Understanding EV Charging Cables: Type 1 Vs Type 2

Type 1 and Type 2 charging cables both serve the same fundamental purpose – letting you charge your EV – but they differ in significant ways, including their design, performance, and geographical usage.

In this article, we compare the Type 1 EV cable with the Type 2 EV cable. We look at their features and performance, and help you determine which charger might be the best fit for your specific electric car.

Type 1 EV charging cable
Type 1 cable with 5-pin connector
Type 2 EV charging cable
Type 2 cable with 7-pin connector

Understanding EV Charging Cables

The table below provides an overview of the main differences between the Type 1 and the Type 2 electric car charger:

Type 1 EV cableType 2 EV cable
Typical regionNorth America, AsiaEurope, Australia,
South Africa, New Zeland
No of pins5-pin plug7-pin plug
Official standardSAE J177262196-2
Plugs/Cable Type 1 plug (vehicle side) and Type 2 plug (charger side)Usually a socket, cable is separate with Type 2 plugs on both ends
Phase typesingle-phasesingle or 3-phase
Max home charge kWUp to 7.4kWUp to 22 kW (single-phase)
Up to 43 kW (three-phase)
Locking typeManual latchAutomatic locking
Type 1 and Type 2 EV cables

The Type 1 charger operates on a single-phase connection and can deliver charging speeds up to 7.4 kW. It typically comes with an attached cable that has a Type 1 plug on the vehicle side and a Type 2 plug on the charger side.
It’s most commonly used in North America and some parts of Asia.

Type 2 chargers can operate on both single and three-phase connections, offering charging speeds up to 22 kW on single-phase and up to 43 kW on three-phase. These chargers usually have a socket and require a separate cable with Type 2 plugs on both ends. They’re frequently found in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

While Type 1 connectors do not have shutters on the vehicle side and some have a latch locking mechanism, Type 2 chargers feature a shuttered socket and a latch locking mechanism on both connectors for enhanced safety.

Type 1 charging cable Explained

A Type 1 EV charger is predominantly used in Asia and the US. The US and Asia use Type 1 chargers because their residential power supply is lower than in Europe and other parts of the world. This region’s supply starts at a lesser voltage that can only achieve a maximum of 7.4kW power in a residential charging setting.

EV owners in the US and Asia are unlikely to be able to upgrade to a three-phase electricity supply like residents in the UK can, and therefore cannot benefit from the 22kW max charging power offered by Type 2 chargers.

The plug on a Type 1 charging cable will have 5 pins. The plug features a fastener that secures the plug to the socket and ensures it is not knocked out of place during the charging process.

Type 1 chargers must be compliant with the US standard for EV chargers – the SAE J1772 specification. The SAE J1772 provides the safety framework that Type 1 charger manufacturers must adhere to, this covers the voltage systems, the shock protection and the release mechanism.

Type 2 charging cable Explained

A Type 2 EV charger is the standard type of EV charging cable used in Europe. The Type 2 charger is alternatively referred to as a Mennekes charger (the company that first developed type 2 chargers in 2009).

It was produced as an alternative to the Type 1 charger in order for EV manufacturers to take advance of the increased electricity power supply found in Europe. The main difference between a Type 2 and Type 1 charging cable is the power it can handle. The Type 2 can charge at power of up to 22kW in a residential setting (providing the supply has been upgraded to 3-phase power).

The plug on the Type 2 charging cable has 7 pins (5 large and 2 small – an earthing pin, signalling pins and power supply pins).

Unlike the Type 1 charger, the Type 2 charger does not need a manual latch to attach to the car when charging as it will automatically lock into place once EV charging is commenced.

man about to charge his BMW EV with a type 2 charger
EVs in the UK use a 7-pin Type 2 charger

Adaptors and Compatibility

It is possible to buy an adaptor to convert a  type 1 cable to a type 2. The adapter essentially acts as a bridge between the charging station’s Type 2 plug and the vehicle’s Type 1 socket.

The 32A cable will have a type 1 socket on one end and a standard type 2 plug on the other. This will allow you to use any legacy type 1 charging equipment you have to charge a type 2 electric vehicle.

This type of adapter is often used to connect a Type 1-equipped electric vehicle to a Type 2 charging station, which is common in Europe.

There is also a Type 2 to Type 1 EV Adapter. This type of adapter is often used to connect a Type 2-equipped electric vehicle to a Type 1 charging station, which is common in North America and parts of Asia.

This will allow you to charge type 1 and type 2 from the wall charger, the 32A cable will have a type 2 socket on one end and a standard type 1 plug on the other.

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