If you want to charge your electric car on the road, it is highly recommended to have a portable charger. In this article we explain the different types and what to look out for.
With almost every car manufacturer producing EVs, you may be wondering if all those different EVs can use the same type of charger. It can be stressful enough trying to find an available charging point without having to worry about whether your car is compatible or not. Fortunately, it's not a big deal, as all EVs can use any type of car charger in most cases. Provided the plug is the right one.
Are EV chargers universal?
In general, chargers for electric cars are universal. And actually all EVs use the same standard plug, which is the Type 2 plug. That is the connector you plug into the car. The other side of the cable is different for each 'power source'.
There are many different plugs/connectors to feed power through. A home socket is different from a campsite socket and a trailer has a 7 or 13 pin socket. Just to show you that you need the right plug on your cable.
The weakest link determines the charging speed
The Ampere rating of the relevant bay cable determines the speed of the charge. The higher the amperage the charging cable can handle, the more current it can carry. The more current, the faster your electric car can be charged. However, the more current that can pass through, the thicker the cable needs to be.
You can choose from a portable charging cable with a regulator in between and a Schuko plug to charge the cable at home, for example. This regulator can be set to different amperages. If it is supplied with the car, then 7 or 10 amps is the standard fuse. Higher is certainly possible.
It is also possible to have a red or blue CCE plug on the cable. This allows you to connect the portable charger to specific sockets. Most people know this connection from camping. It is often used there. The difference between a red and a blue CCE plug is the Voltage at which it can be charged. 230 Volt is the standard in Europe and applies to the blue CCE plug. The red CCE plug is intended for 400 Volt connections. You should also know that there are various couplings for going from blue to red or to Schuko connections.
Are there EVs that can only use a specific charger?
No. All EVs delivered in Europe can use the same cable. But you should pay attention to the plugs. These cables only work for alternating current, AC. For direct current, DC, it is a different story.
For DC charging, Nissan and Mitsubishi EVs have the CHAdeMO plug, while most other EVs use the CCS plug. For Tesla-specific chargers, you can buy an adapter that will allow you to charge an EV from another brand on a Tesla charger. The DC chargers cannot be purchased separately. These cables are attached to the charging station, just like at a gas station.
As the EV market continues to grow, so will the need for charging stations. Fortunately, they are starting to become as common as petrol stations. However, just like with an internal combustion engine car, you need to know what the energy level in the battery is and where the nearest charging point is. Whether it is a petrol-engined or an electric car, no driver wants to be stranded in no-man's-land.