CHARGING BASICS 103: Know the differences between EV Charging station, Charge point & Charge outlet | An analogy with Gas station

Difference in EV Charging station, Charge Point , Charge Pool and Outlet

Terms such as Charging Stations, Charge points, Charging outlets and EVSE's are used so interchangeably - not only by an average EV driver; but also by many E-Mobility professionals. Do they all mean the same? Certainly not!.

The Sustainable Transport Forum(STF) created by the European commission gives clear guidelines for each of these terms. This article may explain the ‘definitions’ and 'differences' with an analogy of gas stations Vs charging stations.


A gas station is a place where you can find one or several petrol/diesel pumps. People use the same interpretation for ‘charging stations’ – which is not correct. A location with one or several charging stations should be called as ‘charging pool’ ; not as a ‘charging station’!.

According to European commission STF, charging pool is defined as: one location/address/GPS coordinate with one charge point operator (CPO).

What is also important to note is : all the stations in a ‘charging pool’ need to be operated by a single CPO. Assume the scenario of a parking lot with 8 stations, where 5 stations are operated by CPO#1 and the remaining 3 stations are operated by CPO#2. This scenario should be considered as a location  of  2 charge pools.


Taking the same example of a gas station: ‘charging station’ is equivalent to a gas pump (which still can have multiple refueling hoses that are equivalent to multiple ‘charge points’).

STF’s definition for ‘charging station’ is : One physical object with one user interface. 

Charging Station is the mentioned physical object that contains a common user identification interface (UI) for one or more charging points.


A charge point (also referred as EVSE - Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) is equivalent to a refueling hose. Charge point delivers power to the car via one or more connectors., but only one can be used at a time.

A charging point is defined by: EV supply equipment , charging one vehicle at a time.


A connector / outlet is the physical interface of the charge point that connects to the electric vehicle through which the electricity is delivered. This connector can be a socket, cable, pantograph and even an induction plate.

Note: typically, every charging point will have only one connector /outlet; but it is not mandatory. For example, there can be a charging point with 2 connector outlet – which is allowed, as long as both of them are not active at the same time (not two cars charged at the same time). This is similar to only one gas hose will be active (refuels) at a time, though there can be multiple hoses physically present.

Difference in EV Charging station, Charge Point , Charge Pool and Outlet
Above picture shows: 1 Charging station with 1 charging point ; but with 2 connectors (Schuko and Type-2 Cable)


A charging pool can contain several charging stations from a same CPO.
A charging station (EVCS) can contain several charge points (EVSE).
A charge point (EVSE) can contain several connectors / outlets; but per charge point, not more than one connector can be active at a time.

P.C: The Netherlands Knowledge Platform for Public Charging Infrastructure (www.nklnederland .nl).

Guess this article may have got you off to a good start with the terms around EV charging stations. Would you also know more about the terminologies around different charging levels, modes and cables?. Then you may want to read : Electric Vehicle Charging Levels, Modes and Types Explained; check it out!

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