Are you looking for a replacement EV Charging Cable but unsure which one to buy? Read our the comprehensive guide below, explaining which is the most suitable cable for your vehicle:
Single Phase or Three Phase EV Charging Cable – What’s the Difference?
Electric vehicles do not need their owners to be professional electricians; yet a basic understanding of the features, how automotive electricity works, for example, the plugs, sockets, cables and chargers are pretty much essential in the same way that the diligent owner reads up on basic mechanics for fossil-fuel cars. In short, an owner needs to know the key details about the charging speed and how the charging device, charging cable, size, and model of the EV will affect the speed.
Difference between Single-phase and Three-Phase Electric Power:
Standard home power sockets in residential buildings, provide single-phase power whereas normal charging devices (which are also referred as slow charging devices) and commercial buildings supply three-phase alternating current to the electric vehicle.
The three-phase circuit differs from the standard single phase with the help of two additional wires, L2 & L3. It supplies power to the electric vehicle and thus the car will charge three times faster than the normal single-phase charging speed.
Charging cables are also optimized to facilitate single-phase and three-phase charging. Fully auto-switching charging cables are widely available in the market place. These premium cables allow the owner to use 3-phase cables on single-phase charging points or single-phase cars, conversely single-phase cables are perfectly safe to be used on 2-phase commercial charge points.
Alternating Current and Direct Current:
The batteries of electric vehicles require Direct Current (DC) to charge, but a standard charging device or regular power socket supply delivers Alternating Current (AC) to the EV, therefore the built-in charger of the vehicle converts that AC to DC. To simplify the explanation, note that the electricity flows from the power socket to the in-built EV charger and there the Alternating Current is converted into Direct Current (which suits the battery) and the battery charges safely.
Fast charging devices work by supplying Direct Current straight to the battery, and therefore this conversion will not have to occur and will as a consequence charge up swiftly.
Features of Single-Phase and Three-Phase Charging Cables.
With standard charging, whereby the EV will be plugged into a single-phase AC socket, the charging cable will have a three-pin BS1363 plug as commonly used in the households. This results in the charging cable only providing a power output of around 3kW. A standard 24kW EV battery will thus require approximately 8 – 12 hours to get from fully-depleted status to fully-charged level.
Power output from the tethered plug or charge point socket is typically 22kW or 7kW at 32 amps single phase AC. At home, a fast charger might conveniently be mounted on the garage wall with a plug that’s compatible with the EV, such as tethered J1772 plug, Type 2 plug or Type 2 socket. With the power output of 3.6kW or 7kW, they’ll fully charge a depleted battery within 4 – 6 hours.
In a commercial setting, like a workplace or in street locations, the charging units typically possess Type 2 seven-pin sockets and the power outputs they provide are 3.6kW, 7kW, 11kW, or 22kW at 16 or 32 Amp single or three-phase radial AC circuit. The EV charging cable that will be appropriate to use with the fast charging unit will have Type 2 plug or J1772 plug on the vehicle end. The average charging time with the workplace fast charging units will be 1 – 4 hours depending upon the efficiency of the AC to DC converter.
Electricity Costs for Charging:
Electricity consumption and costs of charging depend upon the driving habits of the EV car owner and the amount of ancillary equipment used; air-conditioning for example. On average people drive 47 kilometres in a day and with a standard driving routine, it will cost around £35 per month to the driver. The more you charge, the more you’ll have to pay, regardless of the fact as to whether you charged from domestic single-phase socket or workplace’s three-phase fast-charging unit.
Type 1 and Type 2 EV Charging Cables: What’s the difference?
Electric Vehicles and Plugin Hybrid (PHEV) cars are equipped with an inbuilt charger through which they can easily charge the vehicles from the normal main supply. Some vehicles however will require an additional charging cable that will allow the owners to charge their cars away from home.
Difference between Type 1 & Type 2 Charging Cables:
Differences between the two variants of EV charging cables are as follows:
- Type 1 inlet is the Asian, Japanese and American standard of charging cables whereas, in Europe, the Type 2 inlet is the standard.
- To keep the plug in place and to prevent it from falling out of the socket, Type 1 plug comes with a latch, whereas Type 2 plugs don’t have a latch.
