EV charging? That’s the C, L and K on the plug and charging station!

To combat the proliferation of charging options, the EU has introduced a series of standardized labels from March 2021. These labels can be identified by white or black hexagon lettering. These labels are also used in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. This allows you to identify at a glance which charging system is in front of you. This applies to both the charging station and the car you want to charge. But what do those letters mean?

Where can I find labels for charging an electric car?

Electric cars built after March 20, 2021 in Europe will often have to have labels on the tailgate. Just like the fuel cap of a car with a combustion engine indicates what fuel you can fill up with. Additionally, labels are also on the charging plug or charging station. So it’s simply a matter of – literally – connecting letters!

What do the labels on the charging station mean?

All well and good, but what exactly are those literacy hexagons trying to say? Well, information that doesn’t make you very alert as a user. Because you will see at a glance whether the charging plug fits your vehicle or not. Anyway, for the record, below we list the major labels you’ll encounter.

As early as 2014, the European Commission decided to standardize the so-called Type 2 plug in our region. It is used for charging with alternating current (AC). You can identify a Type 2 plug by the letter C in a black or white hexagon. You will see the letters in black hexagons on the car side and white hexagons on the charging station side. The letter K on the other hand stands for the European standard for DC fast charging according to the Integrated Charging System (CCS). With the rise of cars that can easily charge over 200 kW per hour, a charging cable with an L label has been developed. It can charge at a maximum of 920V instead of a maximum of 500 volts. Not important: To use a charging system with an L label, your car does not have to reach a charging speed of more than 200 kW.

EV Charging Letters stands for Charging Station

After all, the letter M stands for the CHAdeMO charging system. It was one of the first standardized systems at the time and originated in Japan. The system has almost been discontinued in Europe, and you’ll only encounter it in a select group of older EVs – oddly enough – in the second-generation Nissan Leaf. Don’t worry about swapping the CHAdeMo plug with the CCS plug when charging. The two systems are not interchangeable. In other words: a CHAdeMo plug will not fit in a vehicle with a CCS connection and vice versa.

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