With electric vehicles quickly becoming the talk of the town in SA, it’s best to know the differences and purposes of charging cables.

Electric Vehicle AC vs DC Charging

Electric vehicles (EVs) have an onboard charger that converts alternating current (AC), the type of electricity used to power home appliances, to direct current (DC), the type of electricity needed to charge EV batteries.


An “AC Charger” is essentially a smart switch that tells the Electric Vehicle how much power it may consume based on the capacity of the socket or electrical infrastructure. When the safety checks are finished, the switch that supplies AC power to the electric vehicle is activated. The charge rate is limited by the vehicle’s onboard charger, which can normally deliver up to 11kW of 3-phase power. AC chargers are the most frequent and cost-effective method of charging an electric vehicle.

DC chargers, sometimes known as “superchargers,” provide the fastest charging rate available. Because the AC to DC converter is placed in the charging station, the technology is more sophisticated and expensive than AC charging technology. Large DC charge stations can produce up to 350 kW, but the charge rate will be limited to the Electric Vehicle, which will normally range between 50kW and 100kW. Due to the high cost of DC Charge stations and electrical infrastructure, they are only suitable for public charging facilities on national roads or dedicated fast charging facilities.

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle Plugs

The Type 2 Plug is the standard plug for charging electric vehicles in South Africa and the European Union. The plug accepts single-phase or three-phase AC charging.

The Combined Charging System (CCS 2) is a Type 2 plug extension that provides direct current (DC) contacts for high-power DC fast charging. This is the minimum requirement for all public DC charging stations in South Africa.

The Type 1 Plug is the standard plug for charging electric vehicles in the United States and Japan. The Nissan Leaf of the first generation is the only EV in South Africa that uses this style of plug.

The Combined Charging System (CCS 1) is a Type 1 plug extension that provides direct current (DC) contacts for high-power DC fast charging. For DC charging, a specific CHAdeMO connector is utilized in Japan.

In the United States, Tesla employs its own charge socket and ecosystem for its supercharging network, however in Europe, the Type 2 / CCS 2 standard is used. For South Africa, Tesla is likely to use the Type 2 / CCS 2 standard.

Electric Vehicle Chargers

There are three levels of electric vehicle chargers: 

Level 1 chargers plug into a typical household outlet and can provide up to 16 Amps (3.7 kW) of AC power. A level 1 portable Electric Vehicle charger is typically included with an Electric Vehicle and provides the simplest, but slowest, means of charging an EV.

Level 2 chargers can offer between 7.4 kW and 22 kW of alternating current electricity and must be installed by an electrician into an electric circuit capable of supplying the appropriate power. It provides the quickest method of AC charging at home or at work.

Level 3 chargers, commonly known as “Superchargers,” can deliver up to 350 kW of direct current power. They are mostly found at public charging stations along major highways or at dedicated rapid charging stations.

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle 3 Phase Charging

Electric Vehicles

Single Phase AC is the most common type of electricity used in most households and small businesses, and it consists of three conductors: Live (L), Neutral (N), and Earth (E) (E). It is the most frequent way to charge Electric Vehicles at home or work, with a maximum charge rate of 7.4 kW.

Three-phase AC is the type of electricity given to major power consumers such as offices, factories, farms, and large houses. It has five conductors: three Live (L1, L2, L3), one Neutral (N), and one Earth (E) (E). Although 3-Phase (3P) AC charge stations are rated up to 22 kW, the majority of electric vehicles only accept 11 kW 3-phase charging. Some older Electric Vehicles do not support three-phase charging.

Electric Vehicle Industrial CEE Sockets

Industrial CEE sockets
 are commonly used in factories Industrial CEE sockets are often used in factories to power high-powered machinery and available in a variety of power types characterized by color, diameter, and number of pins.

While standard domestic sockets can deliver up to 3.7kW of power, CEE sockets can deliver up to 22kW of power for the fastest possible AC charging.

An electrician can install a blue, 32 Amps, 3-pole, single-phase CEE socket in your home for use with our 7.4 kW, Fast Portable Level 2 EV Charger.

For homes and businesses with 3-phase power, a red, 163 Amps, 5-pole, 3-phase CEE socket will offer up to 11KW of power, the maximum AC charging capacity of most EVs. If you wish to “future-proof” your installation, consider installing a 323 Amps, 5-pole, 3-phase CEE socket capable of delivering up to 22KW for use with our highest-rated 22kW 3-Phase Fast Portable.

Electric Vehicles

Safe Charging of Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

Charging an Electric Vehicles involves the transmission of high current which poses a fire/safety risk if not conducted correctly.  

  • Never use an extension cord with a portable Electric Vehicle charger.
  • Charging from a domestic socket is safe when the electrical installation was performed by a licenced electrician. If in doubt, rather charge at a lower rate (eg. 10 Amps).
  • If the charger plug and/or the socket become hot during charging, stop charging and have the socket circuit tested by an electrician.
  • Level 2 Charge Stations must only be installed by a licenced electrician who can issue a CoC for the installation.  Ensure that these chargers are installed using a 6mm2 power supply cable as they can draw up to 32 Amps continuously for extended periods of time.