Recharging electric vehicles at charging stations

Charging cables and connectors: the right type for your electric vehicle


Charging cables and connectors: the right type for your electric vehicle

April 9, 2019


e-Golf: Power consumption, kWh/100 km: combined 12.7; CO₂ emissions combined, g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+2

Is recharging an electric vehicle complicated? By no means! All you need is a socket or an optional wall box at home and a charging cable with the right connector for when you are on the road. We explain which connectors you definitely need and which connectors are ideal for fast charging.

Find out here:

  • Which connector is the right one for your electric vehicle
  • How to recharge at home
  • Which cable to use when on the road
  • How you can speed up charging at the charging station

To find the right connector, all you need to know is which connection is installed in your vehicle. European manufacturers normally utilise Type 2 connections. Do not get confused: the Type 2 connectors often referred to as the Mennekes and is named after the manufacturer. Asian or American models often utilise Type 1.

Are you not sure which connector you need for your electric vehicle? You can find a table with the most common electric vehicles and their connectors hereOpens an external link. Now it depends on whether you are at home or on the road – because this determines the type of cable you need. You can choose from Mode 2 or Mode 3.

Mode 2 cables and three-pin plugs: transforming a socket into a charging station

The easiest way to start recharging electric vehicles is with a household socket. Simply plug the cable into a normal three pin socket and the other end has the right connector for your vehicle model. When charging, you generally have enough time to relax and recharge your own batteries. The charging time for your electric vehicle using the 230V mains power with 2.3 kW varies depending on the vehicle.


Type 2 connect at the charging station

The wall box: faster charging with the Mode 3 cable

If charging with a normal socket takes too long, using the optional wall box at home can speed things up. The permanently installed charging station provides power with a considerably higher charging performance than a conventional household socket (up to 22 kW instead of 2.3 kW). The key difference: the wall box uses a Mode 3 cable rather than a Mode 2 cable to recharge the vehicle. It is generally permanently integrated into the box so that there is no need for you to worry about the charging cable when you purchase the box. All you need to consider is which charging connector your vehicle needs – At Volkswagen, this is usually the Type 2 connector.

How much does this time-saving cost? The price for a home charging station ranges from 200 to several thousand euros – depending on the performance and brand. For example, Volkswagen presented the prototype of its ID.Charger station in 2018 and is available as the 11 kW Entry and Connect model. The most affordable version is available begins at 300 euros.

These are the connector types for electric vehicles:

Different connectors for recharging electric vehicles
The three-phase Type 2 connector is the most common type in Europe and has been defined as the standard. There are also a number of other connector types for public charging stations. You can recharge the vehicle from a normal socket at home with a Mode 2 charging cable.

Mode 3 and Type 2: the combination for public charging stations

For European electric vehicles, you normally need a Mode 3 charging cable with two Type 2 connectors, also known as Mennekes plugs, for public charging stations. For Asian or American vehicles with a Type 1 connector, you use a Mode 3 charging cable with Type 2 to Type 1. Type 2 has an advantage over Type 1: the charging connector can be locked onto both the vehicle and the charging station. All you have to do is lock your car. The connector is then locked onto the car and the station and you can leave your car to recharge without any worries.

Combo 2 connector and CHAdeMO connector: maximum charging performance

When you are out and about, you can also recharge your vehicle at quick charging stations, where available. The underlying principle: most charging stations deliver alternating current (AC) while electric vehicles store the energy in the battery as direct current (DC). Normally, the vehicle has to convert alternating current into direct current. Quick charging stations handle this task themselves, saving time and enabling higher charging performance!

To benefit from the maximum charging performance of up to 350 kW, you need a Combo 2 connector (also known as a CCS connector), which is an enhancement of the Type 2. It is equipped with additional power contacts, enabling fast charging. Now your lunch break or a quick shopping tour are all the time you need before getting back on the road. CCS stands for Combined Charging System because the connector can supply both alternating current and direct current. The CHAdeMo connector is the Asian equivalent. Similar to the Combined Charging System, it can achieve a charging performance of up to 400 kW but is rarely found at German charging stations.



Essentially, you only need one charging cable to handle all of your charging needs when on the road – namely the Mode 3 with the Type 2 connector at the charging station end and the Type 2 or Type 1 connector at the vehicle end. If you take your travel with your electric vehicle on less common routes or on longer journeys – the navigation system shows you where to find the next charging stations. Maps such as “Chargemap”Opens an external link or “Plugsurfing”Opens an external link  enable you to filter by connector types. Ensuring that your electric vehicle always has the power to boot.