EV Charger Cable Guide

Published: Thursday, 10 August 2023

One of the most essential pieces of equipment you’ll need for your electric car is a suitable EV charger cable. An EV cable is a vital tool that helps keep you on the move, and you may need to keep one handy depending on the type of EV charging station you have.

There is a diverse range of EV charging cables available on the market, so many electric vehicle owners find themselves bewildered at the prospect of choosing a suitable charger cable for their EV. 

Most electric vehicles come equipped with at least one charger cable when purchased. However, if you’re on the market for a new EV cable, or if you simply want to get a better understanding of EV charger cables and how they work, we'll provide you with everything you need to know in this informative guide.

What is an EV charger cable?

An EV charger cable is a connector that is used to provide power to an electric vehicle. EV cables are made up of three parts – a plug that connects to an EV charger power source, a length of wire and a connector which plugs into your vehicle.

The Different types of EV Charger Cables 

There are a number of different types of EV charger cables. The charger cable required for your electric vehicle will depend on the type of charger being used as well as the vehicle inlet port.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of EV charger cables and the kinds of vehicles they are suitable for:

1. 3-Pin Charger Cable

3-Pin charging cables are also recognised as Mode 1 or portable EV charging cables. These EV cables are a very basic form of EV charging and they are commonly used as a backup form of power. There are two types of 3-Pin charger cables available, including 3-Pin to Type 2 cables and 3-Pin to Type 1 cables. The type required for your electric vehicle will depend on the vehicle inlet.

3-Pin charging cables will charge your electric vehicle at a significantly slower rate than other kinds of cables such as Type 1 and Type 2 which connect to EV charging units. 3-Pin cables resemble the normal 3-pin plugs which are used to power standard appliances like fridges and freezers. They can be connected to a domestic plug to provide charge to your EV.

3-Pin charger cables typically provide 3kW AC(Alternating Current) of charging power, this is estimated to enable a range of around 8 miles per hour of charge. If you have an electric charger car, it is recommended that you invest in a home EV charger to access faster and more cost-effective vehicle charging. Check out our extensive range of at home EV chargers today.

2. Type 1 EV Charging Cable

Type 1 charger cables have 5-Pins and they are single phase. These cables provide fast charging to compatible electric vehicles offering approximately 3kW - 7kW of AC power. This provides a range of around 12-25 miles per hour of charge. Type 1 charging cables are more popular in areas of Asia than in Europe, so it can be difficult to find Type 1 charging facilities in the UK. If you have a vehicle that requires a Type 1 charger, it may be useful to invest in a Type 1 to Type 2 charging lead to make powering your vehicle more simple to do.

3. Type 2 EV Charger Cable

Type 2 EV charging cables are the standard type of EV charging plug throughout Europe and the UK. These cables have a 7-Pin design and offer fast charging rates of 3kW-7kW AC (single phase) and even 22kW (three phase) for an even faster charge. Type 2 EV cables can typically provide an estimated range of 25 miles per hour of charge.

Type 2 connectors can also provide direct current (DC), in which case, the charging facilities are much faster. These DC Type 2 connectors are predominately reserved for Tesla Supercharger vehicles – they can provide power outputs of up to 250kW and an approximate mile radius of 375 miles per half hour of charge.

Type 2 EV charging cable connectors are built with a locking mechanism to provide added safety and reliability for users. Take a look at our complete range of Type 2 EV charging cables today.

4. Industrial Commando 

Industrial Commando EV chargers provide AC power through the use of MK commando sockets. These cables are predominantly utilised for the charging of industrial vehicles due to their ability to channel high voltage and amperage. Commando chargers are recognised for being particularly beneficial for outdoor use, as they can cope well with exposure to water, dust and dirt.

5. Combined Charging System (CCS)

CCS EV chargers are regarded as an enhanced version of a Type 2 charger. A CCS charger provides an additional two power contact points to allow rapid charging. With a power output range of 50kW- 350kW, these charging cables can support both alternating current and direct current facilities. They can provide a mile range of up to 525 miles per half hour of charge. 

6. CHAdeMO

Offering fast charging for electric vehicles, CHAdeMo charging cables are commonly used at public charging stations. Using DC, this type of EV cable provides up to 100kW of power, offering a mile radius of approximately 150 miles per half hour of charge. 

ChAdeMo EV charger cables are popular in the UK despite being developed in Japan. They are compatible with a wide range of electric vehicle brands, such as Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. These chargers can also be used for Tesla Superchargers, but they will need a modified Type 2 Mennekes plug. 

What To Consider When Buying An EV Charging Cable

To determine the kind of EV cable required for your vehicle, you should ascertain the following factors:

Whether your car is Type 1 or Type 2 – Take a look at your electric vehicle inlet to check whether it requires a Type 1 or Type 2 plug. You should also be able to find this information in your charger car’s user manual.

Select a suitable cable length – EV charging cables are typically between 4-10 metres in length. A charger cable length of 7.5 is usually recommended. You’ll need to ensure that the length you select is suitable in terms of being able to reach from your EV charger to your vehicle. You should also bear in mind that you will have to arrange suitable storage for the cable length you choose. 

Pick an appropriate current rating  – It’s important for your EV cable to carry enough current to provide effective charging to your electric vehicle. EV charger cables usually come in 16 amps and 32 amps, the latter option is heavier and thicker in appearance as it carries a higher amount of current. It is common for 3.6kW EV chargers to have a 16 amp supply of current, whilst 7kW wallboxes tend to have a 32 amp supply. 

