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EV Charging Connector Types In North America

EV Charging Connector Types In North America

If you think electric vehicle (EV) charging is just about charging levels or a case of Tesla vs. non-Tesla, think again.

More than charging speeds and EV brands, charging can be further categorized according to the type of plug used. Electric vehicle connectors come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the power source. You may already be familiar with AC and DC charging. However, understanding the specific connector types is crucial for accessing the appropriate charging infrastructure. In North America, the landscape of EV connectors is diverse, ranging from industry-standard plugs to proprietary connectors. Let's take a look at the different EV connector types used on this side of the globe.

AC Charging Standards

AC charging utilizes alternating current to charge electric vehicles. Commonly associated with Level 1 and Level 2 charging, AC chargers rely on the EV's onboard charger to convert AC power to DC. This conversion process is crucial for charging the EV's battery pack effectively. AC EV charging connectors are primarily used for home charging, where the standard voltage is 120V or 240V. Here's a closer look at the two main AC EV connector types:

SAE J1772 – Type 1

The SAE J1772 connector, also known as the J-Plug or Type 1 Connector, is primarily used in North America and Japan. It features a 5-pin configuration that can deliver up to 19.2 kW of maximum power output (80 A at 240 V). The J-Plug supports single-phase AC charging for Level 1 and Level 2 chargers. Most electric cars and plug-in hybrids sold in North America, except Tesla EVs, come with Type 1 EV charging plugs. However, Tesla owners who want to access any J1772 charging station can use a J1772 to Tesla adapter.

EV Connector Type SAE J1772 (Type 1)
Output Current Type AC (Alternating Current)
Supply Input 120 Volts or 208/240 Volts (Single-phase only)
Maximum Output Current 16 Amps (120 Volts) 80 Amps (208/240 Volts)
Maximum Output Power 1.92 kW (120 Volts) 19.2 kW (208/240 Volts)
EV Charging Levels Level 1, Level 2
Primary Countries USA, Canada, Japan


The North American Charging Standard or NACS is Tesla's proprietary plug. Initially only exclusive to Tesla EVs, the company has since opened its charging network to other electric vehicle manufacturers, including Ford, GM, Hyundai, and Lucid. The Tesla plug features a 5-pin layout, with the two primary pins supporting both AC and DC charging. With single-phase power, the NACS system can deliver up to 48 A of current at 240 V, with a maximum power output of 11.5 kW. However, with three-phase power, it can deliver up to 80 A at 277 V.

EV Connector Type Tesla NACS
Output Current Type AC/DC
Supply Input Single or three-phase
Maximum Output Current 48 Amps (AC) 400 Amps (DC)
Maximum Output Power 250 kW
EV Charging Levels Level 2 / Level 3
Primary Countries USA, Canada

DC Fast Charging Standards

DC Fast Charging stations are high-speed chargers that require advanced technology and infrastructure to deliver rapid charging capabilities. These EV charging stations are strategically located along major highways, urban centers, and popular travel routes to facilitate long-distance travel for electric vehicle owners. In North America, the most common DC rapid charging connectors are the CCS (Combined Charging System), Tesla Supercharger, and the Japanese CHAdeMO connector. Here's a closer look at them:

CCS - Type 1

The CCS Type 1 connector integrates two additional power contacts into the SAE J1772 Type 1 connector, enabling high-speed DC charging capabilities. The CCS connector retains the same ergonomic design and compatibility with existing, AC charging station infrastructure, simplifying the transition to fast charging for EV owners. A CCS 1 EV charger can supply up to 350 kW of power output, enabling an average electric car to go from empty to 80% in under an hour. However, with the recent developments in the NACS alliance, current CCS-enabled EVs will soon be equipped with a NACS port starting in 2025.

EV Connector Type CCS1
Output Current Type DC (Direct Current)
Supply Input 480 Volts (three-phase)
Maximum Output Current 500 Amps
Maximum Output Power 360 kW
EV Charging Levels Level 3 (DC fast charging)
Primary Countries USA, Canada, South Korea


While mainly used in Japan, the CHAdeMO plug is also used in North America, especially models from Japanese carmakers such as the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Derived from the phrase "o CHA deMO ikaga desuka" (lit. "How about a cup of tea?"), the first-generation CHAdeMO has a maximum output of 62.5 kW (125 A at 500 V), translating to 75 miles of range in 30 minutes, while the second generation supports 400 A at 1 kV of charging.

