The type 2 socket: the European standard

Published by on 01.09.2019 - 3 min

The Mennekes type 2 socket is the standard used by the European Union to equip charging points dedicated to electric cars. What are its exact characteristics and charging possibilities? Read on to find out.

The adoption of a European standard is one of the key steps in the development of electric mobility: the use of a common connector ensures the interoperability of individual vehicles and the different categories of charging points.

The Mennekes type 2 socket: operation and features

Seeking to encourage the development of electric mobility, the European Commission announced its decision on the matter in 2013: among the types of connectors available on the market, it chose the Mennekes type 2 socket to be the standard for all charging points and electric vehicles in Europe by 2025.

The technical features of the Mennekes type 2 socket make it an accessory well suited to most common uses. It is equipped with a seven-pin connector allowing for the passage of a 70 A alternating single-phase current, and up to 63 A in three-phase with a maximum voltage of 500 V. It thus delivers a maximum power of 43 kW, enough to charge a Renault ZOE with the equivalent of a 120 km range in just 30 minutes.

The domestic charging points that are wallbox types most often have a Mennekes type 2 socket. They are also found at many public charging points. To connect your vehicle, it is simply a matter of using a suitable charging cable, usually provided when purchasing the car. The type of socket has no impact on the cost of installing a charging point.

The combo 2 socket: the way to fast charging

The Mennekes type 2 socket is limited to alternating currents. Its use therefore presupposes that the vehicle is equipped with a charger that can convert the alternating current sent from the grid into the direct current stored inside the battery. It also limits the use of fast charging systems, which operate based on the unmediated transmission of a high-intensity direct current.

 
The Mennekes type 2 socket is limited to alternating currents. Its use therefore presupposes that the vehicle is equipped with a charger that can convert the alternating current sent from the grid into the direct current stored inside the battery.

The type 2 socket evolved to overcome this shortcoming. It is called the « combo 2 socket » or « CSS type 2 socket, » an acronym that refers to its combined charging system.

The combo socket adds two extra pins to the standard type 2 socket. They serve as a secondary connector dedicated to fast charging systems and are able to directly convert the alternating current signal into a direct current before sending it to the battery.

Compatibility and adapters

Even though the type 2 socket and its « combo » cousin evolved for fast charging are intended to be the established European standard, there are still sockets and charging points that require the use of different connectors. In such instances, drivers can resort to an adapter that, for example, allows a car with a type 2 socket be connected to a public charging point with a type 3 connector.
The use of an adapter has no impact on the length or the
cost of recharging.

Copyrights: Paulo CALISTO, Renault Portugal

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