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HomeWhatWhat Size Cable for Electric Car Charger: Everything you Need to Know

What Size Cable for Electric Car Charger: Everything you Need to Know

You may be wondering what size cable electric car chargers need. You are right to be lost on this one.

Picking out the right car charger is a challenging task for many reasons.

However, it would be best to get it right first because car chargers are quite expensive. For all your needs, we got you covered. 

This article equips you with the ABCs of choosing a charger for your electrical vehicle. 

Table of Contents

What is an electric car charger cable?

An EV cable is a length of wire with two plugs on each end.

One end is connected to your carport, and the other to a power source. The cable provides a connection for power flow from the charging station to your car.

Electric car charging outlet

(Electric car charging outlet)

Reasons why electric car chargers are expensive

Car chargers vary in price depending on the manufacturer. They are costly to purchase, and here is why:

Elements in cable production

Manufacturers incur many costs during the production, testing, and marketing of EV charging cables.

Using costly materials such as copper in the EV chargers makes the production process expensive.

Many resources are invested in testing to ensure safety and efficiency. Extensive marketing of the cables is also necessary. 

The high total cost of the production process results in a high market price for the chargers.

Copper is used in making wires

(Copper is used in making wires)

Various Specific Cable Designs

Newer EC charger designs are evolving. Much research is put into this process.

Manufacturers must ensure the chargers meet set standards, such as electrical amp requirements. These factors result in high production costs. 

Safety Guarantees

The different steps incorporated in guaranteeing the safety of the products are costly. Such processes include:

  • The incorporation of smart cable designs to prevent fire outbreaks from the electric voltage running through the cables
  • The installation of a monitoring box to measure and monitor the amount of electric voltage flowing through the charger
Charge a tram

(Charge a tram)

Are electric car chargers universal?

No, they are not. Unfortunately, electric cars are still a new concept, so charger designs are evolving. Electric car brands like Tesla, Audi, BMW, Ford, and Nissan have different charger designs

Different car models from the same brand sometimes come with different charger designs.

However, new models of electric cars are compatible with type II cables. 

Type 2 socket inlet on an EV for a type 2 charger

(Type 2 socket inlet on an EV for a type 2 charger)

Selecting the right electric car charging cable

Various factors need to be considered when choosing an electric car charger. 

Where are you plugging the charger?

The type of charger used in charging ports varies from the one used at home. It is an important factor to consider when purchasing a charger for your car. 

  • At home charging 

A home charger is a must-have for any electric car owner. They have three pins and can be connected to a normal outlet.

Mode Three-prong chargers are the best choice because they have built-in protection. 

An electric car charging at a home station

(An electric car charging at a home station)

  • Charging stations

Considering a reasonable cable length for charging stations is important. Avoid using extremely long cables, a safety hazard. Charging stations use mode three cables.

Mode two cables are preferable in cases where there are no charging points.

Fast charging spots on roadsides make use of mode four cables. 

An electric car at a charging port

(An electric car at a charging port) 

The EV charging cable connectors.

It is important to ensure that the connector of an electric car charger matches your car port. There are different types of connectors: type 1, type 2, CHAdeMO, and CCS. 

Type 1 chargers are outdated, and type 2 chargers are the new standard for electric car chargers.

Rapid charging utilizes the CHAdeMO and CCS types. You can refer to your car handbook for help determining which charger suits your car. 

Different EV charger connector types

(Different EV charger connector types) 

Power/Phase rating

It is important to know the capacity of your car’s onboard charger; it converts ac to dc.

The ratings on the EV cable should either match the capacity of your onboard car charger or be higher.

Charging cables come in different ratings, but 16- or 32-amp cables are more common.

The higher the rating, the thicker the cable, and therefore the less resistance, which results in faster charging. 

The 16 A cable is appropriate for onboard chargers for 3.6 kW (Phase 1) and 11 kW (Phase 3). The 32 A cable suits 7.4 kW (Phase 1) and 22 kW (Phase 3) onboard chargers.

Electric car lithium battery pack and power connection

(Electric car lithium battery pack and power connection) 

Longer vs. shorter: what are the benefits?

Long cables

Long cables are more flexible to use because you can charge your car from a distance away or when it is facing away from the charging port.

Therefore, they are suitable for use in driveways or public charging stations. 

A long charging cable

(A long charging cable)

What size cable for electric car charger: Short cables

They are easier to manage because they take up less space. They are, therefore, suitable for smaller spaces and garages.

Shorter cables are also safer, as they are harder to trip on. 

A short EV charging cable

(A short EV charging cable)

What size cable for electric car charger: Is charging performance affected by the length of the cable?

The length of the cable does not affect its charging performance. Although longer cables have higher resistance, the difference is insignificant enough to affect charging performance.

However, differences in gauge or quality are significant.

A larger gauge offers less resistance and, therefore, faster charging because it is easier for the current to flow through. 

What size cable for electric car charger: Can the charging cable be extended?

It is possible. If your charging cable is short and you need to extend it, you do not need a new cable but an extension cable that meets your specifications.

All electric car charging cables are extendable, both the tethered ones and the three-pin ones.

However, you must ensure they have a power rating supporting electric car charging. 

An extension cable

(An extension cable) 

The difference between tethered and untethered cables

Tethered chargers tend to be connected to a wall box already.

Therefore, all you need to do is connect it to your car during charging and wind it after use for storage.

On the other hand, untethered cables are not fixed on either end.

Therefore, you need to connect the cable to the charging port or socket and your car every time you charge your car. 

Untethered cables are standard. They are also more convenient as they are more flexible in length. 

Electric car charger

(Electric car charger)

Protecting your electric car charging cable from theft

EV charging cables are expensive and are, therefore, easy to steal. The following are ways you could secure it from burglaries: 

  • Use a padlock. Most cables have a loop you can lock to your car using a padlock. 
  • Use the built-in locking mechanism. This locks in the charging cable after plugging it into your car. This method is not foolproof, but better than no protection for your car. 
  • Locking it through your boot. You can pass a long charging cable through your car’s boot and use the boot’s locking mechanism to lock it in. 
  • Park your car on your cable. Long cables are only possible as you must leave room for tension. When you are desperate, this should be a last resort because the car’s weight could damage the cable.
Illustration of a car parked over a charging cable

(Illustration of a car parked over a charging cable)

Conclusion

When choosing a cable for your electric car, you must consider things such as the connector type, the length of the cable, and the power source.

Ensure to match the power rating to your car’s onboard charger or have it higher.

You should also go for good-quality chargers. All these are essential when selecting an EV charging cable. 

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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