What charging cables and plug types are available?

Infinite driving without recharging, what a beautiful idea. Unfortunately, the technology is not that advanced (yet?), but the charging infrastructure in Germany is now so well developed that there are public or semi-public charging facilities almost everywhere. As you know, you need plugs and cables for charging. We have listed the types of plugs and cables here:

Plug types

There are different electricity networks and standardisations, so there are also different types of plugs. A plug is generally referred to as the end point of a charging cable that connects the electric car and the charging station.

Type 1 plug

This type is not widely used in Europe. It is more commonly found in car models from the Asian region and North America, as it is designed for the 120/240 volt single-phase three-wire network available there. It is a single-phase charging plug that allows a charging power of up to 7.4 kW. Car models that would be compatible with this plug type include Citroën, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot and Toyota. In Germany, however, this type of plug is not common.

Type 2 plug

This charging plug is three-phase and has now established itself as the European standard. At public charging stations, a charging power of up to 43 kW is possible; in the private sector, charging powers of up to 22 kW are achieved. Almost all public charging stations have a type 2 socket, to which any mode 3 charging cable can be connected. This means that both electric cars with type 1 and type 2 plugs are compatible. All mode 3 charging cables have a Mennekes plug (type 2) on the side of the charging station. In addition to its universality, this plug has the advantage of being very easy to plug in and extremely robust.

CCS plug / Combo 2

The Combined Charging System expands the type 2 plug with two additional power contacts and, in theory, makes fast, direct and alternating current charging with up to 170kW possible. In practice, its charging power is more like 50 kW. The advantage of the CCS plug is that the connections can also be used by a conventional and now very common type 2 plug.

CHAdeMO plug

This Japanese plug system makes rapid charging with a maximum charging power of 100 kW possible. At public charging stations, only 50 kW is usually made available anyway. Vehicles from Citroën, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota and Tesla (with adapter) are compatible with this plug type.


Tesla Supercharger

Tesla uses its own standard for its own charging stations. The Tesla Supercharger is a modified version of the type 2 plug that enables a charging power of up to 120 kW in the DC network. In the case of the Model S, the battery can be charged up to 80 % within 30 minutes. However, this type of plug is currently only available for Tesla models.


Charging cable

There are not only different plug types but also different charging cables:

Mode 2 charging cable

The mode 2 charging cable enables charging using household sockets and is often supplied directly by car manufacturers. This is particularly practical for eMobility newcomers. A box (ICCB, in-cable control box) is used for communication between the electric car and the charging connection, which is connected between the vehicle plug and the connection plug. A more modern variant is a mode 2 charging cable with a connection for different CEE industrial sockets. With this cable, depending on the CEE socket, the car can be charged with up to 22kW. The CEE plug (from “Commission on the Rules for the Approval of the Electrical Equipment”) appears in different versions:

  • As a camping plug: single-phase, blue, with a charging power of 3.7kW
  • Available as a version for industrial sockets: three-phase, red. There is a difference between the small industrial plug (CEE 16) with a charging capacity of up to 11 kW and the large industrial plug (CEE32) with a charging capacity of up to 22 kW.

Mode 3 charging cable

The mode 3 charging cable is used for the connection between the charging station and the eCar – in Europe, the type 2 plug has become established here. In order for electric cars to be able to charge with both type 1 and type 2 plugs, charging stations are often equipped with a type 2 socket. To charge an electric car, either a mode 3 charging cable from type 2 to type 2, or a mode 3 charging cable from type 2 to type 1 is required. With a mode 3 charging cable, a charging power of up to 43kW can be achieved.


Schuko socket

The Schuko socket is a normal household socket with which a charging power of up to 3.7kW can be achieved using appropriate fuse protection. However, without a corresponding preliminary test, a maximum charging power of 2.3kW is recommended for a Schuko socket. Schuko sockets can be found in all households, sometimes also at public charging points, and are suitable for all electric cars.


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