Charging Basics

electric vehicle charging speeds

 

Charging points are primarily defined by the power (in kW) they can produce and therefore what speed they are capable of charging an EV.

There are three main EV charging speeds: Slow charging (up to 3kW) which is best suited for 6-8 hours overnight Fast charging (7-22kW) which can fully recharge some models in 3-4 hours; and Rapid charging units (43-50kW) which are able to provide an 80% charge in around 30 minutes. Rapid chargers also come in two charge point types – AC and DC – depending on whether they use alternating current or direct current.

See below for a detailed description of the four main charge point types (Slow, Fast, Rapid AC and Rapid DC) with images of example units and the symbols that is used on Zap-Map Live.

Slow chargers (up to 3kW)

charge point types: slow
pole-slow
podpoint2

2562

slow connectors
30 March 2017


Slow charging is the most common method of charging electric vehicles. In most cases a standard single-phase 13 Amp three-pin plug is used to draw up to 3kW of power – with a full charge typically taking 6 to 8 hours. While the first wave of publicly accessible on-street chargers were of this type, these are now being replaced by Fast and Rapid units.

Nearly all electric models can be slow charged with each vehicles being supplied with a charging cable with the appropriate connectors and cable – in most cases a standard 3-pin plug at the charging point outlet, and either a gun shaped Type 1 (J1772) or 7-pin Type 2 (Mennekes) connector for coupling with the vehicle inlet – see Know Your Connectors below.

Home or workplace overnight charging is the most common type of charging cycle. Although a standard single-phase 13 amp three-pin domestic socket is adequate for home charging, a dedicated EV unit should be installed. Alternatively, a qualified electrician should conduct a house survey to ensure that the wiring will safety support the relatively long periods of charging.

Slow charging summary:

  • Slow chargers are typically rated at 3kW (1-phase, 13/16A)
  • Most units have a standard 3-pin (BS 1363) or Commando (IEC 60309) supply-side socket – alternatively units provide a tethered cable with a non-removable Type 1 (J1772) vehicle connector
  • Charging an EV on a slow charger usually takes 6-8 hours (depending on battery capacity)

Fast Chargers (7-22kW)

charge point types: fast
ge-wallstation
fast charger

6561

fast connectors
30 March 2017


Fast charging reduces EV charge times to around half that of a slow charge by doubling the available current to 32 amps (7kW) – the time for a full charge typically taking 3 to 4 hours. Most commercial and a many public on-street chargers already use this technology. It is likely that this charge rate will become increasingly used to replace public Slow charging points across the UK.

While less common, Fast 3-phase charging is also technically possible, each phase delivering approximately 7kW to deliver a total of 22kW. However, this is mainly reserved for electric trucks and buses which need high power chargers to replenish their large battery packs.

While not all electric cars and vans are able to accept a 1-phase Fast charge at 32 amps (7kW), most can be connected to them (with the right connector) and will draw either 13 or 32 amps depending on their capability. While Type 1 (J1772) connectors were initially the most common type used at the charger end, these are steadily being replaced by the more versatile Type 2 (Mennekes) connector – see Know Your Connectors below.

Fast charging summary:

  • Fast chargers are typically rated at 7-22kW (1- or 3-phase, 32A)
  • Most units have a Type 2 (Mennekes, IEC 62196) or Commando (IEC 60309) supply-side socket – occasionally, units provide a tethered cable with a non-removable Type 1 (J1772) or Type 2 (Mennekes) vehicle connector
  • Charging an EV on a fast charger usually takes 3-4 hours (depending on battery capacity)

Rapid AC Chargers (up to 43kW)

charge point types: rapid ac
rapidac
renaultzoe

648

rapid ac connectors
30 March 2017


Rapid AC chargers provide a high power alternating current (AC) supply with power ratings up to 43kW. At this level of power, an electric vehicle can typically be charged to 80% in less than half an hour.

The Rapid AC option is a relatively new development and only available on one or two EV models in the UK – more common is the Rapid DC option described below. Due to their high power, Rapid AC units are equipped with a tethered cable with a non-removable Type 2 (Mennekes) connector – see Know Your Connectors below.

Rapid AC charging summary:

  • Rapid AC chargers are typically rated at 43kW (3-phase, 63A)
  • All units provide a tethered cable with a non-removable Type 2 (Mennekes) vehicle connector
  • Charging an EV on a rapid AC charger usually takes 30-60 minutes for an 80% charge (depending on battery capacity)

Rapid DC Chargers (up to 50kW)

charge point types: rapid dc
abb combo
ecotricity

1373

rapid dc connectors
30 March 2017


Rapid DC chargers provide a high power direct current (DC) supply with power ratings of up to 50kW. At these charging rates, charging an electric vehicle to 80% typically takes half an hour.

The most common type of Rapid charging unit, Rapid DC chargers are equipped with a tethered cable with a non-removable connector which is coupled with an appropriate inlet socket which is fitted to some but certainly not all EV models. Rapid DC chargers are fitted with either a JEVS (CHAdeMO) or a 9-pin CCS (Combo) connector – see Know Your Connectors below.

