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Everything you should know about electric vehicle charging [2023 update]

Electric car charging explained for those considering buying their first electric car.

Making mobility sustainable

Future of electric vehicles

Electric mobility and the popularity of electric passenger vehicles has been growing rapidly over the last decade and this trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

However you measure it—EV sales, EVs on the roads, government EV legislation, or simply vehicle manufacturers making electric mobility pledges—it’s undeniable that the future is electric, and the age of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles is coming to an end.


million EVs in 2022


million EVs in 2030


total EV share in 2030

1. Are electric cars worth it?

Benefits of electric cars

As a society, electric vehicles can help us reduce carbon emissions and build a more sustainable future. But as drivers, EVs provide us far more than the ability to reduce our et footprint.

More cost savings, a superior performance, and a smaller carbon footprint

For one, electric vehicles offer superior driving experience; instant torque and smooth handling (thanks to a low center of gravity). And let’s be honest, charging when you’re parked at your destination, instead of going out of your way to do so is something you can easily get used to. Next to the added convenience, it can save costs as well. Did you know charging is cheaper than filling up your gas tank? Next to this, EVs require much less maintenance than conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles due to fewer moving parts and no fluids.

There are many unanswered questions that (potential) new EV drivers have about EV charging.

For people considering buying their first electric vehicle or those who just bought one, driving an EV—or more specifically charging one—is a completely new experience.

On this page, we provide an overview of everything you need to know about EV charging and clear up the most common questions so you can feel more confident about switching to electric mobility.

2. Electric vehicles vs. gas

EV charging is one of the reasons you should get an electric car

Whether you’re in the market for your first EV or considering upgrading, it’s only logical that you’re comparing your options. One of the major differences between owning an EV and a traditional vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) is how you fill your proverbial tank. Many find switching from putting gas in a tank to charging a battery with electricity the scariest transition; what if you run out in the middle of nowhere?

In reality, EV range anxiety has as much to do with psychology as it does with the range of electric cars (or the availability of charging stations). In fact, being able to charge your battery is one of the best things about driving an electric car.

The biggest difference between driving gas and electric is that when you’re driving electric, you can charge potentially anywhere.

EV charging locations

It may sound obvious, but with a gas vehicle, you can pretty much only fill up your tank at a gas station. With an EV, however, you can charge your car pretty much everywhere: at home, at the office, at a restaurant, whilst doing your shopping, whilst parked on the street, or you can top-up your car’s battery at a (no longer aptly named) gas station.

So, the decision to get an EV and thinking about how to charge it go hand in hand. However, because it works a little differently than what we’re all familiar with, it can get quite confusing, especially because there are many new definitions you have to wrap your head around.

A man using a public EVBox Liviqo AC charging station to charge his electric car.

Electric car charging explained: why is the terminology so complicated?

As a relatively young, scattered, and rapidly growing industry, EV charging terminology is all over the place. There are different charging levels, cables and plugs (which differ depending on where you are), battery capacity possibilities, and estimated actual range.

Charging stations can also vary depending on the type of current they use (AC or DC), their power output, and their charging speed. It doesn’t help that many EV charging terms are similar and often used interchangeably. For example, how fast is fast charging really? And what is rapid or even ultra-fast charging?

If you’re thinking about buying (or have just bought) an EV, then it’s understandable that all this new information can feel a bit overwhelming.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about EV charging so you can start your transition toward electric mobility well-informed.

3. Where to charge an electric car?

EV charging locations

Generally speaking, any location you can park your car in with access to electricity is a potential charging location. So, you can imagine the places you can charge your EV are as diverse as today’s electric car models.

As the world is shifting towards electric mobility, the need for a suitable charging infrastructure network has never been more prevalent. As such, governments and cities across the globe are creating legislation and incentivizing the building of charging stations while more and more businesses are tapping into this new market.

The number of publicly available charging stations is steadily increasing and will continue to do so to keep pace with the rapidly growing adoption of electric vehicles across the world.

