Charging an electric car is virtually always greener than pumping gasoline, but it can also be more complicated.
Among standardized AC charging (in North America), multiple standards for DC fast charging, and the various electrical connectors used in different countries, there's a lot of charging hardware out there.
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Now there's a handy way to keep track of all the different standards, and where they're used globally.
EV Institute Plug-In Around the World charging-connector poster
The EV Institute recently published an updated version of its "Plug-In Around the EV World" poster of electric-car charging connectors, color-keyed to the regions that use them.
The poster includes six types of connector covering AC as well as DC fast-charging standards. You can download it in PDF form here.
The standard connector for AC charging in the U.S.--for use both with standard household current and Level 2 charging stations--is the SAE J1772.
In Europe, the standard is the IEC 62196 Type 2 connector.
But there's far less harmony when it comes to DC fast charging.
The CHAdeMO standard developed in Japan is used by the Nissan Leaf, as well as by the lower-volume Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV electric cars.
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However, virtually every U.S. and German carmaker has signed on to using the Combined Charging Standard (CCS)--so named because its connector combines pins for both AC and DC charging.
The only cars equipped for CCS that have gone on sale in North America thus far are the BMW i3, Chevrolet Spark EV, and Volkswagen e-Golf.
Nissan Leaf electric car with eVgo quick charging station. [courtesy eVgo]
Finally, Tesla Motors has its own Supercharger fast-charging standard. It's compatible only with the Model S electric car, although its owners can buy an adapter that allows their cars to fast-charge at CHAdeMO stations as well.
Of course--as anyone who has traveled abroad knows--the sockets that electrical devices plug into aren't standardized either.
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Helpfully, the poster also includes a standard list of plug types, with color coding to show which countries use which plugs.
So if you're in need of a quick reference guide to electric-car charging connectors, print this poster out to keep by your desk.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]