What are the different types of EV chargers?

There are lots of different types of EV chargers and a number of different speeds that you can charge your car at. This guide explains what they all mean in real terms.

When shopping for an electric vehicle, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of “how to charge it”. With many different options available for both your home or while out on the road we can help make your charging experiences easier.

You might ask yourself, are all EV chargers the same? The answer is no, but the good news is most of them are compatible by standard with your new car. The two different types of chargers are AC (alternating current) which charges slower, and would be used at your home or work places, the second type is DC (direct current) which offers a fast charge and can be found on motorways or in public places.

The next thing you need to consider is cost, charging cables, connectors, and time taken to charge. This guide will explain the different types of EV charger and their uses.

Charging Speeds

This can get a little confusing for those of us who are used to pulling into a petrol station and picking one of three nozzles, filling up and getting back on the road.

Your charging speed will depend on several factors such as your car's battery charge capacity, on average most EVs can travel 3 to 4 miles per kWh. This means a 50kWh battery (that powers your EV) could provide a range of around 150 – 200 miles on a single charge.

In the UK, charging speeds are categorised as follows;

  • Slow – 3 pin plug
  • Fast – AC charging
  • Rapid – DC charging
  • Ultra Rapid – DC charging

What is Slow EV Charging?

Your EV should come with a 3 pin plug charger, meaning you can charge from your home, just like any common household appliance - such as your mobile phone.

Slow charging typically involves using a standard household plug socket with a voltage of 230V AC and a current of 12-13 amps. For an average EV, it would take about 15 -20 hours to fully charge from empty to full.

As well as slow charging time, It’s important to consider the lack of safety elements of a 3 pin plug charger. We’d suggest only using this method if you have no other alternative.

What is Fast EV Charging?

Fast home charging 7.4kW

A 7.4kW AC charger is the most common type of EV charger used at home. There are many to choose from on the market with average charging speeds between 6-8 hours to fully charge from empty (although it’s not recommended to charge to 100%). Most in the UK will require a type 2 plug connector which is supplied with your car.

Don’t underestimate the convenience of charging from home, you will never have to go out of your way to refill your car ever again! You can plug your car in overnight while you sleep, with many chargers integrating with energy providers who offer tariffs designed to save you money for charging at off peak times.

Home chargers also act as a safety box managing the large amounts of electricity coming from your home to your car. They can prevent fires, keep up to date with the car and offer many smart advantages via their apps.

The Zaptec Go provides fast, safe and smart charging, at 7.4kW, built to meet UK smart charge security regulations. To find out more about the Zaptec Go and how to book an installation read our product guide.

Geförderte Wallbox an einer Wand

Fast AC charging 22kW

Fast AC chargers are commonly found in shared spaces like car parks, motorway service stations, shopping centres and workplaces. The higher power output of 22kW means that charging an electric vehicle from empty to full at a fast AC charger takes just 3 - 4 hours for an average EV.

Fast AC chargers are a popular choice for EV owners who want to top up their battery while they go about their day-to-day activities. They are a great option for business owners or landlords who have larger properties on a 3 phase supply which can manage the demand of a more powerful charger.

Most in the UK will require a type 2 plug connector which is supplied with your car.

The Zaptec Pro provides fast, safe and smart charging, at 22kW which is built to meet the UK smart charge security regulations. To find out more about the Zaptec Pro and how to book an installation read our product guide.

What is Rapid EV Charging?

Rapid EV chargers can often be found out on the road in places like motorway service stations and can be especially handy if you’re driving a long distance. They work using DC (direct/straight line current) energy to charge your EV quickly until it reaches 80% capacity and then charges the last 20% slowly to protect your car’s battery health.

DC chargers work by converting AC electricity from the grid or a renewable source and can put that directly into your car's battery. Because the conversion happens inside the large charging station, and not your car, it allows the whole process to speed up and be more efficient. At 50kW it can take just 40 - 60 minutes on average to charge your battery from empty to 80%.

While DC charging seems like a great choice, it relies on costly, large, complex equipment, and requires a high-voltage connection to the power grid. These factors make it impossible to install at your home which typically has a single or 3 phase meter in the UK.

What is Ultra-Rapid EV Charging?

Ultra-rapid chargers have the ability to charge your car from empty to 80% in just 20 minutes on average with DC energy. Ultra-rapid chargers are less common than rapid chargers with about 75 sites in the UK, and at 350kw you’d be more likely to find these on major roads and motorways, than in shopping centres, homes and places of work.

What’s the difference between AC and DC chargers?

Although both chargers will give you the range you need, AC and DC chargers work with different currents.

AC works only with an alternating current for example from the grid or a renewable energy source, giving you a slower delivery of electricity, exactly like a wave with peaks and troughs.

DC stands for direct current and works by receiving alternating electricity from the grid or a renewable energy source. The DC charger then converts the AC energy before being able to deliver it quickly and directly into your vehicle.

EV Connector Types

The choice of EV charger connector types can seem confusing at first but is actually very simple. Your car’s manual will tell you which connector you need for slow, fast, or rapid charging, and if you choose the Zaptec Go as your home charger, you’ll have peace of mind - as it can charge any electric car. However, we’ve put together this simple table which explains the different types of connectors you could potentially come across.

Charger TypeSpeed
Type 1 (AC)
Also known as the J1772 charger. This connects with 5pins and is primarily used on older EV models such as the Nissan Leaf.
3kW – 7kW
Slow to Fast Home charging
Type 2 (AC)
The Type 2 charger benefits from a standardised design, and can deliver a wide range of charging power. The Type 2 Charger is the most commonly found charger in the UK.
Slow to Fast Charging
Tesla (AC)
This charging connector is for Tesla owners only. It looks distinctly different from the more commonly found type 2 charger.
Fast Charging
CHAdeMO means “Charge de Move”, and is primarily used for DC fast charging. This charger has a distinctive round shape with a large single plug and locking mechanism and is typically used by Japanese brands like Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Rapid Charging
CCS2 stands for Combined Charging System, and combines AC and DC charging in one plug, making it extremely versatile. The CCS2 is more commonly found in the UK and Europe whereas the CCS1 is usually found in North America.
Fast and Ultra Rapid Charging

Want to the latest news about Electric Vehicles? Check out our industry news and guides. Or, to find out more about hassle-free home charging, check out the Zaptec Go today.