So in the future, as charging stations become more common fixtures on streets the world over, the locations you will be able to charge in will expand greatly. But what are the five most popular places to charge your car today?

The five most popular car charging locations

According to our Mobility Monitor report in partnership with Ipsos, in which we surveyed thousands of EV drivers (and potential EV drivers) across Europe, these are the five most popular places to charge an electric car:

1. Electric car charging at home

With 64 percent of EV drivers charging regularly at their house, home EV charging takes the crown for the most popular charging location. This comes as no surprise, as charging at home enables electric car drivers to wake up to a fully charged vehicle every day and ensures they pay only for the electricity they consume at their household's electricity rate.

2. Electric car charging at work

34 percent of current EV drivers already regularly charge their car at the workplace, and many more have stated that they would love to be able to do so, and who wouldn’t? Driving to the office, focusing on your work during business hours, and driving home at the end of the day in a fully charged vehicle is undoubtedly convenient. As a result, more and more workplaces are starting to install EV charging stations as part of a sustainability initiative, employee engagement strategies, and to satisfy their EV-driving visitors and partners.

Man using EVBox Liviqo to charge his car.

3. Public charging stations

Each day, more public charging stations are popping up as cities and local governments are investing heavily in charging infrastructure. Today, 31 percent of EV drivers already use them regularly, and they are likely to play a crucial role in supporting electrification for city dwellers without access to a home charging station.

4. EV charging at gas stations

Charging at home or at the office sounds nice, but what if you’re on the road and looking for a quick top-up? Many fuel retailers and service stations are starting to provide fast charging (also known as level 3 or DC charging). 29 percent of current EV drivers already charge their car there regularly.

While charging at the office or at home is convenient while you get on with your day, it can take hours to fully charge a battery, depending on the charging station’s power output. For times when you need a quick top-up, fast charging stations allow you to charge your battery in minutes, not hours, and be back on the road in no time.

5. Retail locations with electric car chargers

26 percent of EV drivers regularly charge their car at supermarkets, while 22 percent prefer shopping malls or department stores—if the service is available to them. Think of the convenience: imagine watching a movie, having dinner, meeting a friend for a coffee, or even doing some grocery shopping and returning to a vehicle with more charge than you left it with. More and more retail locations are discovering the growing need for this service and are installing charging stations to meet the demand and acquire new customers.

4. Different types of chargers

EV charging levels and all types of chargers explained

Charging can be categorized in multiple ways. The most common way to think about EV charging is in terms of charging levels. There are three levels of EV charging: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3—and generally speaking, the higher the level, the higher the power output and the faster your new vehicle will charge.

Generally speaking, the higher the level, the higher the power output and the faster your new vehicle will charge.

However, in practice, charging times are influenced by many things like the car's battery, charging capacity, the charging station's power output. But also the battery temperature, how full your battery is when you start charging, and whether you’re sharing a charging station with another car or not can also influence the charging speed.

The maximum charging capacity at a given level is determined either by your car’s charging capacity or the charging station’s power output, whichever is lower.

a man and woman next to EVBox Livo that's mounted to their wall and charging their car.

Level 1 charger

Level 1 charging simply refers to plugging your EV into a standard power socket. Depending on where you are in the world, a typical wall outlet only delivers a maximum of 2.3 kW, so charging via a Level 1 charger is the slowest way to charge an EV—giving only 6 to 8 kilometers of range per hour (4 to 5 miles). As there is no communication between the power outlet and the vehicle, this method is not only slow, but it can also be dangerous if handled improperly. As such, we don’t recommend relying on Level 1 charging to charge your vehicle except as a last resort.

Level 2 charger

A Level 2 charger is a dedicated charging station that you may find mounted to a wall, on a pole, or standing on the ground. Level 2 charging stations deliver alternating current (AC) and have a power output between 3.4 kW - 22 kW. They are commonly found at residential, public parking, businesses, and commercial locations and make up the majority of public EV chargers.

