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What is CCS electric car charging?

CCS (or Combined Charging System) is a type of rapid-charging connector for electric vehicles, and is favoured across Europe and North America

a man charging his black hybrid volvo outside his house while his family gather around

What is CCS?

CCS charging is one of the rapid charging connector options for electric vehicles (EVs). Just like CHAdeMO charging, it can be used to give your car a quick boost at a speedier time than your standard chargers.

Known as the most versatile rapid charging connector, it’s popular across Europe and North America for a quick charge. It also offers a higher power rating than other rapid types, and car support larger, ultra-rapid chargers.

Essentially, the CCS plug is a fancied-up version of the Type 2 plug that is universal for charging EVs.

Why is it called CCS?

CCS stands for ‘Combined Charging System’ – ‘combined’ because it uses a slow-charging Type 2 connector to build on. It adds two extra DC power lines, which can then run a higher voltage than the standard connector.

When you see a CCS connector, it will look just like a Type 2 set-up with an additional two connector holes. When using a standard Type 2 charger, the bottom two holes on the connector will be free. These are only used by the CCS plug.

What’s the difference between CCS and CHAdeMO connectors?

Both CCS and CHAdeMO chargers are direct current (DC) charging connectors. This means that the charger itself contains a convertor so it can feed power directly into the car’s battery, unlike AC chargers that feeds AC power to the onboard vehicle charger, where it will then convert the power to DC itself.

CCS connectors and CHAdeMO are different because CCS is more universal – they can offer AC/DC charging from the same port, whilst CHAdeMO requires an extra connector to do this. Without the adapter, CHAdeMO is not compatible for Type 1 and Type 2 charging.

How do you use a CCS connector?

Using a CCS connector is really simple and no different than most other EV chargers. You’ll just need to park safely near the charging point and plug in. The charging unit will usually have instructions to help with the details, but it’s a simple process that you’ll soon get used to.

You can also use online apps and search tools to find CCS connectors in your area, which is ideal for planning to get a boost on longer journeys.

Once you’ve plugged into the CCS connector and started charging, the connector will lock into place until charging is complete.

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How fast are CCS connectors?

CCS connectors vary in power ratings, usually between 50-350kW. Even at 50kW, the connector's lowest output but most popular, you can expect around 75 miles of charge in just 30 minutes (based on a 60kWh battery).

350kW connectors are not all that common right now, but those can offer up to 525 miles of charge in just 30 minutes, while the more common 150kW set-ups offer 225 miles in the same time.

In comparison, a Type 2 AC connector can supply 7kW from a single-phase set-up, which can add around 25 miles to a 60kW battery in an hour.

CCS charging is much quicker and will help you top up your battery in much less time than a standard charger.

Is CCS charging bad for your EV?

CCS charging is not directly bad for your electric car, and it’s a great way to get a fast boost, but too much rapid charging can hurt your battery health.

You might want to reserve rapid charging for occasions where it’s really needed, and use a standard charger overnight to do your regular charging.

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