Electric Car Charging Cable Type1, 2 and 3 (Comparison)

Electric vehicles are popular due to their environmental benefits and technological advancements. One crucial aspect of electric vehicle ownership is understanding the different types of charging cables available. Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables are among the most commonly discussed options, and choosing the right one for your EV can be crucial to enhanced charging efficiency and convenience.

Type 2 charging cables are more popular globally and are widely compatible with most electric vehicles. They facilitate single-phase and three-phase charging, allowing faster charging times if the charging station and vehicle support it. On the other hand, Type 3 charging cables, predominantly found in France, follow a different technical standard and are mainly compatible with French electric vehicles.

Therefore, it is vital to consider factors such as compatibility, charging speed, and regional preferences when deciding on the most suitable charging cable.

Key Takeaways

  • Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables are essential for electric vehicle owners.
  • Type 2 cables are globally famous and widely compatible, while Type 3 cables are mainly found in France.
  • Understanding compatibility, charging speed, and regional preferences is vital when choosing the right charging cable.
Electric car plugged in for charging

Understanding Electric Car Charging Cables

When it comes to electric vehicle (EV) charging, there are different types of charging cables available to cater to the specific needs of the EV owner. In this section, we’ll look at the three main types of charging cables: Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3.

Type 1

Type 1 charging cables are the earliest version of EV charging connectors. They use a 5-pin design and are commonly found on older electric vehicles from North America and Asia. Type 1 charging cables are typically used for slow or semi-fast charging, providing between 3.3 kW to 7 kW of power. While they’re less common nowadays as the Type 2 connector becomes more popular, some older EVs still rely on Type 1 connectors, especially in regions outside of Europe.

Type 2

Type 2 charging cables have become the dominant standard in Europe and, increasingly, in other parts of the world. They feature a 7-pin design and are compatible with a wide range of power outputs. Type 2 cables can provide between 3.7 kW to 22 kW for home and workplace charging and up to 43 kW for public charging stations. They offer a higher charging capacity compared to Type 1, hence providing between 30 and 90 miles of range per charging hour.

Type 2 connectors are used for both AC and DC charging, making them compatible with most electric vehicles on the market. They can be used with wallboxes, public chargers, and even home charging solutions, offering flexibility and convenience to EV owners.

Type 3

Type 3 charging cables were once used in parts of Europe, but their adoption was limited due to their proprietary design. They were designed to provide power outputs of up to 22 kW, similar to Type 2 cables but with added safety features like a locking mechanism and shutters over the charging pins. However, with the widespread adoption of Type 2 connectors and the phased-out nature of Type 3 cables, they are now considered obsolete and hardly found in use.

In conclusion, for EV owners and charging infrastructure, Type 2 charging cables have emerged as the preferred and recommended choice due to their compatibility with a wide range of electric vehicles, power outputs, and charging station types. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the specific charging cable requirements of each electric vehicle to ensure seamless charging experiences.

Electric SUV being charged

Types of Charging Standards

Electric vehicle (EV) charging standards have several variations, with Type 2 and Type 3 being quite common. This section examines the different charging standards that prevail today, highlighting the key differences between them.

SAE J1772

The SAE J1772 standard, also known as Type 1, is used primarily in North America and some Asian countries. It is an AC charging system with a 5-pin connector, suitable for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. While Level 1 charging (~120V) takes several hours to charge an EV, Level 2 charging (~240V) reduces the charging time considerably. However, it is not as fast as the DC-fast charging systems found in Type 3 chargers.


CHAdeMO is a Japanese DC fast-charging standard used by several major automakers, including Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Kia. This type of charger can deliver power up to 150kW, which significantly reduces charging times compared to Level 2 chargers. A separate CHAdeMO connector is often required for compatibility with these charging stations.


The Combined Charging System (CCS) is a universal charging standard that combines both AC and DC charging capabilities. Originating in Europe, it is now widely adopted in the US and other markets. The CCS standard uses a Type 2 connector for AC charging, and for DC fast charging, it adds extra pins below the Type 2 section. This single connector can deliver Level 2 and Level 3 charging, making it more versatile and easier to use for various charging scenarios.