At the maximum output of 22 kW, an hour’s charging will provide roughly 120 km (75 miles) to your battery’s range. Even lower power outputs of 7.4 kW and 11 kW will charge your EV much faster than Level 1 charging, adding 40 km (25 miles) and 60 km (37 miles) of range per hour respectively.

Because of this reason, and thanks to a range of smart charging options, connectivity and safety features that Level 2 AC chargers offer, many EV drivers invest in an AC charging station for their home.

A Level 2 AC home charging station, EVBox Livo, mounted to a wall.

Level 3 charging station (DC fast charger)

Also known as DC or fast charging, Level 3 charging uses direct current (DC) to charge a vehicle’s battery directly, instead of the alternating current (AC) used by Level 1 and 2 charging stations. This allows Level 3 chargers to bypass an EV’s slower AC/DC onboard converter and deliver DC power directly to the battery.

As a result, Level 3 charging stations can deliver much more power faster, making them ideal for short-stop locations like gas stations and fleet depots. Charging times vary between different vehicles and power outputs, however, generally speaking, Level 3 chargers can charge a vehicle in minutes versus hours for Level 2 or days for Level 1 charging stations.

AC vs DC power

So, the higher the level, the higher the charging speed. All clear so far, right? But what is AC and DC? When is something AC and when DC, and why is DC so much faster?

AC vs DC current

AC stands for “Alternating Current”, and as its name implies, it changes direction periodically. DC stands for “Direct Current” and flows in a straight line. Without getting too technical, AC can be transported over long distances more efficiently, so this is why it flows out of your socket at your home and office. However, batteries are only able to store DC power, and electronics use DC to operate.

Visual showing the different flows of current for AC and DC.

You may have never realized it, but every time you charge your phone (or any other electrical device for that matter), the charger converts the AC power it receives from the grid into DC power to charge the battery in your device.

How do electric cars charge?

The same principle goes for electric cars. The difference between AC and DC charging all depends on whether there is a conversion process or not. No matter how you charge it though, at the end of the day, the electricity stored in the car’s battery is always DC.

With a DC charger, power is converted from AC to DC by the charger, allowing direct current to flow straight into the battery. With an AC charger, the electricity has to be converted to DC by the car’s built-in converter before it can be fed into the battery. This process will always take longer as the onboard charger has a much more limited capacity than the external converters used in DC charging stations.

5. How long does it take to charge an electric car?

What is the average time to charge an electric car and what affects charging speed?

Once you’ve got your head around where to charge, what the different levels of charging are, and have a basic understanding of the difference between AC and DC, you can now better understand the answer to the number one question: “So how long will it take to charge my new EV?”.

How long it takes precisely to charge an EV depends on different factors, such as your vehicle’s battery size, charging capacity, as well as a number of other situational factors. But, to give you an idea, here's a quick overview of average charging time estimates for a medium-sized EV.

Level 1 (AC)

About 19 hours

Level 2 (AC)

Between 1h 45 min - 6h

Level 3 (DC)

Between 17 min - 52 min

A married EV driver that checks the status of her car's battery on her smartwatch. The watch shows the battery is 97% full.

To give you a somewhat accurate approximation, we’ve added an overview of how long it takes to charge EVs below. This overview looks at three average battery sizes and a few different charging power outputs. For a more detailed overview of a specific model, have a look at our electric car specifications page.

Electric car charging times

Type of EV

Small EV

Medium EV

Large EV

Average Battery Size (right)

Power Output (Below)

40 kWh

65 kWh

90 kWh

AC 2.3 kW




AC 7.4 kW




AC 11 kW




AC 22 kW




DC 50 kW

32 min

52 min


DC 100 kW

16 min

26 min

36 min

DC 150 kW

17 min

24 min

DC 240 kW

11 min

15 min

DC 300 kW

8 min

11 min

*Approximate time to charge the battery from 20 percent to 80 percent state of charge (SoC).
For illustrative purposes only: Does not reflect exact charging times, some vehicles will not be able to handle certain power inputs and/or do not support fast charging.

What affects charging speeds?

