Not only are you moving from fuel to electric when you buy an EV, but you also need to consider other factors, such as charging the car. For instance, what size cable is needed for an EV charger? These little details make a big difference, especially when it comes to charger placement in the garage or driveway. Worry not, though. This guide features all you need to know about EV charger cable sizes, including the pros and cons of longer and shorter options.
What is an EV charger cable?
EV chargers are the fuel for your car, and the cable connects the charger to the vehicle. EV cables consist of three parts: a plug connecting to an EV charger power source, the wire, and a connector that plugs into your car. The length of the wire plays an important role when deciding on the best EV home charger for your garage.
Where do you want to plug your charger?
Before deciding on the best cable size for an EV charger, first, you need to consider where you'll plug it in. There are different types of charging cables: charging stations and universal wall charging points. If you don't have access to a charging station (usually found on residential streets, supermarkets and shopping centres), your best bet is a Type 2 charger for the home. It's the standard type of EV charging plug throughout Europe and the UK.
Anyone charging their car on the street using a charging station should consider the distance from the vehicle to the charging spot. The cable on a public street shouldn't be too long as it may be a safety hazard. Yet, it still needs to be long enough to reach the charging station from your car without any issues.
At home charging
The length of the cable depends on the setup in your garage or driveway, and how far the vehicle is from the charger. Garages are typically on the smaller side, so a long cable to connect your EV to the charger may not be necessary.
What cable size should I use for an EV charger?
Most EV cable lengths vary between four and ten metres. Lengths need to be able to reach from your car to the charger, regardless of its position. In most cases, a 7.5-metre cable is generally regarded as the best length – it's not too long or too short. It's also worth considering storage because a longer cable requires more storage space.
Longer Vs shorter: what are the benefits?
A long EV charging cable gives you flexibility. You don't need to worry about where the car is parked or if the charging point on the vehicle faces the charger. Longer charging cables suit driveways and can also come in handy if you need the charger to stretch some distance for access reasons.
Shorter cables are more manageable than longer ones and take up less space. EV owners parking overnight in small garages, where the wall socket and the car socket are in close proximity, should be fine with a shorter cable. Having a shorter charging cable also mitigates safety hazards because you don't need to worry about someone tripping up over the loose cables.
Does cable length affect charging performance?
There are theories that the length of a cable can affect the charging speed: the longer the cable, the longer it takes to charge. In reality, however, this isn’t true. A longer cable has more resistance than a shorter cable. But the length of a modern EV charging cable won’t impact charging times, at least it won’t to the point where there’s any noticeable difference.
When it comes to gauge and quality, however, there may be some differences. The thicker the wire, the shorter the charging time (as long as it’s a good-quality cable). That’s because a wire with more gauge provides less resistance and allows the current to flow through it at a point in time. The result is less charging time.
Can you extend an EV charging cable?
Perhaps you've already bought an EV charging cable and decided you need a longer one to meet your needs. Purchasing a new cable can be expensive, and it's understandable if you want to avoid paying more for a new one.
Fortunately, you can extend your current EV cable using an additional charging cable. Extension cords are available in different lengths and specifications, meaning you can opt for one that best fits your needs. All EV cables are extendable, including three-pin and tethered cables.
Difference between tethered and untethered
As well as the length, you're probably wondering whether you should opt for a tethered or untethered charger. Tethered chargers tend to be the most popular as they're connected to the wall box, so you can charge your vehicle and wind it up after a charge. However, you must always wind the cable up and store it to avoid damage.
With an untethered charger, you'll need to connect it to your own cable. Most EVs feature untethered cables as standard. Using an untethered cable means connecting it to the wall box every time you use it and plugging it in at both ends. Most untethered chargers are more flexible than tethered ones in terms of length.
Ultimately, it comes down to the location of your EV and the charging point when deciding on a cable length. Most EV car experts suggest a length of 7.5-metres cable, but the best size is the one cable that connects the car to the charging point without any issues.
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