One of the big problems that crops up when new technology appears is that nobody can ever agree on a standard that will work for everyone.
Think about your mobile phone. If you were to run out of charge in the middle of the day, would you be able to use anyone else’s cable?
Chances are, you’d be searching a long time, but if you’re lucky, someone will pony up a cable that will do the job. If you’re not lucky, then you resign yourself to buying a spare one next time you pass Currys.
The difficulties occur even with the same manufacturers. A charger for an earlier iPhone won’t work on the later ones.
It can be extremely frustrating.
And so looking around the Internet, we discover there are similar confusions with the types of cable and connector for our electric cars.
We have type 1, type 2, 16A and 32A.
Which one do I need and if I use the wrong type, will my car explode?
We all know that putting petrol in a diesel engine makes your car spew smoke like a clown act at the local circus, and equally as funny for the drivers on the opposite carriageway.
Is it the same with electric vehicles?
Luckily, the answer is no.
First off, the “type” refers to the connector. Type 2 is what many believe will be the standard eventually, however in the UK, the highest selling cars such as the Nissan Leaf, are currently sporting type 1.
However, charging points are nearly all type 2, so as long as one end of your cable has a type 2 socket, it’s unlikely you’re going to run out of juice without somewhere to plug in.
But if you do, there are converters that you can keep with you, so you know you’ll always be able to top up the batteries.
What about 32A v 16A?
You’ll remember from school that amps are the things that do the damage if you put your finger in a socket.
Static electricity has thousands of volts, but very little current, so all it does is make balloons stick to your jumper, it’s harmless.
A socket has about 13 amps (usually more) running through it, so it’ll melt your shoes to your feet.
So what about the fact you can get a monstrously high 32A charging point to plug in to, can your car take it?
Well, you’re OK.
If you have a 16A cable, then that’s just fine, your car, and importantly, the occupants, won’t be fried.
It’s the car that ultimately decides whether it’s 32 or 16 amp, technology has come to your rescue yet again!
So, in short, there’s really no need to worry.
Your car manufacturer will have provided all the necessary information, and you can always check on our site if you’re unsure of what you need to buy.