- Vehicles that support the Type 2 plug have a locking pin that locates and secures the plug in place and prevents it from falling out. This way only car owners will be able to unplug the charging cable from the car end. Whereas vehicles that support Type 1 plug don’t come with a lock pin and therefore anyone will be able to unplug the charging cable from the car.
- Both Type 1 and Type 2 plugs contain pins that carry power and a safety ground.
- Type 2 cables have resistors that communicate with the car and tell it that the cable is plugged in and to keep charging whilst other resistor functions are maintaining the uniform supply of power as it detects the strength of the cable and derives power accordingly. Whereas the resistors in the Type 1 cable detect whether the cable is plugged in the car or not and decide to turn off the charger in case the lever is pressed to unlatch the plug.
- Type 1 is a single-phase charging cable whereas Type 2 charging cable allows both single phase and 3-phase main power to be connected to the vehicle.
Which car manufacturers use which type?
Electric vehicles that are currently available in the market are fitted with two different types of sockets for the charging cables, and before purchasing the charging cable, the biggest thing to consider is the make and model of the vehicle:
Check in which of the above-mentioned category your EV falls and then select the charging cable. Other factors to consider while purchasing the EV cable include the charging capacity and length of the cable.
Car owners who have high-capacity plug-in electric vehicles should pick a 3×32 amp cable that will not limit the charging capacity of their vehicle. Type 2 charging cables are ideal for high-capacity plug-in vehicles. Similarly, a longer charging cable should be picked for cars that have charging ports located on one side of their body so that they’ll easily reach the charging socket.
16 Amp or 32 Amp Charging Cable: What’s the difference?
As there are different chargers for different smartphones so similarly there are different charging cables and plug types for different electric vehicles. There are specific factors that matter when picking the right EV charging cable such as power and amps. Amperage rating is crucial for determining the charging time of the EV; the higher the Amps, the shorter will be the charging time.
Difference between 16 amp and 32 amp charging cables:
Standard power output levels of regular public charging stations are 3.6kW and 7.2kW which will correspond to the 16 Amp or 32 Amp supply. A 32 amp charging cable will be thicker and heavier than a 16 amp charging cable. It is important though the charging cable should be picked according to the type of the car because apart from the power supply and amperage other factors will include the charging time of the EV are; make and model of the car, size of the charger, battery’s capacity and size of the EV charging cable.
For instance, an electric vehicle whose onboard charger has the capacity of 3.6kW, will only accept current up to 16 Amp and even if a 32 Amp charging cable is used and plugged into a 7.2kW charging point, the charging rate won’t be increased; neither it will reduce the charging time. A 3.6kW charger will take almost 7 hours to get fully charged with a 16 Amp charging cable.
As mentioned above, regular household plugs in the UK provide up to 13 Amp and it will take more than 8 hours to completely charge an electric vehicle through them. Whereas most commercial and workplace charging units provide fast 7kW-22kW chargers with 32 amp current.
Vehicles that have a large battery pack, such as either a 40kw and 6.6kW onboard charger, a 32 amp EV charging cable should be used for charging them and they’ll be charged within four hours if plugged in a 7.2kW charge point.
Cost difference in 16 Amp and 32 Amp EV charging cables:
32 Amp charging cables will cost you more than double the price of 16 Amp EV charging cables, but then the advantages of 32 Amp cables will overshadow the price that you will have to pay one time on the charging cable.
The time these high amperage cables will save is worth a thousand dollars. On the other hand, some people prefer 16 Amp EV charging cables because they are lightweight and easy to handle as compared to thick 32 Amp Charging cables.
Which Charging cable suits your car?
The cable that is appropriate for individual needs of an EV depends obviously on the model of the car and the strength of its inbuilt charger. Electric Vehicles like Volt, Nisan Leaf, and Chevrolet Spark EV have lower capacity in-built chargers and therefore they’ll only process 3.6kW/h regardless of the charging point’s power supply and it’s advised to purchase charging cable with 1×20 amp capacity for them. Whereas for high-capacity plug-in vehicles like Honda Fit EV, 32 amp charging cables are recommended because of their powerful battery charger.
With fossil-fuelled cars we learn over time what is needed and what is not. It is the same with electric cars even if it takes time to get to grips with all the information. If in doubt, source the cable from a professional supplier.