Electric car cables explained

Are you suffering from cable confusion, do you know your type 1 from your type 2?

Here are main types of electric car charging cables:

For home and public fast charging

Use at home with a 3-pin plug or wall box for faster charging.

Take your cable with you to make use of public charge points found in car parks or at your workplace. Top up while you work or go shopping.

Public charger points are either wall mounted or a post like the one below.


Used on various ev models including Nissan LEAF, e-NV200 and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Type 1 charging cable

TYPE 2 (A.K.A Mennekes)

Found on a variety of electric cars for both slower and rapid charging (Renault ZOE) depending on the model.

Examples include Renault ZOE, BMW i3 and Volkswagen’s plug-in models.

Type 2 charging cable

Rapid charging

Designed to be used to recharge your car and unplugged when your car reaches 80% of charge.

It is good etiquette to stay with your car and move it when you are finished. Move to another space or continue on your journey.

Rapid Chargers have the cable attached to the device and are found at Motorway Services and shopping centres.

There are currently two competing standards. It is expected one will become preferred.

Most rapid chargers support both standards.


A large and heavy cable delivering up to 50kw of energy enabling a 80% charge in 30minutes.

Found on most Japanese EVs. For example a Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander.

If a car has a Chademo socket it will also have a type 1.

CHADEMO charging cable

CCS (Combined charging system)

Another large charging cable used by European car manufacturers such a VW and Mercedes. Also currently delivers up to 50kw of energy for 80% charge in 30minutes.

Find on BMW i3, VW e-Golf and Hyundai IONIQ.

If a car has CCS it will also take a type 2 cable.

CCS Charging cable

Read more: Glossary of EV buzz words

All details relate to European car models. Models in the U.S. may differ.

The Founder of driveEV. A driving and new technology fan enjoying learning all about the future of motoring. I drive a BMW i3.

2 thoughts on “Electric car cables explained

  1. Glad you answered my questions about the Bolt EV. Oh, wait, no mention of it. Seems you’re missing a little info there to me.

    1. Hi there. I apologise, we are based in UK and are only talking about the European standards. Sadly we don’t get the Bolt/Ampera-e here so I didn’t mention it – although we would really like it.

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