December 16, 2022

Making sense of ports and plugs to charge an EV


Buying an electric vehicle (EV) for the first time can feel a little overwhelming, especially when it comes to charging. One of the most common questions we get is about the difference between the various connectors.

It’s not very complicated, especially if you plan to do most of your charging at home, which most drivers do.

To start, there is just one harmonized standard in North America, the SAE-J1772. This standard refers to the physical properties of the connector and the communication protocol.

There is one exception, Tesla. They have a proprietary connector, but their vehicles communicate using the SAE-J1772 protocol. Tesla EVs use a simple adapter to be able to use an SAE-J1772 connector, which all our charging stations use. We are considered a ‘universal’ charging station as we work with all EVs in North America, including Tesla.

When charging in public, there are other options. First, you will find a lot of Level 2 Chargers that use the J1772 plug as discussed above. Then there are Level 3 or ‘fast’ chargers which can fully charge an electric car very quickly. Tesla has its own, the Supercharger, for Tesla vehicles only. There are also fast chargers that use one of two other connectors, CCS and CHAdeMO. These charging stations are typically used while traveling long distances.

Since 80% of charging is done at home, a Level 2 charger will take care of most of your needs. Come home, plug in, wake up with a full charge ready for your day—and your hands will never smell like gas.