Rapid DC charging summary:

  • Rapid DC chargers are typically rated at 50kW (125A)
  • All units provide a tethered cable with a non-removable JEVS (CHAdeMO) or CCS (Combo) vehicle connector
  • Charging an EV on a rapid DC charger usually takes approx. 30 minutes for an 80% charge (depending on battery capacity)

 

Know Your Connectors

Connecting an electric vehicle to an EV charger requires a cable fitted with connectors to match the charger outlet socket and the vehicle inlet socket. Most cables have a connector at each end (to couple with the charger outlet and vehicle inlet) or are tethered, which means that the cable is permanently attached to the charging unit.

The choice of connector is determined by whether an EV is charged using AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current), the charging speed (kW power) and the safety protocol employed. Having different countries of origin, the make and model will also determine which connector are used.

AC connectors (and standards) include: the UK 3-pin (BS 1363), industrial Commando (IEC 60309), American Type 1 (SAE J1772), and European Type 2 (Mennekes, IEC 62196). DC connectors include: the Japanese JEVS (CHAdeMO), the European Combined Charging System (CCS or ‘Combo’), and the proprietary Tesla supercharger connector.

The following table shows icons and images of the main connector types, together with the range of power ratings that each type is able to support. To find out what connectors are used by a particular EV model, use Zap-Map’s Connector Selector.

AC Connectors

  • 3kW
    1-phase
  • 3-22kW
    1/3-phase
  • 3-7kW
    1-phase
  • 3-43kW
    1/3-phase
  • 3-pin connector
  • commando connector
  • type 1 j1772 connector
  • type 2 mennekes connector


DC Connectors

  • 50kW
  • 50kW
  • 50-120kW
  • chademo connector
  • ccs connector
  • tesla type 2 connector


It is also important to know what cables are needed, EV Connectors has made this helpful video detailing exactly the types of cable that are out there and how to find the right one for you.




Latest News

Public EV Networks in the UK

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Around a dozen EV charging networks are currently available to UK EV users. The Zap-Map guide provides details of each network including its coverage, membership options, cost and charging options.

Home and Workplace charging

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Several UK suppliers and government schemes are available to help EV owners obtain a charging point for a home or work place. The Zap-Map guide provides info on all the latest deals and products available for home or work charging.


Comment on this page

This topic contains 17 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of martinwinlow martinwinlow 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #18178
    Profile photo of Tesla_Stu
    Tesla_Stu
    Participant

    When you quote “522 RAPID DC POINTS, 24 NOVEMBER 2014″ I presume this is not 522 separate DC charging locations, more 522 outlets where there may be more than one individual outlet at each location? Correct?
    Regards,
    Stu

    • #18303

      Hi Stu,

      Correct. As you say “points” refers to each outlet, there could be multiple points per location. “Charging locations”, on the other hand, refers to the a place where charging points are available irrespective to how many connectors there are there. We distinguish between the two on both our home page and statistics page.

      Hope this clears things up.

      Ed (Zap-Map)

  • #19687
    Profile photo of Nico
    Nico
    Participant

    Hi Edward,
    Probably a silly question but can you explain how the 22kW and 43kW charging works? I thought 3-phase meant 415V in the UK but 22kW at 32 amps implies 690V. Also, is it easy to find which electric car can actually handle 22 or 43 kW?

    thank you for the excellent website

    Nico

  • #19784

    Hi Nico,

    Ed passed this on to me – I’m no electrical engineer (started life as a physicist) but here’s my take on the figures:

    1. Three-phase AC typically delivered at 1-phase 230V or 3-phase 400V nominal voltages (Note that old UK figures were 240V and 415V respectively but these are now harmonised to EU standards).

    2. 3-phase AC Power (Watts) = 1.73 x Current (Amps) x Voltage (Volts) x Power Factor (Assumed 1 for purely resistive loads)

    3. Fast charging 3-phase AC unit delivering 32A at 400VAC: Power = 1.73 x 32 x 400 = 22kW approx.

    4. Rapid charging 3-phase AC unit delivering 63A at 400VAC: Power = 1.73 x 63 x 400 = 43kW approx.

    The key issue here is that each phase is delivered at a slightly different time delay – so its not each power phase x3 but the x1.73 factor which appears in the above equation.

    Re car selection – only the Zoe and Model S can accept 22kW AC as they have heavy duty on-board chargers (rectifiers) which convert the AC to DC for the batteries – these can accept 43kW or 120kW respectively. Before these models came along, the 3-phase 22kW charging points were intended for charging electric trucks and buses. How times have changed…!

    I hope I have answered your questions?

  • #19812
    Profile photo of Nico
    Nico
    Participant

    Hi Ben,

    yes you have answered my questions, it makes sense now.
    This is surprising that a small car like the Zoe can handle the chargers designed for trucks and buses! I suppose it means all cars will do this in future.

    Thank you very much,
    Nico

  • #20857
    Profile photo of LoveEVs
    LoveEVs
    Participant

    Hi,

    I was thinking of purchasing a 3 phase type 2 cable for the Zoe 2013. Will that cable be compatible with 1 phase type 2 EVSE sockets? It seems like if they can get 22KW into a Renault Zoe, then the next generation will definitely have 3 phase charging as standard.

    Does anyone know if there is any disadvantage of getting a 3 phase cable instead of a 1 phase now? Are single phase cables OK to operate in a 3 phase EVSE?

    Richard

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