Unravelling the charging capacity of electric cars and charging cables

Unravelling the charging capacity of electric cars and charging cables

Electric cars are rapidly gaining popularity as more and more people are switching to eco-friendly transport options. An important aspect of owning an electric car is understanding the charging capacity. It is important to choose a charging cable that allows you to charge your car as efficiently and quickly as possible. Understanding the charging capacity of your EV is important in this regard.

The charging capacity of electric cars

The standard AC (alternating current) charging capacity of an electric car refers to the power at which the car's battery can be charged. This is expressed in kilowatts (kW) and varies depending on the model and manufacturer of the car. It is important to understand that not all electric cars have the same charging capacity. Some can be charged faster than others. This is obviously outside CCS2 fast charging which uses DC (direct current).

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are typically equipped with a charging capacity of:

  • 3.7 kW - Most plug-in hybrids; such as the Mitsubishi Outlander.
  • 7.4 kW - Smaller and older EV, like the Opel Ampera or just larger PHEV like a Range Rover
  • 11 kW - Most EV, such as; Tesla Model 3, KIA EV6, Kia Niro, Skoda Enyaq
  • 22 kW - Some EV, such as the Renault Zoe, Smart #3 and Lucid Air

There are also some EVs with a charging capacity of 6.6 kW. These actually fall into the same category as the 7.4 kW models.

To determine the charging capacity of your electric car, you can look at the car's specifications or consult its manual. It is also possible to contact the car manufacturer or an authorised dealer for more information. By knowing the charging capacity of your car, you can choose a charging cable most suitable for your needs.

Phases and Amps

The maximum charging capacity of a charging cable depends on the current (the maximum number of amperes) the cable can handle and the number of phases it can be charged with.

Type 2 charging cables for electric cars are typically suitable for up to 16 amps or 32 amps. In addition, charging cables are suitable for 1 phase or 3 phase charging. The type 1 charging cable (for older models) is only suitable for 1 phase charging. The type 2 charging cable is also suitable for 3 phase charging due to the 2 extra poles. This gives 4 possible combinations:

  • 3.7 kW = 1 phase charging up to 16 Amps
  • 7.4 kW = 1 phase charging up to 32 Amps
  • 11 kW = 3 phase charging up to 16 Ampere (3* 3.7kW)
  • 22 kW = 3 phase charging up to 32 Amp (3* 7.4kW)

So this does not mean that for an 11 kW car you necessarily need an 11 kW charging cable. A 22 kW charging cable is also perfectly capable of charging with 11 kW.

Always take the number of Amps into account, though. Charging a 7.4 kW car with an 11kW charging cable will only give you a power of 3.7 kW because of the number of Amps.

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