Electric car battery

The bigger the battery, the longer it will take to charge. Simple, right? An EV's battery capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), similar to a liter or a gallon but for electricity, with each kWh equal to the amount of energy you would use to run a 1,000-watt appliance for an hour. The vast majority of electric passenger vehicle batteries today can hold somewhere between 25 and 100 kWh when fully charged, with the average EV having a 69 kWh battery capacity.

Charging capacity of the vehicle

The maximum power an EV can accept differs from vehicle to vehicle and can even vary depending on the model of the car. Measured in kilowatts (kW), the charging capacity is shown for both AC charging and DC charging, and each is a large factor in determining how long it takes to charge. For instance, if two vehicles with similar-sized batteries are charging side by side at a high-power DC charging station, but one can only accept 50 kW of DC power and the other 250 kW, then the latter will charge much faster than the former.

Charging output of the charging station

The different output of the charging station plays a large factor in how long it takes to charge an EV. The higher the kW output on a charging station, the faster it can charge (presuming that your vehicle can handle the higher power output).

State of charge

It might sound obvious, but how much charge you have in your vehicle when you begin your charging session also plays a part in how long it takes to charge. The same as when you’re putting gas in a traditional vehicle, depending on whether you have half a tank or are almost empty, how long it takes to charge will differ.

The DC charging curve

With AC charging, the power flow from the charger to an EV is mostly flat, meaning that it will charge at roughly the same speed from 0-100 percent full. In contrast, with DC charging, the EV’s battery initially accepts a very high flow of power, then quickly peaks and starts to decrease the power it takes in as it begins to fill up.

The reason for this pattern is twofold. You might remember from above that with AC charging, the conversion from AC to DC happens inside the vehicle by the onboard converter. This has a fairly limited power capacity, which is quickly reached and can be sustained throughout the whole charging session.

DC charging, on the other hand, unlocks much greater power output, so it needs to adjust this as the session progresses to avoid damaging the battery. Because of their chemistry, EV batteries can take in much higher power at low states of charge, and this ability decreases progressively as they get closer to full.

As a result, with a DC or Level 3 charger, the initial phase of charging (to 80 percent full) is much faster than the last 20 percent (which may take roughly the same amount of time as the first 80 percent).

Two graphs showing the different charging curves of AC and DC. The first graph represents the curve of an AC charging station, It goes up rapidly, levels out quickly, and moves in a straight line before starting to decline near the end. The second graph represents the DC charging curve, showing a higher peak at the start of the charge, declining gradually on its way to roughly 80 percent where it starts to decline more rapidly.

Weather conditions

Another factor that will determine charging times is the weather. As batteries operate more efficiently in temperate weather—roughly between 20–25°C (68-77°F)—it will take longer to charge a vehicle in colder or extremely warm weather.

A woman and a man standing in front of a cabin in a wintery landscape looking at their white Tesla parked in front of the door. The man holds a charging cable of an EVBox Elvi home EV charger that's mounted to the wall.

6. How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Cost to charge electric car

Just like with how long it takes to charge an EV, the cost of charging depends on multiple variables including where you charge it, or the type of vehicle you drive.

Before we get into it in greater detail, here are the approximate costs of charging four different size vehicles (with battery packs from small to large), at three different types of charging stations, so that you can get a ballpark idea of charging costs for your new EV.

Average cost to charge electric car

Vehicle type

Battery size

Home charging
cost per kWh: 

Public / workplace charging
cost per kWh:
$0.35 + $1 charging fee

Fast charging
cost per kWh:
$0.50 + $2 charging fee

Fiat 500e

42 kWh




Volkswagen ID4

55 kWh




Hyundai IONIQ 5

77.4 kWh




Tesla Model 3

82 kWh




Important: Prices for each charging segment are approximations based on our experience and do not represent a real-life situation. These calculations are based on a median guesstimate charging tariff and represent the cost to charge from zero to 100 percent.

Size of the electric car battery

The first thing you need to know when calculating how much it costs to charge your EV is the size of your battery. As shown above, the larger the battery, the more kWhs it can store; the more kWhs it can store, the more power it takes to fill the battery; the more power it takes, the more you have to pay to fill your battery. Simple, right?