To futureproof your EV cable, you could opt to purchase a 32 amp cable, in case you choose to upgrade your EV in the future. 

Your EV Charging Questions Answered 

EV charging cables can be difficult to get your head around. To provide you with a better understanding of EV cables, below we provide answers to some of the most common questions about EV charging cables.

Tethered or Untethered EV Charger?

Deciding between a tethered and untethered charging cable isn’t as complicated as it sounds. If an EV charger is tethered, it simply means that the cable comes as an already connected attachment to the wallbox – similar to a petrol and diesel pump. On the other hand, an untethered cable requires a separate charger cable to be plugged into the EV charger at one end and then connected to your vehicle inlet at the other.

Tethered EV chargers are usually preferred as they are more convenient to use than untethered cables – you simply take the cable from the charger and plug it into your EV. However, untethered charger cables are viewed as more future proof, as you won’t need to upgrade your entire EV charging system should you get a new EV with different connector requirements.

What’s the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Charging Cables?

There are quite a few differences between Type 1 and Type 2 EV charging cables. It’s essential that you understand these differences in order to ensure that you purchase the right option for your electric vehicle.

Here’s a breakdown of main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 EV charging cables:

  1. Type 2 charging cables are the standard form of EV charging used within Europe. You’ll commonly see these at public charging stations throughout the UK. Meanwhile, Type 1 chargers are an older form of charging that is more common in Asia, Japan and America.
  2. Type 1 EV cables have 5-pins with a latch to help keep the plug in place and prevent it from falling out of the socket. Whereas Type 2 EV charger cables are designed with 7 pins and instead of a latch, they come equipped with a locking pin which locates and secures the plug in place. The fact that Type 1 EV cables don’t come with a locking pin means that anyone could potentially unplug the charging cable from the vehicle – thus Type 2 EV cables are often viewed as more secure.
  3. Type 1 charger cables are single phase, whereas Type 2 cables can accommodate both single phase and three phase power connections.
  4. Type 2 cables come equipped with resistors which are designed to communicate with the electric vehicle and let it know that the cable is plugged in – therefore it can keep charging.  It also has other resistor functions which seek to maintain the supply of power and detect the strength of the cable to ensure that the right amount of power is supplied. Contrastingly, Type 1 cables have resistors that simply detect whether the EV cable is plugged into the car or not, they will also switch off the charger in case the lever has been pressed to unlatch the plug.

Here are the types of cars that use Type 1 and Type 2 charging cables:

Type 1 Car Charger Manufacturers

Nissan Leaf 2012 – 2017, Citroen C-Zero, Kia Soul EV, Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Toyota Prius, Peugeot (uses both Type 1 and Type 2), Vauxhall.

Type 2 Car Charger Manufacturers

Jaguar, Hyundai, Audi Etron, KIA, BMW i3, Range Rover, Mercedes, Renault, Nissan Leaf 2018, Benz EQC, Volvo XC T8, Mini Countryman, Porsche, Smart, Toyota, Volkswagen, Tesla.

Here at YESSS Electrical, we supply a range of EV chargers and EV charging leads. This includes a selection of Type 2 to Type 2 cables and Type 1 to Type 2 EV cables to help you charge your EV effectively. Take a look at our comprehensive range today.

What does single-phase and three-phase mean?

Understanding the concept of single-phase and three-phase power charging is another important part of being an EV owner.

Single-phase AC power is used to charge standard power sockets in domestic residences, as well as facilitate slow charge 3-Pin EV charging. This power flows through one single conductor and can support a home charge unit of up to 7.4 kW.

Contrastingly, three-phase power cables are more powerful than single-phase connectors as they have two extra wires – L2 and L3. Three-phase connectors are commonly used in commercial buildings and for fast EV charging as they charge an electric vehicle three times faster than a single-phase cable.

Many modern charging cables are designed with the ability to accommodate both single-phase and three-phase charging through auto-switching. This allows users to utilise three-phase charging cables on single-phase cars and charging points.

Take a look at our range of EV charging cables today to find the right solution for your needs.

What is AC & DC?

Alternating Current (AC) and (Direct Current) are the types of currents used in electrical vehicle charging. 

Alternating current can be described as an electric current that regularly changes direction. Conversely, direct current consistently flows in one direction.

EV batteries require DC to charge. However, regular power sockets and standard charging systems only provide AC. As a result of this, the EV’s built-in charger will convert the AC to DC power. Fast charging EV systems are designed to provide DC straight to the car battery, omitting the conversion process and providing a quicker charge.

What is an EV Ultra cable?

An EV Ultra cable is an innovative charging wire that features power conductors as well as a two core screened data cable, all incorporated into double-sheathed casing for extra protection. This solution enables EV installers to fit just one dedicated cable as opposed to multiple cable types, optimising the installation process by making it quicker and easier.

EV Ultra cables are designed to be more secure and reliable, offering enhanced efficiency and performance from smart EV charging systems. Take a look at our range of EV Ultra cables today.

What size EV charging cable should I buy?

If you’re looking for a new EV charging cable for your car charger, YESSS Electrical can provide you with an excellent solution. Our trained advisors can provide you with all the help and advice you need to find the right EV charging cable for your electric vehicle.

We stock a range of EV charging cables, including Type 2 and Type 1 EV cables, as well as a variety of other EV charging accessories. Our range also includes a selection of both commercial and domestic EV chargers from leading brands such as Pod Point, Wallbox and Rolec.

Take a look at our amazing EV charging range or get in touch with us on 01924 227941 to discuss your needs further.

Share this story