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger network offers a DC fast-charging system exclusively for Tesla vehicles. This powerful charging system can deliver up to 250kW of power, enabling a Tesla vehicle to achieve about an 80% charge in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. While Tesla cars can use other public charging stations with adapters, the Supercharger network aims to provide Tesla owners with a reliable and convenient charging experience tailored to their vehicles.

In summary, the various EV charging standards cater to different vehicle requirements and charging scenarios. While Type 1 and Type 2 connectors are mostly associated with AC charging, Type 3 connectors like CHAdeMO, CCS, and Tesla Superchargers focus on DC fast charging. Each charging standard has its advantages, making it essential for EV owners to understand their vehicle’s compatibility with these connectors to get the most out of their electric driving experience.

Electric car in a charging bay

Charging Levels Explained

In this section, we will discuss the three main electric vehicle (EV) charging levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each level varies in terms of power output, charging speed, and the type of connection. We will also cover the differences in charging levels when it comes to AC and DC charging, as well as the significance of kW, amps, and volts.

Level 1

Level 1 charging is the most basic level of EV charging. It uses a standard 120-volt AC outlet, with a power output ranging from 1 to 2 kW. This charging level is typically the slowest, with charging times ranging from 8 to 24 hours for a full charge, depending on the battery capacity. Level 1 charging is commonly used for overnight charging at home and is considered the most accessible option, as it does not require any special equipment or installation.

Level 2

Level 2 charging uses a 240-volt AC outlet and offers a power output between 3.6 to 19.2 kW. This charging level is significantly faster than Level 1, typically taking around 4 to 8 hours for a full charge. Level 2 chargers are commonly found at public charging stations and can be installed at home if a dedicated circuit and compatible 240-volt outlet are available. Most EVs come equipped with a charging cable that can handle both Level 1 and Level 2 charging.

Charging LevelVoltage (AC)Power Output (kW)Charging Time
Level 11201 to 28 to 24 hours
Level 22403.6 to 19.24 to 8 hours

Level 3

Level 3 charging, also referred to as DC Fast Charging (DCFC), utilizes direct current (DC) instead of alternating current (AC). With power outputs ranging from 50 kW to 350 kW, it is the fastest charging option available. Level 3 chargers can provide an 80% charge in as little as 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the battery size and charger capacity. However, these charging stations are more complex and require specialized equipment, making them more expensive to install and maintain.

It’s important to note that not all EVs are compatible with Level 3 charging; some vehicles may require a special adapter or may not be capable of handling such high power levels. Additionally, frequent use of DCFC could potentially impact the battery’s lifespan in the long term.

In summary, each EV charging level offers different advantages in terms of convenience, charging speed, and accessibility. By understanding the differences between Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging and the impact of AC, DC, kW, amps, and volts, EV owners can make informed decisions about which charging options best suit their needs.

Compatibility of Connectors and Electric Vehicles

European Market

In the European market, the Type 2 connector has become the more popular standard for fast charging when using a wallbox (7-22kW) DrivingElectric. Most European electric car manufacturers, including BMW, use the Type 2 connector for their vehicles. Other compatible brands include Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Tesla Model 3. The Type 3 connector, however, is not as widely adopted across Europe.

US Market

The US market predominantly uses the Type 1 (SAE J1772) connector for charging electric vehicles eZoomed. Nonetheless, some European electric cars are compatible with Type 1 to Type 2 charging cables. Brands with Type 1 charging connectors include Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and the Nissan Leaf. Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, uses a Type 2 connector in the US market Tesla.

Asian Market

In the Asian market, electric vehicle charging standards vary between countries and manufacturers. Japanese brands like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Honda typically use the CHAdeMO charging standard or Type 1 connectors Lifewire. Meanwhile, European vehicles such as BMW sold in Asia may be equipped with Type 2 connectors for compatibility with their home markets. It’s essential to check the specific charging standards recommended by each manufacturer when purchasing an electric vehicle in the Asian market.

