Commando socket guide for charging electric vehicles

Commando sockets for EV charging – a complete guide

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.

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.

Commando sockets are fast sockets that match the charge speeds offered by home charge points. Here’s what one looks like:

Commando Socket 32A suitable for electric vehicle charging.

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.

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.

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 an electric car 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

All you need to do is plug the cable into your car and it will start charging.

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.

However, you also need a Commando cable, and these tend to be as expensive as the socket. A round figure is £350, which will get you a robust cable with a good warranty.

Our product recommendation for the cable is the Ohme Home Go. It’s available in Type 1 and Type 2 and costs around £330.

So, you are looking at £600-£700 for the Commando socket and accompanying cable – the same price as a tethered EV charge point after the OZEV grant (which ends for homeowners on March 31st, 2022).

However, chances are, you already have a cable to charge and just need an adapter. This will cost around £40. So you could get a Commando charger set up for under £400. Note: you can only get an adapter that is Commando to 3-pin like this. If you are looking for a Commando to Type 2 adapter for fast charging, there isn’t one that we can find. Instead, you need a Commando to Type 2 cable.

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!

Top image credit: EV Charge King

Alfred Maxwell
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!