Charging Connector Types and Sockets

Charging connector types

Charging plugs and sockets from different manufacturers can be confusing for electric vehicle (EV) drivers.

In the EV charging world, manufacturers are clashing over connector types and standards – it’s like VHS versus Betamax or Windows and MacOS vying for supremacy.

AC Connectors

AC Connectors come in two varieties. The standard US power plug, a two-bladed, polarized plug that fits into a 110 V wall outlet; while the NEMA 1-15-P plug (sometimes referred to as a two-prong power plug), which lacks a ground pin and mates with female mating outlets known as receptacles, have no ground pin and need only attach themselves to an electrical receptacle.

North and some parts of South America use plugs and sockets that meet IEC 60320-1, a specification published by the International Electrotechnical Commission. Depending on where they originate from, these plugs can be either polarized or unpolarized with either a wider neutral blade than the line blade.

Some connectors also feature a right-angle configuration, in which the cord is attached at an angle to the plug. This helps minimize the risk of disengagement when under tension.

Many connectors feature an insertion detection contact that permits the device to detect when a battery is plugged in or not. This helps conserve power when running on external power or when using with a wall outlet.

Another popular AC connector is the barrel connector, also referred to as a “jack”. This comes in various configurations such as PCB mounted (surface mount or through hole), cable mount, and panel mount options.

The most common configuration is a 5.5mm outer sleeve with either 2.5mm or 2.1mm pin, although other combinations can also be found. Both male and female versions are typically available; the primary differences being their diameter and polarity.

Type 1 Connectors

North America’s two primary charging connectors are Type 1 and CCS Combo 1. These provide both AC (Level 1, Level 2) and DC (Level 3 fast charging), making them compatible with nearly all electric vehicles sold within the region.

In Europe, Type 2 (also referred to as the “Mennekes”) plug is widely used for electric vehicles. These three-phase connectors are similar to North America’s J1772 standard but offer greater power transfer capacity due to their larger dimensions.

The IEC 62196 type 2 plug is ideal for three-phase electrical systems and can deliver up to 22 kW of power when charging privately, and 43 kW when public charging. Not only that, but this type of charging cable also boasts more output than its older counterpart, the Type 1 plug – plus it features an automatic locking system which ensures secure connector connection every time.

Another advantage of these connectors is that they enable you to switch between Mode 1 and Mode 3. Also known as “Fast” charging, this operates at either 16A (3.6kWh) or 32A (7.2kWh), the highest available charge speed in Europe but only compatible with vehicles equipped with this connector type.

Furthermore, both Type 1 and Type 2 EV charging cables come equipped with resistors that communicate with your electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid to guarantee a smooth charging process. These resistors detect when the plug is plugged in, automatically turning off the charger if you unlatch it. Furthermore, software is utilized to protect your car from short circuits which could cause the battery to overheat or burn out prematurely.

Type 2 Connectors

In Europe, the Type 2 connector is the standard for charging your electric vehicle at home using a standard AC electricity source. Many European electric cars – including Nissan Leafs, Kia Soul EVs, Peugeot iOns and Citroen C-Zeros – come equipped with this connector.

Menneykes offers an expansive selection of electric vehicle (EV) cables with Type 2 plugs. These spiralized cables make charging your car possible even in hard-to-reach places or over longer distances possible, while their durable materials resist dust and water damage – perfect for storage in garages or at home.

Type 2 EV connectors also support Mode 3 (or ‘Fast’) charging up to 11 kW at public or wallboxes with a ‘Charging socket’, which are often found near main routes and places where long-term parking is common.

With a Mode 3 (‘Fast’) charging cable, your vehicle is connected to the charger via seven-pin Type 2 male plug end – similar to what is found on home and public Mode 3 ‘Fast’ charge points. The ‘Fast’ cable has resistors which communicate with your vehicle during charging to maintain consistent power levels.

Type 2 plugs lack latches that secure them to a charger socket, which can lead to issues when driving around with one attached. Nevertheless, this issue is relatively minor when considering all the advantages of being able to use a single EV charging cable at all public and private stations in Europe – including being able to quickly charge your car!


CCS is the most commonly used rapid charger connector on new electric vehicles from Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Audi, Mercedes and VW. It can also be found in older EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV models.

CCS may not be as powerful as CHAdeMO, but it still provides a fast charge to your car when away from home. Plus, CCS is more versatile since it works with various charging sockets.

In 2012, the CCS connector was developed and is now standard on most new electric vehicles (EVs). It utilizes a ‘combo charging system’ – that is, it combines either the slower Type 1 or Type 2 AC charging socket with two extra pins for much faster DC charges.

When shopping for an electric vehicle (EV), be aware of the maximum DC charge rate available. Some models can deliver up to 350 kW while others may only provide 100 kW or lower.

Another thing to consider is that CCS plugs can be quite bulky and ‘chunky’ when fed through a liquid-cooled cable. This has led to criticism in some circles that they are ‘unwieldy’ and should be discontinued from use.

Thankfully, this is not a major concern as there are adaptors available to allow use of general public rapid chargers without the need for an exclusive CCS plug. You can easily find these on eBay or ask your local dealer for a CCS socket.

At present, CCS is winning out in Europe (but see CHAdeMO 3.0 and ChaoJi below). However, in Asia a new DC rapid system developed by Japan called ‘CHAdeMO 3.0’ can charge at up to 900 kW and could eventually dethrone CCS from this market share.

CHAdeMO Connectors

There is an ongoing competition among electric vehicle (EV) charging connectors and plug types, as manufacturers compete to determine which is superior. Whether you plan to charge your car using standard home AC power supply or utilize DC fast charging, selecting the correct connector that matches both your car’s needs is key.

In Japan and China, CHAdeMO is a widely-used standard that features an extra socket for rapid DC charging alongside standard Type 1 or Type 2 AC sockets. This system can be found on vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, among others. CHAdeMO was initially created by TEPCO alongside Nissan and Mitsubishi; later Toyota joined as an executive member.

Another standard for electric vehicle chargers is the Combined Charging System (CCS). This permits drivers to utilize one port for both AC Level 1 and Level 2 charging, making it convenient to use this connection with most modern EVs available today.

CCS connectors feature AC and DC inlets on one port, taking up less space than other types of connectors. They are supported by automakers such as BMW, Ford, Jaguar, GM, Polestar and Volkswagen.

CCS stands out among other connectors by allowing users to utilize the same port for GB/T or CHAdeMO charging stations. Unfortunately, these standards have different communication protocols, so adapters are required for all of them.

Generally, it’s best to use a combined CCS (rapid DC) / Type 2 socket combination when charging at home or public charge points. These types of sockets are becoming increasingly common on cars such as the I-Pace, e-Niro, i3, Kona and Mini Electric.