Comparing Type 2 and Type 3 Charging Cables

Charging Power

Type 2 charging cables are commonly used for both single-phase and three-phase AC charging, with power levels ranging from 3.6 kW to 22 kW. They are the standard for most home and public charging stations across Europe. For example, Type 2 cables are compatible with common charging options such as home wallboxes and public AC charging stations.

On the other hand, Type 3 charging cables are designed for rapid charging and typically used at dedicated fast-charging stations. These cables can deliver power levels up to 43 kW for AC charging or up to 120 kW for DC charging.

Voltage and Current

The Type 2 plug can handle voltage levels of 230V for single-phase charging and 400V for three-phase charging, with a maximum current of 32A. This configuration makes the Type 2 cable suitable for a wide range of charging scenarios, from slow to fast charging.

In contrast, Type 3 cables can handle both AC and DC charging with higher voltage levels (up to 1000V) and currents (up to 400A). This ability enables fast and ultra-fast charging for electric vehicles with larger battery capacities, significantly reducing charging times.

Safety and Proximity Features

Both Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables have built-in safety and proximity features to ensure a secure and efficient charging experience. The Type 2 plug has a mechanical locking mechanism that prevents accidental disconnection while charging and a built-in communication feature that allows the charging port and the electric vehicle to communicate, ensuring the right amount of power is delivered.

Type 3 cables offer additional safety features, such as the ability to automatically disconnect power if an improper connection is detected. This is particularly important for high-power rapid charging.

In summary, Type 2 charging cables are versatile and suitable for most home and public charging stations, while Type 3 cables are designed for rapid charging at dedicated fast-charging stations. Both cable types prioritize safety features and can provide varying levels of charging power depending on the required charging speed and the individual electric vehicle’s compatible range.

Adapters and Charging Stations

Role of Adapters

Adapters play a significant role in the electric vehicle (EV) charging ecosystem, allowing EV drivers to utilize various charging stations regardless of the plug type. For example, while the CCS Type 2 is commonly used for fast charging in Europe, some vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or models from Genesis might have different connections. By using an appropriate adapter, EV owners can charge their vehicles at charging stations that may not have been initially compatible with their car’s plug type.

A popular adapter choice for Tesla owners is the Tesla Supercharger, which allows them to charge at proprietary Tesla charging stations. These adapters typically come in handy when traveling long distances and enable EV owners to access an extensive network of charging stations.

Finding Compatible Charging Stations

With the increasing number of charging stations available, it is essential for EV drivers to locate and identify compatible charging stations for their vehicles. Utilizing apps and websites can simplify this process, helping drivers find charging points that support their vehicle’s plug type, such as CCS Type 2 or other connector types.

For instance, Tesla drivers can use the Tesla app to find nearby Superchargers, while Nissan Leaf owners can reference apps like PlugShare or ChargePoint to locate suitable charging stations for their vehicles. Prioritizing fast chargers, such as those offering Level 3 charging, can significantly reduce charging times, making them an attractive option for long trips.

In conclusion, adapters and compatible charging stations are crucial aspects of the EV charging experience, offering drivers flexibility and convenience when charging their electric vehicles. By selecting the right adapter and locating suitable charging stations, EV owners can ensure a seamless charging process, regardless of their vehicle’s specific plug type.

Emerging Technologies and Efficiency

As electric vehicle technology advances, various innovative charging methods are being developed to improve efficiency and user experience. This section will discuss two notable emerging technologies: Wireless Charging and Vehicle-to-Grid technology.

Wireless Charging

Wireless charging is an emerging technique for electric vehicle (EV) charging, which eliminates the need for physical cables such as Type 2 or Type 3. Instead, EVs can be charged using electromagnetic fields created by coils placed on the ground and within the vehicle. This technology offers several benefits, including a more seamless experience for users, reduced wear and tear on charging ports, and enhanced weather resistance.

Despite these advantages, wireless charging currently faces some challenges. Most notably, it is less efficient than traditional cable-based charging methods. Energy conversion losses are higher, resulting in longer charging times and increased energy consumption. Furthermore, the limited availability of wireless charging infrastructure and the added cost of installing wireless charging capabilities in vehicles may limit its adoption in the short term.