Vehicles with a larger battery cost more to charge, but can often drive further on a single charge too.

For instance, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range with an 82 kWh battery costs about $12.30 to fully charge at home but has a range of roughly 614 km (381 miles). However, a Fiat 500e with a much smaller 42 kWh battery, while costing a fraction of the price to charge, only has a 321 km (200 miles) range.

Once you know how big your new EV’s battery is (measured in kWh), you can approximate how much it costs to charge at different charging stations. The three main options are at home, at public locations, or at fast-charging stations.

A man using a DC fast charging station to charge his car more quickly.

EV home charging cost

Charging from home is the cheapest way to charge your new car. Because there’s no middle man standing in between you and the cost of energy, you’ll always get the cheapest rate available to consumers at home.

Electric car electric bill

How much it costs to charge at home is an easy equation. Simply take your latest energy bill and find the price per kWh you pay at home and multiply it by the size of your battery.

On average, residential prices for electricity vary from around €/$0.10 on the low end in Europe and North America to €/$0.32 on the higher end.

At the time of writing this guide, we’ve taken some averages around the world from Energybot (US), the European Union (EU), and Nimblefins (UK):

That means if you’ve just bought a Tesla Model 3 with an 82 kWh battery and pay $0.15 for electricity, you’ll be set back around $12.30 to fully charge your EV.

While this calculation gives an estimation of home charging costs, it doesn’t take into account the battery’s current state of charge, the state of your battery in general, weather conditions, or the type of charger, which can all impact your actual costs.

Cost of charging electric car at public station

Public charging stations can range from offices to curbside stations and commercial parking garages to shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels. The truth is that today, there’s no shortage of businesses big and small investing in EV charging. At the same time, cities and governments are investing in EV charging infrastructure to accelerate the shift towards sustainable mobility. When you put both together, you’ve got charging stations springing up in a range of locations.

Public charging stations can be either Level 2 or Level 3 (AC or DC charging stations) stations but, for simplicity, we’ve split them into two categories and will discuss them separately as they usually come with very different costs.

In both cases, public charging has a middleman providing the service (called charge point operators), so public charging stations usually have a marked-up price in comparison to home charging. How much it costs to charge depends on the base price of electricity in your location and how much the provider charges you for the service.

In some cases, like workplaces and offices, the provider is also an employer and will provide EV charging as an employee benefit and may charge less, or even allow employees to charge for free. Others, like parking facilities and shopping malls, will take the price of electricity and mark it up to make a profit on it, like any other service they offer. Some, like restaurants and hotels, may use EV charging as a way to attract new customers and offer free or discounted charging to patrons.

Just like the diversity in how much it costs, how these providers will calculate costs also differs greatly. Below is a list of the four most common ways to calculate charging tariffs.

  • Connection fee: a fixed amount for each session.
  • Energy fee: a certain price per kWh used during the charging session.
  • Time fee: Cost per minute or hour.
  • Service fee: A one-off markup for providing the service.

For example, a charging provider might charge $0.35 per kWh with a $1 service fee, meaning it would cost you $29.70 to fully charge a Tesla Model 3 with an 82 kWh battery.

How much it costs in practice for you depends on the provider, your country and region. While public charging tends to be more expensive, it is often faster than charging at home, and still cheaper than gas.

Cost to charge electric car at a DC fast charger

Level 3 or DC charging is the fastest way to charge an EV. Depending on the power output and your vehicle’s fast charging capabilities, it will likely take somewhere between 15 minutes and an hour to charge your EV up to 80 percent full. These speeds make DC charging stations perfect for quick top-ups at on-the-go locations like highway rest stops, gas stations, or supermarkets.

However, DC charging stations are also the most expensive to build and run. To enable these charging times, DC charging stations have to deliver serious amounts of power to a vehicle’s battery—think between 50 and 350 kW rather than 22 kW, the maximum output for AC charging stations.

