Commando sockets for EV charging – a complete guide (2023 update)

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fnrids commando charger

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FNRIDS EV Charger 7kW Type 2 to Commando

Priced at only £160, this Type 2 to Commando EV charger has a 10/16/20/24/32A adjustable current and comes with a carry case. It’s backed by a 2-year warranty and worry free return and exchange.

When it comes to EV home chargers, you have two main options: a smart charger that allows scheduling and gives you access to charging data and controls on your smartphone, or a Commando socket that provides up to 7kW of power and acts as a simple plug and play device, letting you use your vehicle’s app to control charging.

A 32A commando socket can charge over 2x faster than a typical household socket, delivering 7kW of power – much more than a 3-pin plug!

Another great Type 2 to Commando EV charger is this:

vorsprung type 2 to commando charger

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VORSPRUNG Type 2 to Commando EV charger

Vorsprung’s adjustable Type 2 to Commando EV charger provides variable 6-13A charging up to 7.68KW. Safe, portable design with smart amp memory function. TUV certified and includes free carry case. 5m or 8m cable. Priced from £318 for the 8m cable.

To install a commando socket, expect to pay around £40 for the socket plus around £50 for a cable like this one, so under £100 total minus installation. With installation you are looking at £250-£400. The main benefits of a commando socket are the fast charge speed, reliability, and small size. Downsides are the lack of smart features and extra plugging in required versus a tethered charger.

You might like to use both – Commando chargers make excellent second chargers for driveways. This article covers everything you need to know about Commando sockets so you can make an informed decision.

What is a Commando charger?

With smart chargers all the rage, the humble commando socket doesn’t get much love. But this simple and effective socket charges as fast as a 7.4kW home charger – or up to around 3.3kW if you use a smart 3-pin car charger like this:

FNRID EV Charger Cable

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FNRIDS Charger Cable

A fast, flexible, 3.3kW Type 2 to 3 Pin Plug charger with adjustable outputs, smart safety features, and a durable waterproof design – perfect for charging your electric car at home!

Commando sockets are fast sockets that match the charge speeds offered by home charge points without all the bells and whistles.

However, you can still use your vehicle’s companion app to control charging sessions with things like scheduling and charging start/pause.

A Commando charger consists of two parts – a commando socket and a commando cable that connects the socket to your electric car.

A commando socket is nothing more than a powerful socket. Compared to EV charging stations or wall boxes which have smart features, commando chargers are pure plug and play devices. 

How fast does a commando socket charge?

  • 3-pin plug – 2.3kW
  • 16A commando socket – 3.6kW
  • 32A commando socket – 7kW / 7.2kW / 7.4kW

This means that:

  • 16A commando sockets charge 56.5% faster than a 3-pin plug
  • 32A commando sockets charge 204% faster than a 3-pin plug (at 7kW)

16A Commando sockets output 3.6kW while 32A Commando sockets output 7kW or 7kW, versus 2.3kW from a 3-pin socket, giving you faster charge speeds.

Note that a 32A plug to 16A blue CEE socket connector allows connecting a higher 32A plug to a lower amperage 16A commando socket. The 32A plug has a higher rated cable and overcurrent protection to safely supply more current. Connecting it to a 16A socket limits the available current to 16A due to the lower rating.

If you want to do this, we recommend this product:

32a plus to 16a blue cee

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UK Made 32A Plug to 16A Blue CEE Socket Connector

This IP44 32A to 16A connector allows you to safely and temporarily connect a 16A appliance to a 32A power outlet. The heavy duty 4mm2 cable and IP44-rated blue CEE socket are built to withstand outdoor and wet conditions.

Smart cables for commando sockets

The birth of smart wall chargers for electric vehicles has spawned a range of smart cables for commando sockets that are designed to make charging a more intuitive experience.

For example, this cable on EV One Stop has an LED screen and buttons to control the amps.

An even better smart cable is the Ohme Go Commando, which transforms your commando socket into a smart charger. The Ohme Go contains the same smart technology and functionality as Ohme Home Chargers.

Is a commando charge point just a socket?