A significant difference between CCS and CHAdeMO lies in the port configuration. In the case of CCS connectors, manufacturers have the flexibility to incorporate a single charging port capable of handling both AC and DC charging. On the other hand, CHAdeMO mandates EVs to feature distinct charging ports for AC and DC charging, resulting in two separate charging ports on the vehicle.


EV Connector Type CHAdeMO
Output Current Type DC (Direct Current)
Supply Input 400 Volts (three-phase)
Maximum Output Current 400 Amps
Maximum Output Power 400 kW
EV Charging Levels Level 3 (DC fast charging)
Primary Countries Japan (older model EVs in use globally)

NACS (Supercharger)

As previously mentioned, Tesla uses the same charger plug for both AC and DC charging, making the charging process more streamlined and convenient for Tesla EV drivers. The Tesla connector features an automatic locking mechanism, ensuring a secure connection between the vehicle and the charging station. The Supercharger network, Tesla's DC fast charging stations, can deliver between 72 kW and 250 kW of power. Most recently, Tesla has started rolling out Version 4 of this EV charging station, equipped with the Magic Dock or the compatible adapter for CCS-enabled vehicles, as well as a longer charging cable and credit card reader.

The difference between single-phase and three-phase power

Single-phase power supplies consist of a two-wire alternating current (AC) circuit, including one power wire (phase) and one neutral wire. In contrast, three-phase power supplies use a three-wire AC circuit, where each phase of charging power signal is spaced 120 electrical degrees apart.

Residential homes typically utilize single-phase power supplies, while commercial and industrial facilities commonly employ three-phase power supplies due to their ability to accommodate higher loads, especially for large electric motors.

One key distinction between single-phase and three-phase power supplies is the consistency of power delivery. Three-phase power supplies offer a steadier, more constant delivery of power compared to single-phase supplies, which may experience peaks and dips in voltage.

In terms of efficiency, three-phase power supplies are more efficient as they can transmit three times as much power as single-phase supplies while requiring only one additional wire. This efficiency is advantageous, as it reduces the amount of conductor material needed for transmitting a set amount of electrical power.

Additionally, some three-phase power supplies may include a fourth wire, known as the neutral wire. The two main configurations of three-phase systems are wye and delta, with the former potentially incorporating a neutral wire, while the latter typically consists of only three wires.

How to Know Which Type of Charging Connector Your Vehicle Uses

To determine the type of charging connector your vehicle uses, consider the following:

  • Level 1 and Level 2 Charging: For standard AC charging, all electric cars currently use the SAE J1772 connector. This connector is compatible with Level 1 (110V) and Level 2 (240V) charging stations commonly found in residential and public charging locations.

  • DC Fast Charging: For rapid DC charging, the majority of EV manufacturers utilize the CCS1 Combo port. This port combines both AC and DC charging capabilities into a single connector. However, Japanese manufacturers Mitsubishi and Nissan still utilize the CHAdeMO standard for DC fast charging.

  • Future Transition: With the push for universal plug technology, all manufacturers are expected to transition to the Tesla SAE J3400 port for DC fast charging starting in 2025. This standardized port, developed by Tesla, aims to streamline charging infrastructure and improve compatibility across different EV models.

FAQs about the different EV Connector Types:

  • How many types of EV connectors are there?

    In North America, there are four types of EV connectors: J1772 (Type 1) and NACS for AC charging, and CCS and CHAdeMO for DC charging. NACS is also used for DC charging.

  • What is the difference between a J1772 and CCS plug?

    The main difference lies in their compatibility and charging capabilities. J1772 is primarily for AC charging, while CCS combines AC and DC charging in one plug.

  • What is Type 1 and Type 2 charging connector?

    The SAE J1772 or Type 1 is the charging standard in North America, featuring a single-phase plug with charging speeds of up to 7.4 kW. Meanwhile, the Type 2 or Mennekes is the three-phase plug standard for European and Asian vehicles from 2018 onwards, charging at a level of up to 43 kW.

  • Is J1772 same as Type 2?

    No, J1772 also known as Type 1 is a single-phase plug used in North America, while Type 2 also known as Mennekes is a three-phase plug and is used in Europe and Asia.

  • What are the different types of EV charging plugs?

    EV charging plugs vary globally, with Type 1 in North America and Type 2 (Mennekes) in Europe, alongside CCS 1, CCS 2, CHAdeMO, and Tesla's proprietary NACS plug, catering to different regions and standards.

  • Is CCS and J1772 the same?

    CCS connectors are meant for DC fast charging, while J1772 connectors are used for AC charging. However, the CCS connector was designed based on the existing J1772, adding two additional power contacts to support DC charging.

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