As a result of these high installation and operating costs, charging service providers will often ask for a much higher price to pass on some of their expenses to the customer. In some cases, DC fast charging stations can cost double, or even triple, the kWh price of electricity—making the costs here similar to the cost of filling up your tank with fossil fuels.

Typical costs can range from $0.60 per kWh with a $2 service fee to a flat rate of $0.99 per minute. This means that to fully charge the same Tesla Model 3 as above, it would be closer to $50 for a full battery. But where filling up your tank at the gas station is the only option for ICE vehicles, DC fast charging is more of a sporadic convenience on long trips than an everyday tool for your daily commute.

Cost of electric car vs. gas

One of the questions we hear potential EV drivers ask us all the time is, are EVs cheaper to charge than filling up a conventional fossil-fuel vehicle? As you may have guessed by now, the answer to that question is almost always yes.

Regardless of charging costs for individual sessions, when you take into account that most EV drivers charge at home, occasionally topping up when shopping or at the workplace, and using fast charging for long-distance journeys, EV charging is usually a lot cheaper than filling a car with gasoline or diesel.

7. How far can an electric car go?

Electric car range

Another question many potential EV drivers want to know before buying an EV is, “how far will I be able to drive with my new car?” Or should we say, the real question on everyone’s mind is, “Am I going to run out of charge on a long-distance journey?” This concern is understandable; charging a battery is one of the main differences with driving an ICE vehicle and a question on many people’s minds.

An electric car driving in an urban area at night, the image of the car is clear but the city is blurry indicating a sense of speed.

In the early days of electric mobility, range anxiety gripped many potential EV drivers. And not without reason: Ten years ago, the best-selling EV, the Nissan LEAF, had a maximum range of only 175 km (109 miles). Today, the average range of EVs is nearly more than double that at 348 km (216 miles), and many EVs have a range of above 500 km (300 miles); plenty for even the longer daily urban commutes.

This increase in range, together with the rapid development of charging infrastructure, means range anxiety is becoming increasingly unwarranted.

But what about long trips? Even EVs with the furthest range may still need to stop and charge on a long journey. This is where DC fast charging stations come in – with their high power, they can quickly top up your battery while you stop to eat, stretch your legs, or take a bathroom break. And while it depends on where you live, fast charging infrastructure is growing rapidly and is already widely accessible across the US, UK, EU, and China.

Should I charge my electric car every night?

Most EV drivers won’t even have to charge their car daily. Did you know that in the US, the average American drives roughly 62 km (39 miles) a day and in Europe, the daily kilometers driven by car are on average, less than half of what they drive in the US?

The bottom line is that most of our daily commutes won’t even come close to reaching an EV's maximum range, regardless of the make or model, and even back in 2010. For a more detailed overview of the range of any specific model, you can have a look at our electric car specifications page.

8. How long do electric car batteries last?

Car battery life

An EV’s battery is by far the most expensive component of the car, so it’s only understandable that you want to know how long your new EV’s battery will last.

The dashboard of an Electric Volkswagen vehicle indicates that the car is parked, the left-front door is open, the journey was 56 miles and the estimated distance to empty is 157 miles.

Just like all lithium-ion batteries, EV batteries will slowly lose some of their capacity over time. However, unlike the battery in your phone or laptop, EV batteries are designed with heavy use in mind and last for years under normal use.

Rather than just stopping altogether, which is unlikely, a battery will gradually lose capacity with an average decline across all electric vehicles at around 2.3 percent per year.

That means that if you purchase an EV today with a 240 km (150 miles) range, after five years, the battery will have lost 27 km (17 miles) of accessible range. Most EV manufacturers will also give between 8-10 years warranty on their battery, or up to 100,000 km (62,000 miles).

How long should a car battery last?

According to current estimates, EV batteries have a projected lifespan of about 15 to 20 years or around 100,000 to 200,000 miles on the road. This is longer than the current average life expectancy of a car, which is approximately 12 years, so EV batteries will, in most cases, outlive the vehicle they’re in.

