What is an EV Charging Connector?
Meet the Connector: EV Charging Connectors
As the name implies, EV charging connectors are used to charge electric vehicles. Several types of EV charging connectors currently exist, each with specific characteristics.
EV charging connectors (or charging plugs) are available for AC or DC.
AC Charging Plugs are either Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 is a single-phase plug that is common in American vehicles. It has a charging speed of up to 7.4 kW. Type 2 is standard in European and Asian vehicles manufactured in 2018 and beyond. It is a triple-phase plug and can charge up to 43 kW.
The SAE J1772 (also known as a J plug) is an IEC 62196 Type 1 connector and is a North American standard that covers the physical, electrical, and communication protocol, as well as performance requirements for the EV conductive charge system and coupler. The standard defines a common EV conductive charging system architecture that includes operational requirements and the functions and dimensions required for the vehicle inlet and mating connector.
The IEC 62196 Type 2 connector (also known as Mennekes for the company that created the design in 2009). It is a circular connector with a flattened top edge, used mainly in Europe and was selected by the European Commission as the official charging plug of the European Union in 2013. In North America, it was released under the name SAE J3068, a three-phase AC connector, and in the China as the Guobiao standard GB/T 20234.2-2015 for AC-charging.
DC Charging Plugs are either CHAdeMO or CCS. CHAdeMO is used in Asian vehicles for high charging capacities and bidirectional charging. Bidirectional charging allows fully charged vehicles to act as during power outages by returning power to the home or grid. CCS (combined charging system) Is a charging connector which combines the AC charging with two DC conductors and has two additional power contacts. The CCS is capable of very fast charging.
“We started with 125 amps at 500 volts. That comes out to a little over 50 kilowatts. About ten-years-ago that was sort of like the fast charging DC standard,” said Kirk Hilbourn, EV charging product marketing manager at JAE. “But now moving forward, we are in the process of developing a CCS type-1with output capabilities of up to 200 kilowatts. And as we’re trying to develop this, we are already hearing, okay, we need to see 300 amps.”
SAE J1772 (J plug) is a 5-pin connector. When attached to a standard home power socket, it supports single-phase AC charging at 1.44 kW. When installed on a higher-speed EV charging stations it can reach 19.2 kW. The J plug carries single-phase AC power on two conductors, signalling on two additional conducts, and a protective earth connection on the fifth conductor.
Type 2 Mennekes is a 7-pin connector design that carries single-phase or three-phase AC power, which allows vehicles to charge at up to 43 kW (although many Type 2 chargers max at 22 kW or less. Similar to the J plug, it features two pins for signalling pre-insertion and post-insertion, and has a protective earth, a neutral, and three conductors for the three AC phases.
CCS accommodates both AC and high-speed DC charging. Combo 1, used in the North American market (and some Asian countries) combines a Type 1 J1772 AC connector with two large DC conductors. Combo 2, used in the European market, combines a Mennekes connector with two large DC conductors.
CHAdeMO, developed primarily for fast-charging applications, can deliver up to 400 kW. Primarily used in Japan, despite Japanese automakers backing a proposal for global use in 2010, it was the first standard that set out to provide DC fast charging to EVs regardless of manufacturer. It features CAN bus pins for communication between vehicle and charger. A CHAdeMo 3.0 standard (ChaoJi) has been in development since 2018. It features a completely new 7-pin connector design, developed in partnership with the Standardization Administration of China. ChaoJi uses liquid-cooled cabling to reach, ideally, charging rates up to 900 kW, while running at 1.5 kV and delivering a full 600 amps.
The name CHAdeMO, short for “CHArge de MOve”, derives from a Japanese phrase that translates to English as “How about a cup of tea?”, referring to the time it would take to charge a car.
Tesla designed its own charging connector as part of its Supercharger network. In Europe, Tesla’s vehicles have Type 2 or CCS connectors. However, the company instituted its own charge point standard in the U.S. that supports AC single and three phase charging, as well as high-speed DC charging available from Tesla Supercharger stalls. The company’s latest chargers can deliver up to 250 kW to suitably equipped vehicles.
GB/T 20234.3 standard, used only in China, covers both single-phase AC and DC fast charging. Rated to run at up to 1,000V DC and 250 amps, it provides charging speeds up to 250 kW.
Markets, Sectors, and Applications
- EVs and HEVs
- electric marine vehicles
- J1772 connectors
- Type 2 Mennekes connectors
- CCS chargers
- CHAdeMo chargers