Yes, a commando charge-point is just a socket. However, you can make it smart with a smart cable, which can connect to your home Wi-Fi and your smartphone to relay information like charge rate and duration.

Mounting options and angled inlets

Angled inlets are a convenient option for electric vehicle charging cables and wallboxes. Also known as elbow adapters, angled inlets position the charging connector at a 90 degree angle instead of sticking straight out. This helps make charging easier in tight spaces like garages and carports where a straight connector could get in the way.

mk commando socket

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MK Commando K9733 Angled Inlet

A heavy-duty 32A angled appliance inlet with IP44 rating, providing a 90 degree EV charging connector to simplify commando socket charging in tight spaces.

Angled connectors are available for most types of EV connectors including J1772, CCS, CHAdeMO, and Tesla. For wall boxes, the angled inlet can be built right into the unit. For portable cables, angled adapters are available that plug into the end of the cable – ideal for the tightest spaces.

Commando charger for EV benefits

  • Commando chargers are super reliable with less issues than charging points.
  • You can use a commando socket for more than EV charging.
  • Commando chargers are excellent backups for people with one home charger. People with more than one electric car will appreciate having two sources of power.
  • Commando chargers don’t suffer from connectivity issues. They are plug and play, so there is no risk of a dodgy internet connection affecting your ability to charge.
  • Anyone who doesn’t qualify for the OZEV grant might also like to consider a commando socket because it will work out cheaper than installing a charging point.
  • Commando chargers are significantly smaller than EV charge points, making them inconspicuous and easy to conceal.

Commander charger for EV downsides

Commando chargers don’t communicate charging information to your smartphone like smart chargers do – you need a smart cable to make this happen.

  • No scheduled charging.
  • No solar integration – commando sockets are powered by mains electricity.
  • Commando chargers are untethered, so you need to plug your cable into the charger and then your car (or vice versa), creating an extra step versus tethered chargers.

How to charge with a commando socket

To charge with a commando socket you only need two things:

  • Commando socket.
  • Type 1 / Type 2 to 16A / 32A Commando cable.
commando socket

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32 Amp 230V 3 Pin Interlock Switch Socket

This outdoor-rated 32A socket powers electric vehicles, caravans, and campers with 220-250V AC electricity for convenient charging – perfect for your home or external garage!

All you need to do is plug the cable into your car and it will start charging. You can control charging with your vehicle app or at the switch.

How much does it cost to install a commando socket

The average cost to install a 32A Commando socket is £325. The socket itself is relatively inexpensive, so most of the cost is labour.

So, you are looking at £250-£400 for the commando socket and accompanying cable – cheaper than a smart charger like the Ohme Home Pro and Ohme ePod.

Installation notes

  • Commando sockets allow EV charging at various power levels up to 16A. Higher amperages like 32A are preferable for faster charging.
  • The sockets must comply with electrical regulations. Shuttered sockets are required in domestic settings per BS7671. Interlocked commando sockets provide equivalent protection.
  • A separate radial circuit with dedicated RCBO protection is needed. The socket can’t be on a ring final or share an RCD with other loads due to risk of DC leakage tripping the RCD.
  • TN-C-S earthing systems require PEN detection to prevent electric shock risk if the earth conductor is lost. TT earthing may avoid this issue.
  • RCD protection should be Type A rather than Type AC.
  • Cable ratings must match the socket amperage, unlike 13A plugs on ring circuits. 2.5mm cable is inadequate for a 16A socket.
  • Installation requires an electrician to comply with regulations. DIY solutions like adapting to a 13A plug are non-compliant.

Commando socket for Tesla

Commando sockets are a popular way to charge Teslas. A 16A commando socket will deliver 3.6kW of power while a 32A socket will deliver 7kW, 7.2kW or 7.4kW of power.

Commando socket instead of a smart charger?

Commando sockets are cheaper and easier to fit than smart chargers and are more inconspicuous. However, they lack smart features and don’t communicate information to you without a smart cable.

If you are installing your first EV charge point, a smart charging point is a better choice than a Commando socket. However, Commando sockets are good backups and get the job done simply. The choice is yours!

Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!