Vehicle-to-Grid Technology

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology is another advancement in the EV charging ecosystem. It enables bi-directional energy transfer, allowing not just charging the vehicle but also discharging power back into the grid when needed. This has the potential to turn parked electric vehicles into valuable energy storage units, helping to stabilize the grid and optimize energy usage.

V2G technology can also create financial incentives for EV owners, as they can sell excess energy back to the grid during periods of high demand. However, there are still some challenges to widespread implementation, including the need for compatible charging infrastructure, advanced software for managing energy flow, and potential concerns about battery degradation caused by increased charging and discharging cycles.

Both Wireless Charging and Vehicle-to-Grid technology reflect the continuous evolution of EV charging methods, offering potential improvements in efficiency, user experience, and grid optimization. While they may not yet be as widely adopted as Type 2 or Type 3 charging cables, these emerging technologies showcase the potential for continued advancement in the EV charging sector.


In comparing electric car charging cable Type 2 and Type 3, it becomes evident that there are some distinct differences between the two. Type 2 charging cables can be found as the standard option for electric vehicles in Europe, whereas Type 3 charging cables are more prevalent in France, Italy, and other southern European countries.

Type 2 charging cables offer a greater degree of versatility when compared to Type 3 cables. The Type 2 connector can be used with both single-phase and three-phase AC power, allowing for charging speeds ranging from slow to fast. Additionally, Type 2 cables are compatible with a wide range of charging stations, including home wallboxes and public charging points, making it a popular choice for electric vehicle owners.

On the other hand, Type 3 charging cables are designed primarily for single-phase AC power, limiting their charging speed capabilities. They are also beginning to be phased out in some regions due to the increasing preference for Type 2 charging cables and the introduction of more universal charging standards such as the Combined Charging System (CCS).

In terms of safety features, Type 3 cables offer additional protection with their “shuttered socket” design. However, this extra security may not be significant for most users, as Type 2 cables are still deemed safe and are the standard in many locations.

Overall, the choice between Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables should be influenced by factors such as regional compatibility, charging speed requirements, and charging station availability. It’s crucial for electric vehicle owners to choose the best charging cable option according to their specific needs and the infrastructure available in their area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables for electric cars?

Type 2 charging cables are commonly used in Europe for both AC and DC charging at public charging stations and home wallboxes. They offer a universal compatibility among electric vehicles. On the other hand, Type 3 charging cables are now outdated and mostly replaced by Type 2 charging cables. They were predominantly used in France and Italy, but their use is limited today due to interoperability issues.

Are Type 3 charging cables compatible with Type 2 electric car charging ports?

No, Type 3 charging cables are not compatible with Type 2 charging ports. They have different connector shapes and pin configurations. It is important to use a Type 2 charging cable for Type 2 ports in order to ensure safe and efficient power transfer.

How do Type 2 and Type 3 charging connectors differ in terms of charging speed and efficiency?

Type 2 charging connectors are more advanced, offering faster and more efficient charging speeds compared to Type 3 connectors. Type 2 connectors can handle up to 43kW in AC charging and higher power for DC charging, while Type 3 connectors typically support lower power levels.

Do Tesla vehicles use Type 2 or Type 3 charging cables?

Tesla vehicles in Europe generally use Type 2 charging cables for AC charging, as it is the most common charging standard in the region. However, for DC fast charging, Tesla uses its proprietary Supercharger connector, which is unique to their charging network.

Is there a notable cost difference between Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables?

Since Type 3 charging cables are now outdated and less commonly used, their availability might be limited, which can affect their price. Generally, Type 2 charging cables are more readily available and hence might be more cost-effective. The cost of a charging cable also depends on factors such as length, brand, and build quality.

Are Type 2 and Type 3 electric car charging cables interchangeable?

No, Type 2 and Type 3 charging cables are not interchangeable due to differences in their connector designs and pin configurations. It is essential to use the correct charging cable compatible with the specific charging port to ensure safe and efficient charging.

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