Understanding Electric Car Charging Cables: Top Tips

electric car charging

Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

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We suspect, by now you have seen a few EV charge points in your city or neighbourhood, with zero-emission or ultra-low-emission vehicles (ULEVs) charging.  Some of you may already own an EV and have become experts in charging at home or at public EV charge points, to include, workplace charging. However, for those of you, still trying to understand electric car charging, in particular, EV cable types & connectors, this is a simple introductory guide. 

EV Charging Cables: The Basics


EV Cables (Type 1/ Type 2)

EV Cables: The Basics
When do I need an electric car charging cable?Quite simply when you need to charge your EV, either at home or at a public charge point.  If your home charge point has a tethered cable, then you will not need to use another EV cable for charging at home. 
Do I need an EV cable for public AC EV charging?Yes for most public AC ( EV chargers, an EV cable will be required, as most of these EV chargers are untethered (i.e. there is no cable attached to the EV charger).
Do I need an EV cable for public DC EV charging?No. for DC charging, you will not need a cable, as DC rapid and ultra-rapid EV chargers are tethered i.e. the cable is permanently attached to the DC (Direct Current) EV charger.  
Do I need an EV cable for charging all types of electric cars?You will need an EV cable for charging all types of plug-in electric cars, to include, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) and battery-electric-vehicles (BEVs).
What is the best length EV cable for public EV charging?EV cables come in many lengths. There is no ‘best’ length, as it depends on the specific circumstances for charging the electric car. However, a 5m EV cable should meet most needs. A 5m offers a good balance between flexibility, practicality (ease of storage) and costs.
Do I need a single-phase or three-phase EV charging cable?It depends on a number of factors, to include: charging speeds available at the charging destination and the onboard AC charging capability of the electric vehicle (EV). If the EV has a single-phase onboard charger, then AC charging will be restricted to one-phase i.e. you will need a single-phase EV cable.
What colour is best for an EV cable?There is no ‘best’ colour. However, in general, we at e-zoomed recommend choosing a high visibility colour EV cable. A high visibility EV cable reduces the risk of tripping, in particular, for public EV charging, when charging during low light and night conditions.  
Should I buy an EV charging cable carry case?Yes. Inculcating a good habit of neatly storing an EV cable when not in use, is good for the long-term maintenance and performance of the EV cable. Moreover, it also mitigates the risk of tripping.
Should I buy a Type 1 or Type 2 EV cable?It depends on the electric car. However, most of the recent electric cars use a Type 2 EV charging cable. Some of the older generations of electric cars, like the all-electric Nissan Leaf, use a Type 1 EV cable. Your electric vehicle will have either a Type 1 or Type 2 car inlet socket. Type 1 inlet is the American and Japanese standard (J1772). Type 2 inlet is the standard in Europe (IEC 62196). Both have pins to carry power, a safety ground and communication.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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