast chargers offer the quickest charging times.

It’s also essential to consider the range of your electric vehicle, which refers to the distance it can travel on a single charge. EV range varies significantly depending on the make and model, with newer models offering longer ranges than older ones. 


As we transition towards a greener future, electric vehicles and EV chargers are becoming increasingly prevalent. Understanding the different types of chargers, connectors, and charging times is essential for both current and prospective EV owners. 

With advancements in technology and the continued expansion of charging infrastructure, electric vehicles are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of transportation. Embracing EVs and investing in a reliable charging solution can not only save you money on fuel but also contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.


Discover our full range of EV Chargers here

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