What are the different types of EV connectors?

Electric vehicle (EV) chargers come in all shapes and sizes to fit a variety of needs, ranging from Level 1 to Level 3. The type of charging station you use depends on your vehicle and energy consumption needs. Take a moment to think about the amount of driving you do, how much time you have to wait for your battery to charge, and how close you might be to a charging station. Here’s the breakdown—

Level 1: Your Basic Wall Plug

Level 1 chargers are intended for use with standard, alternating current (AC) electrical outlets, like the ones you’d use to charge your phone other electronic device. And because wall outlets in your home are meant to charge much smaller batteries than a car battery, this method takes a longer amount of time—it’s about 20 hours of charging time to go 120 miles.

Level 2: Most Public Charging Stations

Level 2 chargers also use an AC electrical current, however they deliver more juice faster to your EV’s battery at 240 volts and can charge the battery anywhere from five to seven times faster than a Level 1 charger. Level 2 chargers are also recommended for those with larger batteries, and for those who might make longer commutes and require faster, more frequent charging.

Level 3: Chargers that Go the Distance

Level 3 chargers are special because instead of using AC to charge your battery, they use direct current (DC). DC, also known as “fast charging”, allows you to get the quickest re-charge of any charging station out there (from 30kW to an impressive 360 kW). However, the caveat to Level 3 chargers is that they require special plugs to connect that are different than the standards for Level 1 and Level 2, known as the “J1772 standard”. At the moment, these are the three types of connector plugs that work with Level 3 charging stations:

  • CHAdeMO: created by a completely different company than the ones that set the SAE standards, and therefore use a different plug construction
  • SAE Combo (also called CSS, combo charging system, or just “combo”): an SAE standard connector that combines a smaller J1772 plug with a DC connector to deliver extra power
  • Tesla connector: works with the company’s type 2 charging network and its type 3 Supercharger stations