With Wheeler Dealers’ Mike Brewer recently converting to an electric car, we explore one of the most common questions that people have when it comes to purchasing an electric car – do I need a charging cable and what type do I need?
Working out what electric car charging cable you need can be confusing, especially with the technical names and different choices for different countries. Rather than trying to work it out alone, our handy guide to charging your electric car is here to help with all the answers you need!
Why Do I Need to Invest in a Separate Charging Cable?
Many of the affordable home chargers installed in the UK are not tethered chargers – meaning that you will have to have a separate charger. Additionally, being able to charge on the go from any electric vehicle charging point will give you greater freedom and means that you will never be left without the power to get to your destination. Typically, fast charging points around the country provide a tethered cable, however many of the chargers you find at hotels, shopping centres and workplaces are slower chargers that typically require you to have your own charging cable.
What Does Type 1 and Type 2 Chargers Mean?
The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 EV cables relates to the type of charging points they are plugged into and the plug that is attached to the end of the cable for charging. For EV cars in the UK and Europe, you will typically find that they use Type 2 plugs and sockets, and the EU has now made them a standard requirement for all new EV cars going forward.
Older EV models may still come with Type 1 charging requirements, such as the 2015 Nissan Leaf. To overcome the issue of Type 2 being the standard choice, all you will need to do is get a charging cable that has a Type 1 socket at one end to plug into your car and a Type 2 socket at the other end of the cable to be able to plug into the charging points you use. Interestingly, the Type 1 charger is the standard choice for countries in Asia and the US, and anyone driving an EV car there with a Type 2 charger will also need to get an adapter cable for their vehicle.
What is 32A, and How Does it Affect My Charging?
Another common query from EV consumers is what 32A is? Essentially this gives you an indication of the power in the fuse and how much power can be used before the fuse fails and blows. If you think of the fuse in terms of power, then the 32A will be able to offer a greater level of charging power and speed than a 10A fuse will.
Choosing a 32A fuse is wise as it means there will be no limit to the charging cable’s provision and can be used with fuses that are lower, such as a 25A. It is important to note that a 32A charger is slightly thicker and heavier than a smaller amperage, but you can look forward to the best levels of performance when you invest in one.
Understanding Phase 1 and Phase 3
The way in which the electrical grid is organised is broken down into three different phases. The lower the phase, the slower the charging time and the higher the phase, the quicker the charging times. The reason for this is that Phase 1 only uses the Phase 1 area of the grid, and Phase 3 uses all of them for speedy charging.
Before you choose to buy a cable with 3 phases, you will need to ensure that your electric vehicle is able to support three-phase charging, as otherwise, you will be wasting your money. Phase 1 cables tend to offer up to 7.2kW of charging power, whereas Phase 3 can offer up to 22kW, meaning that the higher the kW of your cable and charging capabilities, the faster your car will charge. According to EVWired.com phase 3 is by far the most used for EV charging on a home charging point, rated at 208-240 Volts and delivering between 7kW and 22kW of power. This results in 12-80 charged miles per hour, resulting in most EVs being fully charged overnight from an entirely flat battery.
Helping You to Choose the Right Charging Cable for Your EV
Working out which charging cable you need for your EV should now be easier, but there are a few final pointers below that should help you out:
- Firstly, take the time to find out whether your EV uses a Type 1 or Type 2 cable and make sure that you get one that has the right charging socket for the charging stations, remembering that the standard choice in the EU and UK is a Type 2.
- Work out the length of the charging cable that you will need so that you can reach each charging port safely and with ease, as well as being able to store your cable when it is not in use.
- Check that the cable you are going to buy fits with the rating of your EV. This means finding out what your maximum amperage level is and getting a charger that will hit the highest level for the quickest charging.