There are also a few simple habits you can adopt to maximize your EV’s battery life, such as only charging up to 80 percent for everyday driving and avoiding letting your car’s battery get close to empty.

9. EV charging cables and charger plugs

EV charging connector types explained

Many of the sections above have answered questions you may or may not have had before purchasing your new EV. However, we can take a guess that you probably haven’t even thought about charging cables and plugs, the world of EV cables and plugs is as diverse as it is complex.

As different regions adopted EVs simultaneously, each developed its own cables and plugs, and there’s still no universal standard for charging to this day. As a result, just like Apple has one charging port and Samsung has another, many different EV manufacturers and countries use different charging technologies. To get a detailed overview of a specific model, our electric car specifications page shows the type of plug types and other specifications per car.

Broadly speaking, the two main ways EV charging can differ are the cable connecting the car to the charging station or wall outlet and the type of plug used to connect the vehicle to the charging station.

EV cables

Charging cables come in four modes. While each is most commonly used with a specific type of charging, these modes do not necessarily always correlate to the “level” of charging.

Mode 1

Mode 1 charging cables are used to connect light electric vehicles like e-bikes and scooters to a standard wall outlet and cannot be used to charge EVs. Their lack of communication between the vehicle and the charging point, as well as their limited power capacity, make them unsafe for EV charging.

Mode 2

When you purchase an EV, it will typically come with what’s known as a Mode 2 charging cable. This type of cable allows you to connect your EV to a standard household outlet and use it to charge your vehicle with a maximum power output of around 2.3 kW. Mode 2 charging cables feature an In-Cable Control and Protection Device (IC-CPD) which manages the charging process and makes this cable much safer than Mode 1.

Mode 3

A Mode 3 charging cable connects your vehicle to a dedicated EV charging station and is considered to be the most common for AC charging. Mode 3 cables can either be built into a charging station or removable – in fact, many EV manufacturers will provide a Mode 3 cable with their new cars to enable public charging.

Mode 4

Mode 4 charging cables are used when fast charging. These cables are designed to transfer the higher power from DC (level 3) charging, must be connected to a charging station, and are often even liquid-cooled to deal with the heat.

EV charging plug types (AC)

The charging plug is a connector that you insert into the charging socket of an electric car. These plugs can differ based on power output, the make of the vehicle, and the country the car was manufactured in.

You’ll find that EV charging plugs can be mostly broken down by region and whether they’re used for AC or DC fast charging. For example, the EU primarily uses Type 2 connectors for AC charging, while the US uses CCS1 for DC fast charging.

AC charging plugs

Plug type


Power output*


Type 1

A Type 1 plug for charging an EV with AC power.

Up to 7.4 kW

Japan and North America

Type 2

A Type 2 plug for charging an EV with AC power.

Up to 22 kW for private charging

Up to 43 kW for public charging

Europe and the rest of the world


A GT/B plug for charging an EV with AC power.

Up to 27.7 kW


*These numbers represent the maximum power output that a plug can deliver at the time of writing this article. The numbers do not reflect actual power outputs as this is also dependent on the charging station, charging cable, and the receptive vehicle.

EV charging plug types (DC)

DC charging plugs

Plug Type


Power output*



A CCS1 plug for charging an EV with DC power.

Up to 350 kW

North America


A CCS2 plug for charging an EV with DC power.

Up to 350 kW



A CHAdeMO plug for charging an EV with DC power.

Up to 200 kW



A GT/B plug for charging an EV with DC power.

Up to 250 kW


*These numbers represent the maximum power output that a plug can deliver at the time of writing this article. The numbers do not reflect actual power outputs as this is also dependent on the charging station, charging cable, and the receptive vehicle.

What about the Tesla charging plug?

There is one exception to the charging plugs presented above, and that’s Tesla’s proprietary charging plug used by the company for its North American vehicles. Recently, Tesla opened up its charging plug for other manufacturers to adopt, now called the North American Charging Standard (NACS). This will mean that the existing Type 1 and NACS will likely coexist for a while in the American market, and time will tell which – and whether – one will come out on top.