Electric vehicle: which cable do i need?

8 Apr 2021

Driving an electric car is different than your traditional vehicle, hence it requires changes and carries along with it a new practice; charging. Although it is becoming easier to find a charging station, it is not always easy to find the right cable and to ensure compatibility with the charging station. To make things a little clearer, Mob-Energy offers you a summary of the different types of cables available on the market.

Charging at home

This cable is usually supplied when purchasing an electric vehicle. It is equipped with a charger that can be connected to a domestic outlet. On one side there is the outlet to be plugged into the vehicle (type 1 or type 2) and on the other side, a classic E/F outlet that can be plugged into the domestic outlet found at home (remember to bring an adaptor when travelling abroad). This type of cable will allow a charge close to 2.3kW, depending on the current allocated to the outlet; generally between 8A and 10A. However, manufacturers recommend that this cable should not be used as the main charging solution unless a dedicated reinforced outlet is installed. It is also advisable to avoid connecting it to an extension cord, which could cause heating problems.

Standard to fast charging

This type of charging will correspond to all charges that are carried out via a charging station with power ratings between 3.7kW and 22kW in single or three-phase alternating currents.

  • A single-phase cable allows charging from 3.7kW to 7.4kW (3.7kW = 16A cable, 7.4kW = 32A cable).
  • A three-phase cable (which is thicker) works from 3.7kW to 22kW. A 16A cable will take you up to 3.7kW single phase and 11kW three phase. By switching to a 32A cable, you can go up to 7.4kW single phase and up to 22kW three phase. If your vehicle accepts three-phase charging, this is the cable that will give you the most compatibility.

Charging station: Since 1 March 2017, all charging stations in France must contain a type 2 connector following the adoption of a European standard. You will, therefore, easily find a charging station offering a type 2 connector. Many charging stations still offer a type 1 connector for vehicles with this type of connection (mainly Asian vehicles built before 2020).

NB: There are also Type 1 / Type 2 cables available today that can be used as adapters between charging stations and vehicles that do not have the same standard.

Fast charging

The power increases sharply for this type of charging, which starts at 40kW and can go up to 350kW. The current delivered by these stations is direct current and, for safety reasons, the cables are attached directly to the terminals.

There are two types of cables for fast charging:

  • Cables with CCS COMBO connectors
  • Cables with CHADEMO connectors

For fast charging there is no secret, the only aspect to check is that your vehicle is compatible with fast charging and via which connection system.

In short, the choice of cable to use will depend on three things: your car’s connection system, the terminal you wish to connect to and the power you wish to transmit.