As a new EV driver you will discover that charging your electric car is a completely different experience than refueling a petrol car. For starters, charging your car won’t get your hands as dirty and smelly as refueling with petrol. But there’s a lot more to know. We created this overview of what is what to get you started on your EV charging experience.
To charge like a pro you need to know a few basics. There are different kinds of chargers, cables and plugs. Think of it like petrol stations with unleaded fuel, diesel and gas. It’s important to pay attention to this when you’re charging the first time. Not every car can use every charger, with every cable and plug.
Get in the mode
The Mode 3 charging cable is the one you will mostly use at public charging stations and at your home charger. It connects your car to the charging station and is in Europe set to be a Type 2 plug mostly. The type 2 plug is also known as the "Mennekes plug", in this article we call it Type 2 plug. To keep it simple: Mode 3 cable = Type 2 plug (a.k.a. Mennekes plug).
Charging at home
Some cars still come with a charging cable which you could use at home to plug into your domestic sockets. Charging is usually extremely slow though and not the safest. Charging parts can get really hot. It’s advised to get a home charger with a type 2 plug. This is the safest and the fastest method to charge at home.
Surprisingly so, not only a great band. Here is what you need to know about AC and DC charging. AC Charging is slow, up to 22kW and DC charging is 22kW and more.
A power grid at home or at the office is always AC and the car battery is always DC, so this requires an AC/DC converter (this is your on-board charger). Why is this important to know? Some models, like PHEV’s, only have a Type 2 plug. As this is not a DC plug, they cannot fast charge. For fast charging you need a CCS or CHAdeMO plug, which are both DC plugs.
There are various factors determining the charging speed of your car. We’ve listed them for you:
- The maximum capacity of the on-board charger of your car (1 phase/2 phase/3 phase, 16amps/ 32 amps)
- The power capacity of the charging station used (1 phase/2 phase/3 phase, 16amps/ 32amps / 64amps)
- Occupancy of the charge pole (number of cars connected)
- The capacity of the power grid
To give you an example; the Jaguar I-pace is only able to charge 1 phase. Therefore, charging at a regular public charge point or home charger with 3 phases is restricted to 1 phase charging. This limits the charging speed. We have simplified this for you with a scheme, to see what this means for the power that can be absorbed by your car.
A quick plug overview:
The Type 2 Plug
- Regular Charging
- Most European electric cars use this plug
- Most used in Europe
- Charging power: up to 43 kW/AC
- Cars: e.g. Renault Zoe
The CHAdeMO Plug
- Fast Charging
- Common for Japanese brands
- Charging power: up to 100 kW/DC – and counting
- Cars: e.g. Nissan Leaf
Tesla Model S and model X can fast charge on a CHAdeMO with a Tesla CHAdeMO adaptor.
The CCS Plug (Combined Charging System)
- Fast and High Power Charging
- Enhanced version of the type 2 plug
- Charging power: Maximum 350-400 kW
- Cars: e.g. Audi E-tron, Tesla Model 3
Good to know: Tesla model S and model X can also fast charge with CCS but they need an adapter at Allego fast chargers. These CCS adapters are unfortunately not yet available for the cars in Europe. However, Tesla Model 3 was delivered with a CCS plug. Which means the Tesla users can fast charger at Allego Fast and High power chargers using the CCS.
Tesla Supercharger (Modified Mennekes plug)
- High Power Charging
- Only usable at Tesla chargers
- Charging power: Around 120 kW
- Cars: Tesla
Pro (fast) Charging tip
When your battery is almost empty it’s easier to charge it up, it charges faster between capacity of 20% and 80%. First 10% and the last 10% are the slowest. Therefore, it’s best to fill up to 80% and then continue your way.
Become a Pro
Allego is a specialist in charging EV’s and we aim to make charging as seamless as possible. In our next Pro Charging articles, we will dive deeper into charging passes and useful apps. Can’t wait to read more? Go ahead and check the FAQ of Allego or read our article on chargers.