What are the Different Types of Electric Car Plugs? 

The previously rare electric vehicle is now just as commonly seen as almost all other car types. Nearly every major car manufacturer offers an all-electric version of their most popular models, with some even offering all-electric trucks. This should give you a sense of where the future is headed. But there is likely one thing that might cause you hesitation from taking the plunge, how to charge the batteries.

Gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles are easy. You open the fuel cap and insert the nozzle from the dispenser and your local station. It’s extremely rare to find one that doesn’t work with your vehicle (although some evaporation recovery devices are quite finicky).

Charging an electric car is not all that much more difficult, and can even be easier if you have the right plug.

Power Ratings

The power ratings and the specific type of electric current are vitally important in ensuring not only the correct plug but for protecting the life of the batteries. The rate of charging simply determines approximately how far the car can travel after a certain period of charging. The more power that is supplied to charge the battery, the less time it takes to charge to a certain percentage of battery capacity. However, the amount of power used to charge the batteries can also affect their longevity. Generally, the lower the charging power, the less strain is placed on the batteries, extending their life.

Current Type

Given the designs of the plugs, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to use an A/C system with a D/C charging current. Generally, when the car is at home and simply a top-off is needed, A/C is the better choice with D/C charging better reserved for quick on-the-road needs. D/C does take a lot less time to bring the batteries to the same level of charge, as a consequence, however, of much higher temperatures that can greatly degrade the life of the batteries.

Type 1

As the name implies, this was one of the first plugs developed to charge the batteries in electric vehicles. This plug uses five pins and is a standard for most electric vehicles in the United States. The plug does allow for slow and fast charging at 3.7 kW and 7 kW, respectively. You should exercise caution, as this plug has no locking mechanism and can be dislodged.

Type 2

The Type 2 charging plug is an improvement on Type 1 and adds two more connection pins, as well as a built-in locking mechanism. This plug also adds to the charging rate with the capability of 22 kW (using three-phase charging) if your vehicle allows it.


One of the first rapid charging systems has a name to fit its use on the road. The “Charge de Move” or CHAdeMO, is a favorite of many Asian automakers such as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. This is a rather large plug and tends to require a much larger charging area/flap on the vehicle and is not very common beyond certain carmakers. Charging power for the CHAdeMO can reach 400 kW with plans for up to 900 kW.

Combined Charging System

Perhaps the most convenient of all is the Combined Charging System or CCS allows for a single cord/plug system to be used for slower charging at home as well as rapid charging on the road. The top of the plug looks nearly identical to a Type 2 plug, with two of the five connection pins being located on the D/C section of the plug. This will likely become the standard for D/C charging.

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