Electric Vehicle Plug TypesElectric Car Plug Types and Connectors
Below are the different types of electric car plug types and connectors that are currently available or being produced. There is also a description of three of the most common receptacles used to charge electric vehicles in residential buildings.
Electric Car Plug Types
Tesla – The Tesla connector is the standard connector for Tesla vehicles. Tesla sells an adapter that can be used on most electric vehicle charging stations, and Tesla has also installed their own network of superchargers throughout the U.S. and Europe that are compatible with their 85 kWh models and 60 kWh models that have supercharging enabled. Also, Tesla’s superchargers are the main competitor to the CHAdeMO superchargers described in more detail below.
SAE J1772 – This is the standard plug type for electric vehicles in the United States, developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A charger with a SAE J1772 plug can connect directly to most electric vehicles produced after 2000. Although J1772 connectors are not required by federal standards, most electric vehicle manufacturers have adopted this connector. It can be used for AC Level 1 (120VAC) charging or AC Level 2 (240VAC) charging. The connector has several types of shock protection standards included to allow for safe charging even in wet conditions.
SAE Combo – The Society of Automotive Engineers is currently developing a combo coupler version of the standard J1772-2009 connector which has extra pins to allow for fast direct current charging from 200 to 450 volts, 200A and up to 90 kW. The SAE Combo charger would be another competitor to CHAdeMO’s supercharger network, but there are currently only a few SAE Combo supercharging stations. Several upcoming models produced by the likes of Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, Chrysler, Volkswagen and others will have a SAE Combo connector and be able to charge from SAE Combo fast charging stations.
CHAdeMO – These connectors are used for the quick charging stations developed by the CHAdeMO Association which includes several Japanese automakers such as Nissan, Mitsubishi, Fuji, Toyota. They are called Level 3 chargers capable of delivering up to 62.5 kWh of direct current and charging vehicles much faster than Level 1 or Level 2 chargers. At the moment CHAdeMO has installed over 550 quick charging stations in the United States with many more being installed in Japan by TEPCO and in Europe. Many vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi MiEV are compatible with CHAdeMO fast charging stations, but adapters are available for other models that are not directly compatible.
Electric Vehicle Receptacles
NEMA 5-15 – This is the standard 15 amp, 125 volt receptacle found in most homes, and it is normally used to power home appliances that need to be grounded such as air conditioners, washers, freezers, and dryers. Many electric vehicles can be charged from a NEMA 15 receptacle, however the charging is usually the slowest. Most public charging stations use a variation of the NEMA receptacle because of their popularity and many electric vehicles have an adapter for these receptacles.
NEMA 5-20 — This is a 20 amp, 125 volt receptacle that is normally used to power office equipment, some types of heaters and air conditioners, and other machines. The female NEMA 5-20 receptacle can connect to a male standard 15A/125V electric vehicle charger and this receptacle is also commonly found in residential homes and other buildings.
NEMA 14-50 – These receptacles are usually found in RV parks as they are normally used to power recreational vehicle connections, and they are also used as dryer outlets in residential buildings. They are rated for 50A and 240-volt, and some models like the Tesla Model S can plug into them with an adapter and charge at a faster rate than Level 2 charging stations, since they are rated at 50 amps.