You’ve bought your dream electric car. You are waiting for your electric vehicle charge point to be installed. Now, what cable will you use to plug in? It may seem like a minor decision but we believe that your choice of cable will make a significant impact to the way you charge your car. With decisions to be made about the connection type, length, design and price; we are here to help you make the right decision.
When it comes to connections, there are two options: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 connectors are commonly used in the US for home charging on AC supplies. Some older European and Asian models had type 1 connections but these have been largely phased out. The EU now recommends Type 2 connectors across the board and it is likely that this will apply to your new car. Most European EV charge points will have an untethered or ‘universal’ socket. This means that, in most cases, your cable should have ‘universal’ on one end and Type 2 on the other.
In the UK, our electrical grid carries 240 Volts. Most EV charge points, both domestic and commercial, operate on 32 Amps. This means that your charge point will produce roughly 7 Kilowatts of power per hour. Most electric cars on the market are optimised to this power level and will be able to plug into the UK grid easily. However, it is important to check the specifications of both your car and your charge point to ensure that this is the case. As with many things, there are occasional exceptions to the norm.
When it comes to cable length, it may seem like the longer the better. Indeed, extra length offers greater flexibility on where you can park your car and still be able to plug in. That said, these charging cables are significantly larger than laptop or mobile phone chargers and with extra length comes a lot of extra weight. Your charging cable is probably going to live in the boot of your car. In order to maximise your car’s performance, it is best to be as light as possible. One must also consider the process of taking the charging cable out of your boot and putting it back again. To avoid this process becoming clumsy, it is best to minimise the amount of cable you have to contend with. We recommend measuring up the distance between your charge point and where you intend to park your car. Think logically about how often you may want to park elsewhere or further away and consider whether the extra length is worth it. Order a charging cable which is just the right length and no more.
You may have an image of yourself looking very cool plugging in your new electric vehicle with ease but we can assure you that you will inevitably drop your charger or drag it along the ground at some point. To avoid wear and tear, it is advisable to choose a charging cable which is durable and impact resistant. Consider the materials your electric vehicle charging cable is made from. Are they lightweight, durable, easy to clean? Look for electric and hybrid electric vehicle charging cables which have been tested against impact on solid pavements or garage floors. Try to find a product which is oil and dirt resistant to keep it looking clean. However, no charging cable is invincible and, given how often it will be used, there may breakages or faults over time. With this in mind, it is important to choose a charging cable which comes with manufacturers guarantees or warranties. We recommend finding a a product which comes with between 2 and 5 years warranty.
The final thing to be considered is the style. There is no point investing in a brand new car and charge point, which are elegantly designed and coordinated, but connecting them together with a cheap-looking, mismatched cabled. Many cables are available in a variety of colours and styles. Try to match the cable to your car or charge point, or both. It may not seem important but your car will spend a lot of its life charging, it should look as good while connected as it does out on the road.
There are many charging cables on the market which will fit the above criteria, some more than others. We have a range of charging cables available on our www.evchargepoints.com website with detailed specifications on every product. Look out for our blog posts on new and upcoming products such as the Generation 3.1 Charging Cable Type 2 to Type 2 charging cable. We try to offer as much information as possible but if you can’t find what you are looking for then please get in touch. A member of our technical team will be happy to answer your questions on charging cables and electric vehicle charge points or any other aspect of life with an electric vehicle.
Author – Iain McComish of evchargepoints.com
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Brite Technical Services Limited
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Telephone 0845 862 8890