What are the different types of EV charger?
There’s a bit more to charging your EV than filling up at the petrol station. As an EV driver, you need to get your head around charging speeds, battery sizes, different types of connectors… It can seem a bit bewildering at first, but this guide will explain everything you need to know about the different types of EV charger.
How fast are the different types of EV charger?
The time it takes to refuel your car is one of the biggest differences you’ll notice when you switch to EV driving.
Even the biggest gas guzzler can be filled up in a minute or two. But the largest battery charged at the slowest rate could take almost a day – or just 20 minutes with the fastest chargers out there.
To help you understand the differences, here’s a quick rundown of the main charger types you’ll see in the UK today.
3kW: home electric socket
Your EV will usually come with a plug that lets you charge from a standard home electric socket. This is very slow compared to other charging methods, so it’s only really useful for occasional or emergency use.
Average time to charge a battery from empty: 12 hours
7kW: home EV charger
Installing an EV charger at home makes it easy to keep your battery topped up and ready to go. Costs of home chargers vary and they can usually be installed in just a few hours. If you own a flat or live in a rental property, you could be eligible for a government grant of up to £350 towards the cost.
Learn more about the EV charging installation package from our friends at Hive.
Average time to charge a battery from empty: 6-8 hours
22kW: fast public charger
You’ll find 22kW chargers in public places like car parks, supermarkets, and motorway service stations. It is technically possible to get a 22kW charger at home, but you’d need to upgrade to ‘three-phase electricity’, which can cost over £10,000, plus you’ll need permission from the network operator (known as the DNO).
Average time to charge a battery from empty: 3 hours
50kW: rapid public charger
Public charging stations often offer the option of rapid charging, which can be especially handy if you’re driving a long distance. These chargers quickly fill your EV to 80%, then slow down the rate of charging for the last 20% to protect the health of your battery.
Time to charge a battery to 80%: 40 mins
350kW: ultra-rapid public charger
You will sometimes see ultra-rapid chargers that offer speeds of up to 350kW – although very few EVs on the road today can actually charge at this speed. That should change in the years ahead, as technology progresses.
Average time to charge a battery to 80%: 20 mins
Where to find fast and rapid EV chargers
If you’re planning a long journey where you’ll need to recharge en route, it’s worth checking your charging options before you get going. You can find maps of public chargers online and pick the ones best suited to your trip.
Are all EVs capable of rapid charging?
Short answer – no. Every EV has a maximum charge rate. An older Nissan Leaf, for example, has a top rate of 6.6kW. Even if you plug it into an ultra-rapid 350kW charger, it will still only charge at 6.6kW.
So, it’s important to check this before buying your EV, especially if you plan on making regular long trips and hope to top up quickly on the motorway. Pick the wrong type of EV and you could have some very long waits!
What are the different charger connection types?
There are a few different types of connectors for EVs, and each has its own minimum and maximum charging rate. This can be very confusing at first, but luckily you don’t need to worry too much about it. Your car’s instructions will explain which you need to use for slow, fast, or rapid charging – and charging stations will almost certainly have the right one to fit your car.
(3kW to 7kW)
These are usually found on older cars and EVs built in Asia.
(3kW to 43kW)
This is the most common type of connector used by EVs sold in the UK today (sometimes also called the Mennekes, after the German company that designed it)
(25kW to 100kW)
A connector type used for rapid charging, first developed by Japanese carmakers
(50kW to 350kW)
Another common connector type used for rapid charging, first developed by German carmakers
Want to know more about the essential equipment you’ll need at the beginning of your EV journey? Our EV guides are here to help.
Tethered or untethered EV chargers – what’s the difference?
If you are getting a home charger installed, you’ll need to decide between tethered and untethered. This simply means whether the charging cable is permanently attached (tethered) to the charger or can be detached (untethered).
There are pros and cons to each option.
Some people find a tethered cable more convenient – you can just plug straight in and don’t need to store the cable in the car. But some people prefer the simpler, cleaner look of an untethered charger.
A tethered charger will only have one connector type. If you get a new EV in a few years and it has a different connector, you’ll need an electrician to change the tethered cable (although this isn’t a complex job).
How far will a full EV battery take me?
The range of an EV depends on a number of factors, but one of the biggest is battery size. The bigger the battery, the more range you’ll generally have. But there are other things that come into – including the play type of EV, its weight and also how modern it is.
|Mercedes EQS 450+||107.8kWh||395 miles|
|BMW iX xDrive 50||105.2kWh||315 miles|
|Tesla Model Y Long Range||75kWh||270 miles|
|Skoda Enyaq iV 80||77kWh||260 miles|
|Hyundai Kona Electric||64kWh||245 miles|
|Volkswagen ID3 Pro Performance||58kWh||215 miles|
|Vauxhall Corsa-e||45kWh||175 miles|
|Nissan Leaf||39kWh||145 miles|